Mobile Mapping for Everyday Spaces

2006

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Mobile Mapping for Everyday Spaces (MMES) was an experimental course conceived and commissioned as an artwork.

Conceived by M.Simon Levin and Laurie Long, and co-taught along with myself and Piotr Adamczyk, MMES was part of a series of experimental artworks commissioned for the new Siebel Center for Computer Science at the University of Illinois. Conceived as a “living laboratory,” the Center encouraged and supported students and researchers to integrate academic study with everyday life through the operations of the building, deploying prototype applications with the building’s inhabitants as “users.”

Our course sought to model this practice through activation of the building’s spaces, classrooms, and environs.

We ran the course as an interdisciplinary team, and also asked the students to work in such teams. Projects entailed engagement with precedent in art as well as science; team experiences were structured around copious opportunities for reflection. The result was an experimental pedagogical space that fomented new modes of communication as well as new tools for sensing, recording, and sharing something as ordinary as a walk. Outcomes from this course are still unfolding, as we share examples with potential new collaborators and funders.

We’ve presented on the project at multiple venues, including the 2007 conference of the College Art Association. For a full account of the course methodology, assignments, and outcomes, see our co-authored chapter from the book Imaginary Syllabii.