StreamDavid.com includes the use of mediums such as GPS geotagging, mobile Internet, digital time-lapse photography, social networking, and community involvement combined with my nomadic travels for a nine month period throughout North America during the Summer of 2007.
Project website: http://www.streamdavid.com (no longer available)
GPS, mobile, social, networking
Apple MacBook Pro
2.16 Ghz Intel Duo Core CPU with 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM
Apple Mac Mini
1.66 Ghz Intel Single Core CPU
Nikon D200 digital SLR
10.2 MP digital SLR with Tamron 18mm-200mm lens
4GB SanDisk drive
Nikon vertical grip with extra battery
2 iSight web cameras
2 Logitech web cameras
GPS mounted to D200 with Red Hen Systems’ D2X-GPS connector
Kyocera KR1 EVDO Wireless Router with Sprint PCS mobile broadband
Car laptop mount with camera and PDA holders
Sirius Replay Satellite Radio
Alpine in-dash CD player with iPod connector
PROJECT PROPOSAL AND ASSESMENT
In 2005 I came upon a video in a community art and design forum (NewsToday.com) that encapsulated the journey of a man and his multi-day journey from Los Angeles, CA to New York City, NY in a 1960’s convertible. The video runs approximately 3 minutes, was set to music, and is spliced to incorporate photographs taken from a fixed camera, presumably taking images every one to two minutes, towards the front of the car for the entire duration of the drive. Although this was a brief view, and only gave the perspective of a backseat passenger, I immediately became inspired. Not only to take a much-needed vacation away from work, but also to produce a technological collage of images and stories available when someone breaks free from their conventional surroundings.
As a digital photography enthusiast, the first obvious direction was to incorporate my personal street photography for both commentary and documentation. Much of my photography draws on subjects that are inherently reflective of our modern social landscape by depicting imagery that elicits themes of dissonance, comparison, and suggestion. As eclectic as my own inspirations and interests, traveling throughout the United States produces imagery that, when viewed as a whole, has the facility of assembling a focus on the limitless cross sections of culture: old and young, rich and poor, new and used, urban and rural, black and white. Showing images that have their own commentary, while viewing their significance and comparison to other images available throughout the nation, the audience is immediately required to consider their own current social and cultural environment. While attempting to document a specific locale there is difficulty in creating a balance with giving observations and commentary among imagery that coincides with the stigmas attached to people, places, or accounts. These stereotypes have the contradicting capability of creating visuals that people have a history with and find recognizable, but continue to be confined by this same label. A combination of disconnect and understanding is needed in order to allow the spectator to feel associated enough that they can begin determining their own viewpoint, readying them to break free from their familiar perspective and become open to a new realism. For these reasons, I have added the component of digitally “tagging” (visual details and geocoding) the media to the geographical location itself, giving each photograph a connected chronological and topographical significance to the remainder of the images.
Since my sophomore year of undergraduate schooling I have had the opportunity (both fortune and mis) to remain self-employed, working at my own discretion for a wide array of commercial and non-profit clients. Using design and interactive computing to solicit a consumer response from my audience has continually brought to mind the formational trends and experiences, both inherent and constructed, of interactive new media’s relation to its audience. Because of my feelings towards community and social awareness, I have continued to battle with my use of interactive technology, particularly the Internet and social networking, to be used purely for marketing and industrial application. Ironically, this discontinuity has proven to be the sustainable attribute of a project that removes me from the security and stability of a fixed residence and allows me the freedom to continue working and funding my endeavors. With this in mind it was a natural progression to incorporate an online element to the project that allows anyone in the world with access to the World Wide Web to witness and interact with my project. The images can be categorized, viewed in sets, and commented on, as well as having journal posts relating to the imagery that gives the timeline context and remains available for discussion. While the images are being fixed and archived for later viewing, having the ability to interact with the producer of this imagery during its conception adds significance to the audience and their relation to the production.
At its most basic form, this project takes a glimpse at imagery, interaction, and people. It is important to consider our methods of communication and interaction with others in a broader scope, understanding the effects our choices have on others and their continued relationship to the formation of society. Using contemporary mediums in a new yet familiar way causes this consideration. With the geo-specific archiving of digital imagery and the creation of an interactive environment, there is created a critical element that deals with this idea of mass media, interactive social networking, and its relation to community.
As I began researching many of the issues that I would be faced with came to mind: where will I sleep? How will I get my mail? How do you connect a camera to a car? Spending time in preparation for how to confront these and exploring my options for development, I began constructing the kinds of questions I would like to evoke from my audience: is it possible, and if so what are the limitations, of being in relationship with someone only in a virtual environment? Has technology made it easier, or has it only detached meaning, granted isolation, and given a false sense of communication for continued relationships? What are the repercussions of allowing our lives to be open and accessed by others? Is this an extension, or inherent of relationship? Outlining questions like these is not to generate a set of social trends gone awry or looking to create solutions for progressive mass media communication habits, but are foundational in the creation of a project that hopes to have a formulaic approach to drawing contemplation and interactive participation between the audience and artist.
Nearly two years after conception, and six months of research, I began living and working from a mobile environment; documenting the journey both by photography and public journal. Originally I sold my household furniture, purchased a 23’ travel trailer and truck, and moved out of my apartment. After a month of preparing the truck and trailer with the necessary computers and camera equipment, I embarked on the project only to be stifled within the first twenty-four hours. As I drove north from San Diego, CA on the interstate during rush-hour, my trailer caught a side-wind and was thrown to the side, flipping both the truck and trailer, and wrecking nearly everything inside both. I spent the next two weeks collecting what was salvageable and deciding on my next plan of action. As optimistically as possible, I saw this as an opportunity to consolidate and work from an even more simple and drifting lifestyle.
I am currently driving a 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia camper around the continental United States. This van is mounted with one digital camera set to take one picture every fifteen minutes while I am en route. This camera is situated in such a way that it photographs part of the vehicle’s dashboard and a majority of the view out of the front windshield. When viewed in sequence, this gives the audience a stationary point of connection as well as moving imagery – creating the perception of a passenger’s view. These photographs are synchronized with geo-specific tags that allow a server-side script, once the image has been uploaded, to plot the images on an archived map. The user then has the option to view my current location from the front page of the website, or to expand the archived entries with their geographical location.
An embedded web cam streams current imagery from my laptop computer at a refresh rate of one image every five seconds. During this time, one image every sixty seconds is archived and combined with previous images to create a sequenced video file, giving an abrupt and consolidated view of any minute of the day.
The photography taken outside of the vehicle is also matched with the GPS receiver and shown on an online map.
http://www.streamdavid.com is the central point for maintaining connection with my audience. E-mail newsletters and RSS feeds of both my journal posts and uploaded photographs are available in an interface that is automatically updated as regularly as possible.
This project uses a wide variety of technology taken from digital photography, GPS tracking and tagging, web camera video, virtual spaces, and archiving of narration in an online environment.
• Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer
• Apple MacMini desktop computer
Digital Media Storage:
• USB 2.0 external hard drive 250GB (3)
• Firewire external hard drive 80GB
• Nikon D200 DSLR with Tamron 20-200mm lens
• Sony DSC F-717
• Sony DSC T7
• BT-338 bluetooth
• Garmin Geko 301 with D2X-GPS Red Hen Systems adapter
• Sprint PCS mobile broadband service with Novatel Merlin S620
• Kyocera KR1 EVDO Wireless Router
• Manual powered solenoid switch (alternator -> aux and main batteries)
• Auxiliary deep cycle 12V Werker battery (2)
• RAM Tough Dock laptop mount
Along with the hardware required for production, a combination of software scripts, both server and client side, are needed for the collection, adjustments, transfer, organization, and display of the text and images gathered.
• Mac OS X operating system
• Transmit FTP
• Nikon Camera Control Pro
• Automator and various Automator scripts
• Remote Desktop
• WordPress and WordPress plug-ins
• Google Maps API
• Flickr API
• Customized PHP and Perl scripts