mark.w.shepard at gmail.com
Wed Jul 5 04:06:47 EDT 2006
As one of the organizers of Architecture and Situated Technologies,
I'm really looking forward to the coming months' discussions. It's
great to have the opportunity to discuss these issues on this list.
By way of introduction, I'm currently teaching in the departments of
Architecture and Media Study at the University at Buffalo, where I am
co-director of the Center for Virtual Architecture and coordinator
for the Media | Architecture | Computing program.
The Center for Virtual Architecture’s research is located at the
intersection of architecture, new media and computational
technologies. We are interested in the possibilities offered by
computational systems for rethinking human interaction with (and
within) the built environment. Our focus areas include learning
environments, design environments, responsive architecture and
locative media. Computational technology provides both a means and a
medium for this research: an operative paradigm for conceptualizing
relations between people, information, and the material fabric of
everyday life. URL - http://cva.ap.buffalo.edu
The Media | Architecture | Computing program at UB was established to
investigate confluences in architecture and media art brought about
by computational technologies. As sites of practice for architecture
and computational media converge, new avenues for research and
experimentation arise that require an expanded knowledge domain.
Working with faculty in the departments of Architecture and Media
Study, students in the program conduct research and creative
explorations in responsive architecture, robotics, networked
performance, physical computing, locative media, virtual reality +
game design, kinetic structures, parametric design, and digital
fabrication. With a focus on providing a critical context for
experimental practice, this program provides architects and media
artists an opportunity to explore contemporary confluences of
architecture and computational media.
My own work focuses on the impact of mobile and pervasive
technologies on architecture and urbanism. I am interested in not
only how these technologies alter how we locate, interact and orient
ourselves within, navigate through, and otherwise inhabit the
contemporary city, but also how the design of the (built) urban
environment might respond to these changes.
I'm currently developing a project titled the "Tactical Sound Garden
[TSG] Toolkit", an open source platform for cultivating virtual
"sound gardens" in urban public space. It draws on the culture of
urban community gardening to posit a participatory environment where
new spatial practices and social interactions within technologically
mediated environments can be explored and evaluated. Addressing the
impact of mobile audio devices like the iPod, the project examines
gradations of privacy and publicity within contemporary public space.
The Toolkit enables anyone living within dense 802.11 wireless (WiFi)
"hot zones" to install a "sound garden" for public use. Using a WiFi
enabled mobile device (PDA, laptop, mobile phone), participants
"plant" sounds within a positional audio environment. These plantings
are mapped onto the coordinates of a physical location by a 3D audio
engine common to gaming environments - overlaying a publicly
constructed soundscape onto a specific urban space. Wearing
headphones connected to a WiFi enabled device, participants drift
though virtual sound gardens as they move throughout the city.
The TSG Toolkit is a parasitic technology. It feeds on the
propagation of WiFi access points in dense urban environments as a
free, ready-made, locative infrastructure for cultivating community
sound gardens in contemporary public space. The concept leverages the
fact that the protocol for WiFi networks requires access points to
publicly broadcast their SSID (Service Set Identifier). Access points
producing the WiFi signals used to determine the location of a
participant may be open or encrypted, and need not be "owned" by
those deploying the TSG system.
I'll be presenting the project in its first city-wide incarnation
this August at the ISEA 2006 / ZeroOne San Jose Symposium and
Festival. Drop me a note if you'll be there ...
URL - http://www.tacticalsoundgarden.net
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