Thank you both to Veroniki and Katherine for opening up the discussion, and
providing some valuable observations. I suspect that while the
transformation of city fabric and urban design approaches is already
happening at a rapid pace in some advanced urban spaces, like lobsters in
the pot- we cannot sense how radically all our cities are currently being
altered through our changing behaviours- dictated by this new technology.
Alhough the visible changes to fabric are not yet universal- they will soon
follow our altering patterns of use. The technologies to deliver true and
seamless hybridity are already invented, but are slow to develop in our city
streets-I think this lag is a normal one and that when a technological use
matures it appears ubiquitously with extreme rapidity.
I think Flashmobs are an extreme case of what the new technologies imply-a
performative role in public space for each individual-a role we see at one
end of the spectrum with the posting of photos of a dead man's body by
English school kids on Twitter-before the death was reported to the Police-
and at the other by the ubiquitous mobile public conversation with distant
friends, complete with gestures and facial expressions.
I agree that Foursquare and Layar present space as a social and shared
experience-I am more interested in how we can use this sense as a tool to
creatively reinvent urban space as contiguous between past and present, and
to show connectivities which are not so obvious-eg the origins of
commodities in shops etc...
Facades and projection will be the next big alteration to our urban
experience-particularly the arrival of mobile projection. I think Michele
Teran's Frutiskino work http://www.ubermatic.lftk.org/blog/?p=223 is a great
exemplar of the privacy questions these technologies raise.
On Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 11:06 AM, Katharine S. Willis <
> Dear list members,
> In the discussion on hybrid spaces, an earlier post from Martin and
> Dimitiris (20 July) talked about 'The synchronous experience of a mobile
> spatial interface and of the non-mediated physical environment, a hybrid
> spatial experience, material (space determined by material elements) and
> immaterial space (determined by digitally produced representations) are
> This is a useful starting point and there is no doubt that the physical
> spaces we inhabit and move through are now mediated with technologies; they
> are hybrid spaces. Yet it seems to me that we are finding it difficult to
> move beyond the rhetoric and to really respond to the challenge of how to
> engage with these hybrid cities as designers and how to understand the new
> behaviours that are emerging in these layered spaces. Below I introduce some
> of my own thoughts and questions on this topic.
> of flashmobs, foursquare and facades....
> It puzzles me that when I look and move around I notice very few obvious
> changes in the physical nature of urban space (maybe I expect too much?).
> For sure I carry a device with me that augments the space. But the screen is
> still my interface; it rarely spills out into the city. In fact the city and
> the built space itself remains surprisingly neutral and passive. I may look
> at the city through a digital lens, but the physical world rarely responds
> to my passing or presence. When I try to grasp how space has been changed,
> it is summed up in these three areas:
> flash mobs.
> These highly choreographed performances in public space show how media and
> technology can inform new ways of behaving in public space that's moved way
> beyond rheingolds smartmobs. They come into being through a whole plethora
> of media platforms, twitter, facebook and sms and demonstrate a temporality
> that the physical space of the city cannot (will not?) respond to. It can
> only be a passive observer or stage. How can the static nature of out built
> environment and space start to respond to these forms of serendipity and
> micro-coordination of social behaviour? Can hybrid space start to perform,
> to come together and disperse when its use is over?
> love it or hate it the use of foursquare represents a new practice of
> recognising and naming presence in space on technology's terms. Take a look
> at foursquare listings at any place and you will find as diverse a set of
> descriptions for places as you could imagine. It documents the sociality and
> mobility of places we are present in, where people pass through and
> encounter others; train stations, airports, sandwich bars, stores and
> nightclubs. These are places of shared experience, not addresses or
> locations, and our presence our physical environment is a presence in this
> hybrid space. So as locative media re-values the sociality of presence with
> strangers in urban public space how can the spaces start to allow for these
> passing encounters? Do we simply need a few more places to be 'slow' and to
> stop (without having to pay for a coffee), where we can be present in both
> digital space and the physical space without causing disruption due to our
> civil inattention. Is it as simple as more benches, more meeting points with
> wifi and a power supply?
> As I move through transit spaces there is a growing number of screens
> showing digital images, sometimes they respond to my input. Whole facades
> are superimposed with images and sometimes projections or even screens. Do
> we need windows in public buildings any more? probably not. So how do we
> design for spaces that need not look out, but that offer other ways of both
> enclosing and making interfaces between one space and the next? Mirjam
> Struppek's work on highlighting the important issue of urban screens starts
> to reclaim the screens as a creative design problem. But on a broader level
> how do we connect our physical spaces with our digital spaces. How do we
> make a less diss-jointed hybridity, drawing together the physical
> requirements of the built space to connect outside and inside, and the media
> spaces which demand a different kind of accessibility; one which is only
> concerned with non-visual, unbroken links to the network?
> Although this is my personal perspective on some of the issues facing us
> in the design of hybrid spaces I also introduce them in the context of the
> 2010 Mediacity conference in Weimar, Germany (http://bit.ly/dvNeK0) which
> will take place at the end of October. This will also provide the
> opportunity to consider and discuss some of the challenges of the hybrid
> city in a co-located panel discussion, which I will be moderating.
> It would be great if list members were also able to contribute to this
> discussion in some way either by responding to some of the topics or above
> or by introducing their own questions and comments. I will do my best to
> include these in the debate.
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Professor of Digital Creativity
De Montfort University
IOCT/Art and Design
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HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.
HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
HOW TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.