[ISEA2013] Artists Statement: Andrea Polli & SMW Team — GNOME MEDIA ART AND TECHNOLOGY TOOLKIT

Artists Statement

The core questions of the Social Media Workgroup are: What are the social and cultural effects of defining the natural and man-made environment as “information” space? What kinds of mobile, locative media and ubiquitous computing platforms can help users engage with their local environment and how can this practice connect and extend to communities globally?
The City Data Slam offered members of the SMW the opportunity to develop an experiment in real time, local environmental data gathering and response as an initial prototype for an ongoing project called GNOME: the Geolocative Networked Outdoor Monitoring Environment.
At the Data Slam the group was interested in the need for examining microclimates of buildings and communities and experimented with a number of sensors including light, temperature and motion in order to create a kind of ‘slow’ or ambient visualization that might be used for a feasibility study of a microclimate. However, through interacting with other Data Slam participants, SMW found their interest and activity more focused on the social aspects of the environment, specifically the data gathering efforts centred around the local participating coffee shops. Therefore, the final prototype used the ubiquitous paper coffee cup as a playful interface device for recording and playing back public ideas about the 2030 Sustainable Sydney vision. Riffing on the lo-fi children’s toy paper coffee cup telephone, the project allowed a kind of public ‘shout out’ or opinion gathering asking: “What will it take to reach the city’s ‘Sustainable Sydney 2030’ vision?” Users lifted one coffee cup and spoke into it to record their thoughts, and across the room (presumably across the city), users could pick up another coffee cup to listen to the ideas of others.

  • Andrea Polli is an artist working at the intersection of art, science and technology whose practice includes media installation, public interventions, curating and directing art and community projects and writing. She is Associate Professor Art & Ecology and Mesa Del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media at the University of Mexico, and Director of the University’s Social Media Workgroup. Polli has been creating media and technology artworks related to environmental science issues since 1999, when she first began collaborating with atmospheric scientists on sound and data sonification projects. Among other organizations, she has worked with the NASA/Goddard Institute Climate Research Group in New York City, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and AirNow. She holds a doctorate in practice-led research from the University of Plymouth in the UK.  She was the executive director of ISEA2012.