Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Street Talk: Urban Computing - Part IV

Although I've tended to focus on the more academic of Street Talk presentations, I thoroughly enjoyed several others.

Ken Anderson mesmerised me with his ode to Beat poetry: City, act of joy. City, act of power. City, act of energy. City, act of hope. City, desolation. City, gesture of greed. Brilliant.

Margot Jacobs presented on the Play research studio, Tejp and Sonic City - some of my dissertation case studies - and reminded me how much I like the idea of parasiting found objects in the city.

Michele Chang presented on the amazingly fun-looking Digital Street Game currently running online and on the streets of NYC. Advocating that we go beyond "heads-down computing" and working with people's desire for challenge, expression and exploration, the game requires players perform and log street stunts to hang onto turf. Good stuff.

Christina Ray presented on One Block Radius, a fabulous psychogeographic survey of the block where New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art will build a new facility in late 2004.

Engaging a variety of tools and media such as blogs, video documentation, maps, field recordings & interviews, Glowlab creates a multi-layered portrait of the block as it has never been seen before [and will never be seen again].

I'd love to see this happen on all sorts of blocks...

Cassidy Curtis spoke on the Graffiti Archeology Project, which I have blogged before because I really like graffiti, time-lapse photography and the notion of layered cities. When I was in London, I wished that someone was taking photos of the ever-changing billboards in tube stations (including the beautiful phase between adverts where past fragments battled for my attention). And speaking of billboards, Jack Napier gave a fun presentation on the advertising improvement efforts of the Billboard Liberation Front. Those guys rock.

And as if that weren't enough, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Molly and Peter at the after-party. In fact, Peter has made some interesting comments about the "new and cool thing" that is urban computing.

I, for one, have a new appreciation for Intel Research. I didn't believe a bunch of suits would think such an event would be a good idea. And it was. They did a great job. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to meet and hang out with such brilliant people!

(As for my presentation, well, people seemed to enjoy it. I ranted about our desire to come up with solutions before we've got the questions right. And since I didn't provide any answers, I figured the least I could do for my Urban Computing workshop paper is provide a list of what I think are important concerns. Stay tuned.)

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