05 Dec

Networked Place

This essay, written by Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, is an introductory statement on the change role of place in network culture.  They break the work up into six sections: place (simultaneous spaces), mobile place (the rise of the tele-cocoon), real virtual worlds, the network and its sociospatial consequences, geospatial web and locative media, and RFID.  The piece is part of a collaborative book to be published by MIT that will incorporate user comments from the website.  It’s quite a good introduction, borrowing from Friedberg’s recently released Virtual Window, and applying it to the always contentious intersection of networks and lived spaces. 
    The conclusion of the piece provides a nice roadmap of where the larger work will go.  It will explore,

"global connections versus local disconnections, the growth of
environments that allow us to enact simultaneous ‘real’ presence while
engaging in networked forms of tele-presence, producing new forms of
tele-cocooning, the emergence of on-line gaming in virtual worlds that
have become, to its users, quite real, the network as a new form
socio-spatial organization, global information (GIS) and global
positioning (GPS) devices that provide mastery over the mappable globe,
RFIDs that keep track of our position, and the position of our things
in this new globally-networked map."

The key question is how people continue to make places central to their personal and community identifications.  But what this introduction doesn’t exactly address is how networks alter the nature of that identification.  In other words, what counts as a lasting connection in a network?  Certainly, a link is not permanent; how might we conceptualize a meaningful link?  Or a meaningful tag?  Or a meaningful cluster? 

Link: Networked Place.

08 Apr


Link: Cabspotting.

Cabspotting traces San Francisco’s taxi cabs as they travel throughout the Bay Area. The patterns traced by each cab create a living and always-changing map of city life. This map hints at economic, social, and cultural trends that are otherwise invisible. The Exploratorium has invited artists and researchers to use this information to reveal these "Invisible Dynamics."

The core of this project is the Cab Tracker. The Tracker averages the last four hours of cab routes into a ghostly image, and then draws the routes of ten in-progress cab rides over it.

The Time Lapse area of the project reveals time-varying patterns such as rush hour, traffic jams, holidays and unusual events. New projects are produced by the Exploratorium’s visiting artists and also created by the larger Cabspotting community.

26 Feb

Virtual maps

Can’t exactly figure out how to make this "fly," but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.  Yet another way to see one’s home, one’s previous home, or various other landmark sites from a bird’s eye.  Mapping has fast become the best way to locate oneself in a virtual world.

Link: TerraFly.

27 Jul

Continuous Computing

An interesting "discovery" of mobile technology from Technology Review:

Constant connectivity has changed what it means to participate in a conference or any other gathering. Using chat rooms, blogs, wikis,

Wikis: Web pages that allow users to add content or edit existing content.

sites, and other technologies, people at real-world meetings can now
tap into an electronic swirl of commentary and interpretation by other
participants–the "back channel" mentioned by Campbell. There are
trade-offs: this new information stream can indeed draw attention away
from the here and now. But many people seem willing to make them,
pleased by the productivity they gain in circumstances where they’d
otherwise be cut off from their offices or homes. There is meaning in
all of this. After a decade of hype about "mobility," personal
computing has finally and irreversibly cut its bonds to the desktop and
has moved into devices we can carry everywhere. We’re using this newly
portable computing power to connect with others in ways no one
predicted–and we won’t be easily parted from our new tools.