aether architecture - DIY Media architecture

DIY Media architecture workshop - 2004-06-15


Outside In is a forum for involving new voices, media and practices in a discourse about the use and design of public space. Combining presentations, workshops, and exhibition formats, Outside In promotes interdisciplinary reflection, participation and action. The symposium took place from June 14-15th, 2004 at Roda Sten in Göteborg, Sweden.

Workshop Report

We departed from looking at Kowloon Walled City, a unique phenomenon of non-governmental territory between British Hong Kong and communist China, that flourished in the second half of the last century. Its modernistic housing blocks became the skeleton of a 100% filled labyrinth mass of self built spaces and corridors, rooftop traveling space. A couple of block was the home of 50.000 mostly Chinese people leaving communist China but not accepted or could not afford living in Hong Kong.

Interesting aspect in relation to public spaces was this scenario were no governmental authority was present, instead a self organizing Mafia based structure kept order, leaving the roof-scape as a public traveling territory as well as a playground.

After discussing the above phenomenon, a self built city - meaning social construct as well as architecture misusing modernistic skeleton - we made a >>hyperspace jump<< and started experimenting with low cost electronic children's toys that have connectivity technology, so they can potentially create experiences beyond their tiny scale. These toys were: the spin battles laser gun and micro-racers radio controlled car.

A little explanation here, why this huge jump:

Information technology applied on an architectural scale becomes problematic because of maintenance costs and rapid aging compared to buildings, as mentioned by Pedro earlier today.

For the architect-designer, to use the prototyping methodology the cost of technology becomes a huge concern, therefore trying with very low cost mass produced parts that different industries have already optimized and reuse these could become in theory a possible strategy of operation.

I must mention the jump was a bit large and I did not prepare a specific route for us, so it took some time to start testing.

But finally several ideas were discussed how to utilize these toys, one for example relating to this presentation space creating tools to disturb or enhance the discussions.

But due to time and reality, swe made the following functioning prototype, just as a rough sketch on larger scale interfacing nothing more:

We built a Physical Mouse-over device using the infrared transmitters, exploring digital control in a spatial way, also proceeding towards communal problems with translating desktop interaction to architectural space.

--------->> BEEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEEP <<----------

Thanks for all the participants for their ideas and work: Ramia, Pedro, Ai, Usman, Åsmund and Tau.

connectivity (“Spin Battles Laser Gun” containing IR sender/receiver, sound effects and light effects, accelerometer, price: 6 euros)

Websites about Kowloon Walled City :

The use of Spin Battles Laser Gun has been tested earlier in collaboration with Pablo Miranda at the KTH School of Architecture, Stockholm

Physical Mouse-over device in action. Since two mouse cursors were built, we could experience the antisocial aspects of a desktop space.

Early sketch of electronic toys for architectural intervention

The white box on the ground emitted a strong sound effect when rolled over, filling the hole symposium space.

Ramia Mazé mousing