Archive for June, 2009

Back again. After the overview on Frontiers of Interaction V in the previous article we’ll present our contribution to the event.

Fake Press. Ubiquitous Publishing.

Ubiquitous publishing and Ubiquitous Anthropology. The next-step in publishing practices and platforms, united with a research on the possibilities offered by location based technologies and by novel approaches to knowledge dissemination, communication and expression. We (Luca Simeone and Salvatore Iaconesi) presented our research at Frontiers of Interaction V in Rome (June 2009), together with the first two applications and an open call.

Everything starts off from the idea of a contemporary evolution of publishing practices. Technologies, the possibility to create platforms to enable relation, expression and emotion and the availability of tools to share, disseminate and interact on knowledge and cultural productions, are all factors that made us feel the fundamental importance of designing new concepts and practices.

The scenarios described by location-based media, by the possibility to mix and cross the borders across different media, and the infinite spaces created by augmented reality were the influences that shaped our research.

We investigated on how technologies and new forms of interactions with other people and with places, time, architectures and objects would change the ways in which information can be created, communicated, shared and distributed. From an anthropological point of view we asked ourselves where would faces and voices emerge from, the self-expressions and representations of people and of their identities. And we also questioned the destinations for these informations, observing the fluid, mutating scenarios that surround us, with wireless, localized, immaterial, augmented layers of reality stratifying on top of the merely-physical one, creating totally new worlds in which information can become part of bodies, of architectures, of spaces, walls, trees, objects.

Displays, interstices, coordinates, tags And gestures, natural interfaces and moving, walking. Using the body to move through space as in an action of reading. We were truly intrigued by the transofrmation of space, by its augmentation with new narratives, new possibilities for the expression of the multiple voices and points of view that constitute the world.

So we designed our very own interpretaton for the idea of Ubiquitous Publishing. Cross-device, cross-medial, multi-author, emergent narratives.

The first idea was iSee, an application that allows for the creation of narratives on logos and brands. The application allows people to use their mobile phones to extract information directly from logo images: take a picture of your favourite detergent and, if the logo is already part of the collaborative database, you can get information from it.

Logo identifies brand, identifies company.

We suggested some possibilities, showing informations on social responsibility, on environmental policies, on the pollution rates connected to product manufacturing. Products come alive and communicate, in a simple, accessible form of augmented reality in which information is embedded into objects.

The second idea was Ubiquitous Anthropology.

A location-based platform allows for the positioning of the expressions, emotions and perspectives of multiple voices. These can be accessed through mobile technologies directly from the geographical locations, allowing people to experience and come in contact with other’s points of view and ideas.

In this form the world itself becomes “readable”. Reading by crossing spaces and architectures.

Reading other people’s texts, watching the images and videos they captured with their cameras, observing their evolution through time an through relations with other people.

The first application shown on this theme, was created by positioning onto the territory the results of a foundamental research by professor Massimo Canevacci and several students and researchers, who travelled many times to Mato Grosso, Brasil, and performed researches on the Bororo. Videos and images created by the Bororo were positioned onto the geography, thus creating a layer of interpretation of land, events and relations that is not covered in any way by classical media, and that allow us to “read” directly on the territory how the members of these populations interpret their land, the other populations they interact and relate with, their culture.

The system has provided as a incredibly useful tool to communicate these population’s political instances. The Bororo are not represented in Brasil’s institutions, allowing for unlimited exploitation of their lands and people. The possibilities offered by the platforms allowed us to write Bororo’s political instances, their desires and expectations, directly in the “places of power” of Brasil’s government. In Brasilia, several institutional buildings have been tagged with the videos and texts of their political demands, thus creating the only form of institutional presence that is currently allowed and accessible for them. In the idea that giving people the control on media and on their own expression and communication is possibly the only viable way to freedom and auto-determination.

The two examples constitute real applications that will be made available and downloadable online on the FakePress website in just a few days from the date of creation of this post. They are currently being enhanced to form functioning frameworks that can be used for these and other projects.

Some of the application’s content is already available on FakePress, and the full applications for web and iPhone will be available for download in a couple of days.

We are curently promoting the call for participation to the project, stimulating the discussion on the next products to publish with Fake Press.

So, if you have a book, research or other content you are going to publish, and you want so explore with us the possibilities to publish it in these ways, don’t hesitate to contact us.

– below a surreal interview I had to suffer from at the end of the show :)   –

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today we’ve been at Frontiers of Interaction V

Frontiers of InteractionFrontiers of Interaction

probabily the most interesting interaction design event in Italy. It’s the most interesting (and only one :) ) in Rome, for sure.

We’ve been there to present FakePress, our next-step publishing house, with two “ubiquitous” projects: iSee, interstitial narratives for shopping centers, and Ubiquitous Anthropology, location based technologies for ethnographic research.

But more on that later. First of all: the meeting.

Frontiers of Interacton V took place in the beautiful Acquario Romano. We’ve been there from the day before, setting up screens, projections, sounds and kilometers of cables.

The meeting originates from idearium.org, a community in which designers, technologists, anthropologists and creatives of all sorts meet sharing points of view on contemporary society, and on the ways in which it is shaped and mutated through technology and its practices.

The meeting shares the same conceptual setup: people come there and, basically, show what they’re up to. People of all sorts: from international superstars of interaction design to students and younger innovators ready, energetic and willing to showcase their creations.

This year (it is the fifth edition), there have been several interesting highlights.

Complexity, visualization, the emergence of natural interfaces, gestuality. And an ever more focused awareness on the needs to integrate a deep understanding of the world that is around us, ecologically, socially and politically.

The hybridization of practices and the idea of human awareness were recurring concepts in the contributions.

As Daniele Galiffa of Visual Complexity, showing the ways in which data visualizations can rise the level of awareness, by communicating in expressive ways environmental impacts, cause-effect relations, world mutation. And describing the frontier for infovisualizations and infoaesthetics, which is the representation of social data, and the delegation of the tools for visualization to the “social”.

Or the wonderful Adam Greenfield, with his “Elements of a networked Urbanism“, which managed to perfectly avoid the declaration of yet another manifesto of some kind, and instead presented an observation of the emergence of new patterns in cityscapes. A series of “before” and “after” scenarios, highlighting some really interesting points of view.  Entirely new ways of using cities, unthninkable even just a few years ago. From wayfinding to wayshowing, Adam showed many mutations in which social dynamics truly materialize themselves, allowing people to actively share their views on the world. Even bypassing the idea of “optimization”, typical of previous designs. The ideas, for example, of systems telling you the “best” way how to get from point A to point B cuts off several parts of your experience of cities, which are also composed of several “inefficiencies” that are far from being “bad”, providing you social experiences, enjoyment and rythms, feelings and well-being. “Noise” as not being a negative experience, but a creative, cultural one.

David Orban also presented a truly interesting point of view with his Consciousness Panopticon, introducing the Singularity University and showing the trends in which various people are getting ready for the progression through which we are living, in technological evolution, to our own ability to understand what is happening around us.

Or professor Liam Bannon, demoloshing the idea of “intelligent” devices, or the romantic suggestions coming from artificial intelligence, and promoting the perspective of technology that supports creative and critical thinking, in the development of an etherogeneously positive and (sociallly) interactive world.

Andrea Gaggioli presented in his “Ecologia Partecipativa” a set of ecologic scenarios and the tools through which we all can research, observe and react to our impacts on the environment.

Then Carlo Maria Medaglia of Rome’s CATTID multi-faculty center, presenting some stunnig projects on mobility, technological approaches to disabilities and, in general, several forms of open source approaches to create functional enviroments that are embedded in the natural, urban and social environment, from infrastructure, to hardware, to software.

And other, many things which you will find documented of FoI’s  website.

and, in the next upcoming article, we’ll describe our own personal contribution: Ubiquitous Anthropology, by Luca Simeone and Salvatore Iaconesi.

More info at Frontiers of Interactions

Here some videos

We’re just back from the intense 4 days of the Live Performers Meeting 2009 where REFF (RomaEuropaFAKEFactory) held its new showcase.

LPM2009 really has been full of surprises, and we were more than happy to share the spaces of the Brancaleone with over 300 video artists from all over the world. From live video to electronic modding, up to incredible workshops and performances.

REFF curated the first day of the meeting, focused on “Digital Freedoms“.

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