Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Check-in: Archive Bomb

Archive Bomb met Tactical Media, whose manifesto shares some desired qualities with the concept:
  • involved parties manipulate media "in a continual process of questioning the premises of the channels they work with"
  • activism characterized by mobility and flexible response (hit-and-run). The ability to move through different entities of "vast media landscape without betraying their original motivations"
  • results are "temporary reversals in the flow of power"
  • "an aesthetic of poaching, tricking, reading, speaking... Clever tricks, the hunter's cunning, maneuvers, polymorphic situations, joyful discoveries, poetic as well as warlike."
This match revisits the concept of artists being new archivists. Beeld & Geluid (B&G) can be the supplier for material for such interventions, and can facilitate participation on three levels:
  1. insider
    B&G can allow the broadcast system to be hacked. In a context where A/V will already be setup, for example an event in a public square during museum night, B&G can ensure the "back door" through which underminers can participate.
  2. hacker
    A team of archivists, dedicated to showing multiple perspectives can use the system themselves, as they are most familiar with the state of the collection. They could assume an anonymous identity, with a hidden link to B&G (Kounter Beeld en Geluid?).
  3. mentor
    B&G can encourage or participate in interventionist workshops, with specialized knowledge of broadcasting and A/V archives. Cooperation with historians could also be possible. (Hooray multi-disciplinary collaboration!)

Amalgamated Concept #1: historic re-enactments tying into current events
B&G can set up a platform that works with activists for the purpose of exposing patterns in media or social commentary, such as with the methods listed above. Through a combination of performance and A/V bombs, the public can be confronted with past events:
  • Purely analog (ex: performance troupe that translates a hate crime into a staged conflict on the train)
  • Augmented flashmob (ex: streaming old broadcast on the speaker system in addition to participants with previous instructions)
  • Techie dream (a disposable projection grenade: looks like a soda can, but it releases smoke onto which a one-time projection is displayed). While the "grenade" is still a few steps away (compact portable projectors are available, but definitely not disposable), a "landmine" could also be implemented: the material and structure are there, but detonation is triggered by a coincidence.

Amalgamated Concept #2: puzzlehunt
B&G can expose its archive through a pervasive game, such as an urban puzzlehunt. Teams of gamers sign up to solve rounds of puzzles - in this case media riddles could be featured, but in a public space context. Drawing from of the texts in "Space Time Play," this could be an ideal set-up:
  • Pervasive games mix everyday tangible space with closed information spaces. The rules and information network (game space) intertwine with the city space (play space).
  • "Temporary autonomous zones" are created by roleplay. In these zones willing players create a new set of rules, when imposed onto innocent bystanders, question implicit social interactions.
  • Because the real environment is used, there are real consequences. This removes the safety bubble of traditional play (where one can safely explore "what if" and what one cannot do in real life), but it also offers elements of psychogeography to come into play. The city itself can be enhanced by the game by encouraging players to see it through new eyes or to uncover stories to drive us.
B&G would curate the material used for puzzles, and gather data as done currently through web-based games. Material costs (if mobile-projection gadgets are to be used) would be more safely covered. The element of surprise still strikes non-participating passerbys, and they can also be used as part of the game. An element that could be interesting from the MIT Mystery Hunt is that the winning team wins the right to organize the following year's competition (rules, hints, everything).

An interesting part about creating these puzzles is to make it such that a Google search does not solve it. A good team could solve all puzzles to the end in about 48 hours (or that is a target). This is an example in which one deliberately tries to make the information not available, for a reasonable purpose.

Points for moving on:
  • Does the theoretical framework need more work?
  • Could storyboards of potential puzzles be a starting point, then see what happens when this game context is removed?
  • Is B&G's role clear enough such that the concepts are appropriate for them in particular? (Does it make an "appropriate" use of the content of their archive?)

New Readings since last time:
  1. Gregory Sholette - Dark Matter
    Raises discussion on the creative realm unrecognized by the institutionalized art world (and its importance), why it may not be accepted, and its connection to political art.
    • "What stabilizes the borders of the elite art market is the routine production of relatively minor differences."
    • Importance of connecting "'unblocked' moments of working class fantasy with the history, or histories of actual resistance to capital, patriarchy racism and nationalism. Rather than a smooth, linear narrative," it assembles "a montage of 'historical fissures -- crises, war, capitulation, revolution, counterrevolution."
    • Describes interventionist art groups that design objects of intervention as well as workshops that encourage this behavior.
  2. David Garcia & Geert Lovink - The ABC of Tactical Media
  3. Rui Guerra(!) - It's Not That Kind, guerilla projections & other projects that empower individuals to intervene with public spaces

To Read (mostly from INTK):
  1. Gregory Sholette - The Interventionists: User's Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life
  2. Krzystof Wodiczko
    Nowadays public space is occupied with the displaced, members of a nomadic culture. These spaces should be reclaimed as agoras for statements and discussion.
  3. Claire Bishop
    Participation in socially engaged art
  4. Markus Miessen - The Violence of Participation
  5. Chantal Mouffe - Artistic Activism and Agnostic Spaces
    Urge "for radical democracy of agnostic pluralism where all antagonisms could be expressed. In their opinion, ‘...there is no possibility of society without antagonism’; indeed, without the forces that articulate a vision of society, it could not exist."
  6. Michael Naimark - Arts Lab
    Proposal for a hybrid arts center and research lab

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Round 03 : Collectibles

Research organized

I made a powerpoint presentation where the most important information is placed.There are still some stuff I need to fill in but that will come.

Most recent research is about emotions and personality traits. I did this research for inspiration to make some kind of game play system.

Game Play System

Theme is making a (godlike) avatar from fragmented behaviors which represent personality traits.
Before playing, the players "draw" their goal. The first to complete the goal has won.
Emotional Status has a starting point. This starting point is created out of the average from the collected fragments (deck).
Personality traits or/and actions "cards" have influances on the emotional status of the avatar.


Playing the game system with self made cards.

Plan for an experiment where I discover how people feel about a the fragment and how they would react to it. Going to implement it for next week.
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Round 03: Chance Interruptions

The approach being taken to bring the archive closer to its audience:
Interrupt daily routine to bring a higher awareness of the current situation and the archive.
To varying degrees, concepts in this direction impose archive fragments on a random audience. There are those who look to the past to learn, or to reminisce, and there are those who do not. As the present is a result of the past, this approach gives more power to the archive: it does not wait to be initiated by an interested user.

background principles
  • An archive is a collection of fragments. Digitization of its content aids fluidity of presentation and makes interaction with the archive more dynamic, and allows for new connections and interpretations to be made.

  • The technology that we have developed seemingly independent of the Supernatural now makes qualities of it even closer. (E.g. invisible forces, quickness, mutability)

  • Changes in one's routine, whether or not by chance, create a higher awareness of the current/"normal" situation.

  • Over text, audiovisual material is already communicating closer to the people. Sound and moving images were what we perceived before written literacy. Outside its original context, AV material can trick us into thinking it is current.

Three initial concepts are defined to explore these principles. They all take place off-site, but differ on who is curating the information. Beeld & Geluid is used as an impartial provider of content.

archive bomb
  • Guerilla warfare model: quick, temporary, anonymous broadcasting in public spaces that may produce chaotic results.
  • Archive fragment bombs are detonated without explanation: less information forces the audience to lay their own interpretations.
  • This is a one-time event. The effects are imposed on the memories and interpretations of the surrounding people.
  • Can comment on current situation using historic locations and political/cultural/religious events. Can be used as a way to take back broadcasting.
  • Curation by the people? If it were Beeld & Geluid, does it have an obligation to remain neutral?

  • Visual podcasts are broadcast on public train sunshades.
  • Geyser model: known location, but when it is triggered is not explicitly expressed. Spurts are short, appropriate for commuters of varying periods.
  • Can provide more information on the places passed on the train, but it could expand to have a visual radio feel.
  • Competition over broadcasting space filters out different parties who are interested enough to make a coherent podcast.

connect the dots
  • Running chicken model: finding meaning amongst randomness. Letting chickens (or people) run freely, the results of which reveal a new meaning.
  • Input locational data to be interpreted by the tag system of B&G. The system functions as a Supernatural power, giving a different meaning and overview that people cannot see as clearly.
  • Results of this are displayed in public locations; while the location is static, the information fed to it is now dependent on the surrounding people.

Another question arises: what is the effect of these ways of (re)broadcasting?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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Linkdump on data visualization

As I lost myself browsing for ways of visualizing the archive as a network, i got to some very interesting data visualization websites that i'd like to share. Since I don't have time to explain each one right now, i'll just dump the links so you can see for yourself!

Data visualization overview blogpost

Subsites especially concerning the archive:

Some nice examples

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


ICT Delta Event

PROJECT CLOSER | Round-table Discussion | March 18th, 14.00-15.00

Audiovisual cultural heritage collections nowadays are becoming accessible on a large scale through digital networks. Innovative ways of presentation and interaction can create an added value in disclosing these archives to the audience. CLOSER is a multidisciplinary research project, initiated by V2_ and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

There is a gap between the use and the potential in the archive. As more archives move towards digitalization, questions for archivists surround increased accessibility and the meaning of future archival practice. Simultaneously artists are using the archive to critique systems of power, history, memory, and identity. In CLOSER we are exploring the territory between these two perspectives in hopes of making archival use a more meaningful experience. In this round-table discussion we start a dialogue between artists, theoreticians, archivists, and ICT practitioners about:

Building a bridge between the concerns of institutional archives and artistic critique in a way that empowers the individual.

The discussion will take place on 18 March, 2010 at ICT Delta conference in Rotterdam, from 14.00 to 15.00. Registration is free on the website. http://www.ictdelta2010.nl/

Information on our discussion table can be found at: http://www.ictdelta2010.nl/ICTD/Discussietafel-V2_Beeld-en-Geluid-.html

The CLOS(AR) project blog: http://closar.blogspot.com/

Please respond to closar@v2.nl if you are able to join the discussion. Thanks and we look forward to talking with you!

All the best,
CLOS(AR) team


Project Update

We have gone trough the essence of our concepts. Then we shuffled and merged different ideas together. The results were reorganized in different directions or areas. We did this process to find new combination's, directions and overlaps within the concepts.

The next step we took was researching the old and new areas. For each area we made short presentation to give an impression on what we have found.

We have looked at:
Archives and Audiovisual Archives
Chance and Rituals
Traces / Trails


preserving process

NYT article on the issues of preserving digital archival data @ Emory University. One interesting thing to me was that they recreate what an author saw on a screen (a draft, including applications that would allow annotation).

The first digital forensics lab also opened last summer at Stanford's library:
Michael Olson, the digital collections project manager at Stanford University, said that the only people who really had experience with excavating digital information were in law enforcement. “There aren’t a lot of archives out there capturing born-digital material,” he said, referring to the process of extracting all data accurately from a device.

Conflux City

Conflux City is an art & tech festival in NYC organized by glowlabs, featuring many projects centering on psychogeography (the heightened awareness/experience of the space around you). Lots of projects, including robot poetry, surveillance camera footage remixing, traffic cone tours and haptic navigation devices.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Robot Poetry


Micro-radio poetry embedded around NYC.

Computer-Brain Interfaces

I was at the UNMA (Utrechtse Nieuwe Media Avond) yesterday. The theme was "computer-brain-interfaces", which was quite interesting and scary at the same time. Besides the mostly medical possibilites (for example: deep brain stimulation, or mind controlled wheelchairs), there was also a Belgian artist, Chritoph De Boeck, who made a huge interactive sound installation. The steel pins that hammer on steel plates respond to your (EEG) brain activity, which is measured by the quite small and lightweight device on your head. The sounds eventually construct a rythem if you focus your attention on certain things, for example by constantly doing small mathematical calculations in your head. I tested the device myself after the presentation, unfortunately not in the installation, but i saw my brain activity on a screen, which was kind of weird too.

As you can see in the video, De Boeck uses the headset by IMEC Holst Centre. There's another company that created one especially for games: the Emotiv Epoc. Maybe this could be an interesting way to access an archive???
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From Alex Adriaansens

An archival project by Art+Com conceptualized in the mid nineties. It has only ben realized partly.
The project relates VR and archives, and something that is more common now, web2.0 concepts, like video and image contributions of the audience to the archive.


There is a nice video on the website that explains the project more clearly.

Reading: Ritual

Update from my end on the research. Some notes from Erik Davis's "TechGnosis" that apply to the Ritual category:
  • The speed & mutability of current technoscience times evokes supernatural qualities.
  • Technology has "demystified" the world, but this mysticism is actually hiding in cultural, psychological, and mythological areas. It comes back as well, perhaps without our knowing (ex: how Christian myths have framed technological/economic growth)
  • ICT shapes the human self by encoding thought & experience. Partially reconstructing this self and world leads to new interpretation. These constructions of our reality consist of (1) form (medium, crafted/constructed) and (2) content (transmission of mind & meaning). This content can be further divided into two parts: soul and spirit. Soul is analog, continuous, and entrenched in social context. Spirit is characterized by clarity and discrete signals (digital).
  • People are now cut off from their analog souls by science & technology, and try to recreate it with these digital versions - technology is not a mere tool.
The "Great Divide" from Latour's "We Have Never Been Modern" is also mentioned: nature and culture were once interwoven and indistinguishable (ex: how an Inuit experiences his dreams and hunting the following day), but the Modern Wall has wedged itself in between. Now culture is struggling to develop independently of nature, through new technologies, even though these spiritual needs are re-manifesting themselves.

Also starting to read up on Debord's "Society of the Spectacle," and the Situationists, don't know exactly where this will lead.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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Reading: Archive and Aspiration

Yesterday our clustering session yielded several research directions that we will dig deeper into this week. The topic I will address is power and the archive. The IT revolution has changed the way we think about information and accordingly, the archive. The result has been a shift in power from traditional, controlled archives towards information created, curated/edited and distributed through a participatory culture, in a sense democratizing these processes.

I started by looking into the V2_/NAi publication, Information is Alive: Art and Theory on Archiving and Retrieving Data, for some insight. The book is a collection of essays, projects, and interviews from different art/design disciplines. The most inspiring article I read was Archive and Aspiration, by Arjun Appadurai. I over simplify and paraphrase below.

Appadurai discusses how the digitalization of the archive has led to a return to the archive's traditional role as a deliberate site for recording anticipated memories for collectives, freeing the archive from the exclusive realm of state control, policing or from the tomb of the trace. The IT revolution has had the effect of increasing the accessibility and extended the function and possibilities for the archive. The digital archive becomes the site for the deliberate production of anticipated memories by communities. Appadurai gives the example of the digital migrant archive; the archive for disposessed people whose histories do not correspond with "official" memory. This intensified form of archive acts as a highly interactive forum giving voice, agency and debate, as a site for creating/negotiating collective memory and aspiration, mediating between the past and present locations.
"Rather, the migrant archive is a continuous and conscious work of the imagination, seeking in collective memory an ethical basis for the sustainable reproduction of cultural identities in the new society."
The archive is the map of how to interact within uncertainty and a tool to link between memory, desire and hope. For me, the notion of archive lending agency and location to grassroots, subversive or other groups confronting, breaking down or transforming the powers that be, is very fascinating...the tools of the oppressors become the tools of the suppressed.

Monday, March 8, 2010


reading day

As Spring Cleaning happened last week, the closAR team borrowed some books from the V2_Library to read on Mono Monday.

As I was reading "space time play," one point I found interesting with pervasive gaming was the loss of the safety zone. Real consequences ensue in this real space, taking away some of this free exploration that happens in virtual gaming space. It reminds me of Apter's reversal theory regarding anxiety and excitement and also on safety zones based on their fears. The rules of engagement of a game help make up the boundaries of this world in which it is safe to explore (or play) these alternate realities.

Perhaps play theory will be more useful at a later stage of concept development (and perhaps we can use it to assess the play quality of other B&G game initiatives). Will bring in some resources if it is of interest.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


closAR does Beeld & Geluid

Last Wednesday, the team paid a visit to the Beeld & Geluid (B&G) Institute to taste the kid's menu (the Experience) and perused the kitchen pantry (the Archive).

It was an interesting dichotomy of activity. The above-ground level was swarmed with little children, while the layers underneath were deserted.

the Experience in a glance

We were given RFID rings to collect and "interact" with the exhibitions upstairs. The most engrossing exhibitions were ones in which you could put yourself into them. Hopeful, starry glints in the eyes of a child broadcaster reading off the teleprompter. Touch screens were out the wazoo. Nostalgic artifacts (record players, tvs) were also displayed in glass cases. (The eternal torment of look, but no touch.)

the Archive in a glance

Johan also showed us part of the way down the canyon. Because material automatically comes from the broadcasting companies (with metadata!), the archive is actually quite dynamic. If something is shown in the morning, the archive will be accessed in the afternoon to use the same clip. However this access is electronic - they have direct taps into the B&G system. This means that only rare material will prompt someone to physically go to the archive. As program makers are the majority of the archive's users, a comparatively empty vault is the result.

A quick search for a Sven Kramer clip returned an extensive transcript and also the possibility to search the video by thumbnails. When there is just one voice, software can reliably convert speech into text, and guess the topic. An interesting study they performed was to compare a person's initial search with what s/he eventually left with, helping B&G to revise relevant information for an entry.

A few issues include figuring out what is the "most valuable" to digitize, managing the industry standards that may not be the best for preservation, and thinking ahead to the future of the archival services when video has become YouTube-able.

Interesting fact: the digital is quite fragile. B&W film can last to 400 years, while CDs fade in 15.

Round 2: Shamanism & Sacrifice (Connie)

The Shamanic Ritual concept examines the ritual of accessing information beyond one's immediate grasp. Requesting answers in the past was a significant ordeal: an invoking sacrifice, fasting or hallucinogens to attain visions, or significant group effort facilitated by the "chosen." With information today so easily at one's hand (or pocket), the humbling restriction of not knowing or remembering is lost.

While enlightenment will always be phenomenological, what AR can bring to this new interpretation is a uniform "vision" to be interpreted by a group.

The direction is to induce an immersive, storytelling and role-playing experience for group access of the archive. A signature interaction from the past would be carried through, perhaps a "modern sacrifice." The initial vision is for this to take place either on-site at Beeld & Geluid, or at a special event.

Instead of forcing this interaction on all queries, perhaps it would be an interesting exercise to come up with questions that would merit this modern sacrifice. A fun idea a friend and I did once was to ask only other people for answers that would typically be asked of Google, and on the flip side, to ask Google fuzzy, ambiguous questions (ex: "What do you think of my love life?").

Round 2: Archive Bomb (Connie)

A la "War of the Worlds" broadcast fiasco, the Archive Bomb concept aims to raise awareness of
  1. broadcasting and its power over people's perception of the truth
  2. Beeld & Geluid and its archive materials
Archive material is imposed on everyday life in public spaces in a guerrilla warfare style. The effect should be explosive: surprising, disorienting, unexplained, and temporary. A bit of chaos stimulates reaction.

The bomb doesn't wait for people to discover the archive. If one is fooled by mis-information, meta-thoughts on broadcasting may occur (Who is projecting what message, for what reason, and to what end? What is truth?). The experience is short and less immersive: the consumption metaphor here would be snacking on a pretzel that was thrown at you.

An anonymous group of B&G bombers would be ideal, either akin to the fictional members of Gorillaz or to flash mob organizers. The ethics of hacking or pranking could be investigated to avoid terrorism. Constructing a bomb requires exploration of the archives.

Further elaboration and investigation are needed in several areas:
  1. Motivation (Can it survive outside a game context, or the safety of an event?)
  2. Current possibilities of implementation (mobile projection, multi-sensory expression, disposable?)
  3. Material to be exposed. A suggestion was that a commentary on current events could be made by exposing material from other times with similar conditions. It would be great to be more dynamic than projecting old buildings or reliving old stories, a la Tijdmachine project in Rotterdam.

Round 02 - Shauna

Yesterday I presented two first concepts with illustrative examples within the domains of physical browsing and ritual, what I call library2.0 and mixed slow rituals, respectively. The starting points were again the group vision we developed as a team and the criteria I developed last week. In addition, I was very interested in nostalgia for physical space and interaction induced by historical or knowledge artifacts.
5 Criteria from Round 1
1. Continuity of experience (spatial and temporal)
2. Flexible interaction
3. Interfacing the best of the digital and actual world
4. Durable/sustainable
5. Accommodates sociality
Physical/tangible browsing is much more satisfying and potentially more powerful than WIMP browsing. Computer search lacks the spatial and serendipitous qualities that are offered by physically located information. Additionally, the accessibility/visibility of this information can be improved.

On the other hand information mapped in physical space is limited, for example in a library, information is mapped 1:1 in terms of data and organizational system.

Earlier in this project, we talked about the Art of Memory by Frances Yates. In her book, she explains the memory technique of embedding information (words or thoughts) onto imagined objects housed in imagined architectural spaces in the mind. I was intrigued by the notion that the same mental places could be used again and again to house new thoughts and words:
"The same set of loci can be used again and again for remembering different material...the loci are like wax tablets" - The Art of Memory, Frances Yates
The digital revolution created new paradigms for thinking about data and its organization. I take Yate's statement to a literal level and propose that digital information can be projected on physical artifacts. In the figure below, I extend the analogy of books organized on bookshelves. Not only can different data sets be organized in the same space (not simultaneously), but also the organization/classification systems used to present this data.

For example, the archive video content could be organized by arbitrary classification like amount of red content in the videos, by keywords, it could be smart...utilizing neural networks to learn how users want to search.

Johan from Sound and Vision mentioned that the archive was created through a merger of 5 separate archives with different information classification systems. Could a physical-digital archive be a solution to the problem of unifying information?

Continuing with the library analogy, I thought about what a physical-digital archive could look like. With infinity on my mind, I thought of a rolodex going forward and backwards in information space. Perhaps the physical-digital archive could be made of circular shelves, housing blank physical artifacts and the digital information could be projected on the spines. Moving forward and backwards in information space would require turning the shelves forwards or backwards. The physical relationship between bits of information could reintroduce serendipity or chance into the search process...The information set projected on the shelves can be changed to fit the query and information demands of the users with a blink of the eye, and the desired information can be physically collected.

For an A/V archive, it is also important to be able to visualize or understand the continuum of information. Maybe when examining a program pulled from the shelf, people can scroll through key points or access further information or metadata about that program.

Some other concerns:
- How can information be placed in space so that there is a visible hierarchy? Should certain information be "featured." Should more obsolete information be placed farther away?
- How can the social context of being in a physical space with other people be reintroduced...like awareness of other people as they pass by on the other side of the bookshelf?
- Can viewing artifacts (e.g. glasses, monocles) be used to delve deeper into the information space? Is it satisfying?
- How can the heaviness/age/etc. of content be visualized?

Mixing Slow Rituals
The second concept is about recombining what I call "slow" rituals, such as going to the museum, library, bookstore, cafe, or archive, in new relationships. I am nostalgic for the hours and days spent in the library or bookstore, browsing, reading, and lounging around for free, not spending a cent. Alas, the physical aspect of libraries is slowly disappearing or changing forever.

What will happen to the sexy librarians (or archivists) when libraries/archives go totally digital? I already miss the cute record shop guys and I wonder if students of the future will study in the same cavernous beux arts study rooms I spent so much time in.

New relationships already exist between these places housing the slow experience.

The question is how can archives recombine into the same kind of relationships? I see an opportunity in the archive and, i.e. cafes promoting each other through their recombination. One very literal example I already see is at the Urban Espresso Bar in Rotterdam. There they have a downstairs space with video exhibitions running all the time.

To think further on:
- Who curates the content?
- Can archive services be offered in these places (i.e. dling or requesting clips)

Monday, March 1, 2010


Presentation 01-03-2010

Our presentation on monday 01-03-2010
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Round 02: Bas

CAVE (Collaborative AudioVisual Experience)

Based on current intuitive and gestural interface development, such as the sixth sense devices at MIT Medialab or Microsoft's Project Natal, and our general mission statement about creating a physical experience that addresses the accessability of the archive, I developed a vision on how to browse the archive in an immersive, intuitive way. I want to enhance accessing, using and searching the archive and make it more interesting and attractive to use. The working title is (AR) CAVE: Collaborative AudioVisual Experience (with, of course, a wink to the original VR CAVE).

These pictures indicate a general idea of what the CAVE could look like

Basically, it all comes down to a space, the size of a squash court, where several people can simultaneously interact with the archive. The navigation is based on intuitive gestures and body movements, just like the way people normally interact with physical objects. The archive (a selection) will be visualized in 3D in the middle of the space. The archive will be browable/searchable with different variables, such as keywords, picture recognition, speech recognition and video concept recognition. The participants will be able to physically grab a fragment out of the archive and store it somewhere in the space (floating digital material) or on one of the walls (more screen-like). The user can create connections between the fragments, but should also be able to see previously made connections (suggestions) by archivists or other users. Users should be able to make an overview (visualized network) of their research history or results, so that, instead of having 27 tabs with 16 pdf documents and 6 youtube movies opened in firefox, there is an immediate overview of the connections/relations between the found items. One of the walls can be used as a video/audio editor to remix the found material. While researching the users in the CAVE can work together (in different roles or by doing the same thing) and discuss their findings and search methods face to face.

Some examples of using the CAVE in a collaborative way are
- Group research or education (networked overview and discussions about the content and its connections)
- Teambuilding activities: e.g. create a 3 minute news report within 20 minutes (you have to work together, probably in different roles to make it)
- Games: race against time with cryptic description to find a certain archive file, archive karaoke/roulette where you have to explain the fragments and relate them somehow.
- Political discussion using news archives
- Commercial use: inspiration for new advertisements by browsing the archive
- Archivist training: user perspective, filtering newly made connections, archivist education

Round 02 Collectibles - Aeshta


The archive is mainly used for research and source material. Trying to think outside these goals I came a cross the the idea of a collection game.
To take the game away from the computers the game play should have the world itself as the playing field.
These 2 elements stimulates a community around the archive which in return keeps the archive more alive.

The game is about collecting fragments of the archive. These fragments are collected on a mobile interactive device, iPhone app, siftable and such.

The fragments can be sold, bought, stolen, traded and found. For example a way to "find" a archive fragment is done by using the Mobile Device and poles. These poles can be found in public spaces like libraries, theater, museums and concerts.

The game play can be either more like a card game or a treasure hunt. Both creating a situation where people need to work whit each other to get an social experience.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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The future vision

Is an interesting point of view of the world.

General card game update - Aeshta

Today I have done some research about the Card Collecting idea. The following parts are area which comes up in my mind mapping:

- Social network (the "card" collecting)
- Physical artifact (the device that is the "cards" or can share the "cards")
- Game play (using the "cards" to play)
- Story (think like quests, found in games like WOW only real live)

I took games like magic and WOW as examples. But the game play with the "cards" can still be anything. The form the cards will take is also still very much open, though for visualization I take the siftables in mind.

Next I am going to do some searching about the idea of Archive bomb and what kind of artifacts (physical toys) can be used.

MIT Medialab TED Talk

This is very interesting, just imagine some archive-conncetion with this device :)


Medical AR from Munich


Inspiration for Archive Bomb

War of the Worlds episode on Radiolab. It's a good analogy for the archive bomb idea we've been developing. Below is a summary from the website:


An examination of the power of mass media to create panic. In Radio Lab's very first live hour, we take a deep dive into one of the most controversial moments in broadcasting history - Orson Welles' 1938 radio play about Martians invading New Jersey. And we ask: Why did it fool people then? And why has it continued to fool people since? From Santiago, Chile to Buffalo, New York to a particularly disastrous evening in Quito, Ecuador.


BBC 3D explorer

browsing through videos... http://www.bbc.co.uk/virtualrevolution/3dexplorer_start.shtml

Monday, February 22, 2010


Round 01: Bas

What i've read about archives so far is that digital technologies change the archive in ways that destabilize authority over what should be in the archive and the categorization of what's in the archive. People can now access archives over the internet, creating their own unique and contingent research paths, shaping new relations between different archive artefacts, and adding their own personal metadata. This questions the role of the researcher/user, who seems to be completely free, and about which we think a lot for new concepts. The role of the archivist also fundamentally changes, he seems to be obsolete at first glance, but can probably play a role in filtering all of the personal categorizations and new archiving material. So maybe, besides thinking of new ways of accessing the archive as a user, it's also interesting to look at concepts for the archivist.

Some general remarks about concepts i came up with so far (still only focussed on regular user):
- interaction between physical and virtual world
- social interaction within the archive
- making the audiovisual archive easily accessible and creating incentives for people to use or browse the archive.
- new ways of browsing the archive: physical browsing in a 3D immersive space.

I have a picture in mind of this last idea, it's based on some general futuristic ideas about browsing and disclosing information that appear movies like minority report and some new ways of categorizing archive material as in the example of the software studies lab in san diego (I posted some example movies earlier on this blog). The archive should appear around a person or a group of persons and the browsing should be physical and intuitive. It should be accessible anywhere. The groupversion could be in the form of a game, in which the team-members have to find certain information in the archive to construct a bigger picture. It's just a very general idea and i still have to work out the 'how and why'.

Some things that came up during discussion:
- incentive for browsing in a group: disuccions platform
- bringing the archive to the home (TV?)

Round 01: Connie

Archive consumption is still puzzling for me. From the mission statement there were two things: how does one consume, and what is the meaning or purpose of this consumption? Where does an idea fall in the experience of archive consumption?

Who is the chef?
Who is curating this information? Is this a dinner party? A potluck of Web 2.0?

Are you dining alone?
Is this a group experience? How does one change the "TV channel changer" interaction? (One person in charge, the others watch.) To better fit this metaphor, how can the overall experience be satisfying, while the individuals have what they ordered?

Is there a kid’s menu?
How does this experience change when it is targeted towards kids (or another group)? Should it be? Are there fun goodies that would also be appreciated by adults?

Dining out?
Going to the restaurant is akin to attending an event. This leaves the opportunity for storytelling, but this means more time. This is opposite to browsing. When you have a group experience of a performance, this is typically a batch procedure, unless you are at a cafeteria.

Do I get to consume in my pajamas? At my leisure? Will I be judged for ordering the same thing over and over again?

Is there 24-hour service? How often should I cook over eating out?
Sometimes you don't need a 3-course meal on demand all day. While the past is the means by which we rationalize the present, it doesn't mean it is accessed all the time. How close is the present experience with the past, and how can this factor change with incorporation of technology (on-demand = snacking)?

Idea dump:
  • running through time: scrolling and browsing by means of a treadmill
  • sailing a ship: cooperate with the crew to navigate to different areas of interest (in the sea of knowledge and history!)
  • align the stars: see how different factors affect important events in history? Has anyone else experienced "The Fable Game" by Enzo Mari? Through different combinations of images on cards, a different story is told.
  • historic farts: inspired by the audio capture and retrieval in the 3-d space. Can someone go through a space and leave something invisible to be discovered by the next person? (Enjoyability not addressed)
  • spy game: you are kidnapped and when you awaken, you are in some reality that is not the current one
  • RISK: mission-based gaming, promote the propaganda message
  • ritualistic invocation of the past: now that technology presents the same image to multiple (whereas before it was personal, individual visions), how can this relate to storytelling?
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Round 01: Kate

Where Were You When

National identity is in constant dialogue with contemporary mass media as personal experience is mitigated by the realism of representation, the declarations of marketing, and the potential for replaceing individual memory with its televised counterpart. Collective memory should be a contested media in which historical pasts and current paradigms are both made and remade in constant interaction with all sorts of new facts and simulations.

you are the archive

individual --------------> group
what is-------------------> what is possible

Augmenting the reality of the archive should move beyond technolgical seduction (enhanced spectacle) and towards enhanced accessiblity and enhanced personal meaning. I am interested in the intersection between the personal and the official record of history. For this project the question, "Where were you when?" would invite a user to choose an important date for them (i.e. wedding anniversary or assination attempt, etc.). They would then contribute an oral 'story' or account of the date. This would then connect them to the official or media represetation of the day as well as connect them to other oral histories. In this way history becomes a form of collective sharing, an encounter which enhances one's personal perspective with conflicting or additive examples, for a possibly deeper and more complex view of national identity/history.

Round 01 - Aeshta

These ideas are just things that have popped up in my mind. I still feel that I am not touching the right stuff jet.

Social Network (game)
Here I am looking at the connections between people. Also I want to find out how they would have to work together or share their stories.

- Use the Siftables as an access device. Let people use the rules of game like PackRat. Collection, finding, stealing and trading material that is accessible from the archive. Also having booths or other creative places to find special material.

- Having photo booths spread over the country people can use it to make short stories and watch stories from other people.

- Pirate Broadcasting channel. People can make material and retrieve from the archive and watching it on a "pirate" broadcast. ;)

Physical connection to archive
In this part I am searching for the physical connection with the body and the archive. Using the hands and touch to connect with the archive in some way.

- A space with many books. Each book has his content and a AR layer which is some how projected directly on the pages.
(try to avoid the view technological filter)Perhaps most fun to place such spaces in libraries.

Round 01 - Shauna

To rephrase the meta-statement we developed last Friday, the key goal for this project is to create concepts that connect people to the archive content in a meaningful, experiential, and durable way. From the meeting on Thursday with Johan, the two main insights I got were that:
  • BenG (Beeld en Geluid) has the web2.0 aspects of archive already covered.
  • There is an opportunity to create meaningful mixed physical-digital experience beyond those for the casual museum visitor (offsite and/or onsite)

Below I elaborate on five points that I find inspiring as a starting point for idea generation. Some first directions for ideas are listed in italics.

1. Continuity of experience (spatial and temporal)
  • Provide a storyline/context/ritual/progression of steps that brings logic and structure to the experience, whatever that might be.
  • Visitors can connect and reconnect to the archive easily.
  • The experience should be immersive in that the technology aspect fades away. This means the usage should be intuitive.
  • Link to the other services and experiences already developed by BenG
  • INSPIRATION: using rituals facing extinction like going to the library or bookstore for an afternoon as a starting point/analogy for new concepts. For example, link the archive/library/bookstore/cafĂ© experience in a new way? Get people to go outside of their houses!
2. Flexibility of interaction
  • The interaction should be non-deterministic, supporting the needs/desires of individuals in making interpretations, making connections and their natural way of learning or exploration.

3. Interfacing the best of reality with the best of the digital
  • What are the strengths, paradigm shifting ideas that each can take from the other? For example:
  • Reality is immersive
  • Web democratizes information, increases accessibility for all (or does it?)
  • INSPIRATION: digitally stored information means that different methods of access can be mapped to the same data unlike a physical archive which is ordered by one system.
  • INSPIRATION: embedding data in 3-D space, like the audio project Jan mentioned.
4. Durable/sustainable

  • The concepts developed should be durable in the sense that the new ideas/principles can inform future design and design thinking.
  • The concepts promote the preservation of cultural heritage and new ways of preserving/thinking of cultural heritage.
  • New content creation/curation through users? New-ways of thinking about curation, content, i.e. mashup.
5. Accommodates sociality
  • Supports groups as well as individuals. Rather than thinking of groups as homogenous, how do different people within a group play different roles?
  • Multi-modal interaction between virtual/physical users
  • Collaborative use/access of archive in new ways?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

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Minority Report - ARchive?


Dutch 'theater of the experience'

Dutch 'theater of experience' attempts to challenge the traditional roles and behavior modes of the audience. The attempt is made to shift the 'theater-goer' away from membership in an anonymous, silent, passive group towards a unique, questioning, active, and responsible individual. This challenge is based upon the assumption that as an audience member, one will submit to a given theatrical experience. This submissiveness allows actors to provoke or encourage audience members into asking critical questions about their relationship to the environment and to others around them. The stage is generally dismissed, and 'scenes' are often performed with the audience/individual in public space (reality) or in private/secluded environments.

Het Toneelhuis is quite well known for this type of performance. See if possible Het Sprookjesboordeel. As is the Amsterdam-based director Dries Verhoeven. See You are Here video below.


come closer, my pretty

Over urban coffee and mint tea, the closAR team had a post-briefing brainstorm. The result, a general statement with which personal formulations will be united:

Create a physical experience that addresses accessibility of the archive.

A focus on the physical link to the digital archive, through the overall experience or the object interaction. Accessibility can also address eliciting more interpersonal interactions to opening B&G's efforts to the Web 2.0 illiterate.

Undigitized archival material here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


brainstorm, feb 15

Digitized and mildly organized version of the brainstorm/mindmap the team created on the first day. It's a mix of initial ideas, preconceptions, and interests.
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Notes on the Archive

“As a set of rules that define the events of discourse, the archive is situated between
Langue, as the system of construction of possible sentences––that is, of possibilities of
speaking––and the corpus that unites the set of what has been said, the things actually
uttered or written. The archive is thus the mass of the non-semantic inscribed in every
meaningful discourse as a function of enunciation; it is the dark margin encircling and
limiting every concrete act of speech.”

Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz.
The Witness and the Archive, 144.

Videotagging game "Waisda"

On the research blog of "images for the future" (a project by beeld en geluid, kennisland and 4 other institutions), i found a posting bout the evaluation of the videotagging game "waisda" ('what is that' in a southern-dutch dialect). Users got points if they used the same words as other people to describe a video. A nice way of crowdsourcing! It was quite a succes, according to their own posting.

dutch biographical portal

The Volkskrant came out with an article today about a new website: the Dutch Biographical Portal. It's a collection from several formerly "pillarized" archives of 40.000 biographies of people living on within the current borders of the Netherlands between 634 and 2005. Every single one of them meant "something" to the country, for example: journalists, actors, politicians, etc. It's a new way of easy public access to this selection of biographical information and a new node in the dutch archival network.


AktiveArchive is concerned with electronic, time-and-space-related artworks:

* conducting research on those which have been forgotten,
* restoring those which are acutely endangered,
* conserving those which are no longer topical but still functional,
* registering and documenting those which have just been created.

It's based in Bern, Switzerland
A nice set of links regarding new media archives: AktiveArchive
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Game Inspiration

These two games came up in my mind after all the things we mentioned during the brainstorm.

The Game is interesting because by changing the perspective only you can guide your puppet through the maze. It is a different way to think of interaction, just change the perspective.

Flow is game that has an organic feel to it. Through the many layers you can let your creature eat what you desire. What you eat creates the growth of your creature creating a personal connection to it.
Flow Game

Just some interesting interaction to maybe think about.

Response from the Archival World

Just found the website of a symposium on digital archiving organized by the Swiss Federal Archive in response to the changing methods of archiving and changing principles of archiving. The topics they organize are as follows:
  1. Archival profile: professional competence in the digital age
  2. What to keep: how to mirror the information society
  3. E-Archiving: reorganisation of processes and business models
  4. Online access: solutions and implications
If the archival profession is to successfully make the transition out of the 20th century, it will need to recognize that what gives an archives value is how it is used. In the last century, an archives may have derived status from the materials it preserved; in this century, it will derive value from the materials it provides access to–and that access will have to be online. -- from Kate @ Archives2.0
Web2.0 and archivists blogging
- Archives*Open - how archivists are thinking about Web2.0 and it's impact on their evolving profession
- ArchivesNext - Web2.0 and it's implications for archiving
- Archief2.0 (Dutch) - social network for archivists
Information on Digital Preservation
- Digital Preservation Europe

Online Archival Projects

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


analog AR

As touched upon in the previous post, people have been augmenting reality way before there was this fetish for computer vision.

Here is Where: a project that rediscovers (lackluster) physical locations through historical accounts. New York Times article that describes the project.

“It’s sort of a reverse scavenger hunt,” he said. “Trying to find things that aren’t there.”

Other things to look at could be shamanism or other rituals in which people initiate this accessing of information that is not there. (Often this refers to the physical perceptible reality.) More to come.

augmentology against AR-terminology

George Shalom of Augmentology rebels against the term Augmented Reality because of the way it is used. He denounces the word "augmented" because it's not new for humans to "augment" their reality with technology. A very simple example of this is writing:
"The innovation of written language was a concrete visualization of reality-augmenting metadata"

Shalom doesn't like the use of the word reality, because in implies the fact that there is one objective reality that is enlarged, allthough it only refers to mobile web technology applications that don't even have open standards. Shalom argues that what many people call AR should be termed more specifically towards mobile web technology.

In Part II of his essay, he tries to come up with an alternative for the revealing of metadata and calls it "aura recognition" (aurec for short), explicitly referring to Walter Benjamin's use of the term aura.
"In the best case scenario, aurec will help us make sense of the emotional significance of digital phenomenon in ways which are meaningful and helpful."

I'm not sure, but I think Shalom is trying to say that aurec is the better term for AR and that it enables us to access the aura of something trough the metadata, for example a specific context. Maybe someone can read Part II as well and edit this post or comment on it.

I think aurec relates to the idea about virtually contextualizing archive material in an immersive environment, that we talked about today.

Chronology of The Archive

* Cave Paintings
Pictographs- meaning conveyed through resemblance to physical object
Time represented through visual layering (adding/ erasing)

* Oral
Bards and Homers
Knowledge is transferred through physical/social interaction
A unique event that happens in time
Information is not fixed- can be personalized/context-specific

* Written/Recorded Library
Composed of primary or original source material, may be unique
- Access is limited (often must request permission to use a specific material)
- Archivist or librarian as gatekeeper
- Behavior code: white gloves, pencils, low lighting, silence
- There is a limit to what can be 'saved'
Subjectivity of History: What is known is what has persevered
'Aura' to the object/ Artifact- a physical connection to the past
'Holy Grail Quest': History's hidden treasure that could change or reshape the world
- Possibility for the material to be destroyed and lost forever (war, flood, fire)
Authority implicit in preserved or source material
Searching the archive requires expertise (ex. knowledge of language) or credentials

* Printed Material Library
Increased Accessibility
The possibility of exploring shelves of books related but not specific to topic
Collection Impulse- documentation of everything that can be 'known'

* Digital Archive/ Library
Examples: Web 2.0, online library collections, Databases
Shifting paradigms as to the 'owner' of the material
Hoarding vs. Sharing
(Copyright, Confidentiality, Intellectual Property, vs Creative Commons, Wiki, Hacking,
Google Books)
Restrictions: Internet Connections, Passwords, Meta-Data
Material is often a reference/copy; context is often lost
Increased ability to erase, manipulate, alter, or copy material
Acquisition comes through ability to learning the correct search algorithm
The art of filtering: User must be able to evaluate the relevance and authenticity of material

Side notes:
Does information decrease in value when it increases in quantity?
Is the destruction of information a form of historical liberation?
How does the digital archive negotiate between the subjective and the objective?
What is the personal archive and what is the public?


Why Search an Archive?

The results of our exercise in categorizing why an archive is accessed. This classification can help serve as a starting point for understanding the steps/experience/ritual of accessing archives under different circumstances.
How does technology change the nature of what an archive is/how it is accessed/what and for who it is for?
*Digital analogies of physical archives include YouTube (a public archive) or external archives owned by individuals.

1. Research (targeted)
- Assignment
- Personal Interest
- Authority of Source Material: The authoritative version is somehow the curated and saved knowledge and can help in the search for confirmation or validation
- The archive can help us understand/interpret the present through our search of the past

2. Curiosity (exploratory)

3. Learning (exploratory/targeted)
- Status
- Identity building

4. Entertainment (exploratory/targeted)
- Nostalgia
- Kill time

5. Content Sourcing (targeted/exploratory)
- For the creation of new media

6. External Memory/Knowledge (targeted)
- Collection impulse

7. New Ways/Reasons
How does technology change the nature of the archive?
- Alternative classification, i.e. infographics, information aesthetics. Infographics help us understand a large amount of information at one time.
- Novel experience of search
- more fulfilling (?)
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Information Aesthetics

And take look at this: Information Aesthetics

it's lev manovich' book, he put it online.

Food for Thought

Both Tangible User Interface (TUI) and Augmented Reality (AR) designs seek to move computation beyond the desktop. The primary difference between the two lies in the approach.

TUI seeks to inject computation into the physical world while AR seeks to overlay computation onto the physical world. However, the two approaches are not orthogonal.

Are we researching possibilities for AR for the archive or also Mixed Reality and Hybrid Space?

Going one step back, we discussed that a good starting point could be creating metaphors for the physical exploration archive(s), the ritual before digitalization, browsing and stumbling on new knowledge...before considering interfaces, technology, etc.

Monday, February 15, 2010


AR Games

Some examples of AR in Gaming:

Always Something Somewhere Else - This game can be played anywhere outside in the world. It is a sort of scavenger hunt, and there is an audio narrative that goes with the game. It is about exploring your environs, finding something new, and connecting to a greater shared experience about being in the world. There is this platform, Mediascapes developed by University of Bristol, for developing GPS games for smart phones.

Uncle Roy All Around You - By Blast Theory, this game is played "online in a virtual city and on the streets of an actual city. Online Players and Street Players collaborate to find Uncle Roy's office before being invited to make a year long commitment to a total stranger." It connects physical and virtual space and two different roles for different players.