The Glass Bottom Float Project (GBF) began in 2007 with the goal of building a robot able to find wonderful places to go for a swim. GBF2, in turn, focuses on the crafting of sensors and data processes upon which to base the judgement of whether or not to suggest a swimming spot. GBF2 proposes a new numerical practice for collecting data from various sources, including biosensors and people, and suggests new ways of sharing the results.
GBF2 partakes in ongoing efforts to explore new ways of observing and engaging the outdoors. GBF2 also partakes in the increasingly urgent global agenda of linking monitoring activities to actionable opportunities. GBF2 takes a unique approach to these problems. GBF2 combines data from machines with data from people to a mix with properties neither machines nor people have access to in isolation. Specifically, GBF2 collects data from over a dozen different sensors, processes these data through computers, and then combines subjective experiences and concerns, expressed by people (swimmers) based on bodily experiences in interviews. The result is a unique descriptor of the current conditions of 'being in the water'. GBF2 maps the inputs to a single number, the swimming pleasure measure (SPM), making it communicable to people as well as accessible to numerical processes.
GBF2 is part of RealTechSupport's ongoing research into finding ways of giving quantitative data deep qualitative value. It is an example of how new expressions of aesthetics can be designed for domains normally ruled by industrial logic. As such GBF2 is an artwork as a monitoring system, proposing a new form of curious and informed being in the outdoors which W.G. Seebald might have enjoyed.