Materializing Virtual Sites

Artech-International (The International Association for Digital and Interactive Arts)
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Digital Arts, ARTECH 2010: Envisoning Digital Spaces, 2010, pp. 39 - 44
Issue Date:
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The increasingly common deployment of webcam systems for the imagistic promotion of iconic city form not only presents new material to mediate people's engagement with this space, but also offers new ways to materialise its actual three-dimensional form. The interactive capacity of webcam content, both as a voyeuristic space and through its digital manipulation, paradoxically subverts the representative role expected of these systems to one that is qualitative and experiential. In doing so, it questions the making of civics space as a signifier or locus of idealized form and replaces any symbolic role for urban form with the affect of form. The paper, drawing on recently completed design-oriented research conducted at the University of Technology, Sydney, will discuss how an array of open-source digital softwares have been strategically recruited to process raw virtual qualitative data from webcam images to generate a formal response to civic space. This 'designerly' intervention back into three-dimensional space, through specific operational and technical properties associated with the digital manipulation of the two-dimensional webcam view, asks the designer to relinquish the images traditionally used to substantiate urban form. This unprecedented technique can be seen to offer a new paradigm for material intervention within both 'virtual' and urban space.
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