Locative Painting

An online interactive documentary prototype that experiments with using Google Maps to represent place.


Locative Painting (2009-10) was funded by the Geoplaced Knowledge project in the Design Research Institute at RMIT University. I collaborated with the programmer Daniel Pettet on the design of the system and with the interaction designer Michael Dunbar on the interface design.

In this project, I worked with the Corangamite Arts Society on the documentation of the locations that Eugene Von Guérard painted in the Corangamite Shire, between 1857-1861. The idea was to record photos, video and interviews related to each location, as part of providing a contemporary perspective on the paintings. A key objective was to explore how the visual representation of maps could be used to provide a geographical viewpoint on locations within a documentary narrative.

The following description of this prototype website is taken from a chapter I wrote in Designing Place: An Archaeology of the Western District (p.32):

Each of the locations depicted in the paintings are recorded with video and geotagged photos…Each painting is used as a focal point to generate media content on the relationship between the painting and the location it records. For example, a number of interviews have been conducted with local people, who have connections to these locations, some have ancestors who settled the land and commissioned the paintings. This interview material is being used in combination with the recorded video, photos and associated maps.

Keen, S. 2010, ‘Purrumbete Verandah’, in Designing Place: An Archaeology of the Western District, Melbourne Books, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 32-35

Screenshots of the design process (Click to enlarge):

Wireframes by Michael Dunbar




Screenshots of the prototype:

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Snapz Pro XScreenSnapz011

Some of the locations:


Lake Gnotuk, 2009


Lake Bullen Merri, 2009


Purrumbete Homestead, 2009

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