City, Public Space and Mobile Technologies

Urban Augmented Reality and the Games of Cybergeography by Sam Kronick/ Ubicomputacional art: urban environment and emergent narratives by Tiago Rodrigues Lucena/ Augmenting Design Research: Investigating Public Space With Mobile Sensor Data by Ebru Kurbak, Mathias Mitteregger, Isabella Hinterleitner, and Sandrine von Klot/ Light Art in Public Space by Titia Ex/ Network culture, media art: urban identity and cultural change dialectics by Eva Kekou
Monday, 19 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:40
Sam Kronick
Tiago Lucena
Ebru Kurbak
Titia Ex
Mathias Mitteregger
Isabella Hinterleitner
Sandrine von Klot
Eva Kekou
Sabanci Center Room 2
Sabancı University

Urban Augmented Reality and the Games of Cybergeography

by Sam Kronick

This paper discusses Utopian urban and architectural plans of the mid-20th century in the context of contemporary virtual gaming environments. In particular, it focuses on the potential for a combination of augmented reality technologies and open-ended sandbox games to produce immersive participatory urban experiences in the spirit of the visionary design projects of the past century.

The 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s saw a plethora of imaginative proposals for future modes of urban life from designers and artists including Archigram, Cedric Price, Yona Friedman, Constant Nieuwenhuys and the Situationist International. At the foundation of many of these projects was an optimistic belief that advancing automation technology would free humans from monotonous labor and enable a life of leisure time and free play. The open space frames and modular buildings they designed favored process, mobility, and participation over permanent fixed forms. 

These historical projects engaged with the idea of computation at various levels (Cedric Price included a cybernetician on his design team) and computer science (i.e. software “architecture”) borrows metaphors of modular structure from the world of physical structures and buildings. This paper expands on these notions to argue explicitly that architecture is computational and computation is architectural. By cross pollinating the ambitions of these two fields, new systems, games, structures, and environments might arise that further realize aspects of their Utopian visions.

Augmented reality (AR) is a set of technologies that inherently involve a mixture of the virtual and the real. Whereas current vision-based AR frameworks exhibit several characteristics that make them primarily suited to manipulation of objects in interior spaces, this paper proposes an AR framework specifically designed for users with location-aware mobile devices moving through urban space. Games built on top of this framework could enable users to modify structures of the city in real time (in the style of games like indie hit Minecraft), generating experiences that reconcile the active urban plans of the 20th century with the interactive technology of the 21st. In reference to Situationist International’s “psychogeographic” dérive, these games are dubbed “cybergeographic.”

Ubicomputacional art: urban environment and emergent narratives

by Tiago Rodrigues Lucena

The use of mobile, pervasive and locative technologies in every daily  practices are reconfiguring our daily experience, putting us in constant  contact (co-presence) with friends, family and work´s topics. This paper  explores the art in Post Desktop Era and we propose the term Ubicomputacional  Art with a new field in Cyberarts for study of junction between Art + ubiquitous computing. The term of “ubiquitous computing” was proposed by Mark Weiser to describe a kind of "computing without computers”. Ubicomputacional Art is not just the sum of art plus ubiquitous systems but also a new mode that is born and a new paradigm for thinking about the relation of art, science, life and technology. The daily urban flows, security and new tolls for human health (like the development of mob biomedical sensors to help and inform the doctor about some  diseases) are some topics that we are working in a transdisciplinar way between Arts and Engineering. We will present some new technologies in development by LART (Laboratory of Research in Arts and TechnoScience_University of Brasília_Gama, coordinate by Diana Domingues).  Apparerently invisible, computers are “populating” the homes, offices, streets in smart environments, pockets and in many other portable technologies – devices can be attached to the body like many biomedical sensors. The ability of urban environments to add information is also  exploited in the art in some collaborative practices. We intent showing some mob applications created  like an artwork that allow the user tell stories about place in a new open narrative porpoise that mixes documental, ficcional, intimate stories with historical, scientific and political viewpoints as an example that how we can reconfigure the public space, the sense of co-located and new kinds of mobile social network and arrangements. Understanding the changes in computer technology is an important point for us what we really have to create new art with the ubiquitous systems. What extent the Art Ubicomputacional would help create a world view about the new technologies? In what way the artists would be broadening, subverting and re-contextualizing these technical tools?

Augmenting Design Research: Investigating Public Space With Mobile Sensor Data

by Ebru Kurbak, Mathias Mitteregger, Isabella Hinterleitner, and Sandrine von Klot

This report is part of the research project called “Public Space 2.0”. Here, we provide a more clear-cut view for artists and researchers working in the realm of public space on “what is out there”. In presenting mapping techniques informed by technological solutions, we intend to introduce the personal perspective – really a 2.0 approach – to urban studies.

Does urban public space still serve the purpose of housing civic activities of today? The "disassembling of existing logics", as Saskia Sassen calls it, may have to be read as an ongoing unsettling of the former urban order. Meanwhile, under the umbrella of far-reaching, invisible network technologies, civic capacities are being aroused rather spontaneously. Hence, the plain occasion of physically meeting with a foreigner (the other as non-homogeneous instance) claiming citizenship of the same place, summarizes one of the most crucial design challenges of today.

Public space comprises a multitude of data and media layers that do cause people to agglutinate to groups around invisible attractors. To provide a basic mapping of civic resources is what is intended with the agent. By attaching mobile sensors to human agents the subjective individual experience of the user is included in the perceived data. By moving towards or away, or lingering at places while rushing through others, it is expected to learn a lot more than by using data from a static sensor.

It is crucial to select appropriate sensors for mobile use on human agents among the vast variety of available ones. Contingent upon the sensor, where to place it is of equal importance. The same applies naturally for groups of sensors. Additionally, a connection to data storage and communication with the possibility to reorganize information in a collaborative 2.0 manner is required. We show our approach in melting together user and sensors and the DIY possibilities in order to include a large number of people in our search for data.

Light Art in Public Space

by Titia Ex

The light projects of Titia Ex


In museums, light art needs to be switched on before it becomes art. Until then it is an insignificant object and its presence no more than a wavering hesitancy. Once brought to life, however, it shakes off this slumber with a vengeance and monopolises its surroundings. It claims its space, captures and holds the attention and brooks little competition.

Light art in situ – outside in the open air, on the fringes between inside and outside, in public spaces – is even worse off. It has to compete against illuminated advertising signs screaming for attention, against street and domestic lighting, against the ceaseless streams of traffic light, against the distractions of day-to-day life, against the scepticism the man in the street has for art and every other intrusive barrier.      

Titia Ex (1959) has been working with light for twenty years. Commissioned either by others or herself. Through the years she has gained experience of every single angle of the medium and has emerged as a light artist in the broadest sense of the word. She has made neon sculptures that can stand alone in a museum or a gallery, but has primarily provided every sort of light art, both inside and outside for public spaces. She has covered huge glass surfaces with natural shapes that not only draw attention to their patron, but at the same time, due to the way the light is used, create individual characters and either leave behind or cast their own shadows. Ex has made colourful light animations that playfully press home their (appropriate) story on casual, unsuspecting visitors. She has placed light sculptures in unlikely spaces thereby inducing amazement, alienation and sometimes even disorientation. She incorporates some light sculptures into their surroundings in such a way that they seem to belong there quite naturally. Ex has also installed light sculptures that through their symbolism give a meaning to otherwise architecturally anonymous environments. She knows exactly how to direct the attention of the viewer or visitor through the effective illuminating or lighting of objects. Her, often discreet, intervention can all at once make perfectly ordinary spaces radiant. Ex’s light sculptures anticipate their surroundings, talk to them, hold a dialogue with them, and are no less afraid of entering into a debate with them.

Rob Perrée

Amsterdam/Brooklyn 2009.         

Network culture, media art: urban identity and cultural change dialectics

by Eva Kekou

Network culture is a broad sociocultural shift.Under network culture both art and everyday life take mediation as a given.Furthermore in our days networked connection replaces abstraction. Information is less the product of discrete procession units than the outcome of the networked relations between them, links between people,between machines and between machines and people.Although other ages have been networked, ours is the first modern age in which the network is the dominant organisational paradigm,supplanting centalized hierarchies.This paper is going to address the question of self in an intersubjective perspective that provileges connections between individuals, rather than separations, boundaries and borders.It is also going to showcase a number of media art projects and discuss the relation between media art and network cultures.Furthermore it is going to investigate to which extent media art projects can relate to a new urban and cultural identity ( from both artist's and audience's perspective).