We are surrounded by technology. It’s helpful, convenient and we can deal with it. For the most part.
Exposed to the everglow of our handheld devices and screens, we have seen our daily tasks become more controllable and the world’s information more immediately available. Oh, and let’s not forget about the fun part: sharing cat videos with friends.
But sometimes it’s good to get away from the ever-present stimulation and the voracious tyranny of the ‘Like’. This is where White Spots comes in.
Though it sounds like a teenage skin condition, the app’s name refers to those areas still not covered by internet connectivity. Places where you can just be, without the need to tell anybody what a great time you’re having or what food you’re eating. It’s like the 1970s, but with less Abba.
A journey to the end of the internet
Available for both iOS and Android devices (including a cool version for virtual reality afficionados), the app displays all your nearest radio masts and their respective digital signals. It prompts you to look for your nearest ‘white spot’ – showing how to get there on its map.
Now, mind you, those spots can be few and far between. The nearest white spot may be a hundred kilometers away from you – a sign of just how dense the digital network around us really is.
White Spots is a collaboration between Dutch information designer Richard Vijgen, artist Jacqueline Hassink and documentary maker Bregtje van der Haak.
The work of van der Haak is demonstrated in the second part of the app: a series of small films documenting life in areas without digital connection. From the cafe that blocks mobile phone signals to the Spanish village where it’s so hard to get a connection people use the payphone in the town hall to make a call.
The point of these films is not to denigrate digital technology – after all, the app runs on mobile phones – but to show how constant connectivity changes us.
For digital natives White Spots probably amounts to self-torture, but for those who remember life before the mobile internet, it may just be the break they need to recharge their batteries (in every sense of the word).
For more information on White Spots, visit their website.
System: iOS 9.0 or higher, Android 4.4 or higher
Size: 109 MB