Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104

Nate Larson & Marni Shindelman


The Canadian theorist of technology Marshall McLuhan once provocatively declared that technology turns the human body inside out. For McLuhan, the age of electronic culture was one where the human nervous system is increasingly externalized -- exposed to the world in previously inconceivable ways, and subjected to external stimulus in the forms of radio frequencies, microwave radiation and broadcast media.

That was in 1967.

Today, the situation is much more extreme, and what McLuhan could never have predicted was how this new nervous system of ours has adapted to the environment. Not only are we surrounded by digital codes, we embrace them -- to the point where we set down electronic roots with every step we take. Ours is a culture of digital check-ins, tagged images and tweets and geolocation -- a culture where our electronic presence persists even after we have moved on. It's as if the electronic world turns us into ghosts of ourselves, traces left behind, planted in virtual space, lingering -- even haunting -- the electronic landscape.

This is the context for Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman's Geolocation project, which sets as its artistic task the revivification of these forgotten messages. Digital ghost hunters, Larson and Shindelman troll virtual space for tweets, check-ins and other markers of digital passage. When they find them, they commemorate the moment with a photograph of the place from where it was sent. The pairing -- the photograph and the original Twitter message -- becomes the work of art.

The words left behind by others are, in this way, reanimated by Larson and Shindelman, messages in digital bottles brought forth from the junkyard of electronic landscape. In a sense, it's a re-tweet, an analog re-broadcast that both liberates these lost voices from their virtual prisons and reminds us that our digital footprints linger. Long after we have checked-out, our check-ins remain -- markers of a lifestyle externalized and digitally archived.