iForm is a performative sculpture that produces stereo-lithographic sculptures from GPS data generated by the movement of iPhone participants through the landscape. The forms produced operate as sculptural portraits of the cities relational life, addressing the anomalies of representation that are inherent in both concrete and time-based media to conceive of a relational modality for spatial forms.

 The project uses the iPhone app Comob that was developed as part of a joint research project between Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, and University of Lancaster. Comob.net allows a group of people to see each other’s geographical locations in ‘real-time’. Accessing the GPS data stored on the Comob server, iForm constructs a 3D form for the relative positions of participants. When processed this digital form is given material manifestation as a stereo-lithographic print.

Each GPS participant generates a point in space based not on their longitudinal and latitudinal position but their proximity to other participants.

Point A:       x axis  = distance between participant A and next closest participant

                      Y axis  = distance between participant A and second closest participant

                      Z axis = distance between participant A and third closest participant

This function, run for each participant every 500ms, constructs a rich spatial visualisation of relative proximity.

The resulting form serves as a representation of spatial events or, rather, the representation of space between events. That is, the space between the events of each individual over time, and the events between individuals at a point in time.  The work turns relation itself into subject by removing the source of the relation (people) and any external referent (GPS location).

Through a process of transcoding, iForm explores the construction and perception of time-based events as a means of examining the ability of static objects to encapsulate temporal spatial information. iForm aims to question our relationship with physical objects by proposing a modality for representation in which the linear codec of time-based perception is challenged.

How do we as viewers relate to this form?  Do we attempt to read it as time-base media and play / rewind its composition or do we extend its empirical logic – supplanting its existence as subject with the relational subject formed between object and audience.

In this manner the work, both in its performative generative state and exhibited perceived state, engages with a relational practice in regard to the fixed object.  It proposes a modality for enga

gement with 3D form in which the investigative perceptual exchange between the audience and art work (and thus by implication the participants and the artist) is cited as the focus of the work.



We thank the Comob research team for the development of Comob and the access provided to server data and source files. http://comob.org.uk/.


Chris Lowry, Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art

Dr. William Mackaness, Geosciences, University of Edinburgh

Jen Southern, Independent Artist, University of Lancaster

Dr. Chris Speed, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art

Dr. Mark Wright, Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Jochen Ehnes, Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Henrik Ekeus, Research Assistant, Edinburgh College of Art.