Reading Urban Cracks: new book & website

Posted by Marjan on Monday February 27th 2012 at 20:28

New publication, as the result of a practice-based research project in Ghent:

Riet Steel, Elly Van Eeghem, Griet Verschelden & Carlos Dekeyrel, Reading Urban Cracks: Practices of artists and community workers, a publication of Hogeschool Gent & MER. Paper Kunsthalle, 2012.

+ the launch of a new digital platform for the mapping of  ‘localised artistic practices’, as from 9 March:


Posted by Marjan on Friday November 12th 2010 at 11:02

On 19, 20 & 21 Nov. 2010, City Mine(d) organizes an Urban Platform in Brussels, gathering about 30 initiatives from 13 European cities, to exchange and show their relation to the big challenges cities are faced with, present their approach and inspire people to action.

From their website: “For 5 years, City Mine(d) has been connecting urban gardeners to cyclists, DIY-ers to urban planners, and kitchen chefs to IT-ers through projects in public space. What these people have in common is their use of their creativity to make daily life in cities more enjoyable.”

More info on:

Several reports on the E-Culture Fair:

Posted by Selina on Wednesday September 1st 2010 at 15:49

As you might have read before on this blog, Social Spaces visited the E-Culture Fair in Dortmund last week. Via the “E-cultuur weblog” you can check out several reports on the Fair. For example, the blog directs you towards a report by Flanders DC which you can read by clicking here. The website of Virtueel Platform has some interesting links to a radio report, a live magazine, lots of pictures and a nice You Tube video clip (showing Social Spaces and the “Out of Curiosity” stand) you can watch here as well:

Ambiguity as design principle

Posted by Liesbeth on Monday February 8th 2010 at 11:40


Last week Priscilla Machils, Annet Dekker (Virtual Platform) and me went to Brighton to map the mixed reality game/work ‘Uncle Roy All Around You’ by Blast Theory. This to document imaginative participatory practices in arts and design for a future publication for BAM. The report will follow soon.

Matt Adams pointed us to an article that used the work of Blast Theory as a casestudy to illustrate the productive role of ambiguity in participatory design processes. The article is not recent, but still very relevant today and especially for our research work. It discusses the role of ambiguity in design. The authors Gaver and Benford state that design is too often focussed on usability and functionality, while neglecting the stimulating role of ambiguous elements. The aesthetic and conceptual possibilities of ambiguity are thoroughly explored in the arts. Therefore the authors want to translate this artistic experience in tactics that can be used by (interaction) designers. The article can be found here:

The reflection of the authors Gaver, Beaver and Benford about ambiguity as design principle zooms in on the project “Projected Realities”. This project represents the lives of elderly people in the Dutch Bijlmer’s community life via images and words in a ‘sloganbench’ and an ‘imagebank’. Images and words selected by the elderly about their lives are presented without much context in this bench and bank. The ambiguous representation of the lives of elderly in the community leaves openings for imagination and interpretation. The bench, for example, presents slogans about the lives of the elderly. If you sit on the bench the slogans are hidden. The slogans can thus only be observed when standing. Of course this not what the bench is intended for. The familiar is mixed in playful ways with the strange. This to make lives of elderly visible in the community in imaginative ways. In that way the designers want to increase awareness and understanding for their needs and desires ( also refer to Desert Rain by Blast Theory as an illustration of ambiguity as design principle. It is a mixed reality game about the Gulf war. The borders between the virtual and the physical world are made deliberately ambiguous. Factual images of the Gulf War are mixed with fictional images and game elements are mixed with theatre and installation (Gaver et al, 2003, p. 234).

The two articles and their reflections on the role of ambiguity, critical awareness and imagination relate very much to what Simon Bowen will talk about tomorrow in Z33 at eight (Hasselt). Please join us!

Dark Matter. presentation & mapping @iMAL

Posted by Priscilla on Wednesday December 16th 2009 at 13:41

This week – from the 16th to the 19th of December – Tom Heene and his colleagues artists, developers and scientists show the results of the project Dark Matter in art centre iMAL. The research project investigates the way data from the web and our physical world can be merged and presented in a user experience. It is supported by the Art&D programme of Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology. Partners are the Center for User Experience Research – CUO (KUL)WICA (UGent)NODEBOX and LAHAAG.

Since we – BAMVirtueel Plaform and Media & Design Academy – are now researching methods and tools used in cross-disciplinary media art and design processes, we will go to Brussels and talk to the Dark Matter team. Using a mapping method we will analyze what critical tools were used to engage publics and other disciplines in the creation process of Dark Matter. The results will be published in a book in 2011, but in the meantime we keep you up to date via this blog.

Last week we mapped the work of the Alcatel team in the Smarttouch project. A report will follow soon.