Re: [-empyre-] locative city, annotated space

Glen really made two major points, by my reading. Agreed, as these technologies become more ubiquitous we will all come to understand them better, and in process the aesthetic and conceptual possibilities will become more clear. As Jeremy says, this is exciting.

But Glen's point that really piqued my interest is the one regarding how user interface interacts with the site(s). Does the user interface augment reality, or compete with it? Jeremy says that there are "different interpretations and strategies", and points out that people are taking different approaches. Yes, certainly. But are there any general parameters are at play in the interaction between place and interface (considered broadly)? These would seem to be important formal/aesthetic issues - something the 34n118n crew, (and artists such as Teri Rueb and Janet Cardiff) would be in an ideal position to comment on.

I'm really curious to hear what your experience and sense of this matter is in relation to 34n118w, especially given that the work seems to situate the artists in close proximity the audience during tours. (I assume you hover nearby to mind the hardware...) It seems like you have a high degree of exposure to the reactions of your audience, and are in a great position to comment on any issues of augmentation vs interference that you may (or may not) have experienced. wrote:


I sent out a reply earlier today but it didn't go through

You bring up a lot of interesting points...

There are different interpretations and strategies related to augmented
space. Some are working more with adding visual data and/or specific
pragmatic detail like sales at a store, who is at a bar, dangers etc...

Others, like 34n are working more with sound and data and this allows a
focus on physical place and content can work with layered data, metaphor,
juxtapositions, ghosts of past incarnations as sound files so a person
sees the physical place and learns to question it as well learn more of it
in present and past.  The funny thing about the 34n photos (funny that you
are the first to mention it) is that they are to encapsulate a wide range
of information about the connection of technology and physical exploration
and functionality.  The thing is, most people explore it in groups up to 5
in a sort of collective social jellyfish formation with only the one
person with the map stopping at times to look at upcoming hotspot
triggers, choices to consider and movement.  Even when it is only one
person it is experienced most of the time not looking at the map, but at
places being viewed.

Some of the sound files are old wooden carriage wheels, an older car horn
and trains where remnant tracks appear in streets or where trains would
have passed.  The effect is almost always people startled looking for the
car or train or even carriage (all what would have been heard at different
times in the past) and then realizing what just happened.

 I am buddies with andrea.

"Authentic"   wow.  one of those words that is really near a balloon
stretched translucent in its broad nature and span.  Another one is
"Normal"         Subjective to the point of having basically abillion
definitions , each written by another personal point of view.

I do see these technologies becoming quite commonplace in a not too
distant future.  A lot will utilize smart lens technology which is
currently being developed for such applications as high rise building
visual field data overlays for hostage placed on rooms
with security officials, rooms overlaid with data of possible suspects,
danger levels color encoded.......

The artistic applications are endlessly exciting

Jeremy, et al.

I'm interested in your thoughts on the slippage involved in the mediated
experience of place, with the danger of the participant being so wrapped
up in the interface that she loses sight (literally, figuratively) of
the actual landscape surrounding her, something Andrea Moed briefly
mentions in her "Annotate Space" essay: "[T]hey [location-based
software] tend to narrow the experience of place.  Some cultural critics
believe that location-based software can make people more indifferent to
their environments--at home or away.  To the extent that a handheld
device provides a consistent interface to all places, it eliminates the
need to relate to a particular place on its own terms.  For example,
where you previously would have asked a local to direct you to the
nearest post office in a strange neighborhood, you can now punch the
query into a street mapping program on your PDA . . ." (Moed, 5).

In the photographs on the 34n118w site, for example, in all but one of
the photographs the participants are gazing intently down at the screen
or off into middle space listening to the narrative.

As a poet and sound/visual artist involved in mapping place, I'm all for
annotated, locative place experiences, and I think it is a rich and
inspired (and inspiring) means of renegotiating the landscape, but I'm
wondering how far the PDA/tablet goes in replacing authentic experience
with mediated experience (rather than augmenting), or does this
technology function as merely a tool similar to a street map or tourist
guide?  (And what is "authentic" place experience?)

Obviously, when the technology advances and the hardware shrinks, the
annotated interface will become more ubiquitous, so perhaps this is just
a matter of familiarizing ourselves with a new way of walking through a
space that will someday be ordinary?


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-- Brett Stalbaum Lecturer, psoe Coordinator, ICAM Department of Visual Arts, mail code 0084 University of California, San Diego 9500 Gillman La Jolla CA 92093

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