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maker walking on a virtual wire
The maker takes an augmented walk on her virtual wire. Taped straws not included with your free app download.

Walk On Wire is an app designed by media artist xtine burrough in homage to Philippe Petit's high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in New York City on August 7, 1974.

I designed this app to augment a user-defined walk, and create a simulation of the experience of walking on a high-wire. Part balancing and athletic challenge, part game, part homage to Philippe Petit’s famous NYC high-wire walk, it enables anyone to experience what it’s like to perform a high-wire walk without leaving the ground. Users share one important behavior with a high-wire walker: they don’t look down! Instead, they view the screen while walking and the ground beneath them transforms into a wire with an aerial perspective of their selected route. Walk On Wire is a simple application using the Mapkit Framework to transpose a “high wire” (line) on two user-identified map points.

Want to play? Download Walk On Wire for your iPhone or iPad.

walk on wire screenshot iphone 4
A screenshot of the app on an iPhone 4. It works, but you'll be happier playing with this on an iPad.

Using the app is simple: Press your finger on the map to drop a pin where you want to begin your walk and do it again where you want to end the walk (presumably between two structures). The view will show you an aerial perspective. Walk on your virtual line and don't look down!

I dreamed of this app after hearing Philippe Petit's interview with Arun Rath on NPR. I spent the summer of 2014 learning how to make an app. I wish it did more, it would be cool if the app told you if you were about to fall off your line but I think that's more Objective-C than I'm interested in learning! If you haven't seen the documentary Man On Wire, you should watch this short video clip about Petit's walk.

xtine is a media artist and educator. She has authored, co-authored, edited, and co-edited several books including Foundations of Digital Art and Design and Net Works: Case Studies in Web Art and Design. She uses social networking, databases, search engines, blogs, and applications in combination with popular sites like Facebook, YouTube, or Mechanical Turk, to create web communities promoting interpretation and autonomy. xtine is passionate about creating works that transform social experiences. She is a Webby Honoree, has received a Terminal commission and an award from the UK Big Lottery fund. She is an associate professor at California State University Fullerton, where she bridges the gap between histories, theories, and production in new media education. Her website is missconceptions.net. And...she was born in Albany, New York just 20 days after Petit walked between the Twin Towers.