In the current era of globalization we witness vast migration movements: masses of people moving between rural and urban sites, between countries and even continents. Moreover, trans-migrants not only move from one place to another but they also play an important role in connecting the different cultures. Nevertheless old as well as new migrants tend to look for their akin in their environment – people who come from the same family or at least from the same region. In many cases, especially in urban context of megalopolis, this is nearly an impossible task without ‘face to face’ social networking. We have often observed that whole villages or regions move to one city and keep their social structures. Such social structures allow the community to keep in touch with their roots over generations, allow easy access for newcomers and at the same time guaranties that such immigrants integrate more easily in to the new environment.
Nowadays digital technology offers new possibilities and challenges for social networking. In an anonymous world, sites like Linkedin or Facebook allow creation of non-perceived ties through databases of people with similar interests. This innovative format can be used to propagate social interaction of trans-neighbourhoods with the same roots. With this in mind, we aim to understand how digital technologies can be integrated in the participative process of constructing and transforming the territory. One of the new approaches is introducing technology as a means to revitalizing the region. This does not mean creating new industry or programming jobs, but instead, integrating a new technological medium of communication. Through a new definition of space enhanced through the integrated use of new media, one can enlarge the actual population by integrating a geographically scattered virtual population. Thus, technical means should be used to bring people together with an aim to intensify communication between people. Through this new extension of social space, new and unforeseen cultural and business opportunities emerge for the entire territory. The project Fluid Archive is an on-line platform allowing old and new migrants to define their familial and/or social roots for networking in their old and new environments. Such neighbourhoods are not based on a city quarter, but virtually, in a certain geographical and emotional range that is defined by each individual. In a region the size of London or a land like Switzerland, the platform allows the participants to contact other people in their geographical proximity. In a certain sense, the platform allows the overcoming of the social and digital divide that reins in their environments. Through the platform, one can find people of similar backgrounds, with whom one can share the memories, customs, culture and create a regional network. Moreover, sharing cultural objects such as photographs, films, sound recordings, food recipes and field notes with other members becomes a kind of digital archive of ethnographic value: the interchange of a digital footprint as a means to revive the cultural footprint that is decaying in the Matese region.
- Aleksander Cetkovic is a master degree holder in both computer science and architecture. cetkovic.com