[iDC] Re: iDC Digest, Vol 33, Issue 4

Lucas Bambozzi lbambozzi at comum.com
Fri Jul 6 17:55:02 EDT 2007

In my humble opinion, the project Tisseli 
mentions has been one of the most interesting 
projects so far dealing with recent mobile media 
for shaping 'tools' for minimal mediation (I 
would call it 'reality-based interfaces', but it 
might be a too long story). It suggests a 
possibility for networking from//to "real life" 
and public spaces -- not a communication between 
private-to-private bubbles that most mediating 
technologies tend to design -- foreseeing a 
possible use of devices that could encourage 
individuals to participate in the shaping of 
public spaces, evolving awareness regarding 
social reality

I like the expression 'to go out of "The House"', 
used by Tisseli and would take it as an idea to 
go public, as a possibility to shape the use of 
the technology that has been dropped on us as 
consumers. Can any community use face the 
official powers and corporations strategies 
mentioned by Eric? Not really, as corporative 
thinking would rather tend to fabricate 
"realities" according to their marketing needs 
and it is somehow happening around web 2.0 

Back to Tisseli's project (Zexe.net, by Toni 
Abad), I would really like to be optimistic 
enough to foresee there a distribution of mobile 
phone technology to the internet over a 
"many-to-many architecture", which could/should 
somehow shape the use of the technology.

Whether a strongly connected community will 
produce independence, bring forward social change 
or just add more hype over social networking 
sites, is a further question. And to point it to 
the Brazilian context is a really complex matter.


Lucas Bambozzi

At 18:49 +0200 6/7/07, Eugenio Tisselli wrote:
>Hi Eric, hi all,
>I am also a subscriber to this list, and this is 
>my first intervention. My name is Eugenio 
>Tisselli, and I am the developer behind zexe.net 
>(http://www.zexe.net), a project in which 
>specific urban collectives broadcast their daily 
>experiences from mobile phones directly to the 
>web. These collectives have included so far 
>people on wheelchairs in Barcelona mapping the 
>architecural barriers in the city, and 
>motorcycle messengers (motoboys) in Sao Paulo, 
>Brazil, among others.
>From my point of view, small collectives engaged 
>in communicative processes which are mediated by 
>digital technology seek not only to represent 
>themselves as a social entity, but also to make 
>visible the invisible: the day to day issues 
>that they encounter in their cities, which are 
>particlar to them and many times constitute 
>problems or specific issues that affect their 
>urban life. This process of visibilization is 
>intended to have an effect not only on the 
>general public, but also on the local 
>government. It is a dialog initiated by a 
>concerned party; a dialog in which the ones that 
>are directly affected by a problem present their 
>points of view by telling exactly where the 
>problem is and how it could be solved. Then, as 
>in every dialog, they expect an answer from 
>their fellow citizens (people on wheelchairs, 
>for example, took pictures of cars parked on the 
>sidewalks that blocked their way... they hoped 
>that their fellow citizens would stop doing that 
>after seeing the pictures) and the government 
>(again, in the case of the disabled people, a 
>map with all the obstacles was printed out and 
>handed to local authorities, hoping that they 
>would act and adapt the public infrastructures)
>The key here is dialog. Each part has to hold 
>its ground. The dialog should develop on a 
>ground that is as neutral as possible. Of 
>course, total neutrality is an abstract and 
>nonexistent concept, but at least we can think 
>of a place that is not directly owned by any of 
>the parts engaged in conversation. I believe it 
>is wrong (a populist measure, as you put it) for 
>governments to try to appropriate these modes of 
>dialog by putting forward "web 2.0-like" tools 
>to communicate with the citizens. By this, they 
>would bring the conversation to their own 
>headquarters, restricting the relative liberty 
>that citizens may feel when speaking on a more 
>neutral ground, and rendering dialog 
>ineffective. In order to bring forward social 
>change, a certain degree of antagonism (and 
>hence, independence) is needed.
>So, for me, the central question is not 
>necessary surveillance (although it is also 
>important) but independence. I think that 
>communities engaged in digital communicative 
>practices should reclaim and protect their 
>independence from local governments. Keeping the 
>discussion out of "The House" is the only way 
>that demands and compromises can hold some 
>>Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 15:29:26 -0400
>>From: Eric Gordon <eric_gordon at emerson.edu>
>>Subject: [iDC] city as social network
>>To: iDC at mailman.thing.net
>>Message-ID: <EA7AA5D6-B460-4F97-8BBB-11A88DE3BA9A at emerson.edu>
>>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"
>>Hi everyone.  My name is Eric Gordon – I’ve been watching this list
>>for some time but I’ve made only a few contributions.  Perhaps as a
>>means of forcing my involvement, Trebor has asked me to moderate a
>>discussion on the topic that has lately occupied most of my time –
>>place-based social media and its implications for privacy, public
>>space, and democratic engagement.  Following the recent conversation
>>about Feedburner, I want to consider how that discussion might extend
>>to physical communities (neighborhood, organization, city) that are
>>enabled/bolstered/fortified by social web media.  Many community
>>groups and neighborhood organizations are using digital networking
>>technologies to foster community interaction (http://
>>www.ibrattleboro.com/).  And of course, what is widely known as
>>citizen journalism plays into this as well – placebloggers (http://
>>placebloggers.com) and Community Media organizations tend towards
>>hyperlocal networked content (http://www.cctvcambridge.org/) with an
>>aim towards reinforcing existing geographical connections.  The
>>processes that bind non-geographical communities in networks are
>>similar to those that are binding geographical communities – shared
>>interests, practices, goals, etc.    However, unlike traditional
>>online communities that have a basis in anonymity, digitally
>>annotated physical communities often rely on the full disclosure of
>>identity for their functionality.  For instance, when it comes to
>>neighborhood issues – it is important to know one’s real name and
>>And as city governments are seeking ways to adopt “web 2.0”
>>technologies into their existing “citizen management” projects, the
>>lack of anonymity and the simple traceability of social actions open
>>up new concerns.  Social media tools have the capacity to
>>significantly expand participation in local governance, but they also
>>have the capacity to trace citizen behavior and map social trends.
>>Cities are interested in this technology for the same reason that
>>corporations are – it offers valuable user data.   Politicians can
>>survey the concerns of their constituency; agencies can identify
>>problems in neighborhoods; and law enforcement
well, there are many
>>scenarios possible.  It can also be turned around: citizens can have
>>greater access to their politicians, and government proceedings can
>>at least have the impression of transparency.
>>While the conversations on this list have devoted considerable time
>>to corporate surveillance, the question not often asked in this
>>context is what should be made of local surveillance – from the
>>people in one’s neighborhood to city governments?  In the wake of
>>connectivity, discourse and collaboration, there is always
>>documentation, processing and interpretation. From neighborhood
>>chatrooms to local annotated mapping projects to virtual town hall
>>meetings, participation equals surveillance – for better or for worse.
>>When I consider a digital future in which I want to live – it
>>includes networked access to my neighborhood services, communities,
>>city government and public spaces. However, there is little
>>possibility for that to take place outside of the proliferation of
>>data that would make communities vulnerable to excessive internal and
>>external management. And as citywide wifi and mobile web devices
>>proliferate, the outlets for that recycled data expand.  At the same
>>time, American cities, like corporations, are glomming onto digital
>>media because of its populist resonances.  They are paying attention
>>to online neighborhoods and seeking to aggregate that data into
>>meaningful information.  The ideology of digital media – as evidenced
>>in the phrases “participatory media” and “user-generated content” –
>>is accessibility.  Digital media directly aligns the rhetoric of
>>progress with the rhetoric of populism.  Social web media makes
>>explicit what has only been implied in the recent rhetoric of city
>>governments – that anyone, regardless of social position, can
>>participate in the ordering of city experience and politics.
>>  From cities to towns to neighborhoods, the populist promise of
>>social web media is transforming the nature of public space and civic
>>participation.  I am referring only to the American context, because
>>that’s what I know, but it would be great to engage in comparative
>>dialogue in order to better understand the scope of how these
>>technologies are being implemented in official or unofficial
>>capacities to change perceptions of cities and city life, not to
>>mention public space and community engagement.
>>I suppose I’ll leave it at that for now.  I look forward to the
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>>and theory with an emphasis on social contexts.
>>End of iDC Digest, Vol 33, Issue 4
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lbambozzi at comum.com
bambozzi at gmail.com
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