Fronting Motion


Polak and Van Bekkum


Fronting Motion (2014)


Internet based artwork

Exhibition Dates

13 May - 23 May, Bridport Arts Centre, 10am - 4pm

13 - 15 June, Guildhall Square, Southampton, 8am - 11.45pm 

Number of Visitors

Guildhall Square - 2000

Bridport Arts Centre- 580



We face our opponents, human beings, just like us. We can see them but they are unaware of our watching. And although transformed to an abstract landscape, behind it we would be able to recognize them. One by one.

What you are seeing is a landscape, taking place right now. Two realities merge into a panorama of a contemporary landscape. In the west, cars are coming right at you. In the east, you overlook the arriving and departing ships in the harbour taking their time.

Everywhere you hear this constant noise, is it the sea you hear or is it the sound of a highway? There is no way to distinguish other than by seeing or imagining, because both are, as the Dutch poet Henk Ester claims, in E flat.

“Fronting Motion” is an Internet based artwork by PolakVanBekkum

May 2014-ongoing

Practical description

“Fronting Motion” consists of two screens and two surround soundscapes (automatically converted to stereo if applicable) facing each other. The work is based on two streams of live data: one coming from number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras along the A354, Dorchester-Weymouth, while the other stream originates from the vessel tracking system around the Nearby Southampton harbour, both in the UK. Both data streams are translated into a surround sound stream and a corresponding visual stream. Each stream is broadcast through its own url, which makes the piece technically very simple to present and flexible to any given space: it could be exhibited as a black box installation for art spaces, but also on two combined screens, of various sizes (computers, smartphones, pads, outdoor projection). Thus combined, the two streams create a multiphonic soundscape with two video screens: 1 screen plus surround/stereo represents the traffic flow on land, the other screen plus surround/stereo sound represents the traffic flow at sea.

Tech specs

Use Chrome browser to experience this project if possible on two computer screens. Then go to:

• [Southampton harbour data stream]

• [ANPR camera data stream]


We thank:

The Sixth Sense Transport, for initiating this project; Siemens and the University of Southampton providing us with the ANPR-data of the A354, Dorchester-Weymouth. for providing us with the AIS data of ships passing Southampton harbour; Stokroos Fund Netherlands for additional funding.


We understand the extent to which behavioural change in transport habits and practices can be facilitated through the creation of a new form of ‘transport network’, based on extending social tablet.pngnetworking principles to transport users.

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Mobile Apps

The project has developed a suite of mobile phone apps for each of the corresponding research contexts. Watch videos and read details of the projects aims, phone-exploded.pngkey findings and outputs.

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The 6ST team comprised researchers from the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Salford, people.pngBournemouth and Lancaster.

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