Tuesday, August 5, 2003

On context and mapping

John Evans, Markus Ort, Andrew Paterson and Aki-Ville Pöykiö present the AWARE spatio-temporal moblog:

The lived experience of a place, what you and others do in it, and how it is perceived, is dynamic and always changing over time. It is a spatio-temporal diary, unwritten but fluid in material ... Personal memory gathers, shifts and adapts according to activity, event and journey ... Sometimes these experiences spill into the collective domain as story, rumour, history and scandal, documented in the media with vested interest. But rarely can you contribute to the collective domain, even though it happens to you ... The aware project proposes an experimental location-based medium for mediating fluid memory, ‘story-making’, and aims to facilitate the (playful or critical) re-imagination of the lived city of Helsinki.

There are different layers of experience in the aware city: The one in which we directly live in, that engages the senses, and happens in real-time, cause and effect, it is the present cityscape. The moment, event, story, or ‘performance’ of the city happens here, there and now, as according to how an individual perceives it. (Speaking on a mobile-phone allows you, at almost any location, to open a synchronous time-channel to the present tense in a location elsewhere.) However, when a moment of the here and now is captured as image, sound with a media-mobile device, not only is it filtered by the subjectivity of the capturer, it is removed from the present, and becomes part of the memory city. A mobile memory is made.

Very cool.

Andrew Paterson has also been doing some fascinating work on mapping sounds based on how archaeologists record and interpret stratigraphic profiles of excavations:

This paper describes a framework to facilitate the authoring of sound with spatio-temporal relativity in virtual or augmented environments. It is based upon the premise that the interactor with the environment creates their own individual interpretation of 'narrative': as a result of their movement through the space, accumulating fragments of stimuli or content to create meaning. Inspiration is gained from the actions of the archaeologist, using stratigraphy as a recording practice, that records spacio-temporal paradigms. As the author of a spatialised soundscape composes a database of narrative fragments for the user to encounter, the paper proposes a distinct design process that reverses the excavation procedure, and re-imagines stratigraphical layers as phases of sound in the present tense.


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