May 20, 2004

PsyGeo Conflux

On May 15th, I gave a presentation on Urban Tapestries and conducted a Bodystorming at the PsyGeo Conflux in New York City -- fun!! (see thumbnails below). The conference was an interesting contrast to the recent spate of European gatherings that seemed to present "locative media" as some kind of spinoff/sibling/offshoot of new media. Maybe due to the context of being in the middle of the Lower East Side art scene, there was much more "psychogeography" than cutting-edge high-tech.

Thus there was a human chess game on the streets of Williamsburg, a 24-hour road trip throughout the 5 New York boroughs, musings on the history of dérive and the flâneur, and a great talk by Peter Lamborn Wilson on his methodology in exploring the forgotten sacred backwaters of North America.

Don't get me wrong -- digital goodies were still alive and well at the Conflux! An outstanding example was the One Block Radius project presented by conference organizers Christina Ray and Dave Mandl. Over the course of several months, they obsessively documented one square block that will be the new site of the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Their project made me realize that we really have to tackle the hard problems of filtering and scaling if we're going to build a functional, urban-wide annotation system. They show ONE block annotated by TWO people -- what happens when you open up the annotations to all comers? And then what happens when you scale up from one block to one city?? Mindboggling possibilities! Check it out.

(photos by Christina Ray - Click to enlarge)

Posted by nick at May 20, 2004 02:07 PM