[ISEA2011] Paper: David Robert Colangelo & Patricio Davila – E-TOWER: Ludic Urban Experience Through Reactive Architecture and Personal Mobile Devices


Large media facades, reactive architecture, geo-tagging and location aware mobile devices represent a privileged confluence – a fluid, digital layer that permeates the city and in turn makes existing physical structures permeable. In an act of research creation, E-TOWER engaged this architectural permeability by transforming the CN Tower – until 2007 the world’s tallest free-standing structure – into a beacon for the city’s “energy” by allowing participants of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2010 to text the word “energy” and additional comments to a number provided in order to activate faster and brighter animations on the tower’s LED light system. E-TOWER enabled highly visible, distributed participation in public space using mobile phones and reactive architecture as part of a larger experiment in  e-imagining and augmenting social practices and public encounters by inscribing cooperation and collective play into urban subjectivity. An overview of relational architecture, urban screen, and projection based artistic and cultural interventions in public space that led to the development of E-TOWER is included. The ingredients of technoculture in the age of supermodernity –urban space, projectors, walls, computers, mobile devices, LEDs– mixed together in the correct proportions, allow for rich interaction, and a reflection on community, subjectivity, and place – the very opposite of the distracting and distancing effects they have in more commercial contexts. Architects, new media artists, governments, and other stakeholders can capitalize on these emergent properties of architecture and urban space by creating dynamic, hybrid spaces that provide, collect, process, and display information and re-inscribe collective identity and play in public space. etower.ca

  • David Robert Colangelo is an artist and academic presently living and working in Toronto. He holds a BA in Arts & Science from McMaster University and an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is enrolled in the Communication and Culture PhD program at York and Ryerson Universities and continues to work on a number of collaborative art and design projects. He is a co-founder of N/A, a multi-disciplinary cultural collective (http://n-a-collective.tumblr.com/members). Last year, along with colleague Patricio Davila and a team of volunteers, he realized the first large-scale interactive installation with the CN Tower for Nuit Blanche 2010 (etower.ca). His research interests include large public screens and projections, reactive architecture, data visualization, practice-based research, and the digital humanities in film studies and visual culture. davecolangelo.com
  • Patricio Davila 

Full text (PDF) p. 468-473 [different title]