Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Historicizing Public Space with QR-Codes

Datum: 2014-01-16
Tid: 09.00
Evenemanget vänder sig till: studenter - allmänheten - anställda

HUMlab and the Department of Culture and Media Studies Presents Four Augmented Information Installations:
‘Historicizing Public Space’

Throughout the Fall Term 20013/14 four groups of museum studies students have been working in HUMlab on projects that utilize traditional research, web design, digital authorship, writing for the web, film, audio and image production, urban design and museum studies.

Their assignment was to locate a publicly accessible space in Umeå, research an important event or history that is associated with that space and create an account of it that users can access on site, using QR-Codes (Quick Response Codes) from mobile digital devices (smart phones, tablets, iPods).
This Thursday 16 January 2014 at 09:00 in Ålidhem Centrum a tour of the four QR-Code installation sites will begin. First up is a history of Ålidhem as a site of conflict and drama; the development of the ‘Million Homes Project’ in the 1970s in the area involved environmental conflict. This is the starting point for an interesting journey through Ålidhem.

Next up is the SF Bio Filmstaden in central Umeå, where an account of the long history of cinema in Umeå will be presented with QR-codes, which includes videos of what cinema means to people today. This is followed by an installation on Rådhustorget that deals with the recent events around the manifestation by the neo-Nazi organization the Svenska motståndsrörelsen (Swedish Resistance Movement) and changes to the central plan of Umeå from a democratic perspective.

Finally the history of the Umeå cathedral is mediated on site by QR-Codes, with a particular focus on the history of feminist, transgendered and queer issues in relation to Swedish Church.

Anyone interested in the design of digital information and interaction in public space, along with historians, digital humanists, and media studies are welcome to attend this assessment demonstration in a respectful and cooperative way.

Contact person: James Barrett

Assessment of QR-Code Project for Museum Studies

Students organized themselves into four groups.

Group 1 – Ålidhem
Group 2 – SMR (svenska motståndsrörelsen) Anti/Manifestation and Apberget
Group 3 – SF Bio and Bio Historia I Umeå
Group 4 – Stadskyrkan

The groups were assigned tasks:

1.      Select a publically accessible place in Umeå that has historical or narrative associations that could be translated into a museum project and mediated by QR-codes and online content, which the users experience in real time and on-site.
2.      Organize a working group (2-5 people) around the subject; create a project plan and synopsis, delegate tasks, create a timeline for production, research the subject and organize materials, design the experience of the visitor to the site according to the space, place, history and narrative mediated by digital materials and the QR-code.
3.      Produce digital materials for the online component of the project. These could be text, image, video and audio. Skills involved in the production of digital materials include writing text, image editing (Photoshop), audio production (Audacity), video production (Adobe Premiere) and web composition and HTML coding (Wordpress).
4.      Implement the QR-Code project on site and show it relates to the topic and brings users into the experience of that knowledge.

The students were introduced to ‘Place’ as a critical concept and how digital media contributes to it as an information system from specific examples. Based on this conception of place, the QR-code project takes up how they can professionally add a layer of information to a place.

The first practical goal of the course was to plan and visualize a digital project of the type that the students are undertaking. They began with composing a short statement of intent, regarding what it is they wished to achieve in the project. The students were then introduced to the aspects of the project they must consider in their planning:

1.      The site: (includes considerations around public and private space, management of the site, the conditions the site imposes upon visitors, the site as a space and how it is interacted with, connectivity and access)
2.      The subject: (is this a historical subject, a critical project, is there information available, what does the subject represent in broader contexts- examples can include community, critical approaches, and how does the subject relate back to the course materials and teaching).
3.      The media: What forms of media will the group being employing in the project? How will they be integrated into the site and the subject? Do people in the group have experience that is relevant to the project?
4.      The goals: the successful integration of information and place that is interactive and interesting and successful group work as cooperation, planning, delegation, documentation and results.

These points resulted in a visualization of the project by each group. This was done as simple sketch-ups on paper (e.g. diagrams, charts or actual maps). This developed into the plan for the project.

Blogging for students followed two approaches, a) Process and b) Presentation. The process was documented in the blog as the students moved towards presenting the blogs as the destination for the QR-code links. The blogs must be part of the ongoing work. The presentation was the final status of the blogs for the users of the QR-codes on site.

The examination task was a completed QR-code based site that deals with the 'museumification' of a public space by introducing a designed layer of information to the site via digital media. The criteria for our examining these projects as passed is: 

1.      Successful integration of information and place that is interactive and interesting
2.      Successful group work as cooperation, planning, delegation, documentation and results.
3.      Demonstration of technical skills in the use of digital production and publishing tools.
4.      Demonstration of critical concepts by the design, production and interaction within the QR-Code Project.
5.      Successful user interaction with the QR-Code project on site.

Online Materials for QR-Code Projects


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