Marc tuters a pointless vision for amsetrdam's future


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  • Locative media was developed in Amsterdam, my own interest was inspired by the\nunique qualities of the city, and it’s why I moved here, over the years the new media\nscene has supported my work and the kind of work i’ve been interested in.\n
  • A formative moment for me was discovering Waag’s Amsterdam Real-Tim (a GPS viz of the city) during a residency at a media art org in Latvia which had ties to Waag. Invited them to take part in the first “locative workshop”, this collaboration developed into the MILK project (which used GPS to trace the supply chain of Dutch cheese back to Latvian milk). In 2005 he project won the coveted Golden Nica for Interactive Art.\n
  • ● Rarely so polished, my own art-based research around locative media was supported by Dutch orgs incl. Virtual Paltform, IMPAKT and V2.\n○pictured here are images from the Cartographic Command Centre which featured\nvarious DIY mapping visualizations of systems mobile “production of space” --an early version of which was featured at DEAF ’04 \n
  • ●In those years, thanks to arts funding, the short lived Locative Media Lab organized locative workshops across Europe and in North America.\n●The artists and researchers which came together around these events were interested in how new media might reveal alternate conceptions of the city. \n●In this regard an major influence was the work of the Situationists.\n
  • ●The Situationists were a group of young artists, designers, theorists from across Europe, several of whom were based in Amsterdam --pictured here emerging from the Sailor Society in Limehouse London (similarly meetings of the London chapter of the Locative Media Lab took place at a former boxing club in Limehouse). \n\n
  • ●Responding in part to the modernist urban planning of the post war years as the\nimposition of a hyper-rational system onto the organism of the city, the Situationists\nproposed play as means to disrupt this control.\n●A similar sentiment informed the work of the LML, many of whom came form the community of open-source software developers, in response to the closed ecosystem of mobile phones and the corporate visions of the ubicom future\n●Like the Situationists the LML were mostly talk, but that talk turned out to be timely, helping give name to a community of practice within current media arts discourse.\n\n
  • ●A philosophy of emancipation, the Situationists developed tactics for counteracting the spectacle of consumerist society based on notions of play.\n●In the ‘Amsterdam Declaration’ of 1958, the French film-maker Guy Debord and the Dutch painter Constant Nieuwenhuys called for “the development of what they called a “unitary urbanism” which would be the “result of a new type of collective creativity.”149\n
  • ●For some 20 years following the Amsterdam Declaration, based on these principles Constant drew sketches, wrote texts and built maquettes for a megastructural city of the future that he called New Babylon.\n●As opposed the Zion in the Matrix films, Constant consciously chose the name Babylon in reference to the city of sin (an image which conforms to many a tourist’s fantasy of current-day Amsterdam)\n\n
  • ●Literally built on top of the existing city New Babylon would be populated by man at play, homo ludens, as theorized by Dutch Historian Johan Huizinga.\n●The residents of New Babylon would sleep, eat, play, and have sex where and when they wanted.\n●Although in a very different way than the Situationists might have imagined, today the dream of New Babylon appears to be upon us.\n●In the ’60’s however, goal-oriented production was not part of the program, the difference, is that now that seems to be all that it’s about.\n
  • ●Locative media is today increasingly conceived of in terms of a social “game layer” on top of cities and everyday reality.\n●As Jesse Schell described in his much-discussed SALT lecture (from which this slide is taken), these social games will soon be popping up everywhere imaginable\n●Game scholar Ian Bogost, critiques social games as converting every context of interaction outside of work “the social” into what Martin Heidegger in his famous essay concerning technology referred to as a “standing reserve”.\n●Perhaps, as some critics are starting to suggest a appropriate term than “gamification” might be “pointification” a soul-crushing mis-use of design in which everyone and everything is imbued with the sole purpose of accumulation (won’t you please come sit on my blanket)\n
  • ●The avant-garde of which Constant and the Situationists were a part had a radically\ndifferent notion of play in mind.\n●Constant envisioned a future in which mechanization would eliminate the need for work in New Babylon, envisioning a technological twist on the Marx’s pastoral dream in which we could “hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, [and] criticise after dinner” \n●In some regards we now live in funhouse mirror version of that future. Consider for instance how Guy Debord’s famous slogan “Ne travaillez jamais” is recuperated in Tim Ferriss’ ongoing best-seller “The 4 Hour Work Week”, subtitled “escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich”.\n\n
  • ●Referred to in a recent New Yorker as the self-help guru for today’s outsourcing era in his book, Ferriss teaches you how to emancipate yourself from work by getting a\nso-called “virtual assistant” in India (who in turn outsources it to the Philipines, and I\nguess we’re also supposed to believe, as Steven Hawking famously joked about\npre-modern cosmologies that its “turtles all the way down”).\n●Ferriss’s notion of play is unapologetically individualistic and unconcerned with effecting changed beyond his narrow notion of the self, which to paraphrase Marx, “appears as an immense accumulation of ‘points’”.\n○The time Ferriss saves he uses to acquire world records (for instance the\nmost consecutive Tango spins in one minute).\n
  • ●I’d like to suggest that what we’re interested in here, at this conference, is a bigger picture, a starting point for which might be a hopeful view onto the possibilities for play to effect social change.\n●Huizinga for instance considered play as the primary formative element in human culture. He held this view, amazingly, in spite of his own life experience of being imprisoned in a concentration camp during the fascist German occupation of the Netherlands.\n\n
  • ●The concept of play is for instance central to the field of developmental child psychology\n●In addition to Huizinga, another figure who inspired Constant’s New Babylon was the\nyoung Dutch designer Aldo Van Eyck, who constructed children’s playgrounds b/w\n1948-’70 (and though many of Van Eyck’s 700 playgrounds have disappeared, Amsterdam still has a great number beautifully designed playgrounds).\n\n\n
  • ●Van Eyck was also something of an urban theorist, and a very Dutch one at that, he\nstated: the city is when “associative awareness changes and extends perception,\nrendering it transparent and profound”\n●This concept seems to me to refer to a peculiar aspects of urban life here, whereby the Dutch leave their window drapes wide open that all can see inside.\n\n\n\n\n
  • ●Comically referred to as a society of “repressive tolerance”, this historic centre of capital has nevertheless long made space for radical future-oriented visions.\n○The famous white bicycle program, for instance, anticipated the “rise of collaborative consumption” by some 40 years.\n●There is a distinct and unique model of citizenship here that’s performed in everyday life. \n●Consider, for instance the simple act of cycling. Not too close, not too far, whatever you do don’t stop the flow!\n\n
  • ●It’s somehow all about the flow here isn’t it?\n●It makes perfect sense that Amsterdam would have provided inspiration to the Situationists concept of the derive, before GPS it was impossible not to get lost ○Likewise for the Situationist slogan “beneath the streets a beach!” (here that’s actually true) \n●Indeed for D&G Amsterdam was the protypically rhizomatic city.\n\n
  • ●The whole place is an instance of “total design”. In fact there is even a Dutch word for it: Maakbaarheit, which in turn relates to the once famous polder model of consensus\npolitics (itself based on a uniquely Dutch relationship of technology and urbanism, dating back to the Middle Ages, whereby disagreements b/w cities living behind the same dike had to be set aside).\n
  • ●For all of these reasons, and surely many more, Amsterdam has also been a cite of innovation when it has come to urban computing (pictured above is the first and still most famous locative project, Amsterdam Real-Time, from 2001)\n●With augmented reality and location-based start-ups abounding, today Amsterdam\nstands a global leader in the field, to which this conference attests.\n●As we stand on this thresh-hold, I think that it’s crucial to remember the essential role that new media organizations have played in fostering this research.\n●Particularly as these very organizations are on the verge of collapse, loosing all their\nstructural funding in 2013.\n\n
  • ●We were asked, on this panel, to reflect on the promises and peril of the urban future. My concern here is that e-culture in the Netherlands has fallen victim to its own success. \n●As announced in June, the Dutch govn’t hopes to recuperate tax revenues invested the arts by folding funding for new media together with design and architecture in what they call the “Fund for Creative Industries”\n●Although it will soon come to an end, there’s still a great network of new media R&D in place in this country. I’d like to see a discussion around how the creative industries might support this kind of innovation in the future.\n
  • Marc tuters a pointless vision for amsetrdam's future

    1. 1. A Pointless Vision forAmsterdam’s Future Marc Tuters
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