9 June 2007

Telling stories in public spaces, museums, and over the internet – often simultaneously

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Jake Barton runs a design firm in New York called Local Projects. They call themselves ‘media designers’, as they work at the intersections between broadcast media, interactive media, architecture and physical space, explore innovative interfaces in physical space, hybridising between physical interfaces and online interfaces, and have been particularly engaged in collaborative storytelling projects.

Barton was one of the many speakers at Postopolis!, a five-day event of near-continuous conversation about architecture, urbanism, landscape, and design, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. Postopolis! was organised by BLDDBLOG, City of Sound, Inhabitat, Subtopia and the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, and ran from May 29th-June 2nd 2007.

Dan Hill, former head of interactive technology and design at the BBC and currently director of web and broadcast at Monocle, has done a tremendous job reporting on all the Postopolis! presentations (all posts here) on his great blog City of Sound.

In his talk, Barton describes several of his recent people-driven projects that to me seem very relevant to be featured in this experience design blog:

  • Miners Story Project – to preserve and share stories about life in mines and mining communities in the Southwest US;
  • Storycorps – a national US project to instruct and inspire people to record one another’s stories in sound;
  • Timescapes – a giant 3-screen projection that enables people to approach the city itself [New York] from different angles simultaneously;
  • Public Information Exchange – an initiative of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects aimed at fostering proactive dialogue between all those involved in public architecture.

In a concluding remark, Hill describes the Local Projects’ approach as “rooted, considered, elegantly open, and specific to the problem at hand” which provides “an imaginative yet pragmatic illustration of the potential in the overlap between physical and digital spaces”.

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