Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Space Invaders

This evening the Experiential Technologies Center at UCLA held a talk with Paul Dourish in their series of talks about computer augmented environments. Dourish is one of my colleagues at UCI and spoke about "rethinking information and space in ubicomp." Dourish, the author of Where the Action Is, spoke about three ways in which ubiquitous computing could be conceived: 1) mobility, 2) computer-augmented worlds, and 3) a reconfigured relationship between people, activities, and spaces. Dourish argued against the generally held Western perception that space was a natural category experienced through individual encounters; rather he claimed that space was always socially constructed and informational. He also used the theories of Michel de Certeau about the opposition between the "strategies" of planners and the "tactics" of users to illustrate projects in urban spaces from the aesthetic journeys of passengers on the London Underground to the movements of tagged sex offenders in San Diego County. As someone who has attended conferences in the bleak UK city of Sheffield, I particularly enjoyed learning about the field tests of the clever alternate reality game Can You See Me Now? there.

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