Scott Hessels

Associate Professor
School Of Creative Media
CityU Hong Kong

Scott Hessels is a Hong Kong-based American filmmaker, sculptor, media artist and professor who explores new relationships between the moving image and the environment. His works have been presented in exhibitions around the world and included in several books and popular magazines on new media art.

Planted Movies: Site-Embedded Film Distribution

The 2016 cultural flash that was Pokemon Go has been considered as an advance in gaming, augmented reality, social media and even fitness. However, it also may foreshadow a revised model of media distribution. The ability to use mobile technology to embed content via GPS coordinates provides interesting possibilities for the dissemination of cinema. The presentation will propose new models of moving image distribution that merge locative technologies, social media, collective memory, and physical presence.
Site-embedded media content has been evolving in technological research and arts projects since the 1990’s. In 2006, the author developed a mobile application called GPSFilm, a location-based cinema distribution system that is now recognized as one of the first to ‘plant’ a film in a particular place. Concurrently, Singapore produced a city-wide feature film whose scenes could only be viewed at specific sites. This model of location-specific film distribution was patented in 2010.
The author will discuss the development of both the code and content for a system that radically redefines the cinema viewing experience by embedding film in site. He will present the Singapore experiment, discuss the patent, and reveal the successes and failures of realizing a new vision of non-theatrical distribution. He will also review several other artworks and experimental projects that have attempted location-specific media distribution including apps like Australia’s Digital Rangers and GoChat.
One of the lessons of the 20th century is that cinema’s evolving delivery systems—theatres, projectors, broadcast, cable, VHS, DVD, computer—have proven the flexibility of the film experience. We are again at a juncture where this may jump to entertainment environments. Locative technologies may use emerging technologies to bring story into real space; to use neighborhoods, architecture, and landscapes as part of the cinema experience.