Shadow Spot


Shadow Spot spans whole cities and digital environments. Through staking claims, linking, questioning, sharing & critiquing hidden/unseen spots of urban environmewnts, people make elements of cities their own.

Using digital media, and colourful vinyl stickers, Shadow Spot invites participation in the creation of urban digital architecture for linked hidden, "shadowy", places of interest.

Through placing Shadow Spot stickers, photographing & sharing them, people discover places, build a network of links & critique, as well as bridging digital and physical worlds.

Shdow Spot is an art practice that questions senses of ownership & interest within our madeup environments, urban & digital.

DESCRIPTION
Shadow Spot exists online, as a website, and offline, in the streets, bazaars, markets, boats, etc. of the city. Through uploading, linking, sharing, "liking" images of Shadow Spots, people will create a network that bridges the digital and the physical.

The Shadow Spot website will operate as a tool for documenting, sharing, linking the images of Shadow Spots, and of visibility/invisibility.
The website will:
* Enable uploading of images.
* Offer sharing the images.
* Allow "Liking" the images.
* Run an algorithm which checks popularity - visibility - of each image, and diminishes those images that people frequently like, share, link and view. Further details about the algorithm, see appendix #1.
* Offer people the chance to try to trick its software into accepting uploads of not "approved" Shadow Spots, i.e. stickers that are of the "wrong" colour and/or are not placed in shadowy places. (Therefore the very "visibility of the invisble" that Shadow Spot presents, is open to be played with and, itself, put in hiding.)

Shadow Spot will be use in a venue/s to:
* Provide visitors with guidance on how to interact with the exhibition. (How to take photos of the spots, how to upload them, the web address, etc.)
* Provide sheets of stickers to take away, with guidelines as to where and how to place them around places that typify the city.

People who lack the necessary equipment or skills are therefore explicitly excluded from the digital-locative element of Shadow Spot, thereby making the "digital divide" among art-lovers visible.

CONCEPT
Shadow Spot offers people a way to make claims to urban elements, plot links, share, socialise & culturalise these urban stakes. At the same time, Shadow Spot questions itself & its users to produce an evolving urban network for invisible spots of interest. Therefore these spots of interest, through the very claims people invest in them, become visible in a way which questions that very visibility and the legitimacy of the origonal claim.

Indeed, visibility and invisibility are the ephemeral materials that Shadow Spot is made of and which it plays with. Digital & electronic media intermingle in our daily lives, within our physical environments, through staking claims to spots in our cities and into a shadow-spot online architectures of links & interest. Tools and apps have become so common that they are, in one sense, invisible.

Shadow spot is a practice reflecting upon both on & off line cultural economies of interest, claims of property & ownership, and networking.
Much of the digital economy is based on visibility & staking claims on proprties, indeed the very notion of making/having property. The value of everything from facebook and twitter through to "locality" services like FourSquare and yelp depends on the numbers of. If such online tools less visible, they would be far less valuable. The more we use such tools, the less we notice them yet the more valuable they become as they claim time & attention out of lives.
In terms of urban cultural & economic processes, we have the notion of development through identyfing un/less-seen/used areas and buildings, which are then encouraged to be injected by art and artists so the locations become more visibile and their economic value – heigher.

Shadow Spot makes an artistic practice through ironies such as staking claims to urban places because they are shadowy – and ruining that shadow spot feeling by the very claim; of value through visibility of usage, as in digital tools, rather than value of visibility but non-usage. (eg, London's St Paul has a great value, but many people do not use – or even visit – the place.)

TECHNOLOGIES
1) Very simple, fuscia coloured circular spots of self-adhesive vinyl cut-outs, in sizes that vary between 2cm to 15cm in diameter. To be stuck in permement shadow areas around the gallery.
2) An explanation leaflet of how to use Shadow Spot.
3) We need a web-server with a MySQL database, storage capacity for uploaded photographs, SSH access.
4) Mobile device friendly web site.
We will develop the server using Python and Django, Processing, openFrameworks and openCV. Javascript and HTML for the browser.
5} We will use the narcissus algorithm developed in previous projects.
For more information<:
# Check the Narcissus section of this site. (Click on the right..)
Click here for more information.

PEOPLE
Further Description
Following is a possiblen personal experience of Shadow Spot:

Rammi enters the venue with Shadow Spots. (..can be a restaurant, a school, a bordello, etc.. She reads the description and instructions for Shadow Spot. She then explores the city, seeking Spots. She happens to find one behind a sofa in her favourite pub, takes a picture and uploads it to the website. While viewing the site on her mobile device she sees a scrollable line of images across the screen.

These images vary in size. She notices her image and clicks on it. This allows her to share it with friends. When she returns to browse, her image is smaller than before. In fact, the more people look at, "like", or further share an image - the smaller it will get, until it becomes invisible for a while.

Next, Rammi tries to fool the server with an picture that isn't an "approved spot". Her first attempt is rejected with a suggestion that she gets the code and tries to make her own Shadow Spot installation according to her own criteria.

Rammi is industrious but not that dedicated. She tries again with a different spot that she has drawn in crayon on a piece of paper.

More About the Concept
Shadow Spot subverts traditional conventions governing visibility and invisibility on the network. The sticker- spots will draw attention to places in shadows. The online presence of corresponding images will make the more popular pictures - less and less visible. Both, the sticker-spots and online images of them, will create a network architecture that spans the digital and the physical environments perpetually. The urban & digital spaces, via being claimed and shared in Shadow Spot context, are artistic and cultural indicator & play generator which sends streams of energy across the city inhabitants and landscape.

Shadow Spot will generate artistic individual, collaborative & potentially collective energies to create a new intimate yet social, temporary yet subtle and memorable, architecture of the personally visible yet culturally & socially invisible within the urban environment.

Shadow Spots' take on the people's sharability and intentions, as cultural energy generators, is a fresh perspective on locative media tools. Commercial locative tools bring visibility to local economic entities and link people to businesses via invasive knowledge of a person's location. People are being claimed by locals and businesses. People are being compartmentalised and their details shared & occupied. Such commercial technologies offer a very specific way of imagining the connections between people, their environments, digital media, and electronic gadgets. Such imaginings are of a financial economic structure - an economic ecosystem that materialises the value of visibility, creating walls of exclusion and hierarchies; placing bouncers at the doors of its networks.

Through art, Shadow Spot inverts these socio-economic axioms of media - attention-based - economics, and bridges the virtual and physical environments with a toungue in cheek questioning of how, and on what basis, we make such links.
Based on the idea of the art as an energy generator, Shadow Spot positions art as the engine of cultural energies. It will point the public towards shadows of an art space, and inculcate the culture of looking for shadows, extending the practice into other environments. Through the simple acts of placing and seeking colourful stickers in shadows throughout the city, the public will create networks of invisibilities whose sprawling architecture is based on people's imaginations and environments.

Appendix #1
We will use the narcissus algorithm developed in previous projects. The algorithm, "narcissus", provides a way to steadily make popular information invisible. This is done by making users' interaction with a given data, affect the information in a way that puts it in a visibility cycle.
In the context of Shadow Spot, a new image is visible in a normal size and will be prominent. Once it is viewed, the image is pushed off the "top slot". If it was viewed and "liked" / shared / linked-to, the image will be placed progressively further from the top and will shrink in size.
The process of downsizing the image continues until the image, if it continues to be popular, becomes entirely invisible for a while. The more popular the image was, the longer it will remain invisible. Once the image emerges out of the invisibility stage it is ready to repeat the cycle.

Links to Narcissus in previous projects:

searchnarcissus.net
about narcissus.pdf
shadow-search-winner-announced

Narcissus Search