Nathan Martin, Greg Baltus, Jeff Maki, Carl DiSalvo (exhibiting as Carbon Defense League).


MapMover was an interactive system that allowed participants to produce a kinetic and audio expression of the city by collecting and playing field recordings which were visualized on a large-scale physical map using a mechatronic device and LED cursor. MapMover was commissioned as part of the international exhibition “Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy” at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2005 (Curated by Bruna Latour, Peter Weibel, and Steve Dietz).

MapMover had three components: a call-in system, a database to store audio recordings, and physical display to dynamically represent data from that database. By calling a local phone number, participants made field recordings at locations around Pittsburgh using their mobile phones. These field recordings took many forms: documenting the various sounds of the city, short audio art pieces, or simply commenting on places or events.

Participants input the location of the field recording by street address or intersection. The field recording was then uploaded to the database and tagged with the given geographic location.

The MapMover physical display played back these sounds and highlighted their location on a 4’ x 6’ wall mounted map of Pittsburgh. The system continuously queried the database to retrieve the next sound in the queue. Using two computer controlled servo motors, the display moved an LED mounted on a puck and suspended by two wires behind the translucent wall mounted map to the location of the next sound and then played that sound. Throughout the exhibition sounds were contributed to the database and the system cycled through the sounds chronologically.