The abstract machine

The abstract machine

James Bridle has made a book — 202 maps based on his movements over the past year. Importantly, it is “based on” his movements because:

[T]he data was not recorded by me, but by my phone. In April, researchers Alasdair Allen and Pete Warden revealed that the iPhone was storing location data without the users’ knowledge.

Regarding this data:

This digital memory is better than mine — it frequently recalls things and places I have no personal, onboard memory of, and over time I come to rely on it over my own memories, just as I recall my sister’s birth not through my own vision, but in the form of a photograph of the event. I appear, physically and impossibly, in my own mental image.

Of the idea of place:

We share the city, and increasingly the world, with another nature, invoked by us but long since split at the root, which looks at the same world with other eyes. The other city is the abstract machine: the digital networks, access points, substations and relay points, datacenters and fiber rings; its inhabitants are sensors and screens. Seeing through the machines’ eyes is a kind of breach: accessing a grosstoplogy of the network. (Timo Arnall breaches, oh so elegantly, here and here.)

Head over to pick up Where the F**k Was I?