Digital Urban Acupuncture at the Festival delle Generazioni 2014, in Florence

Join us in Florence, from October 2nd to October 4th 2014, for the “Festival delle Generazioni 2014“, to explore the opportunities brought on by the wide availability of Ubiquitous Information, which we will analyse through the methodology of Digital Urban Acupuncture.

(follow the Festival on Twitter here: #FFdG14 )

Art is Open Source and Human Ecosystems will be there with two initiatives:

Le Informazioni attorno a noi” (“Information around us”): a two hours talk and workshop in which we will try to understand what it means for human beings to have the possibility to access information which is embedded in their surroundings, wether it comes from social networks, sensors, databases and more. An Augmented Humanity, capable of accessing the Ubiquitous Infoscape. On October 3rd, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Biblioteca Oblate (Conference hall), in Florence.

Agopuntura Urbana” (“Urban Acupuncture”). Or, even better, Digital Urban Acupuncture. This will  be a peculiar workshop, under the form of an Emotional Scavenger Hunt (a “caccia al tesoro”). In this game we will search for emotions in the city, searching for them on social networks, in the places in which people expressed them. We will try to find what we call “Emotional Landmarks”, places in the city in which certain people, at certain times of the day/week/year, systematically express specific emotions. Join us for a bit of theory and a great emotional scavenger hunt on October 4th, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the Bibioteca Oblate (Conference Hall), in Florence.

 

 

How to make a ubiquitous soundscape using augmented reality: Read/Write Reality, Ubiquitous Sound at Youbiquity!

AOS will be in Macerata ( May 2-6 2014 ) at the Youbiquity Festival for a workshop in which we will understand how to create an ubiquitous soundscape and installation, to create an immersive geography of sound.

“When you listen carefully to the soundscape it becomes quite miraculous.”

––R. Murray Schafer

From the Youbiquity website:

An immersive workshop whose objective is to create an Ubiquitous Soundscape: a sonic landscape which can be experienced using Augmented Reality, and which can be produced collaboratively, through sound sampling and audio representation of data and information.

 

Participants will learn how to design a specific Augmented Reality smartphone application (iOS and Android), on which to publish their Ubiquitous Soundscape, created through sound samples of any kind and the audio representation of data and information. All of this will form an immersive experience, in which it will be able to walk through the sounds disseminated across natural and urban spaces.

A result of the workshop will be the participation to the second volume of the Read Write Reality publications (you can find the first Read/Write Reality book on Lulu, which was about the creation of an Augmented Reality Movie), and a final show/exhibit/installation, ubiquitously distributed through the streets of beautiful Macerata.

Here is the Program and info for the Ubiquitous Sound workshop

To take part to the workshop you can contact: youbiquity.giorgio@gmail.com  +39 349 6441703

How do you create an ubiquitous Soundscape?

The Soundscape. The sound or combination of sounds which arises from an immersive environment.

This definition of soundscape comes from Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, who identified three main elements of each place’s soundscapes: the Keynote Sounds, created by nature, geography and climate, and which live in the background of our conscious perception most of the time; the Sound Signals, which are the ones we consciously listen to; and the Soundmark, coming from landmark, which is the sound which is unique to an area.

Bernie Krause classified the elements of the soundscape according to their originating source: the Geophony of a place, generated by non-biological sources; the Biophony, as generated by non-human living beings; and the Anthrophony, generated by human beings.

Both of these definitions can be updated to try to engage the fact according to which entirely new dimensions of space have now entered our realms of perceptions.

Digital data, information and communication has become ubiquitously available and accessible, and everything we do generates data and information somewhere.

We have learned to use all these additional sources of information to transform the ways in which we communicate, work, collaborate, learn, express ourselves and our emotions, relate and consume. Ubiquitous information has entered our daily lives, blurring the boundaries between what is digital and physical, so much that it is progressively loosing sense to make the distinction in the first place.

In RWR UbiquitousSound we wish to address the phenomenology of the Ubiquitous Soundscape.

Our aim is to design a natural way to create and interact with digitally and ubiquitously produced sound in the environment.

As it happens for the biophony, geophony and anthrophony of places, we want to create an Infophony of space, in which we can walk through, orient, experience. We wish to describe and implement the parts of our soundscape which could be created through Ubiquitous Publishing techniques, from social networks, data sets, and from the digital information which we constantly produce from all the places in the world, through our daily lives. We want to make this information physical, evolving, emergent, experienceable, immersive, complex, just as the rest of the soundscape.

We want to create an explicit bridge between the physical and digital realms of our lives, through sound, allowing us to create information ubiquitously, and to experience it immersively.

What we will do

We will create an Augmented Reality application which will allow us to experience the immersive Ubiquitous Soundscape by wearing headphones.

We will create the application together, also co-designing its elements. The application will allow us to load sounds samples and sound-representations of datasets and information, and to map them to a physical space. Then headphones will be used to experience the soundscape in an immersive way: walking up to the sounds, away from them, being able to achieve a new form of sound orientation through the Ubiquitous Soundscape, in the physical world.

We will create our own Ubiquitous Soundscapes.

We will showcase them in a final performance though the streets of Macerata, and though an exhibit.

Who is this workshop for

Any artist, designer, hacker, architect or other who is interested in exploring the possibilities brought on by the opportunity to create ubiquitous sound experiences using samples, data and information.

Although many technologies will be used, no previous technological knowledge is required. The workshop is for everyone. Of course, people with additional technological expertise will be able to appreciate additional levels of detail.

What you need

Your laptop. All your smartphones (iOS or Android).

Optional: sound-related technologies (digital recorders, effects, controllers, software, microphones…).

Publication and digital distribution

Read/Write Reality Ubiquitous Sound will be also a digital publication about the results of the workshop, including as authors also all the participants.

Produced by AOS (Art is Open Source) in collaboration with Teatro Rebis, Youbiquity and Macerata Racconta, this publication will include the critical theoretical approaches used during the workshop, exercises, as well as the description of the techniques and tools used. A digital book for designers, artists, architects, hackers, communicators, ethnographers and developers wishing to expand their perspectives on ubiquitous publishing.

The Near Future of Education: a potential revolution, at ISIA in Florence

Crisis and Transformation of the Education system: the Near Future of Education in Florence.

What happens during a crisis? Transformation.

Necessary change.

Note: this article was originally published on Luca De Biase‘s blog under the title “Crisis and Transformation of the Education System: The Near Future of Education in Florence”

Update: you will be able to follow the updates of the ISIA Process in Florence on the Near Future Education Lab on Facebook, or on the pages of Nòva24, on il Sole24Ore in the next few days (follow the FB group and this site to know more)

the Assembly at ISIA Florence

the Assembly at ISIA Florence

This is what is happening in ISIA, Florence’s school of design, where the students are leading a disruptive effort to co-create their own future of education.

When faced with semi-bankruptcy originating from the financial cuts, and with the certainty of being thrown out from the buildings in which they reside because of the lack of government funds to pay for the rent, the teachers and students at ISIA Florence started a protest. Flash mobs, social network campaign and city interventions were enacted to protest against the probable closure of the school.

students assembling in Florence

students assembling in Florence

Soon enough it was clear that this was only the latest of a never-ending series of states of emergency, and that dedicating all this effort towards resolving one problem, would not change anything for the future, that would still be characterised by a sequence of emergencies, one after the other.

A decision was taken.

Starting from the Near Future Design course, and quickly spreading to the whole school, we decided to reinvent our reality with the most our powerful tool: the Design. We started building the Near Future Design of Education, to push a bit further people’s perception of what is possible, and using this shift to enact a performance, in which the design actually comes to life.

The students are now in a constituent phase, in which they will unite into a Foundation – or other form of legal organisation –, organised using Holacratic models. This new organism will enact the design, by changing the rules of the game. Stepping away from protest mode, and moving into the making mode by changing roles: from subjects begging their rulers to receive hearings and a few coins to survive, to partners, co-creators of the future of the education system.

joining in the revolution

joining in the revolution

From the point of view of the course, the story will have a peculiar twist. At the end of each academic year it is common practice for the students to produce a publication featuring their Near Future Designs and the methodologies and techniques used to conceive and implement them.

This year’s publication will assume a very distinctive form: a series of European projects – which will be actually presented – and a open toolkit (made from software, tools, information and opportunities for interaction and interconnection), to make the process replicable and scalable.

The story has just begun, and you will be able to follow and take active part in it on the physical and digital pages of Nòva24, on Il Sole24Ore, and on the many forms of presence which this wonderful group of students will be maintaining on social networks and in cities.

The future does not exist: it is a performance, which we enact with every single one of our decisions.

an Emotional Compass: new ideas for wayfinding in cities

Why would we need an Emotional Compass?

And, first of all, what is an Emotional Compass?

“The map is not the territory.” – A. Korzybski

 

“The map is not the thing mapped.” – E.T. Bell

 

“The tale is the map that is the territory.” – N. Gaiman

 

“We say the map is different from the territory. But what is the territory? The territory never gets in at all. […] Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum.” – G. Bateson

When we experience territories, we create stories.

We model these stories using mental maps. These maps have seldom anything to do with what actually lies within the territories themselves. A mental map refers to one person’s point of view perception of their own world, and is influenced by that person’s culture, background, mood and emotional state, instantaneous goals and objectives.

If we move along the streets of my city in a rush, trying to find a certain type of shop or building, our experience will be different than the one we would have had if we were searching for something else.

Focus will change.

We will see certain things and not notice other ones which we would have noticed otherwise.

Some things we will notice because they are familiar, common, or because associate them to memories and narratives. Some will stand out because they react with some element of our culture or background.

All this process continuously goes on as our feelings, emotions, objectives and daily activities change, creating the tactics according to which we traverse places and spaces, to do the things we do.

In the density of cities, this process happens for potentially millions of people at the same time.

In his “the Image of the City”, Kevin Lynch described cities as complex time-based media, symphonies produced by millions of people at the same time in their polyphonic way of acting, moving, interpreting, perceiving and transforming the ambient around themselves: a massive, emergent, real-time, dissonant and randomly harmonic, work of time-based art with millions of authors that change all the time.

In this, our mental maps – the personal representations of the city which we build in our minds to navigate them to fulfil our needs and desires – live a complex life as our perception joins into the great performance of the city.

Dissonance is the essence of the city itself, and represents its complexity, density and opportunities for interaction.

Harmony represents affordances, the things which are recognised and shared by different cultures.

Those elements of the perceptive landscape onto which we can agree upon, which we recognise and attribute compatible meanings, allowing us to collaborate, meet, do things together.

For example, Haken and Portugali have suggested a broad definition of landmarks to refer to any distinguished city elements that shape our mental map. Or as Appleyard, Golledge and Spector who have conducted studies about the imageability of urban elements not because of their visual stimulus but because they possess some personal, historical, or cultural meaning.

These features found within our mental maps enable the possibility to design the affordances of places and spaces. We can use the understanding of what is consistently recognized and understood to design the elements of space/time which will be able to describe to people what is allowed or prohibited, suggested or advised against, possible or imaginable.

Lynch’s concepts of legibility and imageability are closely related to James J. Gibson’s notion of affordances developed in his direct perception theory, according to which the objects of the environment can afford different activities to various individuals and contexts. And, again, in Haken and Portugali, all elements of a city afford remembering, as they shape in the mental maps in human minds.

In a further step in the direction of citizen activation, we can also imagine to make this type of understanding widely known and usable, to enable people to express themselves (and their mental maps of how they perceive the world) more effectively and powerfully.

These possibilistic scenarios have become radically viable with the widespread of ubiquitous technologies. Nomadic devices (such as smartphones) and their applications we are able to merge our physical understanding of the world with the digital one: the two have, in fact, become so interweaved and interconnected as to form a new physicality, visuality and tactility which shape our everyday experiences of the world.

According to Mitchell’s “City of Bits”, McCullough’s Digital Ground, Zook’s and Graham’s DigiPlace we are constantly immersed in emergent networks of interconnected data, information and knowledge which is produced by millions of different sources and subjects in the course of their daily lives.

This data and information radically shapes the ways in which we have learned to work, learn, collaborate, relate, consume and perceive our environment.

If we are strolling in a park and we receive a notification of some sort on our smartphone, the natural environment could instantly transform into an ubiquitous, temporary office.

If we want to make a decision about a certain thing we would like to purchase while in a shop, a quick look online will help define our opinion in ways that can be very powerful.

If we receive a message on our smartphone, our mood could change for the rest of the day.

Situated and ubiquitous information is able to powerfully transform, in real-time, the ways in which we experience places, objects and services, by providing the wide accessibility of other people’s stories, emotions, expectations and visions.

This scenario is the one we have tried to address in our research: the conceptualisation, design and implementation of a tool for urban navigation, in which the emotional, narratives expressed by people while inhabiting and using urban places, spaces and objects become instantly and radically available, accessible and usable.

We used this approach to define a novel vision on the opportunity to design new types of affordances for our cities.

We have decided to start from the idea of a Compass.

You can find a first result of our research here at the following link:

An Emotional Compass Harvesting Geo-located Emotional States from User Generated Content on Social Networks and Using them to Create a Novel Experience of Cities

An Emotional Compass harvesting emotions from social networks

An Emotional Compass harvesting emotions from social networks