The Information Architecture Institute
A conference on designing
complex information spaces of all kinds.
New York City, October 4 and 5, 2007

Meet Ali Sant!

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I’ve known Ali Sant for 10 years now — she worked at the Exploratorium when I volunteered there after returning to San Francisco.
Here’s what she has to say about the projects she’ll be discussing at IDEA:

TRACE: Mapping the Emerging Urban Landscape
Digital networks and wireless technologies are radically reforming the contemporary notions of urban place. As network technologies move away from their hardwired roots, they are activating an urban dynamic that is  no longer based on referencing static landmarks, but on a notion of the  city in which spatial references become events. These developments imply a changing pattern of urban reference in which invisible boundaries of connectivity alternately thicken or marginalize the urban territories they overlay. TRACE is a project, by artist Alison Sant, that examines the layering of physical space  with the on and off zones of the wireless network. The project seeks to blend the corporeal experience of the city with the invisible qualities of the network, creating a narrative mapping of the hybrid space between them. This mapping is one that challenges purely static notions of public space to promote a temporal logic of the city that reflects the fluctuating character of the wireless network.

Redefining the Basemap
Current collaborative mapping projects using locative media technologies have often overlooked the conventions of the base map as a site for reinvention. Although these projects are ambitious in their aim to propose alternative organizations of urban space through the way it is digitally mapped, they remain bounded by datasets that reinforce a Cartesian and static notion of urban space. This paper questions the methodology of the base map as it is utilized in these projects, and proposes alternative approaches for mapping the city. Specifically, it looks at the city as a space of events, defined by the ways in which it is used rather than the orthogonal geometry by which it is constructed; and highlights several key examples from the history of urban planning and art practice that provide models for such alternative mapping strategies. By focusing on the limitations of the base map, I hope to provoke new ideas for these emerging projects.

1 Comment »

  1. IDEA Conference Blog » Ian White, Urban Mapper said,

    August 29, 2006 @ 9:10 pm

    […] I had the fortune of meeting him a couple months ago, and he totally geeked out about the design of data for mapping systems. He’s clearly frustrated by Standard Operating Procedures for geospatial data, and is passionate about how the design of *data* leads to better designed experiences. He’s even built a business around it. The Design of Data is what he’ll be talking about at IDEA. Ian is the latest speaker to be added to the program. He and Ali will make a GIS tag-team! […]

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