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‘Mediapolis’

Submitted by: Eirini Christofidou


‘Mediapolis’ The convergence of the physical and digital spaces in the urban realm and locative media technologies.


‘Mediapolis’ The convergence of the physical and digital spaces in the urban realm and locative media technologies.

Submitted by: Eirini Christofidou ARC556 M.Arch Dissertation Submission Tutor: Dr. Chengzhi Peng 110216663 10 / 10 / 2012


For my parents, who keep me connected.


[Inspiration]

“actuating in our environment”

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When Carlo Ratti, director of the SENSEable City Laboratory in MIT,visited the University of Bath in February 2009, he spoke of the contemporary city. Through his projects, such as Real Rome, the Copenhagen Wheel, The Cloud, I encountered the intermediate interface where the virtual space meets the physical space, the augmented reality. We inhabit places synthesized from built environment, social networks and virtual space, where we collect, manipulate and organize information. Users through hand-held devices can decode and understand the place they inhabit, the city. Furthermore, our environment can also actively participate, sensing and actuating parallel to the users’ everyday practices. Locative media technologies are now embedded in everyday objects like smart-phones, digital cameras, amongst many other devices, allowing us to retrieve and collect information about the city in real time and in place.

“In a certain sense, it is almost as if every atom out there were becoming both a sensor and an actuator. And that is radically changing the interaction we have as humans with the environment out there. In a certain sense, it is almost as if the old dream of Michelangelo... you know, when Michelangelo sculpted the Moses, at the end it said that he took the hammer, threw it at Moses - actually you can still see a small chip underneath - and shouted, “Perché non parli?” (“Why don’t you talk?”) Well today, for the first time, our environment is starting to talk back to us. Again, with this idea of sensing our environment and actuating it.” (Ratti, 2011)


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Carlo Ratti presenting at TED Talks, March 2011


[Acknowledgments]

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First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge the guidance and help I have received from Dr Chengzhi Peng. The topic is relatively new and Dr Peng has been informing me constantly of all the latest updates on the field of interactive design. A special thank you goes to Dr Chris Speed for making the time to speak to me about my dissertation. He spoke to me in a frank and uninhibited way about his design process. It was an absolute pleasure to interview Dr Speed. I would also like to recognize the constant help I have received from Dr Nearchos Paspallis and Christos Christofides throughout my dissertation. They both explained very complex programming terms and systems in a coherent and simple way.


[Contents] i iii iv v

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Inspiration Acknowledgments Contents Abstract

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Introduction // An outline of the dissertation

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Chapter One // Ubiquitous computing in the urban space Chapter Two // Navigating with locative media Chapter Three // Assessing the success of locative media

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Conclusion // Reviewing the dissertation & further research

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Bibliography & illustration credits

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Appendices

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[Abstract]

Primarily, there will be an overview on what constitutes place as we understand it. It will be revealed by setting up a theoretical framework, which differentiate locative media from standard models of representation of place. By studying Lefebvre’s model for representing spaces (1991),de Certeau’s Practice of Everyday Life, (1984) and Latour’s Actor-Network Theory (1971), I suggest that abstracted maps based on the Cartesian model of representation limit and obscure a user’s understanding of place. Flaws in the existing representational models will reveal that there is a schism between time and place, as well as social space and physical space.

Supermodernity: term borrowed from Marc Auge’s book, NonPlaces: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity Auge analyzes the non places which many urban dwellers consume their time in on a daily basis. Non-places are spaces built on the principles of consumption, temporality, transition, and anonymity. Examples of supermodern non places are: airports, railway stations and supermarkets. A book which sheds light on the way people live in the post-modern era.

Following, the assessment of Cartesian models of representation, there will be a discussion on how locative media are applied in our everyday urban life. Information now is embodied in cities, and can be accessed in real place and time. Therefore, are such media allowing users to experience a sense of place on a global scale on a micro scale, like Chris Speed is suggesting with the term “Underview Effect” in his paper (2010)? The focus of this study will be to look for the existing applications, which employ locative media technologies, and essentially review how place is represented. Do such media indeed help people achieve a deep understanding of place on a macro and micro scale? Can people exist in a multiplicity of networks and spaces, both geographical as well as social? What experience do such applications generate when used? Finally, how do the selected applications function; is there a reciprocal relationship between the users, the medium, the software developers and the environment?

1 Mobile devices, locative media and the urban space.

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Living in Supermodernity (Auge, 1995), ‘Mediapolis’ is a term coined to describe the dual entities of the twenty-first century city: the physical place and the superimposed virtual informatics networks. This dissertation explores the impact locative media have on the users’ ‘sense of place’.


1.0 // Introduction An outline of the dissertation 1.00 Introduction 1.01 Project objectives 1.02 Research questions 1.03 Background theories 1.04 Methodology 1.05 Research limitations

Image 1: “Method for Taking Photographs of Landscapes from Above�


“Method for Taking Photographs of Landscapes from Above�

a patented miniature camera attached onto pidgeons, developed by Dr. Julius Neubronner, in 1908, Germany. The facination of creating a panopticon view of the world, a representation of the world as a whole and of our place in this order, has existed since the beginning of humanity.


[Introduction]

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“To what erotics of knowledge does the ecstasy of reading such a cosmos belong? Having taken a voluptuous pleasure in it, I wonder what is the source of this pleasure of “seeing the whole”, of looking down on, totalizing, the most immoderate of human texts.” (de Certeau, 1984, p.92) As de Certeau describes in his book, The Practice of Everyday Life, for many centuries painters, cartographers, urban planners, have been creating an image of the city, and the world, from above, in perspective trying to capture the whole (McCullough, 2005). The body completely removed from the ground, as for the mind to gain clarity and see how the complex structure, which it inhabits, operates. Distance from our everyday life is necessary Frank White argues, as to gain a sense of place on a global scale, to achieve an “Overview Effect” (1987). However, once the person returns into the street level, the total scope is lost, and visibility beyond the dictated urban routes and practices is restricted. As location-based systems are ubiquitous, in objects we use

“is the experience of seeing the Earth from a distance,..., and realizing the inherent unity and oneness of everything on the planet. The Effect represents a shift in perception wherein the viewer moves from identification with parts of the Earth to identification with the whole system.” (White, 1987, p. 38)

everyday, can a panoptic view of a city and the world be achieved while staying firmly on the ground?

[1.01 Project objectives] The objective of this dissertation is to evaluate how locative media represent space, and the impact they have had on users’ perception of space. Julian Bleekcer defines locative media as an instrument, which create geospatial experiences by considering the location of the user, and unlock digital information about the physical space (2006). Also, such media allow for such experiences to be shared digitally, amongst many social networks and groups, thus transcending the limitations of short geographic space and previously used models of

Within the dissertation, locative media is defined as the information collected by mobile devices and software in reference to a specific location - geotagging. It is an interface between the digital world and physical world which “actively creates and senses a reciprocal awareness between people and their environment.” (Shirvanee, 2006) Julian Bleecker eloborates on the use of locative media as tuning devices, in his paper ‘A manifesto for networked objects: Cohabiting with pigeons, arphids and aibos in the internet of things’, (2006) Available online at: http://research.techkwondo. com/blog/julian/185


spatial representation. These technologies allow for space to be represented geographically, digitally and socially simultaneously. Therefore, the second objective of this study is to critically assess how existing applications for smart-phones actually illustrate space, what do they reveal about a place and people, and if they do in fact provide users with a better sense of belonging. Finally, in the concluding chapter, the outcomes of this investigation will be presented, to outline the possibilities, limitations that locative media as ‘space making’ metaphors (or devices) offer.

[1.02 Research questions] Why is it important for an architecture student to study the interconnection between interactive technologies, such as locative media, and the built environment? Pervasive computing technologies are increasingly becoming fixed in our lives and environment. Technological innovations, such as the above mentioned, are characterized by an ephemeral nature, a more passive source of information, and unrooted from space. Architecture fundamentally embodied in space, gradually evolves in time, without encouraging however interactivity between itself and its users. Consequently, this dissertation will concentrate on the merge of these two spaces and how instead of dematerializing, are in fact informing each other. In this dissertation there will be essentially three fields making up the question, as shown in diagram 2: I.

field of Software Engineering: which develops the software for

the locative media applications that will be assessed in the study. II.

field of Social Sciences and Philosophy: where all the urban

theories and philosophical discourses concerning place and space,

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and how an individual perceives his body in space will be drawn from. III.

field of Architecture & Urban Planning: is the main outlook this

dissertation will take, by examining how space has been represented according to the Cartesian model, and how the activities and organization of the actors and their networks physically manifest in space. Q1. What is the context in which

users appropriate the technological medium?

Social Sciences & Philosophy

Architecture & Urban Planning

Q2. How do existing

applications represent place?

Q3. How are users involved in the representation of place?

Computer Science Diagram 2: Fields of Study

“Context is not the setting itself, but the engagement with it, as well as the bias that setting gives to the interactions that occur within it.� (McCullough, 2005, p. 47)

As diagram 3 shows, the questions stem from the overlap of everyday practices of life with locative media. The questions to be answered in this study respond to the three fields that form this dissertation.


Locative Med ia

Everyday

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Lif e ices act Pr Do locative media allow for a more inclusive participation in the production of space?

Do locative media reinforce users’ sense of place?

Q3

How do users participate in the annotation of a place?

Q1 Space VS Place How are these two concepts different?

O2 What locative media applications exist or being developed?

Diagram 3: Research Questions

Q2

How is space represented on locative media applications?

How do they challenge existing models of spatial representation?

What do they reveal about a place?

How do locative media affect the field of architecture?


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The first question will be to look in depth the difference between space and place. Examine all the constituents of the contemporary city, and how are those networks and actors represented spatially and diagrammatically in abstracted maps and images. The second question will be to list and compare applications that use locative media technologies as to how they represent space. Applications will be selected on the following conditions: they need to have location as a filter for interaction, they have to be used for everyday objects like phones and/or digital cameras, they need to have been previously reviewed by users and they need to produce a visual or audible or informative outcome when a user interacts with its interface. Subsequently, the applications will be appraised on what they reveal about a place, and if they promote human interactivity with the environment. The third question will follow the second question closely as it relates to how are users involved in the annotation of a place. Can users truly mark and personalize the place they inhabit? Can users influence the information that will be available in an application? Finally these queries will need to the bigger question, which is to understand the role locative media will hold in the urban space in our everyday life. Will these media truly inform users through a constant real-time stream of information and maps of their place in space?

[1.03 Background theories] This dissertation will create a theoretical framework regarding space and place, as well as spatial representation, based on the work of the French scholar Michel de Certeau, in particular his book, The Practice of Everyday Life (1984). Including the extensive essays oh Henri Lefebvre, a French sociologist, on the social production of space,(1991),


and of Martin Heidegger, an existential German philosopher, explorations of being will add gravitas to the urban theories of space (1962). To engage with the topic of locative media and the cityscape, the study will focus on the work of Dr Chris Speed, currently at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art. The theoretical discussions will be developed from the book of Professor Malcolm McCullough, Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing and Environmental Knowing, 2004, currently teaching at the University of Michigan in U.S.A. Another key textbook is The Tuning of Place, by Richard Coyne, a Professor of Architectural Computing at the University of Edinburgh (2010). As this field of interactive design and pervasive computing is relatively new, current debates on the topic will be followed through the publications of selected research groups that ideally combine all three disciplines as mentioned in section 1.02. Helping me understand the process of designing locative media and the future of context-aware environments, are the two interviews I have conducted with Dr Chris Speed and Dr Nearchos Paspallis (a software engineer and a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire). Both interviews can be found in the Appendices. When combined there should help highlight the possibilities and limitations of locative media in reinforcing a ‘sense of place’.

[1.04 Methodology] In chapter one, there will be a brief historical review of locative media, how cyberspace moved from a non-place to be rooted in space.

Theories by de Certeau, Lefebvre, Heidegger and McCullough, will be used to distinguish the differences between space and place. Following, there will be a discussion as to how space and place are produced, experienced and represented. Juxtaposed with the Cartesian

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model of spatial representation, the disadvantages of existing maps and images based on this model will be examined. In chapter two, there will be an investigation on the impact locative

media have on urban culture and the experience of urban space. Using extensively the work of McCullough as a source of reference, the tools, which urban dwellers use to actively annotate and interpret their everyday social interactions in real time and real space, will be accounted. In chapter three, two commercial applications will be employed to

assess the success of locative media, to aid individuals regain a sense of place. Foursquare and Livemapp, social networking applications, will be analysed to appraise the cultural, social and spatial impact of locative media, in contemporary urban scapes. Citing theories and reviews from theorists, designers and journalists, my personal interpretation and experience of these applications, will be reinforced. Following, there will be a deliberation as to whether locative media, reinforce or offer an alternative to the traditional Cartesian representations of space. Finally, the limitations and possibilities of future uses and implementations of these media will be outlined. Drawing a conclusion, all the findings will be tied together. Both sides

of the debate on the role of locative media in gaining a ‘sense of place’ will be presented. Skepticism from the key authors will be brought forward. As well as the advantages and the impetus for a change of outlook towards the place of such media in the urban space and our everyday life practices. Finally, the question of re-appropriation between the environment, the users and technology will be addressed.

[1.05 Research limitations Bearing in mind that the field of interactive design is relatively new, there are new updates and research papers being published continuously.


Therefore, the views and conclusions derived from the current use of locative media reflect the time, which this dissertation is being written in. This dissertation serves as a foundation, for readers to familiarize themselves with key terms and concepts, of the field. The aim of this research is to review important literature from various disciplines: philosophy, urban design & architecture, sociology and marketing. Of course, the impact of locative media and mobile devices has on regaining a sense of place and representation of space, will be clearer in the near future. Once, the escalation and fascination surrounding this new hybrid dialectic between physical and virtual space, diminishes, the great thinkers of the twenty-first century will be able to understand the aftereffects of locative media and make more educated prediction for the future use of such technologies.

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2.0 // Chapter One

Ubiquitous computing in the urban space 2.01 From cyberspace to digital situated networks 2.02 What do we mean by ubiquitous computing? 2.03 From the macro to the micro-scale 2.04 Space and place 2.05 Disembodiment: Losing ‘sense of place’ 2.06 Representational models of space and place 2.07Attaining the Borgesian dream

Image 4: Ubiquitous computing and embodiment in the urban space


[Chapter One]

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[2.01 From cyberspace to digital situated networks] In the midst of a global economic meltdown, the market for pervasive digital media, applications for mobile phones and tablets in particular, is growing exponentially (Armano, 2012). According to IDC, an advisory firm located in the U.S.A., by 2014 more than seventy six billion applications would have been downloaded, generating an income of approximately thirty five billion dollars in that year alone (IDC, 2010). The mobile culture of pervasive technologies is steadily becoming a cultural and economical force to be reckoned with. Computers have long been proliferated from the desktop, and have become embedded in our environment. The retrieval of information, geographical, social or demographical, has long been mobile. An increasing amount of everyday objects, phones, digital cameras, automobiles, possess computer processing power (Crang et Graham, 2007). By enabling our environment to participate dynamically in the organization of our daily activities, our behaviour within or several context(s), is being reflexively monitored. Digital networks are now interwoven into the social and environmental structure of the built world (McCullough, 2005). Far from the dystopia of the cyberspace of the 1990s, the parallel virtual world has been gradually superimposed over the physical environment. Like the built environment, digital networks have structures, protocols and standards that dictate their operation and ensure an ability for a multitude of devices and media to connect and exchange data. The urban landscape is a repository for harvesting, processing, storing and get out information (Crang et Graham, 2007). Rejecting pervasive technologies and locative media altogether, would be non-sensical. Instead, both the users and the designers should see

Considered to exceed in magnitude the Great Depression (1930s), this global economic meltdown has started in the summer of 2007. With the collapse of significant financial institutions and the devaluation of the Euro and American dollar, millions of people have been afflicted by this crisis’ domino effect. (Behravesh, et al. 2009)


15 the overlay of the two systems (virtual world over the physical world) as a design challenge. When people use ‘smart’ devices to search for data in real time and place -by using geolocation technologies-, we will have ‘a space in which the public is reconfigured by a multitude of media and communication networks interwoven into the social and political ‘Hybrid Space’ // ‘Augmented Space’ // ‘The Interactive City’// ‘Mediapolis’: the physical environment has been embedded with information, overlayed with the aid of technologies and mobile media which incorporate Wifi, GPS etc. The topography of the contemporary urban space and consequently our perception of it, is constantly being reconfigured and has thus become interactive. This ‘hybrid space’, augmented reality is a mesh between the two spaces. The user attempts to “overlay physical objects with virtual objects in real-time (and) allowing people to experience the virtual as if it were real.” (de Souza e Silva A. 2006, p. 261)

functions of space to form a “hybrid space” (Kluitenberg, 2006, pp.8). So the question is, how will ubiquitous computing become more sensitive to context, in a way as to assist users connect to places more? Interactive design follows the practice of everyday human life. In our everyday life, one interacts with her own self, with her environment, and with other individuals. Architecture has long been serving (as a product of these social interactions) as a catalyst for the play of these dealings. Space is manipulated, inhabited and experienced through social interactions, and it is transformed into place, with traces of memories of the former negotiations. With the imposition of pervasive digital media and technologies in the environment, the way people interact has already started to change. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that all disciplines which participate in the development, designing and study of ubiquitous computing and situated networks, to consider how such technologies are integrated into our lives. Also how can they be designed as for users to practice their everyday lives in a more effective and efficient manner? Pervasive digital media with the awareness of geographical location, can become social mediums, assisting individuals in synchronizing their activities and help them belong to a place more (Coyne, 2010).


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[2.02 What do we mean by ubiquitous computing?] In our everyday lives we use technology to mediate our actions with other people, in space and time. A good example of how ubiquitous devices helped shape our interactions is the clock. Clocks have defined the human daily rhythm and organized our patterns of life, in time divisions. We arrange our daily activities (work, social gatherings) around this twenty-four hour model of time, clocks are therefore one of the earliest examples of ubiquitous devices. This technology is so common that we no longer pay attention to it; it operates in the background silently, uninterrupted. The environment is gradually growing an interactive digital skin, with sensors embedded in it, constantly receiving and transmitting data between situated digital communications network and the people through their mobile devices. Ubiquitous computing or pervasive digital media and devices facilitate communication; they are an integral part of our social infrastructure, helping us organize social interactions in the physical space. But how are these ubiquitous situated networking systems designed? How do people use these technologies? How do they feel about the environment becoming increasingly interactive? According to McCullough, the amount of micro processing chips has exceeded the number of humans on Earth, since 1994 (McCullough, 2005). An increasing number of ordinary objects now possess computer-processing capabilities. These objects become more contextaware, self-adaptive and self-organizing. Our mobile phones, tablets, automobiles, wearable items, other digital gadgets, even physical locations are driven by micro processing chips.

“Ubiquitous devices operate as machines for tuning the environment.� (Coyne, 2010, p.8) Tuning is a social act, performed by people as a way to attune, or acclimitaze to a mood or an atmosphere exuded by a social and public group. Heidegger supports that, people need to attune to this atmosphere, before they begin experiencing a sense of belonging in a place. Emotional attunement, precedes mental and bodily embodiment. (Heidegger, 1962, p.172)


17 The word ubiquitous is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “present, appearing, or found everywhere”. Truly, ubiquity has come as a successor to cyberspace, to a “virtual” spatial context (Association for Computing Machinery, 2000). The shift into a physical, embedded computing has long been on its way. Borrowing the definition given by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, U.S.A., ubiquitous computing is plentiful, “casually available” (McCullough, 2005, pp.7), embedded in physical locations and/or usually mobile, and it is “connected to an increasingly ubiquitous network structure” (NIST,2000). Inevitably, there will be on emphasis on mobile computing in the future of the computer age. The new paradigm of context-aware environment, will make the urban -scape we inhabit, interactive. Computation, will (re) appropriate itself to assist the human to accomplish their needs without being told explicitly to do so. The goal is for ubiquitous, or pervasive The Disappearing Computer There has been a real effort in the recent years, to develop a new generation of computing, so well integrated in our daily lives that it becomes transparent. The European Union has been funding a multi-disciplinary research and development programme, aptly named ‘The Disappearing Computer’. Its aim is to study and comprehend the complex social and spatial contexts, in which people socialize and become active. Hence, by creating a complex model of the world we inhabit, computing can become truly mobile and invisible. (Kluitenberg, 2006)

computing as it is more commonly known, to be “fully integrated with our daily lives” (Intel, 2000). Ubiquitous, pervasive, computing is centred around the human and his interactions in space. Information walks alongside people in mobile devices, in the physical world. No longer do people need to sit detached from their place, the environment they inhabit, drawn into a looking glass of virtual worlds and data stores. There is a synergy between the context and a digital device, where information in for the first time pushed into the process, and users need to do less as to gain more from the potential of these technologies. Users need to interfere less, as pervasive digital devices adapt to the context, and decode and respond to our “information personalities “(McCullough, 2005, p.7). Users can retrieve information from the environment and deposit data on it too.


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The virtual reality epoch has reminded designers (interactive designers, software engineers etc) that humans orient themselves in space kinesthetically. In its totalistic, universalist effect, ubiquitous computing has focused on the macro-scale, making micro-scale, personal interactions with the context obsolete. Technology without context is disembodied, a land unknown, which people distrust and fear. In fact, with ubiquitous computing, we have actuated the environment.

[2.03 From the macro to the micro scale] Currently interactive designers focus on “locative media”. A step beyond ubiquitous computing, locative media enable the detection of users’ geographical position, using positional coordinates to do so. Many of the pervasive digital media have locative properties as they incorporate Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or related technologies. Locative media turn the focus onto the micro-scale, on the “proximal encounters” (Pesce & Tonkin, 2006) between people, and between an individual’s encounter with the space of a city. Chris Speed in his paper “Developing a Sense of Place with Locative Media: An “Underview Effect”” supports that locative media may be the medium which will restore our sense of place (2010). Think of a smartphone, a mobile device, necessary for communicating, it offers a connection to network computing and an added capability to use the current location of its user. Mobile devices have dynamically changed the way interpersonal communication occurs in the urban context. They are also changing the way people describe and represent space, challenging the traditional way of spatial representation. Locative media allow users to annotate their ephemeral, everyday actions in space and in real time. The “Overview Effect” as described by Frank White (1987) is being replaced by a street view of the world. As humans can now report their “activity in habitual contexts”, in real time and space, a view of the world in the micro scale and in a higher resolution is offered (McCullough,

Global Positioning Systems (GPS): developed as a military technology, GPS is a satellite navigation system, which calculates the position of a GPS receiver. It transmits locative data back to the receiver, at the time of the interaction. GPS is widely used to track objects, people around the globe, for navigation and for cartography. (Crang, M. & Graham, S., 2007)

The author, Dr Chris Speed, suggests that with the creative use of locative media, there could be a new model of space, one which reconcile time with space. By using locative media to increase interactions between people, Dr Speed proposes that there will be a model of the world, which shows all the connections between people, and people with places. Can we compose an all-embracing, global representation of the world; one which offers an individual a sense of place on a global scale?


“Interaction design affects how each of us inhabits the physical world.” McCullough, 2005, pp.172

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2005, p. 21). Maps and panoramic views of urban spaces can be overlaid with other information as well. With the introduction of this new socio-technological network of communication and interaction, social activities are re-specialized. Virtual social networking is enriched with spatial information, the most common examples of geo-tagging being Facebook check-ins, where users notify their virtual social circle(s) of their geographical location and activity in real time. Pervasive digital media and their locative properties, challenge the way humans navigate through the physical and social places (Speed & Southern, 2010). Humans are situated in their actual environment, using their physical locations as a parameter to communicate with others in real time. Many interactive designers and research groups are pursuing real time modeling of the urban space. WikiCity is a project, within the MIT SENSEable City Lab and Carlo Ratti, Francesco Calabrese and Kristian Kloeckl lead it (see image 5). The research team is comprised from people from different disciplines, ranging from architects, software engineers, interactive designers, industrial designers, focused onto developing interactive design to better understand the urban dynamics and make the network systems more efficient. In this real-time city initiative, the researchers are interested in actuating the city and converting it through the city’s own inhabitants, into a real time control system (SENSEable, 2006). In an implementation of WikiCity, Real Rome project, the city of Rome became a three-dimensional data store and exchange platform. Using mobile phones and GPS devices, the Lab was able to illustrate the patterns of spatial and social use of the city in real time (see images 6 & 7). Overcoming the limited representations of space, which are based on the Cartesian model of the world, the future of urban mapping will be ever changing and updated on real time. People will be able to feel a city’s pulse and receive information about the city’s networks


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WikiCity* : A project by MIT SENSEable City Lab (a concept drawing)

WikiCity* : Real Rome Project by MIT SENSEable City Lab (interface of the map)

7 WikiCity* : Real Rome Project by MIT SENSEable City Lab (an interactive model of the city during a concert of Madonna)


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(social, transportation etc.) as they are happening. Therefore, where you are, as a user, in space, is altering the output of this interaction process between a device, the environment, the individual and the whole system. Locative media and mobile devices are quickly becoming tuning instruments (Coyne, 2010) for synchronizing human interactions and influencing the spatial presence of social gathering. Users of mobile devices are actively and dynamically affecting the overall situated network structure. As the city is an active participant in this three-way conversation, an actor, a new platform for data storage and exchange is gradually being realized. The more all the embedded sensors in the urban space inform each other, and a system of systems is created (IBM, 2010) a complex network of interconnected devices, or agents, is created where they depend on each other for information as well as for taking ‘smarter’ decisions independently (McCullough, 2005). Borrowing the philosophical concept outlined by Deleuze and Guattari, the city mirrors a “rhizome” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1980). The rhizome is a networks structure where every point of it is ceaselessly connected with the every other point of the semiotic system. No connection between points possesses more authority over another, as all the actions between points dynamically change the whole system. Living as digital nomads, the city’s inhabitants are acting in the urban space by using pervasive computing and locative media as instruments for coordinating their in-between interactions in time. But, what is the impact such actions have on the spatial model of the world? Are such technologies helping the city become social again? A comparison would be drawn between the concepts of space and place in section 2.04. If we are enhancing space -the derivative of the social relations, networks and interactions - with sensors, could we reinstate our ‘sense of place’?

8 A still from the short clip created for IBM’s “Internet of Things” concept. This still, shows a global network of interconnected devices, constantly in communication. (IBM, 2010) Clip available at: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=sfEbMV295Kk


[2.04 Space and place] It is important to determine the differences between the concepts of space and place, before we can assess the success of pervasive computing and locative media, of helping people regain a ‘sense of place’. I will be using the work of Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (1984), and the theories of both Heidegger and Lefebvre to compare the two concepts. Space is quantified by various vectors and variables (de Certeau, 1984); it is ordered and forms the ground, literally, upon which human infrastructures and systems are build. Merleau-Ponty makes a distinction between two kinds of spaces (1962). One is homogenous, universally accepted as true, and geometrical. The other is anthropological space, one that is practiced and transformed by the existence of inhabitants (de Certeau, 1984). Determined through a series of processes and operations, spaces are conditioned by the actions of its actors. Lefebvre, as well as other contemporary urban theorists, suggests that space is socially produced. Inhabited by humans, spaces are shaped by the repetition of their endeavors. Everyday life unfolds in space, and space is the derivative of the “production of everyday life” (Coyne, 2010, p. 79). Humans attune to the rhythm of everyday, reoccurring events, in spatial and time increments. Human geographers like Doreen Massey list as one of the main characteristics of space is that “it is always in the process of being made” (Massey, 2005, p. 9). An antithesis to the austerity of space, place is about being there. Space is transformed into place, once it has been embodied and used by humans to socialize, interact and practice their transient deeds. Space is reconfigured to accommodate the occurrence of daily events. Whereas, place is a vessel containing the memory and embodiment of those interactions between people, and people’s individual body with

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the environment. A place might resonate with one person, but bear no significance to another; therefore places are open to personal interpretation. Edward Relph, an urban planner whose body of work concentrated on place and placelessness, interpreted places as:

“territories of meanings, meaning that arise from the experience of living, working or visiting, somewhere appreciating its architecture, being familiar with its routines, knowing its people and having responsibilities towards it” (Relph, 2007, pp.18).

The repetitions of mundane practices are the “bricks” which create the city, an urban place (Lefebvre, 1958). As it has been mentioned above, places are constructed through embodiment. Humans, acquire knowledge and a perception of the social traits and spatial traits of a community, through their bodies and minds. Humans adopt these traits and tune with the rhythm, which a place dictates. Interactive design relies on the way in which people familiarize with space, place and a community. Context and embodiment are principles, which both architecture and interactive design share. The one needs to learn from the other; the latter needs to explore the roots of interactivity and the former needs to understand more about context, space and place. In order to create a ground-up mobile network system, interaction designers must recruit other specialist such as: ethnographers, human geographers, architects, urban planners and psychologists. Pervasive computing with locative properties can help advance human encounters and interactions, by communicating and sharing these experiences over a digital, worldwide social network. Ubiquitous devices have spatial properties - they aid people position themselves in space, it creates communication networks over space - they help the synthesis of place directly or indirectly as a tool.


[2.05 Disembodiment: Losing ‘sense of place’] In 2.04 Space and Place, I have tried to best describe the differences between the two philosophical concepts. Explaining something so natural like how we engage with the world can prove to be quite challenging. The body gives a haptic shell in which one experiences the world, it gives scale and a sense of orientation (McCullough, 2005). We also perceive with our mind, adding another layer of complexity to models of space. Embodiment has had resurgence in post modernity. Inquisitions about embodiment have twenty-century philosophers; wonder why has the body been separated from the mind, in the western thought? Descartes supported the dualism of body and mind. Reduced to a mechanism, the body simply executes mental orders and abides by the laws of nature. The mind is considered to be an independent entity, which occupied the body. This was the origin of disengaged human consciousness. Maps and other representations of space and place have been based on Descartes’ view that space and time are distinct (Descartes, 1644). Both according to the philosopher are entities, which the mind subjectively creates. More than two thousand years, a priori space - a philosophical concept by Kant - dominated the representation of space. A priori space is an empirical and objective portrayal of space. It is a neutral, preexisting space which is unaffected by any mental representation and stimuli sensed by the body and mind. Disembodiment is necessary to produce a neutral spatial interpretation. Dwelling, a Heideggerean notion, is a state of awareness, where one “identifies with a place” (McCullough, 2005,p. 40). If we trace the changes in the meaning of this state, of dwelling, we will see a gradual

25


26

loss of a ‘sense of place’. Before the Renaissance, to dwell was more than to inhabit. It spoke of belonging and connecting to a place and its social structures. With technological advancement and with the birth of the Modernist movement, people used technology to emancipate themselves from the confines and habits of their communities. Heidegger leads us to believe that the schism between mind and body, space and time during the Renaissance fracturing a vital connection between human and land. So thus, humans have lost a sense of a place. Feeding off this placelessness, virtual realities emerged to suspend the disbelief of the loss of embodiment. With the deflation of cyberspace, digital media have reminded us all through social networking systems, like Facebook and Twitter, that actions in context do matter.

“Embodiment is not just a state of physicality, but a situation in real time and place.” McCullough, 2005, pp.53

Digital mobile devices are now inserted with locative media, pushing navigation and representation of urban spaces in a new era. Interweaving social and spatial data, retrieved from the users’ position, wayfinding practices are being transformed. On-line maps are overlaid with personal tags and pins, utilizing the tacit knowledge of the crowds. Representations of space are slowly being co-authored by the users, instead of being enforced by a higher social or political power. Users engage in a learning process, where mobile devices with locative properties are used as tools to explore and perceive the environment. Locative media dependent on the ground and are one of the strongest advocates of belonging, and regaining a ‘sense of place’.


[2.06 Representational models of space] Models of space vary substantially between disciplines. Spatial models are the abstractions of our understanding of it. Architectural models of For the transcript of the interview with Dr Chris Speed, refer to Appendix 8.01.

space are arguably, as Dr. Chris Speed pointed out during our interview, limited. Architects model a spatial configuration, without any sense of time. Confined by the Cartesian geometry and dominated by a Western Christian philosophical thought, perceptions of space are absolute (Speed, 2010). Mathematical models of space, such as cyberspace and virtual space, are richer in terms of complexity and sophistication. Eliminating geographical distances and cultural differences, virtual models of space came in the 1990s to offer an alternative to the definition and representation of the world, and space. Unfortunately, the models of space we have inherited are ruptured. Maps for instance, are geographical plans of the world, which have become devoid of human intelligence ( see examples of commonly used satellite navigation maps 9-11). Even though they exhibit knowledge of space, they lack the narratives of humans and the stories, which arose when performing their actions through space. The lines and shapes, which indicate routes, have no sense of time or belonging. Lefebvre, in his book, The Production of Space (1991), describes a model where space, body, mind and time are in unison. A tripartite model, which identifies and organizes spatial experiences in three categories: spatial practices, representations of space and spaces of representations. I.

spatial practices: explores the idea that different user groups,

like the elderly, skateboarders and so on, use the environment to

perform their repetitive actions. In return, a place is then constructed by their activities.

27


28

II.

representations of space: in this second concept, Lefebvre

notes how maps, architectural plans or even positional coordinates

are really an abstraction and a conceptual view of space (1974). These representations are products of how the academia and the industry believe space is produced. With technologies evolving constantly, especially social networking applications, it is only a matter of time that map making and cartography will be forced to renew their interpretation of spaces (Speed, 2010). The linear parts we have inherited from satellite navigation maps are not sufficient to evoke a sense of place, in a there and then context, as well as on a global scale. III.

spaces of representations: spaces are built from narratives, im-

ages and symbols. These situated symbols are an output of a constant power struggle between the “social, physical, intimate, economic and

cultural attributes� of space (Speed, 2010, p.171). People, which inhabit a space, interpret these symbols, and hence experience space from a particular viewpoint and produce their own space within that limited spectrum of perception. For most of us, living in an urban society it is nearly impossible to have an appreciation of a sense of a place in a universal effect. We are constantly being inundated with fictional imageries of the world, produced by the mass media industry. These images are broadcasted through our televisions sets and mobile devices’ screens. In an age where the urban society is relying on pervasive devices for ordinary life practices, we bear a risk of forming a saturated view of the world.


29

9

10

11

A Google map printed for navigation (September 15, 2012)

A Bing map printed for navigation (September 15, 2012)

A TomTom map printed for navigation (September 15, 2012)


30

[2.06 Attaining the Borgesian dream] Representations of the world remain largely controlled by bodies or persons with authority and socio-political influence. Locative media offer the possibility to give a grounds-up view of the world, however interactive designers need to be thoughtful as to how they represent space. As the city is more wired and connected, the line between digital and physical spaces is obliterated. The infinite flows of digital data, is turning specific and the offline world should no longer be regarded as separate from the online one. In the following chapter of this dissertation, the way these locative media are used as a means to regain a sense of place, will be explored. Ordinary people use pervasive devices to complete their day-today activities. Already there are examples of the augment reality, where people use digital media with locative properties to describe their physical presence, while assembling their social lives. Nathan Jurgenson, in a post on his personal website, proclaimed that: “digital and material realities dialectically co-construct each other� (Jurgenson, 2009). What is the role of locative media in this reciprocal process between the physical world, the individual and the digital world? Google in its Ground Truth project is trying to harvest the information humans relay onto the physical space and encode the geographical representation of space (maps) with it. Location is giving meaning to the information, that Google as a search engine possesses. In a grand scheme of things, what Google and MIT’s SENSEable City Lab are trying to achieve is the Borgesian dream.


31 A complete, 1:1 representation of the world, that entwines the multiple attributes of space and gives a rich, substantial and more accurate sense of place (Madrigal, 2012). Even though in reality the present-day representations and abstracted models of space are not empirical, it is important to work towards creating a model of space analogous to the experience space offers. If locative media can mash-up the social, geographical, cultural and physiological characteristics of space, can it create a sense of place? Presuming that it can, how are such media interlaced in our daily lives? How are they changing the way we navigate through a city? How do these media publicize and share across a digital network a real-time chronicle of one’s experience of a place?

Image 11: Trying to comprehend the colossal scale of these technologies and the situated translocal networks, might encourage people to value and reconnect with the physical world.


3.0 // Chapter Two Navigating with locative media

3.01 “An Icarian Fall” 3.02 Locative media reinforcing the social fabric 3.03 Locative media reshaping the urban culture 3.04 Walking with locative media 3.05 Tags 3.06 Conclusion

Image 12: an illustration depicting the so called “cell-trance” from Curius rituals: Gestural interaction in the digital everyday


[Chapter Two]

34

“When information can actively find you on the street, there is a viscosity of space that forms between strangers with locative media,creating landscapes charged with traces of others that have inhabited the same space.�

(Shirvanee, 2007)


[3.01 “An Icarian Fall”] (Certeau, 1984)

Descending into the street, in the depths of a city, the ordinary man is no longer able to see the whole, of the whole he inhabits (de Certeau, 1984). Maps and other representations of Earth, offer a perspective cavalière, which the everyday life obscures. Despite that, inhabitants of a city know and can read its spaces like the palm of their hands. In the simple act of walking, humans weave intricate social webs. Maps lack the resolution to trace these spatial practices (Foucault, 1977). Instead they project a totalizing view of the world. Places hold memories, which people leave behind as traces of their socializing. These histories were not legible from a top view of the Earth. Like modern day, ‘digital Situationists’ (de Waal & de Lange, 2008) can we render these invisible memories visible? Can mobile devices, locative media and social networks reveal these connections? Can such media reinvigorate social activity in the urban space and renew a sense of a place?

[3.02 Locative media reinforcing the social fabric] Bruno Latour in his Actor-Network Theory elaborates on how modern cities are generated through social interactions (2005). Cities consist of “actor networks” (Graham, 2004). These social networks connect humans to non-human elements. In his theory, he highlights the fact that the society’s infrastructure cannot be located in the material manifestations or abstract representations of space (Speed, 2010). In accordance with Latour’s theory, our sense of place largely depends on our social connections within the network (2005).

“Spaces depend upon the gradual construction of complex ethnologies of bodies and objects which are repositories of

35


36 of the ‘correct’ positioning and juxtapositions that allow things to arrive and become known…” (Thrift, 2004, p. 175) Amplifying the need to expand the social fabric, contemporary mobile devices enable us to connect to others. Designed to keep us linked to other people, ‘smart’ mobile devices allow us to be in constant contact with others through instant messaging, emails and a real-time feeds of our friends’ whereabouts via Facebook and Twitter. Such smart devices utilize GPS technologies, so we can ask for directions when we are lost from online maps. Search engines filter information based on our physical location. Locative media combine “geographical, social and cultural dimensions”, giving us a scale of space and a supplementary sense of place (Speed, 2010, p. 173). eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2012, approximately 116 million Americans will be using a smartphone ( European Travel Commission, 2012). Social networking and maps/navigation applications continue to be amongst the most popular mobile devices applications in 2012. Facebook, a social networking site with locative properties remains in the top five applications, as a study by Nielsenwire suggests (European Travel Commission, 2012). Many of social networking applications have integrated geo-tagging as a way to create soft, personalized models of place in real time and real space. McCullough assesses the success of technologies in the way they impact social relations. Mobile devices are embedded in our daily lives, however the question of how they mediate social interactions, remains. Furthermore, it is worthwhile exploring if they do in fact make it possible for users to make sense of the place they are in.


[3.03 Locative media reshaping the urban culture] Tuters and Varnelis classify locative media in two groups: annotative media and phenomenological media (Tuters & Varnelis, 2006). Annotative media are activated in a spatial context and offer people the possibility to tag, or annotate, their physical environment. Phenomenological media on the other hand, tracks the series of actions a human or non-human thing performs in the world. The former uses positional coordinates, as a point of reference for communication practices. Whereas, the latter operates in a virtual interface whilst using geographical space to organize information. Mobile devices, such as the Walkman, a portable music stereo, and the mobile phones, have been tools for individuals to define their geospatial experience (Bleecker, 2006). Many have argued that mobile devices can in fact be causing disembodiment, as they do not yet posses the ability to fully adapt to the changing states of embodiment in place. Mobile devices need to respond to context and the different scales of place (refer to diagram 14) in a more apt manner. Locative technologies are a step towards achieving context aware technologies. Fixed in space, the location of the user or the device itself, initiates a coding process between itself and a wider network of interconnected objects. Locative media can be aware of its location (via GPS, GIS) and simultaneously pass on this data (Crang & Graham, 2007). In their conference introduction, de Waal and de Lange, have listed six characteristics of locative media which are already reshaping the urban culture: I.

applications and website like Google Maps provide an interface

of spatially organized databases, II.

locative media allow places to be tagged, influencing the future

of mapmaking and the meaning maps bear,

37


38 III.

they can trace the track of a person or an object in real space

and in real time; this kind of mapping, has allowed individuals to utilize social networking applications to micro-coordinate their interactions, IV.

they can personalize space through their use,

V.

locative media can tailor searching to the location of its user,and

VI.

they represent space and everything it encompasses in a

particular way, thus affecting users perception of space

(de Waal & de Lange, 2008). In the public sphere, individuals try to dwell in through their dealings and clashes with others. Locative media hold the power to keep a virtual, yet spatial record of such past actions and predict future practices of their users. A data trail is created for each person, which can be accessed and read by third parties. Beyond the different viewpoints critics and supporters have on locative media, they are “implicated in social tuning� (Coyne, 2010, p. 60). Neighbourhoods Rooms & buildings Wearables & portables (devices)

Body

Diagram 14 : Scales of place (inspired by McCullough, 2005)


[3.04 Walking with locative media] Walking is also a social activity. It is the primal form of mobility, and an

Wandersmänner (walkers):

everyday practice people perform. Pedestrians remain connected by

de Certeau in his book, describes how the ordinary man who inhabits the city, know the spaces which might not be visible from a view from above. The walkers do not have an all seeing Eye, which is able to see the whole. They see the hidden messages which the Eye cannot perceive. They practice the same habits and routines, without having to question or understand the impact their actions have on the entire network they activate in.

using pervasive digital media. Mobile devices can either enhance the “sociable aspects of walking”, or block social activity (Coyne, 2010, p. 160). Locative media can trace pedestrians’ movements in space and offer the chance to annotate their environment. Navigation technologies have tactically blended in with the sociable practice of walking. Mobile devices along with locative media, can take advantage of the manner in

“These practicioners make use of spaces that cannot be seen; their knowledge of them is as blind as that of lovers in each other’s arms.” (de Certeau, 1984, p.93)

which people attune to a place through their interactions with others. A number of mobile devices applications have started merging social networking with a model of space, which combines time and geographical space. Comob was a smartphone application, which was developed as a research project, led by Chris Speed at the Edinburgh College of Art (Speed, 2010). What this application aimed to do was to use GPS, to map the movement of multiple users with a shared interest or members of a network, simultaneously. Following people’s physical and intellectual journeys through space, such applications are the stepping stone for “collaborative mapping” (Speed, 2010, p. 173). 15

An individual can benefit from such a map, as she can see her location on a topographical map in relations to others. Using a Cartesian map as a base, people position themselves and use their coordinates for negotiation, reinforcing one’s sense of place. Geo-social networking, a trend in social application programming interfaces, combines geo-tagging to improve social networking (JESS3, 2011). Geo-social networking media create a “triangulation between (the) environment, people and self” (Speed, 2010, p. 174). Through the connection and collaboration social

16 CoMob: Dynamic group mapping of lived environments // Screenshots of the application. Interface developed by Edinburgh College of Arts, CoMob research group.

networking offers over interconnected devices, new social practices are arising in the public space (Coyne, 2010).

39


People have navigated through space by consulting points of reference, found in the environment. As it has been stated previously, the physical space is ‘stratified’; coded with information authored by a multitude of individuals (de Certeau,1984, p. 200). Some of these data are histories, which remain fragmented and invisible to people passing by. Many trails of past practices stay hidden. Locative media uses tags, a simple yet powerful tool to help attach people’s experiences onto the physical space. Tags are a form of identification, giving meaning to the object or place it is attached to (Coyne, 2010). They are common and can be found everywhere in many forms: fingertips are a distinctive form of identification, digital tags implanted into new passports, QR tags found in magazines, barcodes stuck onto the back of a product, and so on, we deal with tags on a daily basis. Locative media make good use of tags. Locational tags use positional coordinates to mark locations, to help with navigation. Geo-tagging locks the position of a device or a person in a geographical map. Pervasive digital media with locative tags enable individuals to commemorate their experience of a place, and overlay the physical space temporarily, with a tag (Manovich, 2006). Ubiquitous digital technologies can preserve these histories, affecting the way space is communicated across a wide range of social platforms and users, using various media to do so.

“Tags are linguistic, social, locational, temporal, territorial and habitual.” Coyne, 2010, p. 123

17 Different tags we wncounter in our everyday life.

40

[3.05 Tags]


unique code

assigning a value

hiding a message

tracking an object

annotating space

creating social links


42 Social Tapestries was a research project, by Proboscis, conducted

18

between 2004-2008, which prompted the public to share their experiences of a place (Lane, 2008). Collaborating in creating a map of a place, the research team retrieved the geographical information users transmitted along with the local knowledge, which they collected at

19

street level. Being far from widespread, this project was open to only a limited number of volunteers. Nonetheless, the project provided an insight to public authoring and alternative modes of knowledge, within geographic and digital communities. The process of spatial annotation has increased the participation of people in public matters affecting their community. More communication channels where created between the various agents acting within that local network. A collection of narratives was assembled, unveiling stories about places. People became more engaged and there was an alternative mode of exchanging knowledge. Subsequently, knowledge was liberalized and available to the users (Coyne, 2010). In the end, people were eager to investigate more about a topic or a story linked to a place, as the information was visible in the form of tags.

[3.06 Conclusion] Ubiquitous computing deploys tags as a supplement to the symbols already existing in the architecture of a place. They follow a lineage of architectural signage, which annotates the built environment as to give an added layer of context related information (i.e. a sign at the door denotes the owner or a past owner of a house) (McCullough, 2005). Marking our territories, tags are temporary claims of personal space in the urban realm. When people leave tags in the environment, it affects the dynamics of the agonistic aspects of territorial claims (Coyne, 2010).

20 Urban Tapestries / Social Tapestries: A multi-disciplinary project (2002 -2004) which investigates how mobile devices and locative media, can help reinforce communities and encourafe public authoring in the urban space. For more information on the project visit: http://proboscis. org.uk/projects/2000-2005/ urban-tapestries/


43 Being “inherently contextual� tags can only be deciphered in place, through digital devices, without retracting from the place’s obvious meaning. Unique identification mechanisms, like tags, are found everywhere. But what happens when personal details are disclosed and made available to publicly accessed networks? Despite skeptics, which speak against the emergence of transparency, which pervasive technologies promote, we all carry or even wear a tag (Crang & Graham, 2007). These annotations recognize us and identify us on a personal level. A new form of spatial mnemonics, originating from ubiquitous computing and locative media and their use of tags is arising. Mnemonics in the urban scape, are embodied in tags, which signify histories meaningful to people (Yates, 1966). These associations occur when people attune to one another and to their environment (Coyne, 2010). User-ascribed tags are used extensively in social networking media to share these experiences and generate instant feedback. Stimulating conversation, tags play an instrumental role in the formation of communities (Mathes, 2004). Reviewing the new social performances, of people cooperating to create a spatial taxonomy of the world, questions on ethics emerge. How much personal information are most of us willing to share? Could we create a perfect image of the world, where there is total transparency in the system? Additionally, are mobile devices and locative media complicit to a total control of the flow of information and spatial representations? Do they revoke a sense of place, causing homogeneity of the environment? Or, do they amplify human cognition through the creation of multi-authored data and contextual awareness (Coyne, 2010)?


4.0 // Chapter Three Assessing the success of locative media 4.01 Trending now: SoLoMo* 4.02 Geo-social media and architecture 4.03 The impact of locative media on public spaces 4.04 Towards a critical assessment of locative media 4.04.01 Foursquare 4.04.02 Livemapp 4.05 Locative media: a marketing tool or a tool for spatial engagement? 4.06 Why are locative media relevant to architects?

image 21 & 22: DNA code for community G; Plan with narratives for the new suburban city of Hoje T채astrup, by Chora


[Chapter Three]

46

[4.01 Trending now: SoLoMo*] John Doerr, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers, in the U.S.A., invented the acronym SoLoMo*, to describe the convergence of the three factors affecting the growth of commerce: the Social, the Local and the Mobile (Langton, 2011), refer to diagram 23. Veterans in the financial sectors have embraced this marketing innovation, the mobile commerce, which mobile devices with geo-social applications, could offer (Langton, 2011).

SOCIAL

LOCAL

MOBILE

Diagram 23 : The constituents of SoLoMo

SXSWi, i stands for interactive, is a house under the South by Southwest festival held in Austin, Texas, since 1999, gained a reputation for assisting startups, like Twitter and Foursquare gain commercial success (Lawler, 2012). During the 2012 SXSW festival, geo-social networking has been the dominant theme for application developers. Mobile devices applications follow the precedent of Foursquare and combine social networking with locative data. Mobile discovery is exceedingly


47 becoming an important feature in interactive design (Schott, 2011). Given that devices are portable, users can get a more curated view of the world (Boland, 2011). Pervasive digital media are for the first time pushing data to their users. Advertisements and recommendations displaying on the applications’ interfaces, correlate to the users’ history of browsing, Internet purchases and social networking activity. Mary Meeker and Matt Murphy, during their keynote presentation at Google’s Think Mobile Conference in 2011, have emphasized the fact that mobile platforms are growing exponentially, possibly beyond the market’s demand for social media (Meeker & Murphy, 2011). With the confluence of search engines (i.e. Google), social networking (i.e. Facebook), locative media (i.e. maps and satellite navigation systems) with mobile devices, the way users of SoLoMo media, inhabit a space is changing. About 60% of the total time users spend on smartphones, is spent socializing, or playing games or using maps for navigation (Meeker & Murphy, 2011). With ubiquitous computing, especially mobile devices, we are gradually moving to a constant real time connectivity. Unavoidably, the physical world surrounding us is being covered with digital systems (McCullough, 2005). Mobile usage is increasing, because of “real time social features”, but will that prompt individuals to become activated in real time and in the public space (Meeker & Murphy, 2011)? As millions of new users join this global network of interconnected devices in real time and real space, what will this new urban mobile culture develop into?


48

[4.02 Geo-social media and architecture] The word architecture is core to both fields of urban design and interaction design. Architecture uses technological systems, in virtual or in built form, as infrastructures for people to inhabit or adjust to fit their needs (McCullough, 2005). Similar to buildings, virtual networks are products of negotiations, social structure and reflective of the users’ needs. McCullough explains the inverse progress the fields of the build environment and interactive design have undergone. Architecture, in its built form, has always been a manifestation of social networking. However, architecture has only integrated automations, like mechanic ventilation systems, in its contemporary history (McCullough, 2005). Whereas, computing has always been developing hardware and software used to facilitate the operation of a system, it has addressed issues of interactivity in the recent past. Computing, specifically pervasive computing, have only just acquired social organization technology” (McCullough, 2005, p. 154). With architecture and interactive virtual networks converging in the physical world, there needs to be cohesion and integration of the two practices. Everyday objects have the capability to trace associations, which occur in the background of our lives, between people and places. Hence, the social context in which people act their social and non-social activities is being metamorphosed (Brockman, 2012).

“We are at the beginning of a new era for social Internet innovators who are re-imagining and re-inventing a Web of people and places …beyond websites.” (KPCB, 2011)


[4.03 The impact of locative media on public spaces] In order to critically assess the success of locative media to (re)connect inhabitants to places, it is wise to review the history of the urban space. Places are digitally connected; the local place is linked to a global network. The growing use of military technologies, like GPS, for mapping and tracing movement, has created a new model of the world, a socio-political model, with multiplies communities and a “mobile sense of place” (Varnelis & Friedberg, 2008). Implanted in the culture, pervasive computing with locative properties, have been taken up not only by the digerati (the elite of the information technology communities), but by the everyday person too (Varnelis & Friedberg, 2008). Varnelis & Friedberg, in their blog post, recreate an everyday scene at a coffee shop, to present the oxymoron of the networked places phenomenon (2008). Set in a modern café, a public space, which upholds certain routines, like preparing the beverage, consuming it and socializing through this ritual (Habermas, 1991). In this public sphere, over a table and cups of coffee, “private people” assemble themselves (in a formal or informal manner) in a specific location, as public figures and “articulate the needs of the society” (Habermas, 1991, p. 176). However, how many of us while visiting our local café, do we interact and participate in a more public dialogue, with the other patrons? We co-exist physically, our bodies are close in proximity, but most are not present. Immersed into a private, digital place, through the screen of a mobile device, many are connected to some place else. Streaming videos online, exchanging instant messages with a friend on a social networking medium, we are connected to various places and communities simultaneously. That accessibility to a global network has its price; we are being disconnected from our habit, losing the sensual and social experience of the physical world (Varnelis & Friedberg, 2008).

49


50 Social interaction in public space has been augmented by the means of telecommunications. As a result of the industrial revolution, and its subsequent social and financial reforms, the pervasive devices and geo-social networking have been dominating the society (Castells, 1996). Castells distinguishes the two spaces in which we exist (1996). The first one, the “space of place” is localized and it carries memories, as opposed to the “space of flows”, a virtual, worldwide continuum, which is not anchored spatially (Castells, 1996). Repressed by the constant flow of data from the informational world, interactions in public spaces are being eradicated. There is less friction between individuals and the system, to trigger public functions in public space. Without rejecting the virtual world in exchange for a technology free physical world, there needs to be a more educated, and structured space where both exist (Kluitenberg, 2006). As the local is part of a worldwide network, there needs to be a reciprocal relationship between the two scales, with the global informing the local and vice versa.

[4.04 Towards a critical assessment of locative media] As new technological practices, create new methods of interacting within a place; it would be helpful to see in reality if locative media do offer an immersive and complete sense of a place. Do locative media available as applications for mobile devices, embrace the social, cultural, economic, environmental and technical aspects of the context they operate in? Following this brief introduction, there will be a comparison between two mobile devices applications, which fall under the category of geo-social networking. Foursquare and Livemapp are the two


51

“All the world would be dynamically viewable and picturable and radioable to all the world, so that common consideration in a most educated manner of all world problems by all world people would become a practical event.�

(Fuller, 1962)


52 applications, selected as case studies for this dissertation. The former has been a staple in the app markets, since its launch in 2009 (Arora, 2012). Unlike Foursquare, Livemapp has been recently launched and it is currently only available to Apple products. Bearing in mind the vast difference in users volume and scale, the two applications will be assessed on the way they represent space and their ability to create communities, mobilize people on a localized place and contribute to a larger sense of belonging.

[4.04.01 Foursquare] Launched in 2009, at SXSW, Austin, Texas, Foursquare has gained momentum; reaching 10 million downloads in June 2011 (Foursquare Blog, 2011). Foursquare has been established as one of the most successful startups in the field of interactive design, and has served as a point of reference for many social networking applications that followed (Boland, 2011). Returning to the previously mentioned types of locative media mapping (refer to Section 3.03), Foursquare is considered an annotative type of mapping medium. It is crucial to understand that this is a commercial application, which generated an income and profit to its owners. Evan Cohen, General manager of Foursquare, has stated the intention of the application, is to create the “perfect map� for every individual user, based on his behaviour, location and recommendations from local experts and/or friends in the same proximity (Foursquare Blog, 2012). The application is founded upon social networking and mobile discovery principles (Boland, 2011). Designed as a game, the developers of Foursquare have discovered a new way through locative media to engage with users in a hybrid

Gamification is a popular strategy to encourage people to engage with an application. The simple rules and interface of a game, also help simplify complex urban contexts where the activities will be taking place.


53

24 Illustration 24: Foursquare’s interface design, showing the Explore map with all the annotations.

space. Jef Raskin has highlighted how important interface design is, in the human-computer-interaction field: “As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product” (Raskin, 2000, p. 5). A Google map is used as a base, where the user can locate herself, and view where her friends are in proximity, and previously tagged places (see illustration 24). Users are rewarded by their number of check-ins, by receiving points, badges and rewards. The open authorship model, allows third parties (i.e. users and businesses) to script and create code. Foursquare depends on users’ real time activity, to enrich its database. A future aim for the company is to source more of the tacit knowledge locals have of places, in order to create representations or maps of places of a higher resolution (Boland, 2011).


54

26

25 Illustration 25-26: A check-in special offer; Illustration 27: A badge which users are awarded with.

A year ago, Foursquare extended the application by introducing the Foursquare Merchant Platform (Foursquare Blog, 2011). Businesses (local, national or international) can create a public profile in the database, and grant special offers to loyal users, who visit their premises recurrently (see illustrations 25-27). This simple form of advertising, is aiming to increase “foot traffic” (Boland (2), 2011). Financial rewards certainly mobilize people, and the application is offering an alternative way for businesses to interact with their customers. However, there is no deep reflection within the interactive design field, as to how sustainable this consumerist trend is on a financial, urban, and social level is. Referring to the new social form of ‘flash mobs’, Foursquare is dynamically altering the urban space, as it mobilizes people into

27


55 consuming in specific locations, as groups (Boland (2), 2011). Pervasive digital media and locative media, take advantage of their potential to overcome the typical geographical and architectural limitations of spatial definitions, and offer inhabitants a chance to escape their habits (their environment and their routines) (Coyne, 2010). Despite this positive view on locative media, Foursquare promotes consumerism, and turns the media into a “shopping-driven locative spectacle” (Lovink, 2004).

[4.04.02 Livemapp] “I ‘m trying to make the moment accessible. I ‘m not even trying to explain the moment, I’m just trying to make the moment accessible.” (Gibson, 2000)

Having only launched in Apple’s App Store in May 09th 2012, Livemapp is a young startup. Inspirational Futures Ltd, the designers, describe Livemapp as a fun and easy way to share and view local or trans-local posts from around the world (Inspirational Futures Ltd, 2012). Despite being recently made available to the market, the application is gathering a strong and increasing community of users. Contrary to Foursquare, Livemapp seems to be attracting a more sophisticated and inquisitive audience. Created to capture and exchange small moment of the everyday life, users upload videos or photographs onto the application’s database. Posts are classified in three categories: Events, News and Recommendations, and they are geographically tagged (see illustrations 29&30). Once more, a conventional Cartesian map, in this case a Tom Tom satellite navigation map, serves as a board to pin and record the geographical position of these social transactions (Speed,


56

28 Illustration 28: A view of global activity; Illustration 29: Sharing an Event

2010). All the annotations clustered according to their location, on the map of the world. Going back to the idea of social discovery, Livemapp connects to the most popular social networking sites, and users can ‘up vote’ and discuss a post online. Even though, users do not have to be on location to unlock these stories, the application does offer a possibility for users from across the world, to familiarize themselves with a place. Categorized as an annotative mapping medium, Livemapp does change the way the world is being depicted (refer to Section 3.03). People intervene and participate in the way, which the “infra-ordinary” is uncovered and portrayed (Perec, 1997). Performing as a ‘tableau’, Livemapp allows users to transform the urban space, to represent their own individual interests and needs (de Certeau, 1984). Working through a series

29


57

31

30

Illustration 30: Three categories of posts ; Illustration 31: Livemapp’s menu interface

of metaphors, places and the social activities that occur in real time and in real space, are represented in a visual form. In that sense, people do tune in to a place, by actively participating in the design of the representation of the urban environment (Coyne, 2010).

“Narration created humanity.” (Janet, 1928)

Overcoming the limitations of the screen of mobile devices, Livemapp uses the screen as an interface between the physical and the virtual reality (Kluitenberg, 2006). Entering the urban space, Livemapp followed the example of Broadcastr, a successful storytelling locative media application. People using Broadcastr, can upload their personal story about a place, in a recorded audio format (Rowan, 2011). Stories


58

32 Illustration 32: advertisment for the application ; Illustration 33: Broadcastr- recording your story

are tied to a location, and users can access them once they are close to the origin of the recording. Once more, social networking is used to make these stories widely available, and create communication threads between users. Returning to one of the research questions, whether locative media alter the way space is represented, the examples of Broadcastr and Livemapp showcase that the Cartesian representation of space is not changing fundamentally. What is changing though, is that locative media help transform ‘maps’ into ‘tours’, (refer to illustration 32) which affect the engagement of a person, in motion, with a place (Benjamin, 2010). Furthermore, locative media do help translate embodied experience to visual, audible, and written formats (see illustration 33). Exchanging stories over a local, or global social network, helps people on the ground better identify with a place, and construct a space (de Certeau, 1984).

33


59 Locative media empower individuals to share untold stories, marking their territories by leaving behind a digital trail (Brockman, 2012). What these threads of stories reveal is the view of non-architects and nonprofessionals of the discipline, which do not possess the power or authority to shape space. In this augmented reality we experience through locative media, space is represented in a more heterogeneous manner. Projecting stories about individuals’ sense of a place, from a phenomenological point of view, locative media help reveal aspect and qualities of space, which have been lost in the process of creating a geographical imprint of the world, in a map. In real time, users annotate the world with tags, narrations, discussions and visual media.

[4.05 Locative media: a marketing tool or a tool for spatial engagement?] With diverse groups of people (and communities) co-habiting the urban space, the city serves as a stage where these different actors confront each other. The outcome of these confrontations, are a social structure in tension, the formation of a cultural identity and of course, the production of space (de Waal & de Lange, 2008). Mobile devices and locative media, have played an instrumental role in the process of dwelling (attuning to an atmosphere and, or an environment). There is a sequence of interactions, in which an individual creates an identity in the public sphere. Firstly, one identifies himself, then negotiates his identity as a social entity in a social context, through a dialogue with others, and finally identifies himself in the space he inhabits (Ricoeur, 1992). Locative media are devices used to code new social interactions, as


60 well as to decode traces of past interactions left either on the virtual space or in the physical space. Nonetheless, the question remains, do locative media augment and intensify one’ sense of a place? Do locative media authorize ordinary people to challenge conventional representations of space? Showcasing how marketers have capitalized on the awareness of location, Foursquare, and similar applications, provide personalized services to its users. Despite the fact, that many locative media have created a very luring game-like interface, to entice users to check-in in real time and real space, there is no proof that it enhances users sense of belonging in a place. Overlaying a standard TomTom map, with recommendations and nearby friends according to the user’s proximity, Foursquare does add more parameters to spatial representation (real time search and social networking). However, the application’s designers take advantage of this global infrastructure network to show certain aspects of a city, to a user (de Waal & de Lange, 2008). Users status in the game and financial rewards for their loyalty. Hence, there is no substantial integration between a user and the city; it does not reveal hidden facets of the city. Therefore, Foursquare paints a dystopian picture of a fragmented urban space (Graham S. &., 2001). Of course, what locative media have offered is an insight to the real behaviour of people; where they are and what they choose to do, in real time and real space (Brockman, 2012). Maps are metamorphosed from illustrations into dynamic models of the world. Beyond the geographical plan of the world, maps in collaboration with locative media and social networking, reveal social interactions in action. Foursquare, offers a map as a personalized tool for navigation. Whereas, applications like

34 A scarf / Playstation, an art piece by Joe Malia, for the ‘Private Public’ project.

can upload data to the application’s database; they do so to receive


61 Livemapp and Broadcastr, actively promote the resurgence of the “tour describers”, the various voices, which activate within a city, and organize movements (de Certeau, 1984, p. 121).

“Athens is neither a city nor a state, it is an idea.” Aristotle

Augmenting space through annotation (an essential tool for locative media), users create a new sense of citizenship and ownership of space. Symbols and codes encrypted by urban dwellers, as a way to mark their territory, even temporarily, in the public sphere (Russel, 1999). Livemapp and Broadcastr through the recording and sharing of personal narratives, help decentralize social and spatial hierarchy from the domain, to everyday people. By allowing individuals to express through various media, their experience of attuning to a place, affects the way that a place is represented. Mobile devices with locative media, offer a new perspective to users, to view, sense and experience a place. Cartography is becoming plastic, as it adopts multiple variants and models from all disciplines, to generate new geographies and new representations of space (Hall, 1992).

[4.06 Why are locative media relevant to architects?] Locative media allow users, which no longer need to be members of the architectural field, to compose their own map of a place, with precision, using Global Positioning systems to locate their geographical position (Tuters & Varnelis, 2006). Ordinary people hold tools that allow them to give an account of how they inhabit a place, and make known the different layers, which make up that particular space. Cartography is now opening up to include more. Maps are now tracing real behaviour


62 of people, creating a more complex model of a space. Users actively participate and collaborate in producing this cartographical information.

“- what was once the sole preserve of builders, architects and engineers falls into the hands of everyone: the ability to shape and organize the real world and the real space” (Russel, 1999, p. 4)

With individual users intervening in annotating places, onto this globally situated network, there is a new representation of space. If we agree that “(social) space is a (social) product”, then the architectural discipline (the so-defined experts) need to expand and include all those different actors and shapers of space (Lefebvre, 1974). Locative media and mobile devices are powerful tools, if used to register all the connections between people and the environment. Representations of space (maps, models and other metaphors used to define space) are the amalgamation of architectural theories, architectural education and architectural practice. As the models of space are beginning to change, to include more parameters and voices (extending the Cartesian models of space), social interactions in the public sphere are becoming more apparent (Speed, 2010). Professionals in the field of architecture (designer, policy makers and educators) are now standing


63 at a critical point, where they can reflect on the past, normative practices (Awan, Schneider, & Till, 2011). Living in times where the social and political networks are in tension, and the shifts in power and authority are more visible and apparent in the virtual, as well as physical space. As voices of individuals, memories and forgotten spaces are brought to the foreground, through the use of locative media and social networking, architects can no longer afford to exclude these externalities in the design process. If architects (and other professionals of the field) start participating in the annotation of space, they will be able to read into the connections between people, as well as people’s sense of a place. By using mobile devices and locative media, there is a network created connecting people, as a community, or as a whole (Brockman, 2012). This trans-local and ever expanding network is giving architects, a very rich social and spatial context to work with. Shaking traditional architectural practices to their core, locative media, allow for the collaboration and active involvement of non-professionals with architects, in the production of space. As more actors co-author the making of space, and its representation, inevitably there will be a new method of architectural practice emerging. The teleological model of architectural practice (based on Cartesian models of spatial representations) is in the process of becoming more dynamic, temporal and inclusive (Awan, Schneider, & Till, 2011). Production and representation of space is turning to be shifting in continuum.


5.0 // Conclusion Reviewing the dissertation & further research

5.01 Reviewing the dissertation 5.02 Further research: Beyond the limitations of the normative architectural practice

image 35: Buckminster Fuller’s Projection map, 1967, an unfolded flat map, showing Earth as one island in one ocean, without distoring any shapes.


“Fuller’s Projection Map”

Will the representation of space ever move away from the Cartesian models?


[Conclusion]

66

[5.01 Reviewing the dissertation] In the introduction, the concept of the ‘hybrid space’, a merge of

digital networks with the physical space in real time was presented. After introducing key terms, like locative media and ubiquitous computing, the objectives of this dissertation were clarified. In the methodology section, the structure of the dissertation was drafted, highlighting the principal theories used in formulating a response to the set research questions. Each chapter, would aim to use theories by de Certeau, Lefebvre, Latour, Heidegger as well as the work of McCullough and Coyne, to evaluate how locative media are embedded in the environment, how they represent space and if they affect people’s sense of a place. Chapter one reviewed the evolution of the virtual space, from being a dystopian and atemporal world, visible through a desktop’s screen, to

now being situated in everyday objects and the built environment. With the urban space and its inhabitants being interconnected in a global network, through technology, where an individual is matter. Location was identified as a key factor, to initiate social encounters in space, by using locative media. A discourse to ascertain the differences between space and place, revealed how place is synthesized and clarified the concept of ‘sense of place’. Following this discussion, the limitations of Cartesian spatial representations were compared against Lefebvre’s tripartite model of the world, where space and time, as well as mind and body are united. As mobile devices and locative media, facilitate in making visible all the social interactions in space and in real time, chapter one closed with the following question: can locative media replicate and share the sense of being in a place? Chapter two explored the new social interactions in the urban space,

mediated by the use of mobile devices and locative media. Tagging, or


67 the annotation of space by users, was identified as an essential part of making spatial agency more inclusive and available to non-architects. Demonstrating the importance of tagging and the personalization of space with symbols of personal significance, this chapter argued that multi-authored cartographic data, might lead to a more complete and transparent image of the world, composed at street level. Chapter three sought to determine the success of locative media

in restoring a sense of place for people. Foursquare, Livemapp and Broadcastr, commercial mobile devices’ social networking applications were used as precedents for this investigation. Following a brief explanation of the SoLoMo trend in the marketing sector, arguments from critics and supporters of locative media were stated. Foursquare, proved how awareness of geographical position, is exploited to push content to users, which promote consumerism (i.e. advertisements from nearby stores). Juxtaposing this limited representation of the urban space, Livemapp and Broadcastr were used as references, to showcase how locative media can encourage users to engage more with a place and participate in the making of space. Advocating for the need to restore the multitude of narrative figures in spatial representation, it was suggested that locative media when connected with social networking platforms, can reveal more about the history, memories and habits associated with a place. Therefore, as such technologies can be used in real space and in real time, they can enhance the consciousness and the embodiment of a place. Finally, chapter three concludes by asking how can the architectural practices benefit, by incorporating locative media in the design process?


68

“Among such transformations marking the brute X-ignotum of the earth (if that is what it is) into a human landscape are the making of a map or of a picture, the telling of a story, the writing of a novel located at a place. [‌] The landscape exists as landscape only when it has been made human in an activity of inhabitation, that the writing of the novel repeats or prolongs.â€? (Miller, 1995, p.20)


[5.02 Further research: Beyond the limitations of the normative architectural practice] In the final section of this study, I wish to touch upon the prospective of professionals in the field of architecture and urban planning, in adopting locative media and mobile devices, in their practices. Revisiting the conclusion of Chapter three (refer to section 4.6), it was suggested that locative media, hold the potential to enhance a users’ ability to connect with others and her surrounding environment (Speed, 2010). As the volume of active users of locative media increases, there is a dynamic model of the world, which keeps getting more complex. With more people annotating spaces, enriching the geography of a place, and creating new connections to this trans-local network, the image of the world we receive is of higher resolution. There is a new field of human geography arising, as this augmented space is annotated with cryptic messages and narratives from its inhabitants. These hidden messages, which can be read through the use of locative media, tell stories of people who had previously interacted with that place and other people. During an event held at the Netherlands Architectural Institute (Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2009), de Lange and de Waal, invited young architects to critically engage with locative media, during their design practice. Arguing that the lifetime cycles of these media, would infuse a real-time, vis-à -vis urban analysis into the slow process of designing buildings, architects would benefit from this data to take smarter decisions (de Lange, 2009). Media add another dimension to the conventional urban analysis, as seen in diagram 36. All three elements (man, environment and media) do reflect the shift of dwelling to a more digital, mobile and transient social practice. If architects adopt this tripartite system, there could be more relevant solutions to meet the needs of the changing technologically mediated social practices.

69


70

to

in s tion rac inte ds oc ial dia te

s xt i the

me

te on use h suc of

olo gic ally

c nt

hn

a ort mp

exc

dia me

tec

i ow

es

sh ore

lud

ign

pa ce

HUMAN

ENVIRONMENT

MEDIA

Diagram 36: The new technologically mediated social practices in space (man, environment and media).

Inevitably, the role of the architect will need to be adapted to these

new circumstances. On May 18, 2012, the Royal Society of the Arts in collaboration with The Architecture Foundation, organized a forum for alternative future architectural practices, titled: ‘The Resourceful Architect’ (The Architecture Foudnation, 2011). One of the seven shortlisted entries, was Mashup, a virtual network application for microsite development in London, by Sidell Gibson Architects, Richard Brearly and Uli Kraeling. The aim of the application was to get local communities to take initiative and become actively involved in the transformation of derelict and forgotten spaces ( Sidell Gibson Architects, 2011). It highlighted the need to alter the framework of architectural practice and be more inclusive, source narratives and tacit knowledge from locals to deepen the understanding of a place.

36


71 Even though participatory design is already a part of the architectural education and practice, there is a need to go a step further. Locative media in combination with social networking, offer the possibility to expose problems in the urban fabric and make them public. Members of a community can be the enablers of a social alteration, whereas the architect would be primarily initiate social process, by creating links between different actors and stakeholders. Collecting narratives is crucial to the renewal of a sense of a place. Untold stories can be made part of a representation of space, affecting the spatial solution an architect can offer. Weaving an intricate web of interconnected stories and relationships between people at ground level, might make the identification of the actors and the stakeholders more complicated, but it conserves the essence of a place, the social interactions (Speed, 2010). Architects possess the skills to creatively interpret narratives in a spatial model, and reignite ownership to members of a community (de Lange & de Waal, 2009). Locative media and mobile technologies offer architects, a window of opportunity, to explore new methodologies to organize, analyze and represent the action of spatial annotation, in a more interactive and open way. If we would participate in a multi-disciplinary effort to disseminate and analyze the symbols and narratives left on the hybrid space, we would be able to find connections between people and the environment and restablish a connection with the local, and regain a sense of place (Varnelis & Friedberg, 2008). Are architects ready to embrace the virtual and the hybrid space, in an effort to mediate power back to the everyday people? If so, what would the future architectural practice be like?


6.0 // Bibliography & Image Credits


“If you could see everybody in the world all the time, where they were, what they were doing, who they spent time with, then you could create an entirely different world. You could engineer transportation, energy and health systems that would be dramatically better.� (Brockman, 2012)


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architects relate to digital media?’. ‘Day of the Young Architect’. Rotterdam: The Mobile City. Retrieved July 19, 2012, from: http://www. themobilecity.nl/2009/12/06/how- can-architects-relate-to-digitalmedia-tmc-keynote-at-the-‘day-of-the-young-architect’/ de Waal, M., & de Lange, M. (2008). Conference Text. The Mobile City: A Conference on Locative Media, Urban Culture and Identity. Rotterdam: The Mobile City. Retrieved January, 31, 2012 from: http:// www.themobilecity.nl/background-information/lang_enconferencetextlang_enlang_nlconferentie-tekstlang_nl/ Intel Corporation. (2000). The Computing Continuum Conference Proceedings. The Computing Continuum Conference. San Franscisco: Intel Corporation. Meeker, M., & Murphy, M. (2011).Powerpoint Presentation Top Internet Trends (KPCB). Google Thinkmobile Conference. New York: Google Inc. Retrieved August 30, 2012 from: http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en// events/thinkmobile2011/pdfs/10-mobile-trends.pdf Pesce, M., & Tonkin, J. (2006, August). Blue States:Exploring Relational Space. ISEA Conference. Sao Paolo: ISEA. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from ISEA Web archive: http://www.isea-webarchive.org/ content.jsp?id=19319

[6.05 Films & clips] Gibson, W. (Director). (2000). No Maps for these Territories [Motion Picture]. USA

IBM (Writer), & Kwon, L. (Director). (2010). System of Systems [Motion Picture]. USA. Retrieved August 10, 2012 at: http://www.


youtube.com/watch?v=h2br2_twHfw Ratti, C. (2011, March). Architecture that senses and responds. Retrieved January 28, 2012, from TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/ lang/en/carlo_ratti_architecture_that_senses_and_responds.html

[6.06 Illustration credits] 0.0/ cover

Christofidou, E. (2012). Experiencing the city

through mobile devices. [collage]

0.0/p.ii

TED. (2011). Carlo Ratti speaking at TED, from

http://blog.ted.com/2011/03/01/ted2011-report-

session-3-mindblowing/ [photograph] Reproduced

courtesy of TED

0.0/p.vi

Christofidou, E. (2012). Mobile devices, locative

media in the urban space. [collage]

1.0/p.3

National Air & Space Museum Spy Technology

(1908). Dr Julius Neubronner’s Miniature Pigeon

Camera, from: http://thenewinquiry.com/features/dr-

julius-neubronners-miniature-pigeon-camera/

[photographs] Reproduced courtesy of Wikimedia

Commons

1.0/p.6

Christofidou, E. (2012). Diagram 2: Fields of study

[diagram]

1.0/p.7

Christofidou, E. (2012). Diagram 3: Research

questions [diagram]

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84

2.06/p.29

Google (2012). Image 9: route to Western Bank library,

Sheffield, from:https://maps.google.com/maps?q=she

ffield&hl=en&client=safari&ie=UTF8&ei=5KFrUO7VDs

Oc0QXFiYCgDw&ved=0CAsQ_AUoAg [map]

Reproduced courtesy of Google

2.06/p.29

Bing (2012). Image 10: route to Western Bank

library, Sheffield, from:http://www.bing.com/maps

[map] Reproduced courtesy of Bing

2.06/p.29

TomTom (2012). Image 11: route to Western Bank

library, Sheffield,from:http://route.tomtom.com [map]

Reproduced courtesy of TomTom

2.06/p.30

Palomar Observatory Sky Survey. (2010).

Image 12: Finder charts, from: http://brucegary.net/

AXA/HATP25/hatp25.html [photograph] Reproduced

courtesy of PalomarObservatory Sky Survey

3.0/p.32

Art Centre College of Design. (2012). Image 13:

Curious Rituals, from:http://curiousrituals.files.word

press.com/2012/09/curiousrituals-book.pdf

[illustration] Reproduced courtesy of Art Centre

College of Design, California, USA

3.03/p.38

Christofidou, E. (2012). Diagram14: Scales of places,

[diagram]

3.04/p.39

Edinburgh College of Art. (2010). Image 15,16:

CoMob application screenshots of the interface, from:

http://fields.eca.ac.uk/comob/?page_id=2

[photographs] Reproduced courtesy of Edinburgh

College of Art


3.05/p.41

Christofidou, E. (2012). Image 17: Different tags we

encounter in our everyday life, [collage]

3.05/p.42

Proboscis. (2004). Image 18, 19, 20: Social Tapestries

logo, mapping a place and a screenshot of the

application (respectively), from: http://proboscis.org.

uk/projects/2000-2005/urban-tapestries/

[mixed media] Reproduced courtesy of Proboscis

4.0/p.44

Chora Architects. (n.d.). Image 20, 21: Chora:

masterplan of the new suburb city Hoje T채asstrup,

from:http://recite.group.shef.ac.uk/blog/wp-content/

uploads/2012/01/chora_collage.jpg / [mixed media]

4.01/p.46

Christofidou, E. (2012). Diagram 23: defining the

SoLoMo trend, [diagram]

4.04/p.53

Foursquare. (2012). Image 24: The perfect map, from:

http://blog.foursquare.com/2012/09/21/the-perfect-

map/ [photograph] Reproduced courtesy of

Foursquare

4.04/p.54

Foursquare. (2012). Image 25, 26, 27: Check-in

Special Offers! from: http://blog.foursquare.com/

category/business/specials/ [photograph] Reproduced

courtesy of Foursquare

4.04/p.56

Inspirational Futures. (2012). Image 28,29: Activity of

users from around the world, from:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/livemapp-photo-blog-

travel/id522521269?mt=8 [photograph] Reproduced

courtesy of Inspirational Futures

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4.04/p.57

Inspirational Futures. (2012). Image 30, 31: Sharing

and event, from: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/

livemapp-photo-blog-travel/id522521269?mt=8

[photograph] Reproduced courtesy of

Inspirational Futures

4.04/p.58

Broadcastr. (2012). Image 32, 33: Turning your

mobile device into a personal multimedia tour guide,

from: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/broadcastr/ id423169367?mt=8 [photograph] Reproduced courtesy

of Broadcastr

4.05/p.61

Malia, J. (2012). Image 34: a scarf/Playstation tunnel

designed for an art project called ‘Private Public’, from:

http://blogs.walkerart.org/centerpoints/2006/06/21/

designs-for-the-tech-addicted/ [photograph]

Reproduced courtesy of Royal College of Arts

5.0/p.65

BFI (2012).Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map

(original map produced in 1967), from:

http://www.bfi.org/about-bucky/buckys-big-ideas

dymaxion-world/dymaxion-map [photograph]

Reproduced courtesy of Buckminster Fuller Institute

5.02/p.70

Christofidou, E. (2012) Diagram 36: New social

practices as mediated by the new tripartite system:

human – environment – media, [diagram]

7.01/p.90

Christofidou, E. (2012) Still from the interview with

Dr Speed, [photograph]

7.01/p.98

Christofidou, E. (2012) Still from the interview with

Dr Paspallis, [photograph]


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7.0 // Appendices


[ Interviews ]

[ Interview with Dr. Chris Speed ] Chris Speed is an artist and an educator, at the Schools of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art. He is working within the field of Digital Architecture, Human Geography and Social Computing, developing new forms of spatial practice that transform how people experience the built environment. Dr Speed is utilising the technological tools to give a cultural dimension to the geographical model of space.


[ 7.01 Interview with Dr. Chris Speed ] Conducted over Skype, on 24th of August, 2012

Hi // Goodmorning // How are you? // I am well, how are you?// Fine! // Basically, I want to interview you about the design approach you have taken when developing applications with your university research team(s). Also, given your background, I am very interested in finding out how you got onto this field and how you started breaking the linearity of production in giving users some authorship. // Okay (laughs) // So, let us start from the beginning. What is your background? // I did Fine Arts at Brighton Polytechnic Art College. They had a lot of programmes in Fine Art: painting, sculpture, print making and then they had one which was alternative practice. And in the context of alternative practice people were able to do videos or type based media. So, I was able to start using Apple Macs; I graduated in 1992, so in some ways I was trying to play with the time, space, social dimensions. Probably more to do with time and space and there was some social, using fax art. There was a big history of sending faxes to people around the world. There was always time, space, oh well, time and geography and technology. Sorry, geography, time and people. Although I would say geography is central as well. Maybe geography, technology and people. Assuming that geography is really more involved with time and temporality, more than space (I am in an Architecture School now). I have worked in the industry on digital publishing. Then I went to Plymouth University to lead a co-leaded Digital Media programme, digital arts programme. But, I did a Masters at Goldsmiths University in design theory, called Design Futures. Subsequently, I did a PhdD which really explored, well really the problem was that architecture hasn’t seemed to capitalize on the geography, technology, social triptych. They concentrated on time and space and technology, but it hasn’t really managed to - well certainly when I was doing the PhD there was a lot of digital architecture conversation, but digital architecture tended to be a masculine form-based, quite graphic, a kind of pornography - well it seems like they missed the social media and the network society. // We focus quite a lot on networks, but we haven’t found a place to transcend the limitations of the (human and topographical) geography and the way people develop their social networks. Right? // Well, it was easy to critique architecture. It was an obvious, easy target and it falls into some human geography, but I didn’t dare to consider myself as a human geographer [...] // You deal a lot with memory and space, and I was wondering how did you decide that it is important to reconnect with spaces through this emotional process? And by using these applications as instruments to do so? // Well, I suppose the premise was, that we have a very peculiar relationship with technology, particularly because of the Western Christian model of time (coming from a U.K. perspective) and I think that is (being) exported to America. That means that a lot of the rhetoric surrounding an iPhone© or a technology suggests that things will improve. For instance, Windows 09 OP is going to be just great, don’t worry about those problems of Windows 08. And the next iPhone 05© will just be just so better than the previous models and 06 will be fantastic! So we have this linear, processional teleology, we have developed an obsession with teleology. What I think has happened in the past fifteen years, as the network culture has emerged, it began to put stress on

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the teleological model. So in other words, as we approached the year 2000, there was a whole lot of stress placed

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on the assumption that we might be faced with the end of time - and then, we didn’t! // Yes, and time continues uninterrupted... // Funny enough what emerged was that at the same time coincidentally, or perhaps I might argue that it wasn’t coincidence, it might had to do with the death of the author and the death of grand narratives or a lack of faith in the grand narratives, the network culture became a very good substitute or replacement for a model of an epistemological model for space, network and geography. [...] So in that transition, which still goes on, from a teleological model in start, middle, end is important, the network became very rich in context to play with. However, we then thought in the research project which is shared with the universities of UCL, Brunnel, Sulford and Dundee, that we found that there was a persistent vocabulary within the Internet of Things ( a term first used by Kevin Ashton in 1999), like the previous examples of the Windows OP and the iPhone, that it will solve all of your problems. Again, it seemed to be adopting this vocabulary which was linear, had a technological determinism to it. All of the logistic call talked about cradle to grave. And you don’t talk about grave to cradle, they don’t talk about a chance in reincarnating some object from the grave. I am interested in memory as a right to write back. In fact memory wasn’t the starting point. Memory became a framework in which we would engage a critique of the technology available. So the critique of the technology was that standard barcodes don’t allow us to write back. As instruments, barcodes are part of this cradle to grave linearity. If we had an opportunity to develop a research project or a technology that could allow me or you to write to it, contesting the linearity. All this can do now is being scanned at a warehouse, or supermarket, and then it goes to the bin. Finding a way to disrupting that temporal pathway became critique, which became central in developing the technology. So then the question became, well what do you write on a barcode? You don’t really want to write logistical data about its performance, we are not interested in having a dialogue with the rhetoric and perpetuate their model. What we wanted to do, perhaps, was engage the social. So it covers that third prop, which is well this object passes through the hands of people, and in the end we are trying to disrupt the chain by looking at objects that people have cared for. [...] My PhD students on the project will talk about memory as being non-linear. If I ask you where were you when you heard about the ree on the terms and conditions, but they don’t invite us to write in terms of these conditions . A lot for me is about exploring how we hack, to what extend does the hack and the writing can be part of a conversation. If someone wrote a memory on this pen toy, I can write on it as well, and then it begins to constitute a conversation between myself and the other person. You begin to get conversations, a network. Did that make sense? // It does, having watched the online videos for “Hacking the Museum”, where you spoke about collecting memories and generating an underview effect, and not limiting the story of an object to the specific description given by a curator, specialist or archaeologist. So it gives you an idea of the context of where that object was. // I suppose, we hoped two things. One, that it would break the fourth wall, and puncture the glass that the artifacts are behind from, but also suggested that the things that the curator suggested it was, was not exactly that, or just that. A classic example is


the bucket, it evoked memories of washing communal stairways (done in Edinburgh), so there a sharing model of cleaning. What is the thing? The bucket reminded people of cleaning nappies, or catching fish and tadpoles. What I quite like, and the curators likes was the disruption of the presumed narrative. // I was interested in finding out how much power did the curators have at the end of the day and how much of the shared memories did they take on board? // Well okay, we had the curator called Allison Morman and we had a fond, closely linked relationship and then we had the Institution. The Institution and the curator are very different entities. Allison was very supportive, it was Jane in the project who was concerned with the content of what people wrote on the object. She didn’t want to include the nappies washing as part of the story, whereas Allison embraced the noise in the process. The noise facilitates engagement, Allison was very supportive and for the first time she wanted the objects to move in different directions. However, the Institution they were more worried, not about the perception of the object, but more of the people writing abuse or rude things on the objects. If we flooded the gallery with Wi-fi, which it did not have, they were worried they would be linked to pornography sites. Actually all curators seem very smart people, able to set up very complex narratives. I am not sure they ever get any feedback about whether the public appreciates these narratives, their subtleties, tensions in these complex networks between these number of objects. Allison relished the chance to have a conversation, have a feedback. Otherwise, there is little feedback, they run workshops, handling events, but you don’t often leave people on their own ... // To express themselves! // Exactly! She was super! The inherent problem that we had was that QR is being conceived as a read-only action. If you see them, my hunch is that you generally don’t bother scanning them, because they might be associated with advertising. So when people saw them, it has been quite difficult in dealing with this behavioural barrier. It’ very hard to tell people that this is your chance to write. They understand it when using Facebook, that they can update their status, but they don’t think they can write on a QR. That is one of the affordances or limitations of these cultural perceptions. // With interaction designers, why is so scary to welcome noise? // Oh, we have worked with a lot of galleries. The TATE gallery in London, were very interested. They were very interested in using the paintings as cultural props. If every fifteen years, a particular collection of work comes out, the work acts as a props. If you can write to it and read the stories when it pops up again, the earlier memories and associations with the object with the future ones will be different. These memories and associations will give you insight into the state of society. So they were really excited about using artifacts as props. However, one woman suddenly turned around and said we get a million visitors to a show, and if 2% gave us memories, I had to look through thousands of tweets/memories. That is just noise, I know what I want to describe and I like how this technology becomes a gateway for a feedback, but I don’t want a conversation. I don’t want to sift through a thousand of tweets and I don’t know what to do with these. It probably won’t change the way I will curate the next show. There was a tipping point between the inter-displinary space between curators and ethnographers and using artifacts as props. Actually, some of that community don’t really care about the noise. Maybe it has to do with the scale. The museum of Scotland there aren’t a lot stories. We have worked quite a lot with the White Shed, to do very intimate connections with people. The problem with a broad scale rollout, it becomes intimidating for the noise. // With the other applications like

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Walking Through Time and TOtEm, can you see it in the future that users will be able to co-design the application

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or have some level of interaction in the development and designing process? // I think that all of the products and research projects are all very different. Although they all have a connecting theme, which is personally a despair at the gap of the WEstern Christian model of time which dominates technology, and story telling as having ends and yet negotiate the internet and social media with creativity. I can’t reconcile those two and it is very frustrating. I will be honest, what I try and do is develop experiences that help the public move to that thinking space. Some of the products, become products, which don’t have any social engagement. I think Totem is implicitly, if there weren’t any memories on the website it wouldn’t be a project. Walking through time, is simply a gap in the access of maps and the use of Google Maps as the dominant maps, and an effort to disrupt Google. Other projects, the Community Hacking, is much more co-driven, co-created and I see myself as an actor within about six agents, six people who are pulling in different way, that constitute the project. What we do there is much more contingent based on that community. Making decisions on how things work, whether they conceive it as a newspapers or a social media platform.[...] It depends a lot on each project’s connection. We are doing some great work with transport at the moment, but that works with case studies. One of the case studies engages with families who walk to school. // I see... // So in that context, I will send you a [...] comics storyboard. There are three contexts, the one is walking to school, which I haven’t send you. What we tend to use is storytelling and users stories. What I have sent you is a comics, that we, the researchers have developed an idea for a context. Then we draw that up as a user story, for instance the Smith family is on route to the beach. Meanwhile there is They use our app, which doesn’t exist yet, and post that they have a space in their car. At the same time, it will broadcast out to the friends in the area and the Smith family asks for a lift to the campsite. What we are beginning to do is exercise, we develop an idea which fold in transport, locative media and social networking. Then we invent a scenario which will be disruptive, but also potentially beneficial. We then draw it up as an accessible comic, taking it back to the user community. We say here is an idea, can you see benefits? The users then say I am not sure about going on a long walk, we don’t , but could they (people owning the car) pick up some beer for us on their way here? The beer could then be the things they have space for in the car. By using storytelling and scenarios, we are trying to help people to connect. Well, in this context we have a very limited model of what the transport network means. The transport network has been around as a term for 40 -50 years, which predates social media. If I talk about network, social networking with people, they have very complicated and sophisticated ideas about social networking. But then if you talk about the transport network, instantly their ideas become limited “It is just roads”. We try to help them move between the two mindsets.// Users might think of it as just synchronizing their timetable so they get the right bus to go to work, and it is more than that. // It is far more than that. You know, we have located the network affordances are so low. But people are very sophisticated in creating relationships through Facebook and Twitter. They are pretty good and they understand why Wikileaks is good and bad. They understand phone hacking, they understand even the delays and buffering. Unfortunately the behaviours, which is of ethnological interest, ethnomethodology suggests


that sometimes behaviour leads the model of the affordances. So how you think, that the car can do something, because I only understand the transport network, because of the way I use timetables, buses and cars and taxis. A lot of the work we do is negotiating storytelling and finding the fit. One of the projects we are oing at the moment is working with the campsite, instead of using barcodes [...], we use cars number plates. WE don’t the number plates though, as we use an Oyster card,we don’t tag, we don’t go in and out of places, but all the time cameras are recording the number plates. It means that the cars are on the network. So by asking people to use a very simple iPhone app that allows to put in a number plate and then leave a memory, or a message on that car. [...] The car, the object, we learnt through Hacking the Museum, that objects are very good go-betweeners, interstitial conversation starters. We had this idea and we took it to the campsite. The campsite people were great, and they understood that their car could have a Facebook wall and that other people could write on it. We, the researchers, didn’t know that they gave us such a simple... // Perspective... // So through storytelling and their comments, we offer disruptive mash-ups and then ask people to help find a way to appropriate it as a behavioural app. [...] It deals with affordances, and make people realise that they can have control over what is being posted on the car’s wall, so it deals with some design as well. [....] The stories are quite important, the public participants really like the story as part of engaging with the development of an app. // Two last questions... How do you think it will affect the principal agents -architects, urban planners, politicians, users - in creating spaces? I believe that social and locative media have been on a different speed, and we , architects, we stayed a little bit stuck in our old practices. How do think it will change the way we design space? // I am glad you said it, that about architects. I find that despite of them being creative, intelligent, smart people, and I don’t know if it is the institution or the accreditation that constraints (the practice of architecture). There are a couple of problems I thinks that you have, you have a very particular use of the concept of a model. I don’t think your model is the same, that every other discipline has of the model. Modelling and models are very contingent, time-based, they are jsut models... What happens is that architects, you negate with clients and with each other using models, I think that they think we have a consistent model of the world. Architects think of their models,that is something that I, a user, relate to my world. So if you made a model of my house, [...], it will appear as looking as my house. And that is not my house! [...] Have a look at this great artist we have in Glasgow, called Mitch Miller. He is working on another project which is very similar to the comics, but much more sophisticated. What he is drawing is dialectograms, he has trained in politics and cultural studies, so he is not an architect. But I think what he draws are models of architecture. [...] If you see the image of Yeoman’s land, what you will find in there is an ethnographic, a plan with lots of stories. The granularity and the scale changes; I can see family trees, I have got personal stories. The granularity and the scale changes; I can see family trees, I have got personal stories. So far more complex socially constituted model, in which the architecture is socially contingent. I think you have this barrier, because of this client relationship you tend to model towards an idea that we think we have a consensual model of the world. If I go to my doctor lets say, and I complain of a back pain. The first model she will use is my body and she will relate to that cognitively. Then she might draw me a picture, or even try to describe how her body is functioning. What we then do together, is try

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and construct a model for her to understand the nature of the symptoms, the nature of the pain which is very subjective. I think that where modeling is, modeling is a conversation. But, I so rarely find that architects negotiating

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models. Forgive me, maybe I don’t know enough of what is happening in the studios. // My first degree was done at the University of Bath, which used to be a Polytechnic, so it highly engineered and now I am in the University of Sheffield, which focuses a lot on the social aspect of architecture. It relates more to theories which support the social production of space. Usually architecture is described as the pinnacle of the politics, and the social relationship between the agents, which makes the practice less fluid. What I found interesting with my dissertation, is how using an application can break the barriers of time and geography. An application like Walking through time, can trace how several cities were developed, and how space was developed. Historic maps are superimposed in real time on space. // You are absolutely right, and I think that the social production of space, whether it being postMarxist or the Lefebvre theories - I don’t see it in many school of architecture. [...] Some schools can’t seem to be able to identify with how to contribute to those shared vocabularies (of research), which the computer scientists even have a good grasp of the social production of networks and yet they are not the most social people! (laughs) [...] A symptom I find in the accreditation, institution and client model. Another symptom I find is, sometimes they get very pretty, if they (educators) are not building, they are not involved in the process, they teach. Then if they can’t build, then they will write, they will do paper architecture. That is a very odd division. Maybe it has to do with the scale fo architecture is so big. If you are working with a furniture designer, they can always develop furniture at every level. It means they can write theoretically and practice. It seems to be the scale of production across the architectural community to bring a building into being, it means that as soon as I disengage, they seem to want to construct paper architecture. There are a series of gaps that seem to open up. [...] Perhaps the last are, is linearity and time. There are a few architects that write about this, but at the same time, as long as there is a relationship with production you still talk about linearity and the programme. The programme, it could be a story, but it usually ends up being a linear script. We have an MPhil student looking into open-source, and how it affects the architecture community and how architecture responds to the open-source, and to what extend they have relationships or they don’t. What can one learn from the other... // The role of the architect, in comparison to lets say an artist, or a software designer, the profession of the architect is associated with having a total control of the design and its outcome. // I don’t know who generates that! Because you don’t what architecture is before they come to university. Why did you join the architecture cue? Because no one taught you about the architecture. [...] How do people know about architecture? You live in it, you move through it, yet we know nothing of it. Schools (of architecture) perpetuate the myth! They don’t dismantle the myth, and say architecture is pretty poor actually! [...] We run an interesting masters course called Disrupting Technology, this isn’t a sell, we have an ethnomethodologist who comes in. One student interestingly responded with form follows method, is got nothing to do with functioning or formatting, it’s all about behaviour and method. So the students need some ethnographic skills and some ethnomethodologies are a good place to start, because it deals with how people go in and out, how they open and close. This idea of behaviours, which apps are now behaviours. You have an pp to make a phone call, to


send a message. [...] The iPhone, in particular, has developed this app thing, which might be a problem, but we try to disrupt behaviour. On the other hand though, it has simplified these behaviours, so it allowed us to understand them. For the architects is usually how to people go in and out from a space? I think is more to do with social than spatial intact. Spatial syntax looked at flow and affordance, but there is something to do with breaching. Garfunkel speaks of breaching and how you can better design buildings for methods and social dynamics if you like. [...] Architecture could be the central practice to human geography, you have got this phenomenal opportunity and vocabulary to do so. You could ask me this, why isn’t architecture the central practice to human geography? // [...] // Thank you so much for this interview. It has been helpful. // The locative media, understanding the landscape as a non-contingent space. We don’t know what a city is and the disruption of it is very important. Good luck with everything! Keep in touch!

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[ Interview with Dr. Nearchos Paspallis ] Currently a Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, he has previously lectured at the Cyprus University of Technology and at the University of Cyprus. While studying for his PhD thesis, which was based on the development of context-aware applications using reusable components, he was part of the University of Cyprus research team . He is specialises in software engineering, mobile computing, self-adaptive systems, and context-awareness for applications.


[ 7.02 Interview with Dr. Nearchos Paspallis ]

in person, at the Hack Cyprus event, Limassol, Cyprus, on the 30th of August, 2012 Hello, how are you? How is everything? // Everything is great, thank you, how are you? // [...] // What applications are you working on, alongside your research? // For the past few months, I have been working on an application called Pafos Tresure Hunt®, which I have sent you the link for, which is a fun travel app for both Apple and Android devices. It is like a game where visitors (locals or not), can explore and find out about the history of Pafos. The goal of the game is to check in, at as many points from the list and earn points. // Does it follow a similar reward scheme, like Foursquare®, with badges and titles? // Yes, there are different badges awarded to users, according to their acticity. We are trying to attract more local companies, restaurants and shops to work with us, to be on the suggested routes, and offer discounts to our users. // Where do you source the maps from? // We use Google Maps, as a software designer, Google gives you a unique API key, you know what API is right? Ok, Google Maps gives you an API key, where it gives you permission to integrate their maps into your application, and allows you to create your own overlays. In the case of Pafos Treasure Hunt®, the overlays are the listed attractions, which are part of the treasure hunt, and the other overlay is a blue pin which indicates the location of the user on the map. It works normally, like when you ask Google Maps for directions. As a developer, I wouldn’t had been able to design or develop my own maps, I use what is already out there. // Of course, there are so many maps open-sourced and available, like Google Maps or Bing Maps. // If you are developing an app for the Android Market, it is almost certain that you will choose to use Google Maps, because they are much easier to incorporate into an app. The only difference would be, if the application has millions of hits every day, then you will need to contact Google HQ, and I think there is a fee to pay for using the maps. Anyway, 99% of the situations, you wouldn’t need to go through such a process. What is always necessary though, is to register with Google as an app developer, so they can identify you and the unique API key. That makes Google able to moderate the traffic of the application. // So it works like a license... // It is a way for them to check for malicious use of data. If I as a developer designed a software which would hack the users’ phones and sent requests to Google constantly to damage their servers, then Google would automatically disrupt the communication channel with my API key. Hence, losing an access to Google maps. //What changes when an app is designed for an Apple device to an Android based device? // There are a few adjustments that need to be made. For instance, the icons, we use the official icons of each respective operating system. Where adjustments are made, is when you are transferring an app intended for a mobile phone to a tablet; you need to alter the screenshot to fit the tablet’s frame. Great! I am interested in finding out how you start developing an application. Do you find a gap in the market, and you decide that you will develop something for it, or...? What are the factors which determine what and how you will develop an application? Do you follow social trends and respond to the current needs of the crowds? Or is it a completely different process? // First of all, it depends if you are developing an application for commercial purposes, or not. There are groups of designers which is developing applications, just because they are really

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to make money out of it in Cyprus from either selling the app or having advertisements, I had to really plan out the application’s use and design process. The main idea is to find a company who wants to develop an application.

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[...] However, in order to convince a company to trust me for the first time, I had to prove my worth as a designer, by having designed free applications... // Like a portfolio // Exactly! That is how I started developing the free application, Cyprus Pharmacy Guide®, which really helped me. From then onwards, I started developing other apps, slowly and gradually making them more complex. [...] . Through trial and error, I have gained some expertise, and I started creating networks with other local developers, with whom we cooperate to create applications.By becoming involved in this market, I have met the developers from Cocoon Creations®, and started developing the Pafos Treasure Hunt® application for Androids. They came to me with a few existing screenshots for iPhone users, which needed to be refined and adjusted for Android devices. Having some screenshots to work with, made the design process so much easier. // So, do you start the design process with storyboards? Do you use flow charts which explain how will this application be working? Do you create the initial screenshots, as sketches, by yourself? Do you then take them to a sample user group and the rest of the design team, to receive feedback? // Yes, that is more or less how I work. A notable difference between mobile phone applications from desktop applications, like Windows apps etc, is that when you are designing a mobile phone app, you need to bear in mind that users can only see one application running on their device’s screen at a time.Of course, there is a notification car, notifying you of incoming alerts from other apps which run in the background, but there is only one application over the device’s frame. We don’t have the concept of windows for mobile phone or tablet devices, which I regard as a great advantage. This restriction came as a result of the design constraints of these devices: the screen must remain small, the memory capacity is limited and the battery life is quite short. That motivated a Human-Computer-Interaction mode where the user is focusing on one application at a time [...] therefore, when a designer is developing an application, a good way to begin would be to sketch the various screenshots of the application. // Yes. // In the case of Pafos Treasure Hunt®, the iPhone app was already available, so I just altered a few things to make it compatible for Android users and tablets. [...] I also customized the application a little bit for each operating system. [...] // Therefore, you have the full responsibility to design everything by yourself, all the little details, to make sure the application is functioning properly in each device. // The most important parameter you need to decide, is what do you want the application to do. I could tell you the steps I would take if I had to develop an application from scratch? // Sure! // From my experience, the most important thing is to define the user experience, so it can be interpreted and designed in the simplest and most coherent way. This is very crucial, especially for mobile phone applications, because its users are not necessarily all familiar in using pervasive digital media. [...] As a developer, I have received a few emails and complaints for things that are quite trivial, but mean that the interface is not legible to all. When designing an application, you need to be very careful to make the interface as easy to read and use, to eliminate user usability problems, like lack of legibility. A consequence of bad user experience would be for dissatisfied users to give a bad review for the application and uninstall it completely from their devices. Reviews are very important for mobile applications, both the informal recommendations people


make between them (word of mouth) and the official reviews an application receives online. Therefore, the first thing to think about is the interface, and how can the HCI be as simple as possible. It might sound insignificant, but it is one of the most challenging stages of software development. To realise and really narrow the functionality you aim for the application to have, down and make that functionality available to users, to be unambiguously self describing, okay? When you have achieved that, the second step is, to determine the screenshots of the application, kai how will the interface react at each scenario. The following step is to define the data model. In this case (Cyprus Pharmacy Guide®) the data which are available are: the names and details of all the existing pharmacies in the country, their coordinates and their address. I don’t have all of the pharmacies’ coordinates, to complete the application’s database. The rest of the data I have gained from a list issued by the Ministry of Health, which is being published annually with all the pharmacies listed on it. I took that Excel file, and using a script to parse the data, I have added them into the application’s database. // Okay, so those documents you have use are publicly available information? // Yes, you can use such data in applications. What I did for parts of the data which I was missing, like the coordinates, is I enabled users in the latest updates of the app, to submit coordinates of pharmacies they know of. It is a kind of outsourcing, to enrich the existing data. I have tried to utilise the wisdom of the crowds, to help the application improve. // As a designer, do you give users a right to get involved at some point during the development process of an application? Do you include them in the process? Do you ask for their feedback constantly when designing or developing an app? // Let me tell you... When I first started developing applications, I didn’t take users’ feedback as seriously. First of all, I honestly didn’t think that (Cypriot) users would ever bother to give feedback. But in practice, when I enabled a feedback feature on my apps, about a month ago, although I did not publicise that feature or prompted people to leave a comment, I got an increasing amount of coordinates and comments. What I did , was simply check the content of their feedback, before the coordinates were attached to a pharmacy on the database. [...]For future applications that I am planning to develop, I will definitely take into account users’ feedback more seriously. Of course, the benefit for me as a software designer, is that I make the application as relevant as possible for users, and in [...] Data used in applications, change constantly and dynamically, and it would be impossible for a single person -the developer- to know all the changes in the context of the application. Users through their feedback, notify you of eminent changes in the database, which you then update. Recommendations as a feature, is very popular for both applications and websites. // Developing such applications in Cyprus, given the social context, people give recommendations for everything in person. Could an application ever replace this social practice? // Yes. Let me give you an example. When you are visiting the Android Market, you will find that you will receive suggestions for similar applications. This is important, especially for applications which have a local dimension. With the Cyprus Pharmacy Guide®, it is an applications relevant to locals or those who are visiting the country [...] 131 from the 8,000 users who have downloaded the application, took the time to give some ratings, which means that nearly 2% of the users did that, which is a good percentage especially when compared to ratings the most popular applications receive. Also, more than 1% of the total number of users gave feedback. The fact that the application has received good ratings, helped in making it

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more popular [...] Something similar occurs when using Google Play... Through the markets’ recommendations, the applications downloads increase substantially over a short period of time. Recommendations are truly

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essential for the success of an application [...] // Great. If we talk about your research for a bit - during your PhD you were looking into developing context-aware devices ... // Well, what I was researching into, was how to make the software itself more aware of the environment, // the type of user and the type of context it operates in // Users are one of the most important components of context. The second most important component would be location, but you can use any form of information to describe the location: accelerometer, thermometers and so on. My research area has been long standing now, it is called context awareness or pervasive computing. The principle idea is to give the agency to applications and devices, to process the information received from the context, process it and respond automatically and independently, without the interference of the user. One of the most popular applications at this moment, is Google Now. Have you heard about this one? // Yes. // Great. It is an application, where itself gives you recommendations, depending on the actions you have taken through other applications or your world wide web navigations, and by taking your geographical location into account [...] // Do you, as a user, personalize this application? Do you start with a blank canvas and work on it? // Well to some extend you do intervene in its process and you do personalize it. You can explicitly determine which is your favourite sports team, as to receive notifications for scores or relevant information. This application, through your device, can determine a lot of things about its user, by itself. It can reach the conclusion who is your favourite team, by monitoring my constant searches on the web for that team. It will assume I am interested in that sports team, and will take the initiative to alert you wit relevant news. It can also see that you have a scheduled even tin your calendar, at a determined time and location. If the application can roam the internet and receive your exact (or approximate) geographical position, it will notify you of the current travel time and routes between your current location, and the pre-defined destination. That is all done, the monitoring of your life’s trends, through the use of algorithms. [...] Sometimes personalization can occur implicitly, automatically,without the user’s interference. There is an inclination in pervasive media design to ensure that most of the personalization happens quietly, automatically. This is what we mean by context awareness. To reduce the interaction between human and the device as much as possible... // Can we expect that in the future, this whole personalization process, to become completely transparent? // Yes, and that is the ultimate purpose and aim of context awareness computing. // That it will be mobile, moving alongside you, helping you in organising interactions with a place or others. // [...] There are a lot of similar technologies being developed at the moment. // As an architect, I find it fascinating, how these applications closely follow the patterns of human life, the interactions, the practices and the rhythms. By doing so, the two (humans and pervasive technologies) can coexist in unison, transparently. // Surely, the most complex and abundant source for context is the human user himself and his social context. You can take information about the person himself, implicitly through the history of his searches, of his social networks activities and of his location. We must acknowledge a side-effect, which is that data processing is sometimes used for advertising purposes, but that is another talk altogether. [...] Developers try to make these systems smart enough to essentially predict


what the user is about to do and help him do so without specifically being asked to do so. // Most people still hold a more conservative position on this topic, they are quite suspicious with the pervasive computing movement. There still is a big disadvantage of it, which is total surveillance and extreme security measure, with the Big Brother phenomenon still being an off-putting reason for users to get involved. Many users are complaining about the intrusion and theft of personal data, and many are campaigning against many popular applications which cause a loss of privacy for the individual users. // Look, this whole experiment can fail too. The perfect algorithms might be developed, we might get applications to perfectly predict users’ actions, but they might not feel at ease or comfortable using such technologies, because they might consider it too invasive. However, everyone has the choice to opt out from using such media or disconnect from situated networks. If many users feel dissatisfied, then this ubiquitous computing epoch will inevitably fail. There is always going to be though, a fraction of the population who is genuinely interested in developing and using such automated systems, even if they are not necessary in practicing their daliy lives. [...] // The popularity of such technologies, really depends on their design and consideration of the interface with the humans. // [...] // Thank you for granting me this interview. It was quite insightful. It was quite interesting to compare the starting point of the design process between a software engineer and an artist (Dr. Chris Speed).[...] Although you did have a common starting point, a gap in they system, your vocabulary was slightly different. // [...] // There is enough space for many kinds of projects, whether they are mainstream or alternative, for commercial or educational purposes. Having been involved in entrepreneurship in the past few months, the essential thing is to immediately start testing ideas, out, start developing applications immediately. You will more like fail in the first few attempts, which is of paramount importance to create the correct failures, so you can learn from each of them. You need to try, when you see there is potential for calculated failures and exponential growth. // Failure is very relative then // Everything is... // Once again, thank you very much for this interview. // No problem , it has been a pleasure.

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