yellow footprints on a sidewalk - Brick lane
White footprints - bethnal green road
300 meters (approx) separate these 2 pictures. 4 feet in pairs of 2 for each case (plus a ghost foot?). The first one is in the middle of a sidewalk, and it doesn’t have (apparently) any functional meaning. It’s therefore even more significant. Second picture has been taken in front of an ATM machine (you can see feet of somebody using it).
They share similarities, but they surprise for how different they are: in one case they mark somebody’s steps (maybe jumping, or playing) while in another case they strongly recommend one’s position (as they give indications on how to queue). They both invite people replicating the position, but while in one case they just foster playful movements, while in the other they create empty spaces.
Moreover, I have the impression that the second picture is also creating a gender barrier: these are clearly men’s soles.
Cat: the explorer
Weekend often means going out and visiting exhibitions, especially when London has such a wonderful weather (rain, clouds and all the best the English Summer has to offer, as you may have seen at Wimbledon and Silverstone).
I went to the RCA show just to discover that the Tower bridge is not the only “non-human” twittering in these days: Andy Broomfiled has created not 1, but 3 twitters for a flower, a tree and a cat (image above). Twitters are automatically updated thankx to a “blog bot” platform, by using data coming from sensors attached to animals / objects. I hope he won’t be upset if I use his words:
Blog Bot Platform is an open source system which I have developed for creating Different types of Blogging objects. Turning Simple experiences into online encounters. These bots ‘tweet’ to their experiences to micro blogging services. I am interested in how people react when they encounter these Blogjects invading their web 2.0 space.
what happens when the cat passes on the Tower Bridge, then?
Just discovered that the Tower Bridge has a twitter profile, here: http://twitter.com/towerbridge
why? It tells to the world when it closes and opens, and what kind of boat is passing, in what direction. Very simple thing, and automatically updated from the bridge lift schedule (here), I guess. But it’s a way to make visible something that was invisible before. It could be information to share with other objects (Navigators? My Nike+ iPhone, when I’m running? traffic lights? Buses and transports?).
2 things are nice: 1 is that information is no more just in a web page, but it actually becomes data, ready to be reused and mashed elsewhere. 2 is that an object (bridge) becomes one of my connections. How many things are connected with me? how many other objects of affection could be part of my profile? maybe my mac at home? I could start an automator task to be updated on things…
And it’s funny that a bridge – which represents a connection in itself – becomes something to be connected with.
Also, is the bridge connected to somebody? maybe to the aficionados, people who uses it often…. It could recognize them as they pass, and say hello in a special way (a twitter message?) what kind of information does it receive and read?
Every day I walk in front of one of the new public phone boxes (well, open booth). The place is here.
Something that comes to my mind:
Jan Chipcase observed public phones in different occasions (1, 2, 3, …), highlighting – for example – “The richness and cost to produce the advertising; the degree to which it can be (re)moved by potential customers and/or cleaners; the position of the advertising within the phone booth itself; […]”. As you can see, the phone booth doesn’t have a phone. It’s a work in progress, I reckon, but it’s been in this situation for months.
Is the value of this artifact is now more on the Adv billboard (on the back) than in the phone itself? Is the “advertising space” passing from being an emergent use to the main function?
When / if the phone will be installed, the booth is not a closed environment, but it’s open. Interesting, because initially “silence cabinets” were built to allow hearing faint voices from distant places and shouting across a country without disturbing neighbors (wikipedia: telephone booth).
Consequences on quality and types of conversation would be wonderful to study.
Finally, one main thought about the usefulness of a public phone in these days. What is the purpose of an open phone booth today? It’s really an open question, and I’d be happy if in the future I could understand a bit more about it, especially in such a crowded and vital area (Whitechapel Road in London).