Art work displayed on an iPhone

“To orientate is to hop back and forth between landscape and time, geography and emotion, knowledge and behavior”.
- Katherine Harmon, You are here: Personal Geographies and other maps of the imagination.

Digital Learning at Tate refers to the learning processes and practices that are enabled through digital technology. Digital Learning focuses on the affordances of technology exploring what they offer, particularly in relation to learning with art and artists, which other media, spaces or practices don’t do or do less well.

Art Maps is about relating art and place. Because certain applications of the technology already exist, the features we feel confident the Art Maps app will be able to offer are:

  • Map artworks (using GPS) by pinpointing waypoints or co-ordinates
  • Locate in text terms – identifying place names and landscape descriptions
  • Track routes, journeys and tours
  • Search for place names, artworks, key features
  • Link to other related sites or resources

These are the factual and systematic data-capture, tracking and searching elements of relating art to place. With these features users can locate and view Tate collection works in the actual place that they depict or represent and also add to our collective knowledge of the work with precise geographical information and photographic data. Understanding the motivation for, and experience of, these interactions is of great interest. But there is another process of orientation that we understand less in this context. This draws on the more emotional and contested responses that might be triggered by being in the actual location or in response to the artwork, or both. For instance, a particular place might provoke a feeling of belonging or a sense of displacement in different users, just as an artwork might trigger recognition, recollection or disbelief, provoking an urge to respond in some form. Therefore, the other things we’d like the app to capture in relation art and place, using photography, audio, text and possibly sketching are:

  • The feelings or thoughts evoked
  • The associations suggested
  • The memories triggered
  • The questions raised

We want to know if people want to interact with their mobiles in this way and to what extent they wish to share this experience with each other. We want to explore the value of this knowledge, to the institution and to our audiences. We’re interested to examine both how users and the technology might deal with these more subjective and ambiguous interactions and responses, including the social aspects of this, and to what extent they may offer a deeper learning experience.