Geolocation: DUMBO

Created by: Nate Larson & Marni Shindelman
Commissioned by: DUMBO Improvement District and United Photo Industries
Presented by: DUMBO Improvement District, NYC Parks Department, and United Photo Industries

Unveiling: September 18, 2013
Location: Corner of Prospect Street & Washington Street, DUMBO

Geolocation: DUMBO is a new public art commission by photographers Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, produced through the continued creative collaboration of United Photo Industries and the DUMBO Improvement District.

Fusing art and technology, Geolocation: A Tribute to the Data Stream is a truly fitting hotographic project for DUMBO, a neighborhood that encapsulates the seamless integration of the creative arts and new technology communities.

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We use publicly available embedded GPS information in Twitter updates to track the locations of user posts and make photographs to mark the location in the real world. Each of these photographs is taken on the site of the update and paired with the originating text. Our act of making a photograph anchors and memorializes the ephemeral online data in the real world and also probes the expectations of privacy surrounding social networks. We select texts that reveal something about the personal nature of the users’ lives or the national climate, while also examining the relationship to physical space and the ways in which it influences online presence.

Twitter estimates there are over 350 million tweets daily, creating a new level of digital noise. Clive Thompson uses the term ambient awareness to describe this incessant online contact in his New York Times article, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy.” According to Thompson, “It is. . . very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of
the corner of your eye.” Our collaborative work is a means for situating this virtual communication in the physical realm. We imagine ourselves as virtual flâneurs, ethnographers of the Internet, exploring cities 140 characters at a time through the lives of others.


Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman’s collaborative work focuses on the cultural understanding of distance as perceived in modern life and network culture. Their projects have recently been featured in Wired Magazine, The Picture Show from NPR, The Dish, PetaPixel, Fast Company, Gizmodo, Hyperallergic, the New York Times, Hostshoe Magazine, the Washington Post, Utne Reader, Flavorwire, Frieze Magazine, the British Journal of Photography, the BBC News Viewfinder, and on the radio program Marketplace Tech Report.

Their solo exhibitions include Light House in Wolverhampton, Blue Sky in Portland, United Photo Industries in Brooklyn, and the Contemporary Arts Center Las Vegas. Selections have been shown at the Light Factory in Charlotte, the FotoFestiwal in Poland, the Athens Photo Festival in Greece, the Houston Center for Photography, Baltimore Museum of Art, the Moscow International Biennale in Russia, RAIQ in Montréal, Peloton in Australia, and Conflux Festival in NYC. Their work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Portland Art Museum Larson & Shindelman’s recent project Geolocation tracks GPS coordinates associated with Twitter tweets and pairs the text with a photograph of the originating site to mark the virtual information in the real world. New sitespecific work from the series was recently completed for Third Space Gallery in New Brunswick, the Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts in California, and the Format International Photography Festival in the UK. They created a site-specific series of digital billboards for the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Public Art Commission 2012, a time-lapse video for the final issue of Aspect: The Chronicle of New Media Art, and are currently completing a site-specific public artwork for the Indianapolis International Airport. They were awarded an artist residency at Light Work in 2012 and were selected as artists in residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2013. Nate Larson (b. 1978, West Lafayette, IN) is full-time faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He received his MFA from The Ohio State University in 2002. Marni Shindelman (b. 1977, Clearwater, FL) is Lecturer in Photography at the University of Georgia. She received her MFA from the University of Florida in 2002.