Mapping and the User Experience

Mapping Uncertainty by Eugenia Fratzeskou/ Users become Re-creators. Enhancing Experiences through Mapping by Anja Zeising and Dennis Krannich/ GEOPOLITICS / MAPPING / CARTOGRAPHY. GPS image satellites andTHE AERO-SPATIAL POLICIES by Laura Plana Gracia/ “Mapping the Commons, Athens”, a cartography of alternate economies and practices in times of crisis by Daphne Dragona/ Here to There and In-between: Commuting through Mediated Perception by Jack Toolin
Monday, 19 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:40
Chair Person: 
Paul Goodfellow
Eugenia Fratzeskou
Anja Zeising
Laura Gracia
Athanasia Daphne Dragona
Dennis Krannich
Jack Toolin

Mapping Uncertainty

by Eugenia Fratzeskou

The issue of exactitude in ‘mapping’ the physical world has been debated extensively in science and has deeply influenced the formulation of scientific paradigms. As we pass from Modernist reduction and mathematical formalism to contemporary complexity, uncertainty and complementarity, our perception and understanding of the relationship between physical and virtual worlds are changing in the most unexpected manner. In particular, the developments in Quantum physics and scientific visualisation have revealed an emerging kind of multi-dimensionality that characterises the fuzzy boundaries between reality and virtuality and probes new relationships between part and whole. As a result, a new understanding of space and reality in general, as well as of the limitations of science, is developing.

In contemporary art, architecture and the related disciplines, the changing relationship of data flows and data matrices inspires new types of spatial research and practice. As a designed environment, built space can be perceived as a fragment of an excessive superimposition of dynamically interacting algorithmic, geometrical, topological and structural grids. A creative exploration of the data flows into, from and within the physical structures of the built environment, challenges our common assumptions about space and our experience of it.

Emerging types of site-specific digital art are developing, for creatively investigating the point of intersection between the various types of reality and their ‘exchanges’. This paper offers an investigation into the ways through which, potential in-between spaces can be creatively revealed, through new kinds of site-specific intervention. The emphasis is placed on how it is possible to ‘trace’ and interact with the half- and by- products of algorithmic flows that remain unbuilt, their meta-dimentionality and the emerging paradoxes, through different modes of innovative spatial intervention such as, mixed realities para-sites, ‘injections’, ‘cuts’, interruptive sites-specificity and others. Selected cases from the author’s own practice and research in digital site-specific art and other examples of spatial practices and research in art and architecture will be discussed in conjunction with the relevant scientific, cosmological and philosophical theories.

Users become Re-creators. Enhancing Experiences through Mapping

by Anja Zeising and Dennis Krannich

We present a new understanding of interactive installations that goes beyond action-reaction communication between actor and installation. The goal is to enhance the user’s experience and engagement as well as the reflection about the creator’s initial intention. Our strategy allows the actor to edit the action-reaction framework and modify the installation’s behavior rules. We employ ”Mapping” as method to redefine the user’s role from consumer to”re-creator” within a specified scope, set by the creator.

Mapping for Experience

On the crossroads of technology and arts, we consider User Experience Design as a promising approach to empower the design process of media art pieces and ensure the actors’ engagement and reflection. We focus on interactive installations as media art pieces; the actor provokes a system’s reaction by his actions (e.g. full body movement). Most installations only provide a closed action-reaction framework, some employ programmed randomness to include surprising moments. Therefore, we argue towards a new understanding of the actor’s role. Hassenzahl says: „[...] experience emerges from the intertwined works of perception, action, motivation, emotion, and cognition in dialogue with the world (place, time, people, and objects). It is crucial to view experience as the consequence of the interplay of many different systems. [...] While many processes together produce experience, emotion is at its heart and has an accentuated position. One may go as far as saying that emotion is the very language of experience.“ (Hassenzahl 2010: 4).

Accordingly, we see the actor as an active re-creator instead of an active user. Through an additional interface, the re-creator is enabled to reflect technology, aesthetics and experience. Technology becomes a visible artifact of the installation. Performing the mapping process motivates the re-creator to explore the action-reaction framework and underlying rules. Adding personal meaning enhances the experience. The actor exploits the installation and modifies the mapping within the given scope. Examples are presented in the installation Der Schwarm (Hashagen et al. 2008).

Applying this approach allows an enhanced experience for the actor and provides new possibilities for the creator to reach the actor. The actor becomes a part of the whole process (not product).


Hassenzahl, Marc. Experience Design: Technology for All the Right Reasons. San Rafael (CA): Morgan & Claypool, 2010.

Hashagen, Anja; Schelhowe, Heidi; and Harry Seelig. “’Der Schwarm’ - An Example for Interaction of Computer Science and Performance Studies.” Proceedings of ISEA 2008. The 14th International Symposium on Electronic Art. Ed. Ingrid M. Hoofd, et al. Singapore: ISEA2008 Pte Ltd, 2008. 510-512.


by Laura Plana Gracia

INTRODUCING GENEALOGY OF SPACE through concepts as GEOPOLITICS / MAPPING / CARTOGRAPHY. It is a theoretical concept based in Nietzsche, Genealogy of Moral; George Perec, Species of Spaces; Gaston Bachelar, The poetics of Space; the definitions of Panoptic and Heterotopy by Foucault, and also The Auters Spaces. It takes referees from Milleaux Plateau by Gilles Deleuze. Also, Paul Virilio in Speed and information. Alarm in cyberspace! An article for aleph arts, announces concepts as Geosphere, Geopolitics and Geostrategy for a new era in real time. Since the Cold War the dominion of public social space is determining and building the Hierarchy of spaces among different distinctions as Dystopia. Utopia. Atopia. Non-site. TAAZ. Borders. Surveillance. Internet. Cyberspace.  Neterotopies. Outer space, Universe. Etc. The geospatial studies imply satellite policies and mapping devices. This may refer to a society which does not have territorial borders and is also dealing with the causes and damage on human in the future. During the Cold War arms race, the nuclear policies treatment was to justify the costs of GPS, vital for nuclear policies and to determinate the Ballistic Missile launches position. It is also known that geographical data was collected by U.S. defense mapping agency during Golf War 1990/1991. Contrary to war policies, the European Environment Agency is using a new mapping tool that allows users to see land-cover information. Also ACNUR is currently working with data satellites. Among other artist working with satellites imaginary, mapping and cultural policies, Tjasa Kancler (Paradigma) collects data about the US Missile defense proposal for Europe based in an antimissiles system at the eastern European countries, obviously based in satellites uses and des-territorialized outer-space policies. Trevor Paglen shows a real-time position of classified American military and intelligence spacecraft. Laura Kurgan uses satellites location devices to map real spaces inside the museums and Peter Sforza takes use of satellites to capture images of the earth. Eduardo Kac in Satellite Art: an interview with Nam June Paik deals with militarism, technology and evolution (progress) under awareness and risk conditions with carefulness in the electronic media.

“Mapping the Commons, Athens”, a cartography of alternate economies and practices in times of crisis

by Daphne Dragona

The proposed paper will be based on a presentation of the concept, the process and the results of the workshop “Mapping the Commons, Athens” led by the spanish collective Hackitectura which was organized by and hosted in the National Museum of Contemporary Art from the 1st until the 8th of December 2010 .

Mapping the Commons, Athens is a collective study, a contemporary reading and an online open cartography of Athens and its special dynamic. It is the result of a workshop that took place in a period in which the particular contemporary metropolis seemed restless and vulnerable at the same time.

The Hackitectura collective with myself, as the curator and coordinator of the initiative, collaborated with an interdisciplinary group of young researchers and students from Athens in order to seek for, examine and document the areas where new forms of common wealth could be located.

Seeing beyond the “public” and the “private”, different types of commons were mapped which were based on collectivity, sociability, open and free access, gift economy or peer to peer practices.

The cartography gave birth to a different image of the city full of promises, but yet fluid and unstable. During the workshop many contradictions and questions such as the following occurred that is worth analyzing on the opportunity of this paper:
- Can the commons be secured?
- How do they sometimes serve the interests of a gentrified “creative” city?
- What role do they really play in times of a global financial crisis?
- Can the citizens re-appropriate the commons, and form a new type of resistance?

The online collaborative maps and the blog that were created will  be presented highlighting the importance of collaborative practices to timely examine crucial notions. The need for a re-invention of a new common experience and memory, can possibly be born through collaboration and sharing.

Here to There and In-between: Commuting through Mediated Perception

by Jack Toolin

“Here to There” will investigate how perceptions about the passageway between home and work, as well as the general relationship between the two, are influenced by various forms of (social) media and data.

Millions of people commute between home and work everyday – the thread that connects one’s personal life to one’s professional life. While many do this by foot or bicycle, the majority of people in developed, industrial cultures commute by car, by bus, or by train. As people move from home to work they pass through intervening communities that may or may not have a resemblance to their own. Commuters generate an idea of these communities’ livelihood, their economic situation, their demographic composition, or even their political persuasion, through the consumption of all forms of media, and possibly without any actual contact with the members of the community itself. Their perception may not be based upon little other than the ‘view out of the window,’ or ‘common wisdom.’

How do commuter perceptions compare to those of the community members, and to the general perception of a community as it can be perceived on the Web in the form of chats, blogs, images, and so forth? The disparity or congruence between commuters’ perceptions of life along the commute may parallel their perceptions of global culture, which may also be ‘viewed out of the window.’ All the while the commuter is immersed in a construct that is both product and producer of interconnected lives.  

This research is part of a forthcoming artwork that utilizes locative media, video and Internet search for visualizing connections between commuters, locations, and perceptions; initially this will be in a non-interactive form, and eventually in a real-time installation format. The paper will draw upon the ideas of theorists such as Saskia Sassen, William J. Mitchell, Frederic Jameson, and Malcom McCullough.