Winter 2021 Update: Jill Didur presented an artist’s talk on her locative media application, Global Urban Wilds, at the ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Art): Why Sentience? conference, October 13 – 18, 2020.

Global Urban Wilds is a work in progress supported by the SSHRC Insight Grant: Greening Narrative: Locative Media in Global Environments (Jill Didur PI). A collaborative project that includes contributions from Tony Higuchi (app development), LaiTze Fan (research and concept development), Eric Powell (sound recording), and Bev Didur, Rebecca Goodine, and Andrea Williamson, (artwork), Jill Didur has assembled found sounds and interview material from community stakeholders related to the history and uses of the land/urban wild currently know as the Champ des Possibles. The project was recently selected for inclusion as part of the juried event, Composite #25 on Oct 15, 2020, presented by Printemps numérique and CRÉO, as part of ISEA2020.

How can urban communities explore approaches to sustainability and biodiversity in city spaces that are otherwise considered ‘wastescapes,’ fragmented, industrial, and toxic? The site-specific, GPS-enabled locative app, Global Urban Wilds, affords users experiences of “embodied knowing” – learning through encounter, awareness, physicality – in urban wilds that represent informal brown/green spaces on the edges of urban development. The locative platform curates ruderal landscapes that survive in city spaces and invites the user to explore the entanglement of urban biodiversity, site remediation, and settler culture in contexts such as Mile End’s Champ des Possibles. Global Urban Wilds mediates users’ experience of the Champ as a heterotopia—a place with more layers of meaning and relationships to other places than immediately meets the eye–and promotes a critical negotiation and awareness of urban ecosystems in relation to today’s “smart” city.

Didur and Fan have co-authored an article “Between Landscape and the Screen: Locative Media, Transitive Reading, and Environmental Storytelling” that reflects on the Global Urban Wilds project in a special issue of the journal Media Theory: Geospacial Memory (2.1)

Photos of the Champ des Possibles and the developing stages of the project: