quick update on Ubiquitous Pompei:
Check it out on paper and, soon, online as well.
A short interview has been shown on RaiNews24 italian news channel about the Ubiquitous Pompei project. In the interview: Oriana Persico of Art is Open Source and Claudio Alfano, Vice-Mayor of the City of Pompei.
a short update for a video about Ubiquitous Pompei, Augmented Reality to let young students invent the future of their digital city
On December 14th, in the city of Pompei, we celebrated the final step in this phase of the Ubiquitous Pompei project, created through a series of workshops performed together with high school students who were invited to imagine the digital future of their city.
This has been an incredible experience for us. The possibility to work in tight contact with young students and to become enablers for their awareness of the possibilities offered by technologies and networks has been an amazing opportunity.
We were able to explore with the students the concepts of new forms of citizenship, innovative forms of participation and collaboration, novel ways of deciding and evaluating public policies, engaging ways of narrating the stories of the places in which they live, getting people, companies and administrations involved.
The workshops were used to introduce students to the opportunities and scenarios offered by ubiquitous technologies such as augmented reality, location based media and services, and QRCodes and other digital tagging techniques. On top of that, students and educators were introduced to the MACME and NeoReality technologies, to be used in the process of imagining and creating the prototypes used to describe the digital future of the City of Pompei.
The technologies have been provided to students, educators and public administrators through an open platform. It can be found here (click to open PompeiAR, the tech platform used to create Ubiquitous Pompei).
Art is Open Source and FakePress Publishing will maintain the platform open and accessible to students/educators/administrators to allow them to continue in their journey through technological innovation: continuous experiments will be performed (and so don’t be surprised if, sometimes, test content pops up on the linked website: it means that students are actually working on it, experimenting on their city’s future) and, possibly, be transformed into real-life scenarios.
The event on December 14th has been a wonderful experience and a chance to finally get together with all involved actors to evaluate the results of our efforts.
During the event, a commission composed by Derrick de Kerckhove, Giampiero Gramaglia, Claudio Alfano, Maria Pia Rossignaud and Antonio Irlando experienced the presentations of the projects created by the students, introduced by Oriana Persico and then presented directly by the young innovators. After the presentations the commission evaluated the prototypes produced during the project and assigned an award of distinction to the project which implemented an ubiquitous book dedicated to the ancient “social networks” found in Pompei’s ruins, where people inscribed graffiti messages about their daily life and full of useful information; An augmented reality application allows you to read these graffiti by framing them in your smartphone and, thus, to translate them from latin into your own language, to discover the lives of ancient Pompeians and engage an experiment in atemporality by being able to comment the ancient graffiti and open up a dialogue across time.
All students were awarded a certificate of participation to the project.
We definitely wish to thank the Public Administration of the City of Pompei – and especially Claudio Alfano, the Vice-Mayor of the City of Pompei and Town Councillor for Technological Innovation, and Mayor Claudio D’Alessio – for embracing with such energetic enthusiasm the vision proposed through this project, and by making us feel so welcome and appreciated in our efforts to discover, together with students and educators, the positive opportunities which the digital future can bring closer to us, and helping us to develop our cities, relations, jobs and environments.
And we sincerely wish to thank the students and professors at the Liceo Socio-pedagogico E. Pascal and the Istituto Bartolo Longo, the two schools which joined us in this wonderful experience: you have been so nice to have dedicated us some of your time and energies, and so wonderful to have perfectly understood the sincerity with which we propose our ideas and skills.
And, of course, we wish to thank MediaDuemila and Associazione Amici di Media Duemila, for creating the “McLuhan Incontra Pompei” project and, thus, making this all possible, and prof. Derrick de Kerckhove for leading our visions.
The Ubiquitous Pompei project, as well as the concepts produced by the students, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
We just recovered from the intense two days promoting the REFF project in Rome with the lovely help of our friends Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tešanović, and we’re ready to tell you all how it all turned out.
First of all: images! :)
In this message and at this link you will find some of the wonderful pictures taken by our dear friends at Shoot4Change. You can also read here their impressions about the first of the two days of the event.
And here are some of out thoughts on what will be going on at REFF.
The two days of the presentations took place in two really characterized spaces: the Atelier ESC Autogestito and the Strike, with all the occupants of these two political squats and with our friend Andrea Natella helping us out with the interviews, and with our dear friend and companion Massimo Canevacci, connecting all the way from Brasil to join us in the discussion on the opportunities given by the possibilities to use tecnologies, fakes, remixes, mash-ups of the world.
During the presentations we actually spoke very little about the book and we, instead, moved our focus a lot across several subjects, including student movements, technological opportunities for freedoms and autonomy, feminism and the impact that technologies had on gender movements.
And there’s really nothing strange about it: we were in two political squats, together with the inventor of cyberpunk and one of the most interesting activist in the world, moving across feminism, networks, media and identity. And it was a really nice and insightful experience.
What I really wanted to point out is that there is a definite, perceivable, tension.
This is a time of rapid transformation.
As Bruce Sterling said many times during the discussions: we are living among things that we didn’t have words for even just a few years ago, using technologies that become totally obsolete in 1 year, with political scenarios that totally transform in 1 year, with media formats that become unreadable in about 4 years, with strategies, literatures, formats, perspectives, leaders, objectives and imaginaries that last about 1 year, at most. With attention spans that last about 2 minutes, and way less than that if there isn’t at least a nice picture to pull our focus across the 2 seconds barrier which is about how much time we look at things before we decide if they interest us or not.
In this condition, precariety, nomadism, instability, indetermination, randomness and mutating identities are normal. They are our way of life. And we do have to find ways to make this kind of weird normality sustainable, enjoyable, livable, significant and, most of all, to guarantee ourselves with acceptable degrees of freedom of expression, with economic sustainability, with the possibility to determine our own vision on the future and with some power to try and enact it.
In this search for opportunity and imaginaries for the future, technologies play a very important role.
First of all because technologies are neutral and their “meanings” are completely defined by the ways in which people use them. So envisioning a use of a technology, or even simply making a thing up, inventing a scenario, creating a fake, a mash-up of technologies, is an action that assumes an enormous value. Because it creates a vision and, thus, a possibility that the envisioned scenario could come to life.
In a world that is completely encoded, vision assumes a major strategical role. Because the encoding of spaces, practices (ad uses of technologies) is an expression of authority. And the possibility (even only described by a fake, or by an imaginary scenario) to reinvent the possible uses of a technology creates a new space: unexpected, unruled, and empowered with the possibility to self-determine it. Vision creates interstices in the encoding of the world described by power and authority.
If a vision includes the sharing of the knowledge and skills to use the technologies that might be used to enact it, vision becomes a powerful tool. A tool that can be used to “Remix the world” and to “Reinvent Reality”. And, most of all, to enable people to try and remix and reinvent things their own way. To create their own Augmented Reality.
And so, in the end, i was really happy about these two days. And I was particularly happy about one thing :) During the first part of his intervention at Strike, Bruce Sterling said a couple of things that really struck me as being an evident, but little talked about, truths.
One of them had to do with a thing he called “Italian Augmented Reality” as it being obviously different from the regular one :)
I thought it was a brilliant observation, and I really enjoyed thinking over it and its implications. Basically, the main line behind that expression is: only in Italy someone could come up with the weird idea of trying to use Augmented Reality to support movements and, in general, to support people’s self-determination and freedom of expression. And it is completely true: Italy’s history of political movements, of autonomy, of squats, of raves and of countercultures is unique, and it constantly created situations like these, allowing activists in Italy to create entire movements based on cyberpunk, hacking, digital cultures, giving them meanings that are completely different that those found in most other countries.
And, summing things up, these two days have been wonderful and insightful. And now it’s back to our little, old, daily reinvention of reality….