I was intrigued by a message on Twitter mentioning ‘Location based/locative storytelling via your GPS device’ – imagining some gizmo that would record and upload narrative about places from out in the field, a technoshaman’s dictaphone.
Looking at the StoryTraveller website, I discovered something slightly different: ‘Yes it is a GPS that shows you the way, but above that the StoryTraveller automatically tells you the stories about where you are, based on your position.’
So it tells you stories, not the other way round. Sounds intriguing, but whose stories? Mine? Some wild poet, undergoing location-based ‘derangement of the senses’ and setting it down in mad holy words? Unlikely, as
The StoryTraveller Solution allows Organizations to bring information (content and guidance) together with experience on places that would normally not be possible, or just too expensive or impossible to have that up-to-date information at the location.
Having said that, the example of ‘Walk’ applications is quite poetic:
Seeing the invisible. Look at the nightlife by day. Have a look in animal holes. Talk a walk with a satellite guided companion that happens to know all the stories of the surroundings, whether its nature, culture or history. From wild-west walking to city walk.
It will be interesting to see what kind of organizations use this, or similar products to create routes that can be accessed on portable devices, in which ‘User is immersed in a real story stimulating all senses and feelings’ and can ‘have an experience on a route based on GPS through audio and video fragments.’ (I could envisage using this at work, to devise an campus tour, revealing the invisible University any day of the year). I’m sure there could be some great applications, but I await the noncommercial Wiki version so that I can be my own ‘Story Traveller’.
Thinking about this stuff, the way copies of the real world like Google Earth are steadily silted up with accretions of images and words, reminded me somehow of a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, ‘God’s Grandeur’:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
We’re the ones who tread and tread and tread; do our words just add to the smearing and blearing as we try to ‘explain the world to ourselves and give value to the things we love’?