We Rep [Ideas]

Mediated Advocacy in a Geoweb Era

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Causes, values, motivations and concentrated actions become destinations as people and places become increasingly findable. How do situated technologies augment the lifecycles of these elements?

Through locative and social technologies what was once qualitative speculation now has the ability to shift into the domain of the measurable and recordable, generating a new species of data around the relationships between individuals, groups and their environment. Organizations such as Microsofts spinoff company Inrix “tracks the behavior of 750,000 vehicles, cell phone users, and others with digital devices to determine how Americans would react to different situations.” vividly illustrates the growing interest and unique opportunity to harness human geospatial data. Experimentation with this form of information makes practices like Suprise Modelling thinkable.

Intrix, being such a novel geographic information retrieval company is a weak signal pointing toward our data traces becoming a new form of communication that creates a social metric, which diversifies the voices authoring geographical data. As urban computing is further embedded in our daily interactions new potentials for informing decisions and revealing choices can be realized. Through our data traces we will be able to co-author custom, space, policy and our material culture in new ways. In the background of this emerging context personal behavior will become personal advocacy. Our implicitly authored data may be used to cast votes, leave gestural and locative commentary. It may become a new voice, and new way to speak.

New dialogues of power occur at the intersection of human behavior, emerging technology, and inherited infrastructures and processes. Locative technologies point toward real-time visualization that offers a new individual and collective vantage, which will undoubtedly inform urban “logistics of perception” deeply effecting social dynamics and personal action. How might near-future “geo-strategicidentity building, expression, and management demand a “re-socialization” between individuals and their environment? How will people adapt?

Locative technologies, situational awareness and mobile haptics are a form of contextual and behavioral stenography. They offer a fertile ground to deploy location and behavior based “passive or explicit multi-player citizen games”. These future games (or “systems”) could also act as a base for dynamically negotiating rules, goals, conditions, and social accountability. We discuss current weak signals in our environment, such as serious games like World Without Oil, and the BCN Formula Game that contain elements that can be recombined and resituated as a robust infrastructure for effective democracy populated with informed citizens engaging in civil participation through new media.

“Social learning/training” based on the affordances of locative technologies and a “re-socialization” around the concepts of city and citizen could be proposed. Consider the environment itself as an agent – that is, the city would be, communicable and mutable rather than only a background. It is possible to reinvent the social space of the street as a much-needed infrastructure of expression and presence to facilitate and realize influential social relations. These emergent systems can be designed as educational frameworks for interacting and understanding converging literacies in the new environment. A new literacy and curricula are a vital to better equip people for emerging contexts that will require augmented political and social mobilization.

The need for a new educational framework is evident. However, the curriculum and implementation is up for debate.


Written by rthomas

March 25, 2008 at 9:02 pm

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