Herrema, R and Curtis, L (2015) Trespass.

Item Type: Artefact
Creators: Herrema, R and Curtis, L
Corporate Creators: StoreyG2
Official URL:
Date: 24 June 2015
Funders: StoreyG2

Trespass (2015) is an iPhone app/artwork created by the researcher in collaboration with artist Layla Curtis. Curtis was commissioned by John Angus of StoreyG2 gallery in Lancaster to create an artwork based on issues of land ownership with respect to Freeman’s Wood, a post-industrial green space used by locals for decades until 2012, when its owners fenced it off and posted No Trespassing signs. The research focused on how a location-based app could function as a community-building tool within the context of the controversy. The app presents Curtis’ custom drawn map along with 13 audio tracks that present excerpts of interviews conducted with locals while walking across and around Freeman’s Wood. The 10 tracks that were recorded inside the fence require the user to trespass in order to hear the tracks, as geolocation is used to fence out the listening. The app thereby encourages continued public use of, and awareness of, the land.

Angus notes that ‘this scrubby patch of land has direct links to global economic, political and social networks’. It is owned by a company based in Hong Kong but registered in Bermuda. In addition, Apple initially attempted to block the release of the app, claiming that it ‘encourages criminal activity’. Researcher Michael Marcinkowski wrote in his blog, Global Connections, Common Cultures, that ’At its root, Trespass encourages a reflection on the various (and sometimes contradictory) networks of rights and claims that come to entangle a piece of land, with that land coming to hold different meanings depending on the context of your perspective.’ Apple eventually relented when presented with the fact that members of the community had officially applied to have several of Freeman’s Wood’s well trodden footpaths as public rights of way. An article in The Guardian (‘What the battle for Freeman's Wood says about the future of our common land’) noted that several of the No Trespassing signs had been ‘subversively mutilated. For instance, “WARNING: Keep Out – Private Property – No Trespassing” became “NARNIA: Kop Out – Prat Proper – Try pissing.”’

Keywords: app art, geolocation, commons, land use
Divisions: Bath School of Design
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2017 16:05
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 20:13
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