Tag: collaborative design

Urbantoys v.2 [Servo], 2003

Posted by on November 1, 2003

The Servo Urbantoys project diffuses the conventional roles of manufacturer, architect, designer and site visitor. The site is designed as an interface that provides tools for the design of architectural products, Urbantoys, via a series of manipulations of a digital model.

Operation
Urbantoys is a set of digitally instantiated products and instructions for their fabrication embedded in an interface intended for both viewing and extraction. Implicit in the word urban-toy is a fluctuation between an architectural scale and program and the scale of a toy or hand held object. It also connotes a digitally manipulable set of geometries, which are animated by the toy’s user and can be assembled computationally as a three-dimensional model or produced as a physical instantiation. The toy’s components are set in motion as a series of spatial parcels, which are activated by the user. The assembly of digital pieces is non-sequential proliferating into a series of models. The viewer is invited to act on a supplied catalogue of materials and infiltrate the design process. By submitting designs to and sampling designs from an online archive, the visitors’ designs are made available to other potential authors. Digitally catalogued urbantoys may be retrieved, fabricated and exhibited at a later event, turning the exhibition venue into a dynamic index of the design process as it is distributed among various agents. The interface also provides the possibility for the visitor to directly engage with a manufacturer by ordering a rapid prototype of the designed object.

Urbantoys v.2 was exhibited at the ReShape! exhibition curated by IASPIS at the Venice Biennale of the Arts in 2003. It is an upgraded version of the online design environment Urbantoys v.1 released in 2000 for the exhibition N2art curated by Peter Hagdahl. Part of a larger speculation on the incorporation of the user into design and production processes through the emergence of new interactive technologies, Urbantoys v.2 is an open-source interface through which outside authors customize a variety of generic design prototypes according to personal needs, interests, and constraints.

Physical installation
The temporary gallery space of the Reshape! show required a spatial setup for the digital design environment. A merged display wall, work place and light table operated as a platform for interaction, both literally in the digital design system, as well as through discussions between visitors.

Physical models of previous designs were displayed, and other components provided the context for the less informative digital interface. The Urbantoys v.2 featured a back-lit table connected to a wall, carrying models, and enabling visitors / users to gather around to handle the models and view product sheets of previous designs, providing a context for the digital browser.

The design environment allowed the visitor to move around in digital space, while manipulating the geometries in an intuitive manner. Simple instructions guided the user, indicating different potential transformations. The interface was connected to a separate database, allowing for the storage and retrieval of designs, names of authors and comments. This made possible the sampling of previous designs, to be altered and re-saved.

Development
The Urbantoys v.2 project used the Virtools game editor as a programming environment. The sampling of technology from other fields towards a new purpose requires the adaptation of techniques optimized for another agenda. This provides friction, but also opportunities.

During the Krets project development phase the software allowed for the sharing of behavioral scripts, enabling multiple developers to share the work on the prototype, which could also be continuously tested during the process. The Virtools-browser handled all interaction, providing behaviors to simple geometries resulting in a vast recombinatorial potential within the formative design concept.

Performance
The performative aspects of the project set up a new kind of relationship between designer, manufacturer and customer. The Urbantoys v.2 project explores the possibilities of using the gallery space as a platform for participatory design where the authorship of a set of environments is distributed and shared with the visitors. The visitor/ consumer of the piece is at the same time potentially a producer and author of designs that might be sampled by other visitors, as well as manufactured and exhibited at a later event. The audience involved in the consumption of the piece is at the same time the performers of a creative act. Krets, as authors and producers of the installation, will on the other hand act as consumers of the visitors saved designs when they are manufactured and exhibited.

Credits
Servo was invited by IASPIS to participate in the Reshape! sideshow to the 50th Venice Biennale. Krets was commissioned by Servo to develop the Urbantoys v.2 responsive browser, a re-development of the Urbantoys v.1 browser (2000).

Urbantoys v.2
Project leader:
Ulrika Karlsson, Servo

Urbantoys v.2 Krets design team:
Daniel Norell and Jonas Runberger

Database design:
Oskar Scheiwiller More…

Info_liations / ex_foliations, 2003

Posted by on October 25, 2003

A one week workshop at the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory at the RMIT in Melbourne.

The ubiquity of electronically-conditioned cultures within the context of contemporary social transactions invigorates a dialogue between states of materiality and states of immateriality. This one-week workshop explicitly examined the transduction of informed states between a series of material and immaterial sites causing a reconsideration of these categories. These informed states were specific to the media in which they originate and was be defined by each team at the start of the workshop.

The workshop was part of INTIMATE DISTANCE: Liveness and Affect, a Visiting Fellows Program part of the SIAL Graduate Certificate Program. It was performed as an inserted catalyst in the mid of a seven week design course directed towards the design of an exhibition space. Student teams had prepared outlines that could be transformed and enriched during the workshop.

Info_liations / ex_foliations brief suggested a networked feedback environment that would emerge as a number of nested environments or nodes that maintained a micro scale of physical – digital connected spaces, affecting each other through more or less perceivable principles. A number of these nodes, comprised of a digital setting and a physical interface, would be connected and send and receive information trough transactions. These points of contact were established early on in the workshop and the different teams operated simultaneously in the various media continually activating these contact points throughout the duration of the workshop. Protocols for this exchange were established, using the Urbantoys v.2 as a reference, and the Virtools software package as a main platform.

Through this set-up, the student teams provided flexible designs in which behaviours or scripts could be exchanged during the development, and outside guests could manipul,ate the conditions of the design, thereby entering an open-ended dialogue on design qualities.

SIAL, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia August 2003
Tutors: Krets, through: Marcelyn Gow, Daniel Norell and Jonas Runberger