Acts in spaces

Acts in spaces

In the whole meshing between local –global, private-public, visible- invisible and narrating-creating, my understanding of ‘hybrid spaces’ echoes De Silva’s theory especially her concept of ‘social interface which defines a digital device that inter-mediates relationships between two or more users…. social interfaces not only re-shape communication relationships, but also re-shape the space in which this interaction takes place….. that generally the social meaning of an interface is not always developed when the technology is first created, but usually comes later when it is finally embedded in social practices.

For me, any place holds the potential to be a hybrid space, so long as it is the staging arena for technology and digital intervention and nothing makes it more real and removes us from a stable sense of location than the ubiquitous mobile phone.

Let me draw an example of what is, for me, a ‘hybrid space’
Situation 1
Night out and a bus.
As she walks, she checks the ETA of the bus on her phone. (1)
The bus arrives, she gets on and the mobile rings with ‘change of plans’.(2)
She gets the address of Location 2 where she needs to go.
She starts her google map and there is a successful search for location 2. (3)
Situation 2
Paths and buses change and she is on her way. All this while, she is on the phone, informing 3 more people about the change of plans, emailing the map to 2 more and sending an sms to 1. (4).

All in the matter of 20 min.
Arrival 'party' destination.

It connects to Manovich’s belief as well when he defines augmented space as a physical space transformed into a dataspace: “overlaying layers of data over the physical space (where).. this overlaying is often made possible by tracking and monitoring the users; that is, delivering information to users in space and extracting information about these users are closely connected.

In so many ways, it is about experiencing city scapes and lifescapes though the mobile technology – a stepping out of physical boundaries and experiencing patterns and life on the move. Technology might be invisible but its presence is felt every second we traverse the city’s physical spaces. And to me that is the real blurring of boundaries. But having said that and echoing De Silva again-‘Nevertheless, a hybrid space is NOT constructed by technology. It is built by the connection of mobility and communication, and materialized by social networks developed simultaneously in physical and digital spaces.’

But amongst all this what also interests me also is the question of ‘agency’. As Kluitenberg in his essay points out ‘The concept of ‘agency’ is difficult to interpret, but literally combines action, mediation and power. It is not surprising therefore, to find it applied as a strategic instrument for dealing with questions about the ongoing hybridization of public and private space’ and even Manovich touches upon it when he speaks of ‘augmented space’ which only becomes activated when a specific function is required’. Today, on some levels, it is a user’s choice whether a physical space, any space becomes a hybrid space if equipped with the right technological aids. Technology’s presence creates a stimulus but it’s the user’s agency and choice to use technology that truly makes a hybrid /augmented space’.

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