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.
1 .

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.

Philosophical/Higher Level Questions + Reading List

What is:
- an archive?
- memory?
- reality?
- space?
- augmentation?

What are these things when they are mapped/layered on each other?

Some relevant literature/inspirations....
Art of Memory - Francis A. Yates (ask Kate for the pdf)
Relational Aesthetics - Nicolas Bourriaud
The Interventionists - Gregory Sholette

Cybertherapy - a collection of papers on VR, mixed reality, interreality, ambient intelligence in health care.

Beeld en Geluid Museum

Based in Hilversum, the heart of the Dutch media landscape, its primary function is to service the Dutch public and commercial broadcasters. Together with them, we aim to shape the future of producing programmes (on TV, internet and radio) in the digital age. However, the actual user base of this institute’ s (rich) archival holdings is much broader, including all levels of researchers, documentary programme makers, and the visiting public at the integral (state of the art) museum.

10,000 hours digitised archival image and sound
700,000 hours of archival image and sound
200 monitors and projections
180 computers
300 loudspeakers
20 cameras
500 studio spotlights
50,000 m. cable
150 specialists for the building and realisation

augmented reality examples


Archive Links

Link to a variety of Ars Electronica archival projects.

Archive as National Memory

Augmented Reality Lab in The Hague (
Check out the State of the AR archive)