Ars Electronica 2007
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Pixelspaces 2007: Onfield

In Onfield, Pixelspaces 2007 explores the emerging transfer of Community Informatics’ strategies and methods to location-based services. Ars Electronica Futurelab thus continues the practice, launched in 2000, of incorporating current trends in a symposium series and exhibition and discussing them from the perspective of an atelier-laboratory.

With the broad spectrum of social and participatory media applications and instant messaging services, forms of interaction have been established on the WWW that require people to accept being publicly traceable to a completely different degree.

Pixelspaces 2007 investigates possible forms of transference of functions that are presently anchored in the Web for creating virtual communities and the facilitation of new ways of perceiving and using space by linking user-generated content with digital cartography on the physical living space.

The resulting exchange between “online” and “onfield” means to equip the individual moving through space with various “pairs of glasses”, but also design tools, in order to facilitate a change of perspective and of reality in relation to the otherwise perceptible surroundings and the people and objects in them. By linking the metaphor of “being online”and the physical localization of users as well as the user-generated contents, the “being online” metaphor is transformed into “being onfield”. Thus Pixelspaces 2007 is based on the analogy that the physical movement of the individual through space corresponds to an active use of social software and instant messaging. The living space is understood as a public accessible and useable store of multimedia information fragments and levels. Psycho-geographical navigation tools and various digital aura profiles personalize this space. Synchronous and asynchronous communities can develop on the basis of location-based search engines and onfield group functions. In an emergent environment that links functions for online communities with GPS data, the physical and virtual realities of the user are mutually fruitful—from onfield networking to collective intelligence strategies.

The research and development fields addressed in this project range from the changing functionalities and interaction paradigms of the mobile devices needed here, to the elaboration of meaningful multi-user scenarios in urban space. The omnipresent enhancement of our surroundings through geo-coded functions and information challenges the interfaces of the devices to extend their context sensitivity and to increasingly meld with the bodies and everyday activities of the users. The question also arises as to where the development of perception, use and appropriation of space will take us and which new tactics and perceptual levels this will open up. Besides the options of leaving behind and receiving location-related virtual material in the physical space, the non-moderated, collaborative scenarios seem to be particularly interesting. Which approaches in information design and which interaction metaphors turn the physical space for this into a community tool and social knowledge provider? If people become sensitized to the invisible space, i.e. the sociocultural dimension of space and what it is used for, then onfield community informatics will ultimately also constitute a challenge for urban planning and telecommunication design.

Pixelspaces 2007 addresses these questions in a transdisciplinary fashion, drawing upon various approaches from microblogging to mobile online and GPS-based games, from onfield collaborative mapping to tangible media in the public space.

Translated from German by Catherine Lewis

Masahiko Inakage / Keio University Inakage Lab
imgl / Keio University Inakage Lab

Our society is in the midst of a paradigm shift from the mass media-based society to the personal media-based society, driven by the digital revolution. Personal and ubiquitous media support the interaction of people, artifacts, and the environment in daily life. The interaction of people allows consumers to become content producers, and the social media accelerates network-based collaborations to form a collective intelligence in the Creative Society. In such a collaborative community, personal attention and identity is becoming an important issue. The importance of privacy concerns understanding and acknowledging personal identity. At Keio University Inakage Lab, we have carried out creative design research to account for the personalized media culture. Ubiquitous Content is an emerging genre for digital arts that focuses on personal and ubiquitous media in everyday life.

Yuichiro Katsumoto / Keio University Inakage Lab

Amagatana (the name means “rainy sword” in Japanese) is an example of Ubiquitous Content that is a mystical sword for enjoying the blithe feeling after the rain. Amagatana seems to be just a plastic umbrella. However, it makes a sound of swords clashing in response to the player’s swing. Amagatana also makes us aware that “your reality is not everybody’s reality”. The project is sponsored by CREST, JST.

CCMIX / Keio University Ubiquitous Cinema Consortium

Jump is an example of Ubiquitous Cinema that connects people on the globe through user contribution and participation, both physical presence and virtual presence. This project is a big mixture of digital and analogue, screen media and performing arts, online community and physical community, user-created contents and professional-created contents.

Keio University Ubiquitous Cinema Consortium: Takeshi Ohsawa, Daisuke Miyata, Sayako Suzuki, Kenta Kawano, Tomoyuki Nezu, Toshimasa Yamazaki, Masa Inakage
Digital Garage: Hiroyuki Nakano, Kinuno Hirama, Fumi Yamazaki
Joshibi Univ. of Art and Design: Hiroko Uchiyama, Makoto Danjou
Advisor: Joichi Ito

Jyri Engeström / Co-Founder Jaiku
Jaiku Mobile

Jaiku enables a new online user experience with a single point of online presence. Users post thoughts (Jaikus), converse, and establish a central presence for social networking. They share life stream information (content from personal blogs, Flickr, Twitter, Del.icio.us, Google and other sources) at one location and connect with friends doing the same. User presences are monitored and updated in real time.

Jaiku is compatible to Nokia S60 mobile devices so that users can post, converse and also share presence (availability, location and calendar)—publicly or only with selected contacts—especially if they are en route.

Jaiku was founded in 2006 by entrepreneurs Jyri Engeström (Chairman) and Petteri Koponen (Chief Executive Officer)

Matthew Hockenberry / Creative Synthesis Collaborative, MIT

The PlaceMap project began as the result of an initiative between MIT and Microsoft Research with the goal of building place-based applications for the MIT community. PlaceMap is a theoretical and practical framework for building spatial applications.We say that spatial applications are any kind of application that uses spatial information, like where you are or who's nearby, to better understand user goals,motivations, and experience.

The software architecture for PlaceMap focuses on building and visualizing user-centered maps. User-centered mapping creates personal maps (so-called mental maps) where the primary motivation is in the presentation and exploration of personal meaning. It treats the display of people and events as holistic components of place and constructs place-based interactions through graph, perspective and visual distortion.

Matthew Hockenberry / Creative Synthesis Collaborative / MIT Media Lab; Jeffrey Hoff / MIT; Robert Gens / MIT; Praveen Pamidimukkala / MIT; Lauren McCarthy / MIT; Brandon Yoshimoto / MIT; Ted Selker / MIT Media Lab

Stef Kolman, Selene Kolman (Co-Founder Bliin YourLIVE!)
Ecce homo mobilis

“We need to do the grunt work of mapping out and understanding the material conditions of the satellite economy. Then we can begin to postulate theories about the ways satellite technologies restructure global time/space and culture.”
Lisa Parks, 2005
Interview with Geert Lovink, November 2005. Lisa Parks is an Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and author of Cultures in Orbit, 2005.

Caress is an umbrella project that—since 2002—performs research and develops projects with regard to the Satellite Economy. It addresses the fact that with tremendous speed and increasing accuracy people, animals and objects are transformed from “stand alone” to “networked units” and presented—in real-time—on some form of graphical representation of our planet. bliin YourLIVE!—a Caress spin-off—is a mobile social platform for location interaction, community, content & commerce. Users can spot, trace and share experiences—pictures, videos, audio and text—with one another in real-time on Google Maps.

Bliin YourlLIVE! was founded 2007 by Selene and Stef Kolman. Development & Design: Tomas van der Wansem; cross platform developer: USE. (Joes Koppers); front-end design & development; usemedia.com


Maribeth Back, Tony Dunnigan / FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc.
Takashi Matsumoto / KEIO University, Media Design, Okude Laboratory

We are interested in the interplay of media content and the physical dispersion and handling of information. Post-Its are one of the most powerful paper tools in the workplace, allowing free arrangement of information in space.

A Post-Bit is a design prototype of a small e-paper device for handling multimedia content, combining interaction control and display into one package. Modeled after paper Post-Its, Post-Bits combine the affordances of physical tiny sticky memos and the digital handling of visual information. Post-Bits function as a kind of physical augmented reality interface, enabling people to arrange multimedia content in embodied physical spaces. Tangible properties of paper such as flipping, flexing, scattering and rubbing are mapped to controlling or perceiving aspects of the multimedia content such as scrubbing, sorting, or up- or down-loading dynamic media (video, graphics, dynamic text).

Riku Suomela / Nokia Multimedia, Play New
Juha Kaario / Nokia Research Center

Mobile devices are used in varying use situations, where the environment (e.g. location) should have a major effect on the services. User and device context awareness are the main differentiating factor of mobile services compared to online services on PCs. To take full advantage of these unique features, we have developed Multi-User Publishing Environment (MUPE). It is an application platform for mobile online multi-user contextaware services, games and applications. MUPE allows anyone to create their own mobile services, games and applications using a plethora of technologies to reduce the complexity of developing mobile services.

MUPE is available under the Nokia Open Source License (NOKOS License) Version 1.0a.


This exhibit accompanying Onfield showcases research and art projects by conference participants.

Orpheus Spiegel
Fachhochschule St. Pölten: Markus Seidl, Markus
Wintersberger, Eberhard Kloke , Klaus Temper,
Julian Rubisch

h.o.: Yoko Minagawa, Yuichi Tamagawa, Zushi Taizo,
Junichi Yura, Emiko Enkawa, Hide Ogawa
Further Exhibition Projects

The Interactive Institute NVISION Studio:
Carl-Johan Rosén, Dietmar Suoch, Henrik Wrangel

MIT: Orkan Telhan (TR), in collaboration with
Sajid Sadi (BD)