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Man Simulates Traffic Jam with Bunch of Smartphones in Wagon

As a piece entitled “Google Maps Hacks,” German performance artist Simon Weckert borrowed 99 smartphones and pulled them, in a child’s wagon, down an otherwise empty roadway. In doing so, he was able to fool the Google Maps application, which shaded the roadway a deep red to indicate an instance of actual gridlock.

He said the stunt was designed to illustrate the pervasive effects of technology. “People are trying to think about … what does it mean to use those services in everyday life? And how they shape our everyday life and how, more generally, they shape our everyday society.”

Google spokesperson Ivy Hunt issued a cheerful response. “We’ve launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries … though we haven’t quite cracked traveling by wagon. We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time.”

On his website, Weckert said that apps like Google Maps have “fundamentally changed our understanding of what a map is, how we interact with maps, their technological limitations and how they look aesthetically … (they) make virtual changes to the real city.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

God allows us to use technology, but we must be vigilant to trust God more than our devices; otherwise, we run the risk of being seduced by their promises and deceived by their limitations.


Brittany Shammas, “A man walked down a street with 99 phones in a wagon. Google Maps thought it was a traffic jam,” The Washington Post (4-4-20)

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