Monday, 02 August 2004

Social tapestries Giles Lane has published an essay on the new Urban Tapestries programme, Social Tapestries. "The Social Tapestries experiments will offer a platform to devise and understand actual uses of public authoring by people going about their everyday lives. By designing and implementing a series of experiments in real world situations, Social Tapestries will aim to reveal the potential of public authoring to:• create and support relationships that transcend existing social and cultural boundaries; • enable the development of new social and creative practices based around place, identity and community; • reveal the limits and potential costs (as well as benefits) that such technologies also imply.Experiments are being devised for:• education: looking at how local informal knowledges can be gathered, represented, understood and shared by schoolchildren. • community arts and regeneration: working with artists and arts organisations as facilitators for local communities in regeneration contexts. • social housing: exploring how new forms of neighbourliness could emerge where existing physical structures (such as tower blocks) create barriers. • local government: assessing the impacts on communities of locally specific information gathered by municipal and police services and possibilities for interaction." A couple of points in the essay struck me as I sat being distracted by the Here-Now of the birdloud garden reading it over an early coffee. (Tsssk, what a drag when the here and now is distracting you from thinking about Elsewhere-Then). First, an assertion that not only is the social and cultural construction of our environments more about place than about location - (of course, we might all say); but that it is "as much a group or commmunity activity as that of the individual." Secondly, some insights into the meaning of "presence" which, given the technologies of remote communication, include the "asynchronous inhabitation of place." This is about developments that imply meaningful presence in a remote elsewhere because of the possibility of remote sharing experience of that place. Bring it on.

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