White Spots is a multimedia project by documentary filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak, visual artist Jacqueline Hassink and information designer Richard Vijgen. Stepping beyond the frontiers of the networked world, they explore unwired landscapes, communities and lifestyles, and question the need to be always “on”, plugged into a single, seamless, planetary techtopia.
Digital networks are forever expanding. Places without smart phone reception or a Wi-Fi connection are increasingly hard to find. If tech companies have their way, we will soon reach total connectivity and the remaining “White Spots” on the digital world map will disappear. But what is happening off the grid? While scarcely populated areas experience low connectivity for obvious economic reasons, the journey brings surprising stories of an often deliberate lack of connectivity, even inside the world's most intensely networked digital hubs.
Through documentary storytelling, photography and virtual reality experiences, White Spots engages the senses, enhances awareness of invisible networks, and tells personal stories from the unwired spaces on the planet. The project features 38 short video documentaries, a connectivity world map, a network scanner, a GPS-based route planner, and 5 virtual reality experiences. The scanner visualizes actual cell tower networks surrounding us at any given location in real time. The route planner guides users to the nearest White Spot to exit from the networked world. After returning to the connected world, users are asked to submit their offline experience to the app.
Richard Vijgen (1982) is a designer who’s Studio for Contemporary Information Culture investigates new strategies to find big stories in big data through research and design. Richard Vijgen makes interactive data visualisations and installations ranging from microscopic to architectural in scale. In addition, he writes about digital culture, and teaches at the Arnhem School of Art and Design. Vijgen's work has been recognised internationally by Ars Electronica, ZKM, Vitra Design Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Computer History Musem.
Bregtje van der Haak
Bregtje van der Haak is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. Since 1997, she has been directing international documentaries and transmedia projects on long term social change with a special focus on urbanization and technological culture. Her documentaries include Saudi Solutions, DNA Dreams and Lagos Wide. Van der Haak won the Media Woman of the Year award in 2006. She regularly directs episodes of the VPRO Backlight Series on Future Affairs. She has been a Visiting Professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong.
Jacqueline Hassink (1966) is a photographer and based in New York. She is best known for her global photo art projects that deal with the world of economic power. Her projects include Banks (1995–97), Car Girls (2002-08), Paris (2003–14) and View, Kyoto (2004–14). She is the winner of the Rencontres d'Arles 2002 Unlimited Award and the Dutch Doc Award 2013. She was shortlisted for Prix Pictet 2012, one of the most prestigious photography prizes in the world.