Constraint City, body as a living map

Gordan Savicic

Gordan Savicic’s project Costraint City – The Pain of Everyday life, exploits in a brilliant way the electromagnetic waves generated by the wireless networks spread all over the urban territory, mapping them out on his own body thanks to a jacket equipped with servo motors. A work that embodies torture and a playful game of pain, where the digital signals reveal their strenght by proportionally tightening in the chest of the jacket wearer. The access points are detected by a wi-fi enabled Nintendo DS Lite console, booted with a Gentoo Linux release, kinetically translating the radio waves. The interaction pushes the urban networks intangible reality to the individual’s body, letting it physically experiencing the codes of the new digital architectures. The maps detected by the system are acquired also by a GIS (Geographic Information System), which keeps tracks of the former routes, and assigns values to the different signal strenghts and so to the intensity of the consequent bondage. This is certainly a new way of experiencing the city in its most invisible manifestations, following the playful movement of a libertine psycogeographic derive. The conceptual load here implies alternative interpretations, such as cyber Christological visions, viae crucis made by wireless checkpoints which inflict ‘media-eval’ tortures along the way to our daily Golghota. Actually Constraint City seems to show us how city life is like cattles’ lives, where we get branded according to the place we are passing by. A life actually made out of surveillance, where the panopticon has become a wearable device and at the same time a map of the territory carved and bordered onto our bodies.

Tony Canonico