Border Bumping

While the lines drawn on maps, policed at crossings and customs posts, can apparently clearly delineate a border, other technologies that can also (be used to) place us, on one side of a border or another, may ebb and flow with atmospheric, material and technical differences. In particular, the relatively well known tendency for the cellular mobile phone system to record the location of a given device (via triangulation) as some distance from the actual physical location has been interrogated and played with by artists and activists alike.

One such meditation on the vagaries of the locational capabilities of the GSM system is the Border Bumping project. Julian Oliver has played around with how we traverse borders by examining how phones register with the network and redrawing a map of the borders accordingly. Oliver has created an app that lets owners of Android phones contribute to the project.

Here’s a nice video exploring ‘Border Bumping’:

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