Seeking Spaces in a Collaborative Map of Lisbon
GPS workshop, Lisbon, Portugal, 21-26/02/2011 by Jeremy Wood
[The Exhibition] [The Project] [2d Details with Aerial Overlays] [3d GPS Architecture]
Day by day the map of Lisbon was being shaped by trial and error. Some of the GPS receivers could not reliably attain signals amongst the built-up areas of the city and could only grasp intermittent recordings of tracks. All the GPS receivers were synchronised in time but none were calibrated in altitude. This formed an alto-relievo of uneven GPS tracks over the city as some of the altitude recordings were confused beautifully with exactitude.
Looking towards Lisbon LIS airport with GPS flight tracks coming from Rome Fiumicino FCO and to Milan Marlpasa MXP.
The EXPO-Park is on the left side behind the tall flight tracks and the Vasco de Gama Bridge. It's along the coast line that leads to the right towards the old city centre.
The Vasco de Gama Bridge is a marvel of engineering and it was a joy to be driven along its 17km span. As we began to mount the bridge we could not see its end for it disappeared in a distant haze. Even though the sun was bright above the city its shear length couldn’t be determined by eyesight. On the other side we drove for a while through a completely different landscape. Our modern road carved though old territory and when we eventually reached a roundabout, we made two circumnavigations and took the wrong exit. Just as we swerved off the driver joked about getting dizzy. The incident was a momentary lapse that became a particular detail of the master map.
Three students spent a day collaborating to cover the EXPO-Park by the coast at Parque das Nações. As they each had a receiver they negotiated to coordinate their routes around the complex to avoid repetition and gain efficiency. They used their enthusiasm to embellish the area with glorious movements that create a 1:1 scale reading of the available space. At one point two students were zigzagging on the ground and one was whizzing along overhead in a cable car.
The square of Praça do Comercio is a prominent feature on most maps of Lisbon. It was well polished before the Pope’s visit in May 2010 to celebrate the Fatima centenary. The space has a dazzling symmetry. During daylight there is a prominent grid that criss-crosses the ground in diagonal to the surrounding buildings, and at night the ground lights up to mark the coordinates of an implied grid that is neatly paralleled with the buildings. The square sits by the Tagus River and they meet at wide steps that disappear into the water towards two stone columns that emerge at a distance from the rippling surface. As the tide laps and slaps against the land the steps lead towards a portal of time and exploration.
One student chose to record her commute to and from the workshop HQ at Universidade Lusófona. She took a GPS receiver home and drew her ride across the river on the ferry boat four times, and on the other side she explored some details of her local area by car and drove to the very end of some dead end roads.
_Praça Marquês de Pombal
On the third day after meeting at the Universidade Lusófona we all made our way to Parque Eduardo VII. It forms part of a wide boulevard that is punctuated by the island of Praça Marquês de Pombal. The island in the middle of a roundabout infested with swirling traffic that makes it difficult to reach on foot.
The park is situated at the top of a long and wide avenue that leads down towards the geographic centre of the city. The first part of the decent is pedestrianised with decorative cobbles on either side of a channel of green grass and ordered hedges. We had in mind to attack the area with a methodical mind and set forth in all directions to do so. Some students meandered their way down the slope weaving themselves between the trees, some followed the brutal line of the hedges, and some chose to squiggle in the shape of a word of two. When one made mistake in their text they scrubbed it out by repeatedly walking back and forth to cross over the spot.
GPS trackes with Google Earth models
Overlooking the April 25th Bridge and the Cristo Rei monument and shrine towards the city of Lisbon with an airport in the distance
At the end of the fourth day a student returned from an excursion by car with a sense of achievement that was testified by his wet shoes. He visited the Belém Tower that built in the early 16th century for defence and as a gateway at the mouth of the Tagus River. Unlike most visitors to the site he walked around the base of the structure where it met the river. That’s the type of intrepid behaviour that helped make the map so rich with detailed experiences.
Drawing the world map on the floor below the Monument to the Age of Discoveries in Belém tested the limits of GPS pictorial presentation
[The Exhibition] [The Project] [2d Details with Aerial Overlays] [3d GPS Architecture] [ ^ ]