Urban dérive on the (urban) information superhighways

This video of two Japanese guys using Google Streetview to visit the USA from their living room is quite fascinating.

It's not necessarily the numbers that caught my attention (90 hours, 104,619 clicks, lots of energy drinks). Of course, they're quite extreme but what's curious here is the practice itself. Unlike some commenters who fund it useless and pathetic, I find it rather curious and intriguing as a human practice.

This made me think about a recent project by French writer François Bon called "Une traversée de Buffalo" in which he gives an account of how he lost himself in this area of North America using Google Earth (via).

On the same topic, it's clear that the recent release of Liberty City Streetview map by GTA4net is also relevant (via). It basically allows you to "plunge into the boroughs of Liberty City from the safety of your own chair". But again, this is only a partial view. The point is not just use this as a complement of the game... exploring this Street View map is a game in itself (a playful activity let's say).

Why do I blog this? This kind of (extreme) practice can be considered as an intriguing signal for narratives or services that would tell stories in new ways. A sort of dérive is happening here.