'Chris Speed (Edinburgh College of Art) Walking Through Time: Exploring history through locative media

Chris discussed two projects:

The first was an EPSRC-funded project called Totem that deals with “things”. Chris discussed how currently, barcodes are used to identify a product range but not an individual product, and that Walmart are establishing an “Internet of Things” to enable them to identify specific individual products. Many future products will be tagged so that objects can be tracked globally.

The Totem project is a three year programme, interested in the idea of attaching digital memories to objects and how this changes our experience. The website involves videos of people telling stories about a certain object. A database is being created ( - tagging generates a unique QR tag, creating a social database that records and archives memory.

Chris also discussed a project with Oxfam on Oxford Road in Manchester – people recording their stories about the objects that they are delivering to the charity shop.

Walking through time: Chris described how this second project deals with GPS and memory. Chris and his team pitched an idea that Satnav is obsessed with the present, wanting to know the “now” in mapping. His team wanted to build an application that would enable people to look at the past in relation to the landscape and spaces – like a Satnav of the past rather than the present. After successful trials as a web app for the city of Edinburgh, Chris is now hoping to create it as an iPhone application. Demonstrated how the web app works.