Mohn, Karl David
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This work examines the relationship between locative media and spatial poetics by mapping the poetry of Frank O’Hara onto a GPS-driven mobile application called Frank O’Hara’s New York. In so doing, the application provides a lens to explore the impact of locative media in the humanities through reprioritizing the embodied experience in poetics. Locative media technologies open up new possibilities for a proprioceptive reorganization of poetics by placing the reader’s body at the center and organizing the poetry spatially in relation to that embodied experience. In this way, texts are not limited to the linear structures of the codex but may instead be considered by proximity to the reader, or a poem might be “tagged” to a particular site based on its characteristics. The poetry becomes a part of the space as the reader experiences it, and so the act of reading is thus married to the act of moving through space. By using locative media as a way to connect poetry and space through the body, these technologies have the potential to redefine and reproduce spatial practices of the material world through the practices of virtual worlds; the perceptual realities of the virtual world within the locative media application bleed over and necessitate practices that affect the material world. Over time, these virtual practices come to “retune” or reshape our understanding of these spaces based on the new practices which occur within them. Finally, this project reimagines the intersection of poetry and locative media as a site of social change. By purposefully designing locative media applications with an eye towards social justice, creators — authors, developers, designers — may facilitate practices that attempt to re-envision and reshape spaces in resistance to hegemonic forces. By way of example, Frank O’Hara’s New York attempts to undo some of the erasure of queer spaces and practices throughout Manhattan during and immediately after Frank O’Hara’s time.