The Interpretive Engine for Various Places on Earth

The Interpretive Engine for Various Places on Earth


Part of a series of site-specific projects organized by the Fresno Metropolitan Museum, this locative media work relies on WiFi and IP Address look up to tell a story specific to the user's location. Mapping, physical location and pre-constructed narrative elements combine with real time searches of Google, maritime, astronomical and other online databases and environmental data to create the larger story structure.

The Interpretive Engine is a location-aware narrative, which can be accessed on any laptop with WiFi. Storytelling merges with wireless communication. The early history of the telecommunications and transportation industries inspires this story, told by 6 characters. In the Industrial Era communications, navigation, and transportation systems existed side by side in an interdependent network. These technologies as well as the profound philosophical, theological, and social shifts that ushered them in figure prominently in this story. The characters are accessed through 1885 and 1950 maps of Fresno.

Unlike past locative media projects from the 34 North 118 West team, The Interpretive Engine does not use a specialized TabletPC and GPS combination for fine grained local resolution (16 feet) that must be handed out to each user. Rather, the Interpretive Engine allows the user/participant to bring their own laptop and experience the work. The user/participant's location is determined by reading the IP address of the WiFi access point the user has connected to.

Jeff Knowlton, Naomi Spellman