jonah at coin-operated.com
Sat Jul 1 19:42:40 EDT 2006
Hi all -
I just wanted to write and introduce myself, although from the
archive it appears that I already know a few people on this list.
Still, Trebor asked me to write in and say a few words about my
background, work, etc. as it relates to the "urban context" so
hopefully I can add to the ongoing discussion here.
I'm currently finishing up my PHD dissertation in the Networking and
Telecommunications Research Group (NTRG) at Trinity College Dublin on
the topic of "Deconstructing Networks". I'm interested in networks in
both their metaphorical and contextual relationship to popular
culture and every day use/experience. My work attempts to critically
challenge and subvert accepted perceptions of network interaction and
The primary research done in our research group is on developing new
network protocols - such as 4G or "Ad-Hoc" networking systems that
allow for dynamically reconfigurable networks to exist within densely
populated urban centers. Basically, the protocols treat each
individual device as a routing physical layer, thus these types of
networks (in opposition to traditional cell phone systems for
instance) alleviate the need for a centralized broadcast "tower"
controlled by Telecom corporations.
This 'decentralized' approach to the infrastructure puts the control
back into the individual device / and its owner and thus "disrupts"
the typical commerce model of telecommunications control. So for
instance, if I wanted to make a call to someone who was outside of my
"radio range" (a typical 802.11 radio range would be about 30 meters
with an "off the shelf" consumer model router), a 4G system would
route my call through people's devices (otherwise known as "hops")
until the call reached its final destination. Thus in an urban center
this would work the best since for this type of network to work, it
requires a high population density.
In my own work, I've been developing projects over the past few years
that examine annd challenge how networks are used and disseminated
across multiple technological platforms, communities, and modes of
social engagement. In particular, I'm interested in how challenging
these accepted uses and protocols can result in profound,
interesting, and different ways of communicating between people in
both local and disparate communities.
A collaborative project utilizing this 4G ad-hoc networking
technology that I worked on with Katherine Moriwaki is called
"Umbrella_net". This project examines how these networks can be
linked to "chance", "coincidental", and situated occurances in urban
UMBRELLA.net is a project exploring transitory or ad-hoc networks and
their potential for causing sudden, striking, and unexpected
connections between people in public and urban space. The project
focuses on the theme of "networks of coincidence", or how shared, yet
disconnected activities can be harnessed into collective experiences.
UMBRELLA.net examines how the haphazard and unpredictable patterns of
weather and crowd formation can act as an impetus to examine
coincidence of need networks. In particular, when umbrellas are
opened and closed in public space. The project will attempt to
highlight these informal relationships by creating a system of ad-hoc
network nodes that can spontaneously form and dissipate based on
Another example of a project of mine that directly relates to the
connection between architectural space and its "virtual" counterpart
or web space is "Alerting Infrastructure!" .
From the project description:
"The project is a physical hit counter that translated hits to the
website of an arts center into interior damage of the physical
building. The focus of the piece is to amplify the concern that
physical spaces are slowly losing ground to their virtual
counterparts. The amount of structural damage to the building
directly correlates to the amount of exposure and attention the
website gets, thus exposing the physical structure's temporal
existence. With each new virtual hit, the jackhammer slowly destroys
the walls of the physical building. Since websites and virtual
interfaces can garner an almost unlimited amount of "virtual hits"
without showing any visible signs of decay or extended use, the
project attempts to illustrate a fundamental reversal in role of
physical spaces losing importance and relevance to their virtual
More of my projects can be seen here:
Anyways, I just wanted to write in and introduce myself and my work.
I'm looking forward to the discussions that follow.
projects and work: http://www.coin-operated.com/projects
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