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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Construction of Locative Situations: Locative Media and the Situationist International, Recuperation or Redux?


This paper will address the trend within locative media art of invoking the practices of the Situationist International (SI) as an art historical and theoretical background to contemporary practices. It is claimed that locative media seeks to re-enchant urban space though the application of locative technologies to develop novel and experimental methods for navigating, exploring and experiencing the city. To this end SI concepts such as psychogeography and the techniques of detournement and the dérive (drift) have exerted considerable influence on locative media practices but questions arise as to whether this constitutes a valid contemporary appropriation or a recuperative co-option, serving to neutralize their inherent oppositional qualities.

The paper will argue that there is an identifiable strand of locative art works which through their contingent re appropriation of Situationist techniques can be thought of as being involved in the 'construction of locative situations' and that these (re)applications of the SI practices point to future directions for locative media's artistic engagement with the accelerating ubiquity of locative technologies.

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