Waze, Car2Go, Uber, ViaVan, Here and Google Maps are amongst some of the most popular mapping technologies that support Amsterdam city life. They allow people to move efficiently around a city; they dynamically regulate the city’s chaos with a tap of a smartphone. In this edition of Platform Imaginaries we reflect on the way platforms are changing mobility in and around the urban environment with presentations from UvA lecturer and researcher Alex Gekker, Gerrit Rietveld Academie’s artistic researchers Esther Polak and Ivar Van Bekkum, and as moderator author of ‘The Platform Society. Public values in a Connective World’ Martijn de Waal.
Feet firmly concreted in geography and time, eyes fixated on the shining screen, maps in the palm of our hands, and GPS technologies tracking our every movement. It is impossible to be lost on this earth. Going on an adventure has never been harder in a world that has been mapped, mapped and mapped again; no stone unturned, no land undiscovered. The mapped world has helped us to navigate through the small roads, large oceans, and rocky terrains of the globe, and is arguably one of people’s greatest achievements. As the digital era flourishes, however, co-dependence on mapping technologies has risen. People are navigating, moving and acting according to digital platforms.
Platform Imaginaries is a series of arts and digital cultures happenings initiated by ARIAS and hosted by SPUI25 that aims to empower artists, researchers and designers to formulate new platform imaginaries for and within the city.
Alex Gekker is a Lecturer in the departments of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, working on the relations between mapping, digital interfaces and power. He is interested in ways socio-technical systems are designed to influence users, and his research touches upon quantification and datafication of society, the experience economy and interface critique.
Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum work together under the name PolakVanBekkum. They collaborate as an artist duo since 2010, their collaboration goes back as far as almost 25 years. Esther Polak is educated in fine arts and painting at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam. Ivar van Bekkum is educated as journalist. Since 2002 their work focusses on landscape and mobility.
Martijn de Waal is a writer and researcher, working as a professor at the Lectorate of Play and Civic Media at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. His focus is on the relation between digital media and urban culture, with a specific interest in public space.
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