Whether it’s Google Maps or Apple Maps, there are times all of us have a big drive coming up, we check the route on the app, see there’s all of the traffic in the world and either pack it in altogether, or choose an entirely different route.
When I drive to see my lady – I’ve been seeing her for seven months and I still don’t know the way – there’s one road that’s literally three cars-long, so whenever I get to that, there’s always a red line on it because, due to the coding on the app, it assumes there’s gridlock traffic.
Three cars and there’s “major traffic”.
With that in mind, one man in Berlin decided to see what he could do to the streets of the city, by carrying around 99 phones and walking up and down certain roads.
Simon Weckert was the man in question, who rented 99 phones and 99 sims to go with them, before opening Google Maps on each of them and sticking them in a little cart.
Speaking to VICE, he said:
“By transporting the smartphones in the street I’m able to generate virtual traffic which will navigate cars on another route.
“Ironically that can generate a real traffic jam somewhere else in the city.”
Simon’s an artist who endeavours to make people think differently about the data that’s presented to them.
“The hack shows us what is possible with this technology and who we rely on.
“Data is always translated to what they might be presented. The images, lists, graphs, and maps that represent those data are all interpretations, and there is no such thing as neutral data. Data is always collected for a specific purpose, by a combination of people, technology, money, commerce, and government.
“Maps have the potential as an instrument of power. They substitute political and military power in a way that represents the state borders between territories and they can repeat, legitimate, and construct the differences of classes and social self-understandings.”
Still very annoying if he’s making people late for things that they’re in a rush for. They see there’s traffic on their route and take a longer one to avoid it.
Simon went on…
“In this process it is pointing out the fact that we are highly focused on the data and tent to see them as objective, unambiguous, and interpretation free.
“In doing so, a blindness arises against the processes that data generates and the assumption that numbers speak for themselves. Not only the collection of data provides an interpretative scope, but also computing processes allows further interpretations.
“Thus data are viewed as the world itself, forgetting that the numbers are only representing a model of the world.”
Far be it from me to sound like a philistine, but this isn’t art, is it?
Weckert says he’s an artist and that this is art, but at best it’s a YouTube prank with some pseudo message about not trusting your phone.
Images via YouTube
Alfie Powell joined as an apprentice and was probably hired because he was likely the only person who applied. He's been blagging his way through writing articles for four years now and he's definitely showing signs of slowing down. When not writing for The Hook, Alfie finds time to indulge in his favourite hobbies, such as drinking and sitting down. You can contact Alfie at [email protected]Follow