Pre/amble (Western Front, Vancouver, Canada, November 1-2, 2003)
24/7: Wilno - Nueva York (CAC, Vilnius, Lithuania, September 12 - November 2, 2003)
Psy Geo Conflux (Glowlab, New York, NY, May 8-11, 2003)


New York Times
Year Zero One

Kate Armstrong:


P I N G (2003)
Kate Armstrong

PING uses a telephone menu system to distribute active commands to participants who call in using cellular telephones. The choices made by the caller when navigating the telephone system produce directions for physical movement through the city.

PING is inspired by the internet protocol of the same name, which sends a signal across network lines in order to check the presence of a machine on the network. One machine 'pings' another: If the second machine returns the signal, it is communicating that it exists and that it is ready to receive further information. I have interpreted this protocol in an existential way that uses language and a telephone menu system to test the presence or absence of beings (and the mood they are in) on the PING network.

The telephone system is set up with a series of if/then commands such as "if you are near a deep pit, press one. Press two if you have just experienced a noticeable shift between two ambient zones. Press three if the zone in which you are moving is either sad or pleasant." that spur communication between the system and the user, and between the user and the urban environment in which the user exists.

The user navigates through multiple menu levels where s/he must make choices: the choices affect which direction in physical space the person is encouraged to go. PING can be viewed as a tool to remix desire and urban experience so that the user connecting to the PING network is inspired to move through the city in a new way, leading to new and overlapping experiences and perspectives.

PING comes out of psychogeographical inquiry, which focuses on the study of the effects of the environment on the perception, behaviour and mood of individuals. PING is intended to explore the interface between disparate fields such as situationist thought that focuses on subjective mood, generative psychogeography which introduces algorithms as a way to inspire movement through urban space, existentialism, and the interpolation of digital metaphors onto physical, analog space.

Voice by Jennifer Silverman