Th City

The City

Hack the city, Trap the streets, the media city and the invisible city…

Aram Bartholl em seu blog fala do evento “hack the city”, no Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul. Hack the city aqui a tentativa de criar novas significaes dos espaos e lugares. Venho insistindo nessa questo e tentando mostrar que as novas tecnologias digitais mveis podem servir como instrumento de pertencimento comunitrio, reterritorializao e nfase no redimensionamento dos lugares. Essa potncia deve combater a mercantilizao e a insitncia em colocar o usurio como mero consumidor dessa nova cultura da “mobilidade” (como as empresas de celular adoram isso!!!!).

O post the Aram sobre o evento afirma que : “(…) It is time to ‘Hack the city!’. The word of ‘hack’ ing does not mean the specific media oriented act in the computer science. It is not used in negative way which is stealing personal information without permission, either. Rather it is right to say that this word is chosen in the metaphorical context: critical thinking, reconsider of our social system and technology. If people think the place/space where they live, reconsider about the technologies which they use everyday like mobile phone, become unfamiliar with familiar things, then we can say that we are close to make the world what we dream. (…) The results of performance from the workshop, for sure, bring fresh air to the people who will meet them on the street. Also they have a chance to think about computer game or virtuality.”

Outra forma de apropriao, dessa vez para enganar os “violadores” de copyright, o “trap de street”. Ruas fictcias so adicionadas em mapas para que eles percam a preciso e assim, tornem-se invlidos. Interessante aqui essa forma de “hackear” a cidade, com intitos nada louvveis, mesmo que seja para lutar por direitos de autor. Como mostra o verbete na Wikipdia: “A trap street is a fictitious street included on a map, often outside the area the map covers, for the purpose of “trapping” potential copyright violators of the map, who will be unable to justify the inclusion of the “trap street” on their map. Sometimes, rather than actually depicting a street where none exists, a map will misrepresent the nature of a street in a fashion that can still be used to detect copyright violators but is less likely to interfere with navigation. For instance, a map might add nonexistent bends to a street, or depict a major street as a narrow lane, without changing its location or its connections to other streets. Trap streets are routinely denied and rarely acknowledged by publishers. This is not always the case, however. (…) In an edition of the BBC Two programme Map Man, first broadcast 17 October 2005, a spokesman for the Geographer’s A-Z Street Atlas company claimed there are “about 100” trap streets included in the London edition of the street atlas. (…)”.

Artigo sobre cidades invisveis, de Kazys Varnelis e Leah Meisterlin, mostra a disseminao e o crescimento planetrio de produo de mapas. Vemos aqui como algo que sempre esteve ligado a tcnicos e ideologias polticas conquistadores, est agora nas mos de todos (e mais uma vez, no sem ideologias conquistadoras!), podendo criar sentido de pertencimento e novas espacilizaes, isto , compreenso de si, do seu lugar e do outro. Vejam esse trecho:

“(…) By altering our conceptions both of the city and of ourselves, ubiquitous maps have earned a place as a key component of network culture. Like Internet search engines, they redefine how we relate to information and to the world. Building on its position as the dominant Internet search engine and growing Web applications platform, Google has also emerged as the dominant player in ubiquitous mapping. Starting its Google Maps service in 2005 to compete with existing online mapping services such as MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps, Google quickly attracted attention with its easy-to-use interface and the quality of its results, enhanced by satellite data from Google’s 2004 purchase of geospatial data visualization company Keyhole. Even more important, however, Google Maps’ open APIs allowed users to use their own georeferenced data to create mashups, custom maps overlaid on the Google Maps base that they could then integrate into their own Web sites. Users soon developed sites to display data on free Wi-Fi nodes, on real estate available on Craigslist, on locations of cellular towers, tennis courts, or on airports in which pets have been lost, injured, or killed. More recently, the Google My Maps feature allows less technologically sophisticated users to save their own personal annotations and hand-drawn shapes on the company’s servers, while Google Street View has added photographic images of highly-trafficked streets. Street View has courted controversy from privacy advocates who suggest that in capturing individuals during its photography sessions, Google has intruded into their private lives.

Tennis Maps

Figure 3: TennisMaps finds local courts by searching satellite imagery.

J o post do Mobile City, de Martijn de Waal, resenha o livro Media City de Scott McQuire, mostrando os diversos processos de espacializao criado pelas tecnologias comunicacionais. Questiona-se tambm o papel destruidor do espao e do lugar das mdias locativas. Como falava acima e como tentei mostrar no curso que ministrei em Faro, Portugal, esses projetos so minoritrios mas nos permitem vislumbrar as etapas da espacializao que se cria com as mdias digitais mveis. E o desafio sair da posio de consumidor passivo para produtor de informao. isso que tentam fazer artistas, ativistas, pesquisadores. Mostrar o potencial dessas tecnologias para a produo social do espao e chamar a ateno para fenmenos de controle, vigilncia e monitoramento (policial, poltico, comercial…)


“(…) The first is that McQuire sees media not as a means of representation, but rather as a technology that co-constitutes the experience of the city. In other words, what is interesting is not so much how a movie or tv show represents the city. What is interesting is how media can provide new frames for making sense of the city; how it provides new ways of experiencing the city. Second, I liked his approach of technology: McQuire is interested in the way in which new technologies are incorporated into everyday life, how they are turned from ‘disembedding technologies’ into embedded media practices: when new technologies are introduced be it the telegraph or the internet they are usually seen as disruptive technologies that will ‘annihilate time and space’ and disembed existing social relations. However, usually after a certain period of time, some of these technologies have become so normal that we do not even notice them anymore. They are so embedded in our everyday practice that we simply can’t imagine what life would be without them.


When looking at locative media and the experience of the city, we might well be in the ‘in between phase’. There is still a lot of bewilderment and excitement about the technologies. Yet clear practices haven’t emerged, although McQuire is critical about the general direction of innovation. Its mainly pushed by commercial providers aiming at instant gratification for their customer base. There is less attention for usages that might benefit a more public, collective culture.

Let’s have a more detailed look at what McQuire means when he says that

Rather than treating media as something separate from the city the medium which ‘represents’ urban phenomena by turning it into an image I argue that the spatial experience of modern social life emerges through a complex process of co-constitution between architectural structures and urban territories, social practices and media feedback. (…)”