Mobile Landscape

What a jump from landscape painting of the early 19th century (think John Constable) to the newly developed electronic mobile landscape.

Not the paint brush but the handheld electronic device does the job. MIT’s SENSEable City project, currently displayed in Graz, Austria, ( is a dramatic new way to view the urban landscape "in real time." This development is largely made possible through wireless technology.

The SENSEable City project seems to give new meaning to the conclusion that Jean Baudrillard drew in his 1979 book "America": that ours is a cinematic and kinetic society, seen as such through the automobile windshield, in the movie theater and on the living room TV. Now add to these the laptop computer and cell phone.

The vibrancy of the city, heretofore best seized in music (think George Gershwin’s "American in Paris" and Duke Ellington’s "Take the A-Train"), will now be screened as well.

Is there a social downside to this mobile landscape, perhaps an upgrade of the instruments of social control available to Big Brother?