A hybrid space: The Spotmobile

This summer I spend a couple of weeks touring around Århus with the “Spotmobile”, which you can see in the pictures below. The Spotmobile is a unique caravan we have developed at my job at The Main Library of Århus. The purpose of the caravan is to bring the library to the people – in the summer, if the sun happens to shine, no one wants to spend their day indoor at the library. Therefore we decided to move the library outside, to the public places where people gather doing summertime. That is, for instance, at the beach and at the squares in the city center.

This mobile library contains different types of media and other funny stuff. For instance, it has got televisionscreens instead of windows, a bunch of laptops with wireless connection, radio and loudspeakers to which you can connect your Ipod, a stationary Mac, a photo printer, a Nintendo Wii, lots of magazines and of course – books.

The internet connection along with the different devices, gives you lots of possibilities to enter a digital space, and thereby turning the public space you are situated in, into a hybrid space.

"Hybrid spaces are mobile spaces, created by the constant movement of users who carry portable devices continuously connected to the Internet and to other users” (Adriana de Souza e Silva: From Cyber to Hybrid: Mobile Technologies as Interfaces of Hybrid Spaces, p. 262)

Imagine you are on the beach, but bored, because the water is too cold to get in. Instead of spending your time building a sandcastle, you can grab a laptop and start chatting with your friends on Messenger. You can also chose to take a silly picture of yourself using the Mac photobooth and upload it to your Facebook-profile or download it to your mobile phone, using Blue Tooth. Or you can be conventional and just borrow a book, right away (as long as you have brought your library ticket along with your towel and suntan lotion). Finally you can choose to play a tennis match on the Wii and in that way enter another world for a moment.

Adriana de Souza e Silva says:

"…someone talking on a cell phone is part of the context of people who share the same spatial area, but he or she is also part of a distant context, because he or she is talking to someone who is spatially remote.” (Adriana de Souza e Silva: From Cyber… p. 269)

In the same way a person who uses the laptops of the Spotmobile, while on the beach, participates in both the physical space the beach makes up and the digital space he chooses to enter.


The Spotmobile is touring again this summer, so look out for a colorful caravan next time you go to the beach!

Written by Julie Fink

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