Always ON, new augmented space and its memory

Always ON

View the Sonar 2006 photo gallery.

The concepts of place, proximity and distance are going to be substantially rewritten by the locative media evolutions. The origins of this process are not only related to the abstract digitalization or to the latest hi-tech gadgets, but they are more significantly rooted in social changes induced by the overflowing of the net space. The social access and the subsequent construction of net space started in middle nineties, so the perceived ‘space’, as a public, collective and shared dimension was slowly literary doubled in the digital dimension. The next step is the actual ongoing process of joining back these two halves (real and virtual space) in an augmented reality that is a real experience. If the man on the moon broke the ‘external’ boundaries perception of that time, the net integrated in the urban space has definitively broken the actual inner spatial boundaries outdating the established physical perception as the only possible coordinates to sense the space. The net is based on one hand on a subject (its IP) directly addressable from every (good or evil) point of view. On the other hand the same subject is able to add his own data and memory to his own space, building a digital environment piece by piece. These tough changes are investigated and enhanced in the impressive work made by the Sonarama 2006 curatorial team (José Luis de Vicente, óscar Abril Ascaso and Drew Hemment and Advanced Music). After Micronations (2004) and Randonnée (2005) the last part of this contemporary territory conceptual mapping has been accomplished through a selection that emphasize different “permutations of the mobile syntax” as de Vincente defines it. In the ground floor of the CCCB, the exhibited works were placed in dark corridors and rooms, that like a maze, was an ideal location. The most awaited project was undoubtedly Blast Theory’s premiere of ‘The day of the figurines’, a social multiplayer game played via sms, reflected in a fictitious world of real figurines. With more than three hundred players in three days (actually it can hosts up to one thousand players) it shaped a small world that was reflected in a physical update. In fact authors moved figurines and forms by hand every twenty minutes, updating the representation of the online latest developments. Here again the usual ‘virtualization’ of reality structures was inverted. The process was the opposite of webcams: instead of taking a glimpse of a real space, the mapping of the online process was a slow update of a plastic scenario, much more attractive and meaningful to our instincts than a real-time colorful graphic on a screen. In the locative media horizon, many are the shades of the distance. was a project by The Golden Nica winner Antoni Abad with the same concept of giving mobile phone with cameras to special group of people and selecting their pictures/vision, focused on latin taxi drivers, gipsies and prostitutes. How far is their own landscape, represented through our shining technology? And changing perspective how far is our own home, if we can easily see it from a satellite view? Jeremy Wood‘s Meridians, a psychogeography text composed as a gps-draw on a very famous London area, remind us the shock of zooming on a photograph (not anymore an abstract color representation) of our own daily territory. This is impacting our neighborhood vision, temporary establishing a center where we live (or we are at the moment) and considering the world as a surrounding. It’s a sort of ego-geography, able to stunningly visualize as real what we’ve already seen as a zoomed out draw. Amongst the other showed (or performed) projects included Michelle Teran’s classic Life’s a User’s Manual, Counts Media social platform Yellow Arrow, the last Transmediale software art award winner Socialfiction’s .walk (article on Neural 23), another psychogeographical approach in Alejandro Duque’s TTSM (Typewriter Tracklog sewing Machine), a new iPod version of the imaginative G-Player, the relationship between space and sensations in Christian Nold’s Bio Mapping, the performance by accident, treasure hunt Geocaching practices and the RFID hacking of Preemptive media’s Zapped! like the coackroach with an RFID on his back confusing a supermarket reader because of its unpredictable movements. The urban space is a collective memory mirror. And the memories of the last thirty years have been mediatised more than any previous period. The process of easily juxtaposing personal memories, histories and territories would enable another new level of consciousness of reality, stratified on our mediated identity.