28/06 2016

Objects in space: speculative design prototypes

Metamedia Lab, News

Association Metamedia + Department of Visual Communicational Design at Arts Academy in Split (Ivica Mitrović, Oleg Šuran) + Open city project (Association of architects Istria, Breda Bizjak) organized a free speculative design workshop in Pula (23 – 28 May 2016) called “Objects in space”.

The workshop hosted young experts and artists (college and high-school students) from Pula, Novigrad, Ljubljana (SLO), Rijeka, Split, Dubrovnik. Through multidisciplinary group work they worked with design as a different way of thinking – reflexive, critical and socially responsible. By investigating the relation of technology and society/culture in the public space of Pula, the participants were rethinking the possible futures and alternative presents of the city and designed different objects in space – prototypes of speculative design. The mentors of the workshop were Martin Skelly (Scotland), Oleg Šuran (DVK/UMAS, Split) + Ivica Mitrović (DVK/UMAS, Split).

The participants worked in 3 groups. The videos and texts below explain their prototypes and potential near-future scenarios.

Public Space Pula

Maja Dika, Nika Krajnović, Roberta Paljar, Tea Zbašnik

Most public spaces today include a commercial business which makes the space semi private while boosting consumerism and individual profit. There is also an increase in pressure for people to share more and more of their personal information without questioning the real value that can be obtained from their data. We foresee a probable future in which our current concept of public space has ceased to exist since all urban area is considered private property and must be commercially profitable. In order to enjoy these, the dwellers will have to pay for their access. However not with money, but with their personal data, which will be collected by machines located at the entrance to public spaces. There are four payment methods – blood, hair, saliva and mobile phone data – each providing a different percentage of access to the public space. By entering they are giving up on any rights they have regarding the possible use of their data. Interviews with dwellers on public spaces demonstrated not only the publics willingness to give away data from physical body samples, but also the contradictory condition of fear toward giving away mobile phone data. This project idea is not only to increase public awareness on the usage and meaning of public space and point out its frequent misusage prioritizing consumption, but also to raise a question on the different types of data sources, the relationship between them and their potential value when becoming part of the ”big data“.

TOWKE (The One Who Knows Everything)

 Demi Lisjak, Andrea Lovrinčić, Sara Poljak, Lara Šebelja, Ivan Goran Žunar

In antique Roman cities the Forum was a political and cultural center. Today people are developing their opinions online, by relying on search engines, and empowering the trend of discussion and activism through social media. People don’t gather so much in public space as they did before, which leads to a general lack of interest and a feeling of weakness, which in turn leads to social alienation.

What if this goes on and on? What if people stop communicating in the offline world? Towke is an impeccable decision generator that helps to solve your problems. It is an AI object, originally created for the government to verify the truthfulness and probability of different data. It works as a virtual database by filtering and evaluating data based on the given question. After it solved many issues and got the trust and respect of the people, it is now publicly displayed to be available to anyone. It’s growing popularity lead to the development of a small, personal Towke.

121 (ONE TO ONE)

Demi Lisjak, Andrea Lovrinčić, Sara Poljak, Lara Šebelja, Ivan Goran Žunar

But what if activism doesn’t have to stay online? 121 platform enables anyone interested in recent political problems, to state their opinion and directly affect political decisions. The platform is constructed in front of the city hall and it is digitally connected with the hall. To function, the number of its users has to be the same as the number of the city hall council members. The citizens standing on the platform are following the discussion inside the city hall. By jumping they can create an irritating sound inside the city hall that represents their disagreement. The intensity of the sound depends on the number of people jumping.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.15.54

The Message

Vinka Bedeković, Nika Lapkovski, Ivor Borovečki, Leo Kirinčić, Jelena Njeguš, Anđelo Semolić, Mate Žaja

As a subject we chose the social center K.Rojc. Seeing the majority of our participants are not locals of Pula, we analyzed the current state of K.Rojc through conversation. K.Rojc has after its discontinued use as military barrack and shelter for war refugees, non-profit societies were placed there by Pula administration. All of these societies invested their own time and money into transforming ex-military barracks into a cultural center.

What came most to our attention was the problem of a poor relationship between the citizens and both city and state goverment. Any critical thought or action can result in Rojc being left without any financial support, and in this way K.Rojc stagnates and doesn’t progress in the intended way. We went to the streets of Pula to ask the citizens about this problem. It would be an understatement to say we got a handfull of complaints. But one discovery that we found crucial was the following: if Rojc as a community criticizes the current political state, the goverment slows down processes and cuts the cash flow. This results in shrinking of the community that over time loses the ability to create in a sustainable way.

Our new goal became encouraging conversations about how critical thought and action are a legitimate part of the workings of an alternative scene. We designed a critical object that functions as an interactive comment, representing government feedback to public comments and pleas. It encourages people to vocally express their critiques through the microphone, which detects their presence and reacts by slapping the user with a plank rotated by a hidden electric motor. Our intention is that it makes people draw a parallel between the object and the before mentioned problem, and help initiate discussions.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.22.41

The project is financed by: “Kultura nova” Foundation, Ministry of culture – Republic of Croatia, City of Pula, Region of Istria
Tech support: Universal Industries


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