LOCATIVE | Wayfarer

Posted on 25/10/2009

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Wayfarer v 2 – Urban Agents, a locative social media event, will be kicking off online and in Melbourne at 12am on Tuesday 26 October. Developed by Kate Richards and Martyn Coutts, the project engages players and audiences in concepts of agency, physicality and ethics. This version of the project is comprised of 2 x 1 week-long events taking place on the streets of Melbourne in late 2009 and is open to anyone who registers to play. You can register as an ‘urban agent’, an ‘advocate’ or a ‘citizen’. The idea of this project is quite beautiful in that participants welcome the expectation that they engage ethically and positively with the city. And this makes me think that Wayfarer has an important role to play in coming to an understanding of what it means to be an engaged urban citizen. As the website states:

[Urban Agents] create interventions anyway and anywhere they want and upload video to our website. Actions might be large or small, planned or improvised including situationist; urbanist; improvised and invisible theatre; drifting and liminal explorations; parkour and skate; gifting, green living/carbon neutrality/light footprint, inspirational; flash mobs. For those of you willing to take up the challenge and be an agent, Wayfarer tempts you to reinvent Melbourne as a playground for locative social media – to make sense of your city, to question and to re-invigorate and re-interpret the urban spaces you call home.

I’ve just registered and intend to play as a citizen, which means that I will “chat, discuss and vote on our teams of urban agents and generate debate around social responsibility, social media and the city”. It’s a conversation I am looking forward to. Having heard Kate Richards speak about Wayfarer at the Social Butterflyto Urban Citizen Workshop earlier this year, I was keen to learn more about the project and the way interactive artworks can heighten awareness of our moral or ethical conduct. Choice, in this context, becomes a reflexive and deliberate activity, potentially attracting comment – censure, approval – from those in the network or in the know. I’m interested, as a remotely located citizen, to understand how my engagement with these urban interventions might evoke understanding, intimacy and experience of the city (Melbourne).

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