Hello Webby people!

Britglyph - A collaborative UK wide public art project

Put simply, Britglyph is a networked artwork, created across all of Great Britain. There are 61 points across the country to which people travel with a rock. Once there, they take a photograph of themselves and their rock and then send it in to the site with the GPS location of that site. The main site is a map which dynamically updates with these images as they are posted. As images are posted, an image of a timepiece becomes clear, drawn across the map connect-the-dots style.

Why a rock? Well, one of the oldest forms of art is that of Geoglyphs. The Britglyph project represents one of the newest forms of art: locative art. As well as this homage to our ancestors attempts at leaving a lasting record of their existence, there is another more practical reason for using rocks as part of the work: by taking rocks to these locations and leaving them there not only does the artwork exist online, but it is made a physical reality.

Before we set out on this, we needed expert guidance on whether what we were attempting would actually be considered a Geoglyph, so we needed to get some academic thinking. We spoke with Dr Joshua Pollard, Dept. of Archeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol who said:

“Historically, Geoglyphs have physical faces and their size is restricted. The Britglyph project is a true innovation, bringing Geoglyphs to life using modern technology on a grand scale.”

Why a pocket watch?

We thought for a long time about what the ideal image would be to draw. We wanted something which would represent modernity, something which would truly capture the spirit of the modern age.

We decided on creating a symbolic representation of John Harrison's Marine Chronometer H5, the tool which effectively solved the Longitudinal problem (no wikipedia entry!?) and ushered in the age of empires.

Why create Britglyph in the first place?

We think that a new era of play between location, media, hyperlocal information and Real Life has arrived. We wanted to create a project that demonstrated how we can all come together to achieve something monumental, using technologies that are now firmly in the consumer realm, to turn engagement into action.

Sample Press:

BBC Technology "A fascinating example of what is possible when you work with the grain of the internet, building something around the things the network makes possible instead of coming up with an idea and then trying to make it work online.

Bruce Sterling for Wired: "One has to wonder if the petroglyphs of our remote ancestors were also this geeky and whimsical."

Thank you for considering the Britglyph project for the Webbys!

Music under CC No Derivs. License: Exponential Tears: Mindthings