Many of you know about a collaborative project I worked on a few years back called PDPal. It’s had many iterations and several commissions and just sort of continues to continue, even to this day. Me and my collaborators â€” Scott Paterson and Marina Zurkow â€” were commissioned by Creative Time to produce an edition for Times Square, which included a commission to produce a project animation to be shown on the Panasonic Panovision gigantatron screen on the north end of the square, part of the 59th Minute series. Marina created this terribly witty and fun animation. Having it up there over Times Square was pretty fantastic and there are a bunch of pretty fun stories including phone calls in the middle of the night from friends, woozy with drink, calling to say, “heeey..i saaw your thing on the thing..that’s soooo coool.” Around that time I happened to work in Times Square, right there at 1515 Broadway, and seeing PDPal up there every so often always boosted my spirits.
PDPal was an experiment in translating urban mobility and movement into a basis for authoring one’s own story about how cities are experienced. It was a way of making the city resonant and newly interesting by looking at and experiencing it differently. Users were encouraged to document experiences and then “hot-sync” them, so that they would appear on a web-based map of Times Square.
Before Google Maps gave anyone a chance to experiment with what maps in the digital networked world could become, Google gave us the digital equivalent of Rand McNally, which is more than a bit unfortunate. I understand that “maps” are firmly encrusted in our brains as latitude/longitude coordinated instruments, and PDPal enforced this bias towards the literal. People generally had a tough time groking the PDPal Palm Pilot application as mechanism for authoring and situating personal experience. People with PDAs generally are fairly instrumental in their use of such things â€” calendar and address book, not whimsical art-technology provocations.
If you have a Palm OS PDA, you should be able to download an install any of the three PDPal editions. My favorite is the first one that started it all, commissioned by Eyebeam Atelier.
The Walker Art Center commissioned edition for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is not online, but if anyone wants the application file, just ping me.
Anyway, I said all that to say that Creative Time, one of the more successful and, you know..creative public arts non-profits, has come out with a book documenting the projects they’ve commissioned over the years. They’re having a book launch project at Printed Matter in Chelsea NYC on May 5 from 4-7p.