ETech 09: Frameworks for Spatial Mediation

Ben Cerveny, “The New ‘Situation’: Frameworks for Spatial Mediation” on Wednesday afternoon at ETech 09. There were various chunks of this that I failed to note, so these notes are a bit more broken than usual.

Systems for Urban Scale Interactions.

The software for the built environment of humans has existed for thousands of years — that’s what civilization is. We’ve formalised a vocabulary for social interactions.

Gone from defining computing as social, to social objects, and now defining environments as social. Massively multiparticipant models. Some people now understand how to interact with each other in the spaces of MMORPGs, spaces which are becoming increasingly actualised in our everyday lives.

With MOOs people were being empowered to be creative and create objects and environments, creators of their narrative experiences. They began to build out larger worlds, a long tail explosion of user-generated content.

We move on to Game Neverending which became Flickr. The design of the original game was about discovering new areas. Players would have to come together to decide how to provision that space, how to govern it, etc. There’s the What of the space, and the Who of the space, the politics of it.

Playground Foundation [Can’t find a URL]. The mandate was to aggregate data about Amsterdam into a platform accessible by everyone so that people could access information about the city. A model that curated about the city by its own residents. A collaboratively constructed representation of the city that, in a way, floats above it. To provide an information infrastructure in the same way the government provides a transportation infrastructure.

Area/code’s Crossroads game. People running around streets to get away from a thing they can only see on their phone.

AFK. Wovenspace. [Can’t find URLs for these either.] Building amusement park(s) in Dubai. Building an amusement park that’s “alive”. What does it mean if we have a higher resolution understanding in the park? If we have a higher resolution model based on sensors and can make changes based on this information.

On the smaller scale, handheld devices that communicate with the network. Then small devices in the architecture configured to be input or output nodes. Mix and match sensors and actuators. All of this creates a realtime model of urban scale space and activate things based on this information. Architectural adjustments, changes to handheld devices, etc.

In order to occupy a space that has these capabilties you need to trust the space and the people who are participating in it. The first problem that needs to be solved in rolling these capabilities out to urban environments is a social/political one, of whether you trust the control of these technologies.

Online there’s always a problem with how privacy is handled, eg, Facebook and privacy. Like Facebook (but unlike an urban environment) somewhere like an amusement park is opt-in. If you trust the park to keep you safe on a roller coaster you’ll probably trust them to track you around the park.

[Missed a bunch of stuff at the end as I was a bit dazed by everything.]

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