Reflections on Week 3

This week saw the coming together of the ‘tech’ side of this arts and tech focused residency, with functional prototypes developed, a database created and the finishing touches of the bootstrap required programming taking place. The ‘bootstrap’ is a functional (but minimal) prototype that we can begin testing with people, and is what I am focusing on going into the fourth and final week of this residency, that (time permitting) will also include addressing the aesthetics of the beacons. (Although functional, they are clunky and intimidating.)

In speaking about this project to people who know nothing or very little about it, I find that contextualizing it as a location-based game at first provides an immediate entrypoint to understand and to begin thinking about the different possibilities to take place within it, and allows for people to start shaping their own objectives for game, or what they would do if they had a beacon.

I am excited and anxious for the first testing to start in public space and to begin to receive both anecdotal feedback from participants and data to start playing with. I anticipate that there will be some unexpected results, that may have huge impacts on how the next phases of this project unveil themselves.

At the same time, I am starting to become more and more interested in what patterns will emerge in participants experiences: retelling and the data, and the philosophical concept of the rhizome as outlined by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in Capitalism and Schizophrenia, and provides a model from which to understand the movement of knowledge and development of culture in which such patterns and repetition are embedded:

“Rather than narrativize history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a ‘rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo”.

This, in tandem with the tactic of dérive, which is a walk that has an alternate motive than fulfilling everyday routine, but rather, it is determined by chance decisions and personal inclination and proposes that ways of being in physical space (particularly in the cities) are political acts. For instance, although there are various architectural, geographical and economic factors at play in urban space, value and meaning are attributed by individuals based on their personal experiences and perspectives.

“Men can see nothing around them that is not their own image; everything speaks to them of themselves. Their very landscape is alive” Theory of the Dérive (1958)