Made On Earth — Network Tormentations

Craft & Design
Made On Earth — Network Tormentations


Austrian-born artist Gordan Savicic subjects himself to some tight restrictions for the sake of discovery. The Netherlands resident is creator of Constraint City, a fetish-inspired piece that explores the realm between public and private space.

Savicic, 29, began crafting tactile objects and media installations while studying digital art at Vienna’s University of Applied Arts in the early 2000s. Still, he says, he’s far from a traditional designer. “Most of my works require a spatial experience, where various concepts of interactivity are questioned and reflected,” he explains.

That’s the case with Constraint City: The Pain of Everyday Life, a corset-like piece designed for wear while walking in heavily wi-fied areas. Its straps are made from recycled seatbelts and controlled by three high-tech servomotors, a Nintendo DS Lite with interface cartridge, and custom-written software that constantly scans for encrypted wireless networks.

Real-time data operates the motors, which tighten the straps up to 9cm, depending on an encountered network’s signal strength. A GPS receiver records each network onto a memory card, resulting in a map of wi-fi “torture” zones.

The idea for Constraint City stemmed from necessity. “In 2006 I didn’t have a stable internet connection,” says Savicic, “so I was riding my bike with a laptop in my arms [trying] to find an unencrypted network to send emails.”

He’d also been reading Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life, which sparked an interest in comparing basic city structures with a CPU circuit. “My aim was to literally experience the urge for connectivity within an altered city exploration.”

Savicic’s initial Constraint City cartographic performance took place in Vienna in 2007, lasting two hours and resulting in ample bruising. It was also on display at ISEA2009 in Dublin.

“I have no tendencies toward masochism,” he says, “[so] it turns into a kind of ‘real game’ where you have to elude popular wi-fi areas.” Constraint City Pictures and Video:

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