Last Monday Jan. 21 I attended the 4th meeting of the Dutch Mobile Monday branch in Amsterdam. The turnout was huge: an estimated 300+ people gathered in De Rode Hoed. The meeting was well-organized, the crowd mixed, and the atmosphere friendly.
The topic of the day was Location – LBS – GPS – Cell ID – GeoWeb – Metaverse.
After some introductory talks, five Dutch locative project briefly presented themselves:
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* and the extremely commercial Yomedia.
The presentations were followed by 4 corporate guys from TomTom, KPN, Nokia and WebAds (one of the sponsors) seated on a Klippan and discussing their business strategies on the field of location based services (but not too candid..).
The key note speaker of the day was Joseph Pine (who wrote “The Experience Economy” with Gilmore). He talked about “Technology & Media in the experience economy”. Pine started by outlining the gradual shift in production, from Commodities (which you extract from nature) > Goods (which you make) > Services (which you have to deliver) > Experiences (which you have to stage). Each level corresponds to key values Availability > Cost > Quality > Authenticity. “Dramatic structure” is central to making things attractive. It is based on a more or less fixed story development scheme.
Thoughts: This idea of experience economy, with its production of authentic experiences (sounds like a paradox), is closely related to one of the central tensions that come up in our research project ‘Playful Identities’. Identities have been declared fleeting, transitory, imagined, constructed, etc., yet the majority of people continue to cling on the idea of authentic, innate self that you have to find inside and develop. The experience economy creates settings that can be metaphorically understood as playing a game: inside you take the rules for real and abide by them. Outside you can call it “just a game”.
The second and most interesting part of Pine’s talk was about the many different technologically mediated spaces that have come into being. He presented his model has a modest view on the Universe, existing of time, space and matter. Along these three axes, many different ‘worlds’ exist (see photo above).
1. First is physical space. This is the geographical space as we know it, consisting of time, space and matter.
2. Second is virtual reality. This is the exact opposite of physical space, and has no space, no time and no materiality.
3. Third is augmented reality: digitally enhancing physical world.
4. Fourth is augmented virtuality: adding physicality to virtuality. Like Wii.
5. Fifth is what Pine calls the most difficult to grasp (and he wasn’t totally convincing in his examples): warped reality: ‘teleporting’ to other places & materiality in ‘no-time’ through ‘wormholes’.
6. Sixth is mirror worlds: reproducing the real world in virtual worlds.
7. Seventh is alternate reality (as in games).
8. Eighth is physical virtuality: physical representation in virtual spaces. Cases: Dell in 2nd life, Fabjectory, Ponoko, 3D printing on demand.
Thoughts: The point Pine was making: the world doesn’t consist of 1, 2 or 3 kinds, but eight different worlds. This raises questions e.g. about how to shape spaces in a non-material world. A question I find particularly interesting is: how do you move between those worlds? What types of mobilities (taken as “meaningful movement”, following Cresswell 2006) exist in leaving one technologically mediated world and entering another? And what (liminal) processes take place in-between those worlds? To make it more concrete: what happens when we take off our ‘augmented reality’ glasses (see earlier post) and re-enter the physical world? Are they as sharply divided as Pine’s model here suggests, or do they bleed over into each other more and more, as social processes take place in multiple spaces at the same time?
Pine closed off with a remark that unfortunately he didn’t elaborate on further, yet rang a bell with every attendant in the room: “the mobile device will become the virtual window to your identity”. We will explore this topic in more detail in the second workshop on the 27th of February.