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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Re-moving Flat Ontologies: Mobile Locative Tagging and Ars Combinatoria in the Hollins Community Project


This paper reconsiders the relationship between historical time, embodied time, and locative media. The example for this paper is the second phase of The Hollins Community Project , a locative new media installation that takes place on a trail used by former slaves of Hollins University, Virginia (USA) during the nineteenth century. The project mixes historical material with in situ virtual narratives and embodied interactions within the space to experiment with the affective and distributed aspects of narrative. An earlier phase of this project imagined the exchanges between the physical and virtual interface as a version of a memory theatre. A tagging function has since been included in the interface to explore further the temporal intensities that form up around affect and incipient narrative. Ars combinatoria , an early modern model of “tagging” (parataxic assemblage, process, and affective presence) offers a productive comparison with contemporary spatial ontologies of tagging. The paper argues for a broadened discussion of the significance of temporal affect in locative media. This work also addresses the potential in mixing historical and contemporary approaches to locative new media.

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