Geocaching Paradise

Hey everyone, so I’ve been thinking a lot about various ways of intervening with the Cootes landscape, as I’m sure many of you have, and I had an idea about something I discovered years ago…

Back in high school I had a buddy who got himself a GPS, and soon after we discovered a recreational activity known as “Geocaching”. Geocaching, for those who don’t know, is an outdoor, global treasure hunt. You type in your postal code or area online and then you are given GPS directions that will navigate you to various treasures or “caches”. When my friends and I gave it a try, the first one we found was in Victoria Park (the park near Curry’s art store). The cache was a small container with a log (we signed our names!) and a bunch of small toys and random objects inside. I took out a bubble-blowing necklace and in exchange, left an object I had on me for future Geocachers before returning the container to its hiding spot. We looked for a few more around the city, some were harder to find than others, and some we didn’t find at all.

When thinking back on this experience, which for me was a fleeting interest that entertained me for a day, I realized that it really got my friends and I exploring parts of the city we hadn’t really noticed before. I think that aspect, along with ideas of mapping and community involvement in Geocaching, connect with and could potentially be useful in our Mapping Paradise project. This could happen in a variety of ways, and might attract people to our potential interventions in nature / land art / whatever Mapping Paradise ends up being for us. For instance, if we had several pieces of art/installation integrated into the Cootes area, we might be able to either integrate the concept of Geocaching to lead people to specific spots, and perhaps our “caches” could contain information about the project/the artists/environmental issues.
Image I will probably try to integrate this idea with my proposal, but I want to throw it out there for consumption, so if anyone else wants to think about this and perhaps put it into action, go for it! For more information on Geocaching visit: http://www.geocaching.com/

-Heather

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5 Responses to Geocaching Paradise

  1. schlangerg says:

    I like the idea of Geocaching… how can you incorporate that into your art project? I wonder what kinds of little art objects you could make fast and lots of them. They would need to be biodegradable (I think). Maybe placed in locations to get people to walk through and make new discoveries. Years ago I organized a parade down the Holston River. I invited people to contribute floats. They had to be less than 12 inches and biodegradable. We launched the parade in Virginia and hope that the floats made it down to Tennessee. I can send or post pictures of the floats if you are interested in seeing them.

  2. kiarajasmine says:

    This sounds like a really cool idea!

  3. wetlandsmarsh says:

    Love the idea of navigating through the area with this technology but we cannot do any interventions in Cootes without permission from the Royal Botanical Gardens. Only photography, hiking, sketching are possible in this area without permission but I wonder if this might be used in conjunction with Joanna’s idea of having an open call for images of Cootes? Could we direct people to specific areas to photograph using cell phone cameras and have the public submit for potential inclusion in our exhibition?
    Anyone wishing to do any on-site outdoor work needs to talk with me.
    Judy

    • vidamoh says:

      I think you’ve just inspired me to think of a design for a Smartphone application specifically to navigate and document the natural areas of Hamilton. Would this be suitable as a proposal, as its not necessarily “art” on its own, although it could potentially become a community art project? I’m just really interested in the GPS idea, we could have environmental information and images encoded digitally all throughout the city.

  4. vidamoh says:

    well, whether it physically happens or not, it could still be integrated conceptually in proposal form, could it not? We are *imagining* potential physical interventions at Cootes, or at least that’s how it seems to me? The image idea is cool with cell phone cameras, I wonder if there is a way to make a metaphysical map with images based on the location they were taken (this would be neat if GPS location could be pinpointed automatically with the phone…I’ll see if I can figure out how possible that is). & Yeah whether or not the interventions actually happen [with the necessary granted permission] it makes sense to plan it to be biodegradable, etc. but I was also thinking of perhaps permanent animal feeders/structures that would be linked to GPS through the geocache. Anyway, just an idea!

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