TAG: Scripting Presence
The recent success in Times Square’s redevelopment
has revitalized tourism and business while establishing a strong
corporate presence. Concurrently, its public life as defined by
its inhabitants has been reduced with a space outlined primarily
by commercial interests and expression. Moreover, the public experiences
of participant and spectator has been further emphasized towards
the latter as this public arena increasingly becomes an audience
for broadcasted content. Therefore, in choosing Times Square as
my project site, I am interested in reinforcing its sense of “place”,
particularly to the individuals who roam within by creating a street-level
activity. My thesis project, <TAG> Scripting Presence, intends
to create a momentary place along the path of the individual’s
navigation through this public space providing a platform for self-expression
while connecting to a wider network of similar-like portals. In
exchange for their personal inscription, individuals will be able
to participate with each other by “claiming” these “nodes”,
and contribute to the accumulative process of place making through
(1) communicating elements of her/his identity, (2) altering the
physical form of a space, and (3) constructing a new interpretation
of a place either in the mind of the participant and/or its overall
inhabitants through a ritualistic activity. By initiating a sense
of belonging and, thus, ownership to a public space, both the individual’s
experience and the place itself becomes enriched.
TAG: Assertion of Presence
The inundation of consumer and mass media advertisements has eroded
the presence of the individual within the city. In my thesis, I
will explore how we can reclaim our physical landscape by reinserting
the individual through visual representation into her/his urban
environment. My intent is to create a momentary place to communicate
messages of self-expression contributing to a network in which the
next user can connect and experience. As it is important to see
representation of one’s identity within mass media and culture,
likewise, it is important to see representation of self within one’s
physical arena. Graffiti created a medium of self-expression affecting
the city’s spaces with the announcement of the existence of
urban youths. In Matt Locke’s and Jaap de Joonge’s project,
“Speaker’s Corner”, messages from the public are
displayed on an LED screen in the town center. I will investigate
other means of self-expression integrated with technology within
the context of the city. I will research how mobile and broadcast
technology can increase access to and enable communication within
the public space. Lastly, I will examine how mass media and culture
affects the individual’s perception of self within one’s
physical and cultural settings.
How can we reclaim the physical landscape by reinserting
the presence of the individual through visual representation to
create a momentary place to relay and display our messages of self-expression
contributing to a structure/network in which the next user can connect
How can we reclaim our physical landscape from commercial expression
and create a momentary place to communicate messages (visual, audio)
of self-expression to contribute to a structure/network in which
future users can connect and experience?
To create a momentary base/point/place that will allow users to
leave a piece of themselves-a trace, remnant, marking, message contributing
to a structure/space in which future users can partake, discover,
"How many people can walk through
a city and prove they were there? It's a sign I was here. My hand
made this mark. I'm fucking alive!"-Omar, New York
My concept stems from the idea of graffiti, a visual self-expression,
carried forth and displayed in public spaces, initially by urban
youths, often in an effort to be seen, heard, and remembered in
their non-inclusive environment. The allure of this medium of
art is not just the mark, trace, or message that the writer imparts
but also the acknowledgement and response the viewer delivers
upon discovering someone's "tag". Thus, a new form of
communication emerged from the streets of New York City. Graffiti
allowed for a marginalized segment of the population that lacked
consumer, political, and social power to acquire the access and
ability to influence their physical and cultural surroundings.
By broadcasting their voice through visual representation, these
urban youths asserted and established the power of both their
presence and identity within the city environs.
Presently, accessibility to public terrain, physical and digital,
is shrinking from our daily grasps. Our tangible landscape has
become an overgrowth of billboards, advertisements, and flyers
incessantly declaring the existence of corporate America and our
consumer culture. "Commercial expression" has multiplied,
flourished, and outweighed human self-expression. Our space has
become more determined for us rather than created by us; and along
with that a loss in our means, mode, and opportunities for diverse
self-expression. Furthermore, as technology embeds into culture,
one's purchasing power increasingly defines one's involvement
within society and its development. Likewise, in the digital arena,
the massive influence and ubiquity of the Internet has generated
interest and movement to gain control of the production and distribution
of information from the hands of the individual to the board of
the private organization. Therefore, the ability to become and
remain a part of the physical and digital panorama depends on
one's power to consume, possess, and commercialize.
For my thesis, I am interested in exploring other
methods, forms, and behavior that we apply and display in our
public space to reach the people around us. How does technology
shape and engage the individual's ability to assert his/her identity?
How can it be used to equalize our accessibility to self-expression
within our physical and digital environments? How can it enrich
our experience with each other? I am concerned with our present
and future opportunities to remain a part of our physical and
virtual landscapes, and, also with our ability to continually
contribute to it. I would like to create either a site or an application
that would allow users a means and an opportunity to be seen,
heard, and remembered by leaving a piece of themselves - a trace,
remnant, marking, or message contributing to a structure or space
in which future users can partake, discover, and respond; and
thus, for connections to follow.
1| Sense of place:
Virtual + Physical: Bridging the two spaces. Virtual Input + Physical
Momentary + Permanent: Momentary Place/Experience/Message + Permanent
To give a space a sense of place.
Creation of place through user interaction.
2| Public Self-Expression:
Visual: Graffiti, Sidewalk Art, Bathroom Writing, Stickers
Orally: Original Speaker’s Corner
Advertising: Appropriating “advertising”
for the broadcasting of one’s self-expression, as a non-commodity.
3| Social interaction:
Connections made between users through creating a message, responding
to a message, and then becoming the creator of a new message.
To design an interface to engage users to want to leave a message,
visual/audio, and for users to discover the message/self-expression
and then also leave a message themselves.
To enable for connections between users to occur. To create a network
between users. To translate digital input into the physical realm.
Cellphones/sms messaging: mobile, ubiquitous, momentary, network
Video Screens, LCD Screens: visual representation, broadcast, live
capture, time-lapse, etc.
idea 1: Response to commercial expression/corporate advertising.
idea 2: Response to physical location.