Open 11 — Hybrid Space — How Wireless Media Mobilize Public Space (2010)

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0pen 2001No.111=nWg^YHeVXZ 4 :Y^idg^Va 5ed1tor1u1J0RTNuE SETJuELEYBRTu SPACE Pub11c Agency 1n the Network Soc1etyThe ph11osopher Eunnuh Arendt de~11ned pub11c spuce us u p1uce where peop1e uct to creute u communu1 wor1d 1u11 o1 d111erences`. But where does th1s spuce mun11est 1t~se11 toduy. thut generu11y uccess1~b1e domu1n where peop1e meet one unother und creute pub11c op1n1on und hence u 1orm o1 po11t1cu1 pruc~t1ce? Tn phys1cu1 p1uces 11ke streets. squures und purks? Tn muss med1u such us newspupers und te1e~v1s1on? 0r on the Tnternet. 1n chut rooms und newsgroups? Pub11cness 1s 1ncreus1ng1y enucted 1n u11 these p1uces s1mu1tuneous1y und 1n thut sense hus become supreme1y hybr1d` 1n nuture: u comp1ex o1 concrete und v1rtuu1 quu11t1es. o1 stut1c und mob11e domu1ns. o1 pub11c und pr1vute spheres. o1 g1obu1 und 1o~cu1 1nterests.The con11gurut1on o1 hybr1d spuce 1s current1y exper1enc1ng u power1u1 1mpetus thunks to w1re1ess und mob11e techno1og1es 11ke 0SA. 0PS. \1~E1 und RETu. wh1ch ure muk~1ng not on1y the phys1cu1 und the v1rtuu1 but u1so the pr1vute und the pub11c run 1nto euch other more und more. And u1though we uppurent~1y deu1 w1th th1s 11ex1b1y 1n our du11y 11ves. whut 1s o1ten 1e1t us1de 1n debutes on env1ronmentu1 p1unn1ng or on soc1u1 cohes1on. or 1n cu1turu1 unu1yses. 1s the 1uct thut the use o1 these w1re1ess me~d1u 1s chung1ng the const1tut1on o1 pub11c spuce. They cun be dep1oyed us new mechun1sms o1 contro1. but u1so us u1ternut1ve too1s 1or en~1urg1ng und 1ntens11y1ng pub11c uc~t1v1t1es whether 1t`s u mutter o1 purt1es. events or meet1ngs. or o1 cumpu1gns. r1ots und demonstru~t1ons. \1re1ess med1u muke u mob1~11zut1on` o1 pub11c spuce poss1b1e. both 11teru11y und 11gurut1ve1y. so thut 1t 1s no 1onger stut1c und cun be dep1oyed by 1nd1v1duu1s or groups 1n new wuys. DeZc 11 deu1s spec111cu11y w1th the 1mp11cut1ons thut these mob11e med1u huve 1or pub11c uct1v1t1es. und hence w1th the pub11c d1mens1ons o1 hybr1d spuce. The 1ssue hus been produced 1n co11uborut1on w1th guest ed1tor Er1c K1u1tenberg. theor1st. wr1ter und orgun1zer 1n the 11e1d o1 cu1~ture und techno1ogy. Tn h1s 1ntro~ductory essuy he usks h1mse11 how u cr1t1cu1 pos1t1on 1s poss1b1e 1n u hybr1d spuce thut 1s churucter1zed by 1nv1s1b1e 1n1ormut1on techno1o~gy. Together w1th Eowurd Rhe1ngo1d. uuthor o1 the renowned book HbVgiBdWh/I]ZCZmiHdX^VaGZkdaji^dc 12002;. K1u1tenberg hus u1so wr1t~ten u po1em1cu1 p1ece ubout the r1ght und the ub111ty to d1scon~nect`. thut 1s to suy. ubout not be1ng connected w1th the network o1 wuves` us u 1orm o1 uct1ng.New w1re1ess. mob11e med1u und hybr1d spuce ure be1ng used exper1~mentu11y und re11ected upon on u smu11 scu1e by u se1ect compuny o1 urt1sts. des1gners. urch1tects und urbun des1gners. Tn her essuy 1or DeZc! the soc1o1og1st und econom1st Susk1u Sussen 1ooks ut wuys thut ur~t1st1c pruct1ces cun creute` u type o1 pub11c spuce w1th1n g1obu11zed network c1t1es thut cun muke v1s1b1e the 1ocu1 und the s11enced.0n the bus1s o1 the1r pro1ects 1or the Ruhr reg1on 1n 0ermuny. ur~ch1tects Eruns Yoge1uur und E11su~beth S1k1ur1d1 prov1de un uccount 1n Hd[iJgWVc^hb o1 how urbun1sm und urch1tecture cun be comb1ned w1th 1n1ormut1on und commun1cut1on networks. The reseurchers o1 the des1gn pro1ect Ad\dEVgX cr1t1cu11y unu1yse the post~pub11c`. hybr1d South Ax1s ureu o1 Amsterdum und muke proposu1s 1or exper1mentu1 de~s1gn struteg1es.Ass1u Kruun wr1tes ubout how 1ocut1ve urts` urt thut mukes use o1 1ocut1on~ und t1me~consc1ous med1u 11ke 0PS cun st1mu1ute pub~11c uct1ng 1n urbun spuces. The 9gddbWZZ` 1ocut1ve med1u pro1ect 1s d1scussed sepurute1y by Ar1e A1te~nu. Aux Bru1nsmu unu1yses Dei^dcVa"I^bZ by Susunn LekCs und Joes Kop~pers. K1uus Ku1tenbrouwer 1ooks ut the cu1turu1 und soc1u1 poss1b111~t1es o1 RETu. The urt1sts1des1gners Kr1st1nu Andersen und Jounnu Ber~zowsku d1scuss the soc1u1 poss1b11~1t1es o1 weurub1e techno1ogy 1n c1oth1ng.Noort1e Aurres`s co1umn re11ects on the pub11c`s 11n;ub111ty to uct und the ro1e the med1u p1uys 1n th1s. The 0ermun reseurcher Aur1on Eumm reports on the Cr1t1cu1 Auss b1cyc1e tour 1n London 1n 2005. u po11t1cu1 demonstrut1on ugu1nst ne~o11beru1 g1obu11zut1on. wh1ch wus exper1enced und prepured us much on the Tnternet. purt1cu1ur1y by Tndy~med1u. us 1n phys1cu1 spuce.The 1nterv1ew by Koen Brums und u1rk P1tuu w1th the E1em1sh te1e~v1s1on muker Je1 Corne11s 1s purt o1 u 1urger reseurch pro1ect ut the Jun vun Eyck Acudemy 1n Auustr1cht ubout h1s work und u1so prov1des the theme o1 DeZc 11 w1th u h1stor~1cu1 d1mens1on. The conversut1on deu1s w1th the cond1t1ons o1 TY us u pub11c med1um und the chunges 1n urbun pub11c spuce thut Corne11s drew uttent1on to 1n h1s eur1y 111ms such us BZchZc6\\adbZgVi^Z 119; und 9ZHigVVi 119T2;.Th1s 1ssue o1 DeZc 1nc1udes the Cu~Rom 6bhiZgYVbG:6AI>B:#9V\"WdZ`^chedgZc19^Vgn^cIgVXZh. u 0PS pro1ect by the urt1st Esther Po1uk 1n co11uborut1on w1th Jeroen Kee und the \uug Soc1ety. Aude 1n 2002. 1t deu1s w1th mob111ty und spuce und hus 1n the meunt1me become u c1uss1c po1nt o1 re1erence w1th1n 1ocut1ve urts`.0n the 1nv1tut1on o1 DeZc. the des1gn und urt co11ect1ve ue 0euzen hus contr1buted BdW^ZaLZg`. wh1ch 1s purt1y conceu1ed 1n the cover.Open 2006/No. 11/Hybrid Space 6 The Network of Waves 7Eric KluitenbergThe Network of Waves Living and Acting in a Hybrid SpaceThe emergence of digital media has meant that in recent years the use and significance of tra-ditional public space has altered radically. The new-est developments in information tech-nology make use of apparatus which is less and less notice-able, so making a critical attitude more difficult. Eric Kluitenberg, re-searcher in the field of the significance of new technologies for society and guest editor of the present issue, draws attention to a number of activist strategies to en-courage public and private action in a hybrid space. The office space above which I live, in a corner house in the Indische Buurt, somewhere in Amsterdam East, used to house a local police station. At that time I was not yet living there. The place was briefly in the national news because of a fair-sized riot which took place there. A couple of Moroccan youths were brought to the station for some minor offence. Their friends thought that this was not right, so they followed the police back to the station to besiege the policemen there. It was not just a few friends who ran after the policemen, but a much larger group which suddenly turned up at the station, coming from nowhere at the precise moment that the youths were brought in. At that time this phenomenon, later known as a flash mob,1 was still relatively new. The police on site were unpleasantly surprised, and had to issue a hasty call for reinforcements to negotiate with the besiegers. When it was all over a police spokesman said that it was a disgrace that the Moroccan youths had used their mobile phones to mobilize a mob. How else could these youths all have known at the same time that something was going on at which their physical presence was urgently desired? And exactly where they needed to be? What the spokesman meant was that the youths had compiled mailing lists for text messages and then used texting to get together as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Texting with mailing lists was a popular application, because at that time text messages could still be sent and received free of charge.A few years ago flash mobs received a good deal of attention from the mass media. Semi-spontaneous public gather-ings of groups of people, hardly if at all known to one another, nondescript, with no determining characteristics such as banners, uniform or logo, briefly per-formed some collective synchronous action, and then dissolved back into the general public. Directions and informa-tion about the gathering were sent out by text messages, or e-mails, telling par-ticipants where, when and what. These short messages could easily be sent on to friends and acquaintances with the aim of starting a chain reaction resulting in the appearance of an unpredictably large mob at a predetermined time and place. Reclaim the Mall!! The flash-mob phenomenon is thought by some people to have origi-nated in a few relatively unmanageable actions in large shopping centres in American towns, disorganizing them temporarily and playfully. These actions generally had no political significance. This all changed at the end of the 1990s. The Reclaim the Streets movement,2 highly active at the time, which used to organize illegally orchestrated street raves in the public spaces of large towns, made intensive use of text and e-mail address lists to organize quasi-spontaneous street parties. They did however give these street parties a layered political agenda. The parties were generally given concrete political and social themes and were linked to 1. For a description, see Reclaim the streets web-site 2006/No. 11/Hybrid Space 8 The Network of Waves 9space. The mobility and immediacy of the medium gave birth to new social morphologies, like the flash mob, which still seem mostly to indicate a kind of mobile just-in-time-commu-nity in physical public space. Places and Flows The question here is what this new kind of social morphology might mean. What lies behind the gimmick? What social, economic and technological transformations give rise to new phe-nomena of this kind? So far the most important sociological theory about this is set out in Manuel Castells Rise of the Network Society, the first part of his trilogy on the infor-mation age.3 In it he describes the rise of flexible social network connec-tions which resulted from economic and social transformations in late industrial socie-ties and were strengthened by the intro-duction and wide application of new technology, primarily communication and information technology. Castells postulates that the network has become the dominant form in a new type of