Saturday, October 31, 2009

Martijn de Waal's Blog: The Mobile City - Locative & Mobile Media/Urban Culture/Identity, his post about Towards the Sentient City

I subscribe to Martijn de Waal's blog, The Mobile City:  Locative & Mobile Media/Urban Culture/Identity, partly because of my interest in ubiquitous/pervasive computing (specifically how technology can support interaction and collaboration between people across screens of all sizes in public spaces), and partly because I am interested in looking at the ways different disciplines adopt, adapt, and transform emerging interactive technologies.

Martijn is a writer and a researcher who co-founded The Mobile City conference and blog with Michiel de Lange.  He is working on a Ph.D. in new media and urban culture, as part of the New Media, Public Sphere and Urban Culture research in Groningen. Martijn spent some time as a visiting scholar at MIT between March and June of this year (2009).

I posted about Towards the Sentient City, an exhibit taking place in NYC from 9/17 through 11/7/09 in NYC, a few weeks ago:  Towards the Sentient City:  The Intersection of Ubicomp and Architecture, and....?   I was planning to write another post about my reflections about the exhibit,  but I think Martijn's reflections reach beyond anything I could have imagined.

Below is a link to Martijn's recent post about his reflections about Towards the Sentient City, along with a quote:

Three philosophical questions about the "sentient city" - a response to the exhibition Towards the Sentient City

"At certain points in the history of architecture and urban planning, the internal debate on how to apply new technologies surpasses the boundaries of the discipline.  At those times, the hopes and fears found in the disputes between architects, policy makers, engineers and planners are extended to a broader discussion about urban and societal change.  Then, the central issue is not merely how to solve a specific spatial problem with the help of new technology.  Rather, the debate starts to revolve around its possible impact on urban society at large.  What does this new technology mean for urban culture, what impact does it have on how we shape our identities and live together in the city?" 

Martijn's three questions form the framework for even more questions, all very important:

Who are we and who is acting?
What can we know?
How should we live together in the City?

At the end of his post, Martijn concludes, "Toward the Sentient City thus doesn't give us any emphatic leads about which way the technology will take us.  It succeeds in bringing up many important questions and diverting the discussion on the sentient city from a path of technological determinism to an open ended affair, a concern not just for engineers, planners and architects but for all of us."

Martijn's links at the end of his post are worth a look if this is an area that interests you:

(1) Ann Galloway's PhD thesis A Brief History of the Future of Urban Computing and Locative Media is highly informative in giving insight in different discourses around urban computing
(2) See Manuel de Landa A new Philosophy of Society for a theory of assemblage.
(3) In Smart Mobs, Howard Rheingold has also written about technology and the organization of a commons

Some of Martijn's interesting blog posts:

Picnic 09 Report 2:  The City as and Interaction Platform

Storytelling with Locative Media:  Michael Epstein's take on "terratives" 

Digital Cities 6: urban media/urban informatics and different notions of public space 

Mediated Space. Or:  How to translate the logic of media into architecture 

Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: a matter of "U-City" or "U-Citizens?"

(Refers to the book,  Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics:  The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City Marcus Foth, Institute for Creative Industries and Innovations, Queensland University of Technology, Australia)

The Mobile City website has additional information and links:

About the Mobile City

About Locative Media

The Mobile City Conference '08
(On the site you'll find links to videos and slides from the keynote speakers and additional resources.)

Conference:  Connectivity @ IABR  (NAi Rotterdam, November 5-12 2009)

The Mobile City's Recommended Readings:

The Architectural League of New York | Publications / situated_technologies publication urban_computing

Now out: Situated Technologies Pamphlets 5 - "A synchronicity: Design Fictions for Asynchronous Urban Computing" with Julian Bleecker and Nicolas Nova

e-cultuur weblog» Weblog Archief » report: gRig seminar on research in new media (Oslo)
Report on the gRig (Guild for Reality Integrators and Generators) seminar on research in new media in Oslo

The ghost in the field – Blog – BERG
Beautiful visualization of the active field in which an RFID chip can be read near a transponder

Digital cities highlights by Anne Galloway / digital_city wired
For those who find the Wired UK special on Digital Cities a tad long to read, Anne Galloway has highlighted some excerpts from the collection of articles.

Wired special: "Digital Cities" / digital_city wired urban_design
Wired has a series of articles about 'Digital Cities'. Topics include: 'Sense-able' urban design, Transport of tomorrow, Words on the street, Your neighbourhood is now Facebook Live

Total Immersion and the “Transfigured City:” Shared Augmented Realities, the “Web Squared Era,” and Google Wave  | UgoTrade / augmented_reality
Recommended elaborate take on Augmented Reality
jnd: An emergent vocabulary of form for urban screens « Adam Greenfield’s Speedbird / urban_screens
Interesting take on the aesthetics of urban screens: the paradigm of the just noticeable difference

Martijn also is interested in Digital Media Storytelling and New Media Journalism, topics that I hold close to my heart.  I use these techniques in my work with young who have special needs, and also incorporate digital media in my blogs.

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