Art applications of ubiquitous computing

The combination of wireless communications and miniaturisation of devices, from mobile phones to RFID tags, opens up a rich seam of new technology applications that do not depend so exclusively on screens for interaction with people. In some cases the user interface can be embedded in physical objects that are aware of their location in space. Howard Rheingold’s book Smart Mobs was among the first to raise awareness of the potential for new services that give a new twist social and physical spaces.
At the start of February the two-day PLAN Workshop at London’s ICA features a lot of research on applications of the new technologies in the arts: dance, sound, installations and new media. It may be conservative of me to say so, but I feel this area needs a better vocabulary to communicate to a wider audience: for a start, the word ‘locative’ has an established meaning, different from one that the PLAN people seem to give it.

Related postings that include some concrete examples of the kind of art involved: notes from Cybersonica ’03, from Cybermusic ’04; “Intelligent Street” Interactive Music; and Review of Stanza’s net art.

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