Criss crossings

The 3d Pathway staff at CSM Fine art department set first year students a challenge, to utilise the ‘street’ area of the Kings Cross campus building as studio for a week whilst theirs was unavailable.

The task was to work in four groups to construct alternative working space using the MAZI offline network toolkit to express their impression of the street, experiences working in public and responses to the collaborative brief.

YT attended a briefing session with all students and department staff the week before to introduce MAZI and explain use of the many existing options for it’s use, as well as suggest ways of bending it into new shapes. We prepared a guide MAZI called ‘Kimchi’ loaded with support materials and a set of digitised sketchbooks from Four Corners as inspiration.

Work at each corner had to be decicive and inclusive of the group members. Their agenda, is much like our own, to research how to plan and operate in public, express network presence and communicate it’s existence, offer publishing options, promote engagement and document outcomes.

A week later we all gathered in the street to hear from each groups about their experiences and reflections on using the toolkit. Their responses were eccentric, exploratory and defiant, so that went as well as we could have expected!

For some, just working outside of the studio challenged their preconceptions of 3D study, others were annoyed to be diverted from other interests or bored by the investigation. For many it was stimulating and introduced ideas we hope they will continue to work with again.  We spent a few hours hearing outcomes and shared thoughts about the publishing purpose, sharing of information and definition of public space. It was a useful reminder of how perceptions of the development work differs. MAZI training and support material needs a lot more attention before final project delivery at end of 2018.

Over at Creekside Discovery Centre in Deptford work continues on development of a water based sensor array for installation at the Ha’penny Hatch so that tidal variations of temperature, salinity and turbidity can be recorded and published to their local data systems for use by visitors and students.

A species monitoring system is already configured for testing and will soon be in daily use. Low tide walkers carry iPad tablets to in waterproof holsters to the river, collecting data, counting species types and capturing images. This is part of a longer term initiative within the Creeknet pilot project, to explore environment sensing options and how the demands of different systems can be integrated into the MAZI toolkit.

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