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Artist loads 99 phones in a cart, drags it across streets to create fake traffic jam on Google Maps [Video]


Google Maps traffic

An artist in Berlin, Germany tricked Google into sending traffic jam alerts on its Maps after loading a handcart with 99 phones and dragging it through some streets across the city.

A video showing Simon Weckert walking on some streets in the city has gone viral on social media.

In the viral footage, there was no gridlock on the streets at the time the artist was walking around with his cartload of phones but on Google Maps, the red sign indicating traffic jam was showing across the streets he passed through.

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According to the Guardian UK, Weckert’s artwork Google Maps Hacks involved the artist pulling a small red cart at walking pace down some of the main thoroughfares of Berlin.

The 99 phones in the cart, all reporting their locations and movement back to Google’s servers, gave the search company the impression of a huge cluster of slow-moving traffic, which was duly reported on the company’s maps.

Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red, which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic,” Weckert wrote.

In his statement, Weckert cited a journal article by the German anthropologist Moritz Ahlert:

“Google’s map service has fundamentally changed our understanding of what a map is, how we interact with maps, their technological limitations, and how they look aesthetically.

“What is the relationship between the art of enabling and techniques of supervision, control and regulation in Google’s maps? Do these maps function as dispositive nets that determine the behaviour, opinions and images of living beings, exercising power and controlling knowledge? Maps, which themselves are the product of a combination of states of knowledge and states of power, have an inscribed power dispositive.”



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