Artist Pulls a Red Wagon With 99 Smartphones Around Berlin to Create a Virtual Traffic Jam on Google Maps

Artist Simon Weckert, whose work is “related to code and electronics under the reflection on current social aspects”, created a virtual traffic jam on Google Maps with 99 smartphones piled in a red wagon that he pulled through the streets of Berlin. This fascinating hack experiment turned these streets from green (no traffic) to red (significant delays).

99 smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jams in Google Maps. Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact on the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic.

While Weckert performed this hack to see if he could change traffic patterns, he stated that this experiment is part of a much larger issue.

With its Geo Tools, Google has created a platform that allows users and businesses to interact with maps in a novel way. This means that questions relating to power in the discourse of cartography have to be reformulated. But 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?

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.