Friday, October 3, 2003

Weedy Sociality: public space and technology

Sustainable Arenas for Weedy Sociality | Distributed Wilderness by Maja Kuzmanovic and Sha Xin Wei

With the wide adoption of interactive media the need for active participation has been addressed, while the need for shared physical experiences and responsive, public spaces often remains unanswered. Digital technology and telecommunications technology have often been accused of increasing the isolation of individuals, and rupturing local communities. The urbanism that Guy Debord criticized 30 years ago, "isolated individuals ... recaptured and isolated together," has accelerated to fill a city with people so massively atomized by mobile communication and ubiquitous computers that it is Tourette's syndrome, not schizophrenia that one could argue is the emblematic syndrome of the era. However, integrating these technologies into existing physical public spaces, they could alternatively sustain the emergence of new forms of creative and shared experiences. We believe that some forms of technological development should focus on the interactive shaping of people's perception of culture, rather than promoting passive consumption of cultural artifacts. This is relevant for allowing communities to become active participants in artistic processes, becoming increasingly conscious of their role and responsibilities in shaping their (cultural) future ...

Alternative models of sociality in the public sphere can be encouraged by the usage of media and technologies that:

1. Make the static public spaces malleable, adaptable to the events that take place in them
2. Give physical characteristics to the digital media, allowing a continuous, natural interaction between the physical and the virtual. More specifically, media transformations should appear animate and the interaction with them should be familiar and understandable to the users/participants.
3. Design the pattern tracking so that there is no syntactic filter, moving beyond the valorization of glitch or error. Every gesture, every stroke, every movement should be accepted by the system, with nuanced response.

Fascinating. But what, exactly, do they mean in number 3?

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