kimi spencer

Urban Canvas

Think FourSquare meets Photoshop.

A system to enable action and allow the user to visualize their movements in a new, delightful way.

Rest of You,The Pattern In the Noise: Intro to Statistics and Data Analysis in R

The downside of being creatures of habit is that we need strategies to pull ourselves back into the present moment - to fully experience the beauty and spontaneity of the world around us.

Urban Canvas is a project to bring spontaneous, delight back into people’s lives through the revealing invisible layers about their movements through the city landscape. and subsequently create a practice so compelling that people get daily moderate exercise through their urban explorations.

A system of mobile sensors embedded on the Android device sensors (such as, accelerometer, GPS, and time) as well as Bluetooth enabled sensors such as, the Polar Wearlink heart rate strap) that logs data about the user\\\'s journey and experiences in the city to a cloud database.

Movements and journeys throughout the city are represented as brush strokes over the city as a canvas. Users can literally paint the city with their movements.

I have been examining the history of urban exploration from its roots with Baudelaire and flaneur, which was a phenomena of the 1800s and industrialization, as a result of the expanded population of cities. To experience the city by exploring it. From this branch of thought came the Situationist of radical 1960s Paris. Guy BeBord a leader of the movement was a proponent pyschogeography (the belief that geography affects the individual's experience and psyche), and re-examined our relationship to the urban environment. From the Situationist came "derive" or to drift, the practice of exploring the city guided by aesthetic instinct. For the Situationists the city was the modern day playground, and to better understand ourselves we needed to play.

Over half the world's population is an urban one -- and according to the UN that number is only expanding. As the city has become an unescapable part of the human experience, how can we understand our relationship to it? How can we become aware of the way we move through this environment? And with new technological tools how can we change our perception of exploration?

The city dweller.

User Scenario
A person moves through the city to reach destinations often due to responsibility (such as school or work) or for pleasure (such as going to the park or a movie on the weekend). Urban Canvas is a mobile application that collects data about these naturally occurring journeys through the city and visualizes that path into an aesthetic interpretation - as paint strokes over the city canvas.

User's can compare their movements to others, and even compete for control over physical elements (ie painting them) against their peers. Certain movement behaviors (as seen through accelerometer data) can access certain colors, and added brushes. For example, doing jumping jacks for a block can give me a yellow graffiti-like pen tip, etc. Users can experience the feedback on their mobile device or on a dedicated site.

An Android application that senses and logs data to an SD card; the app is also networked to an online database which stores and cleans the raw data. Movement information is later processed and visualized.

Christian Nold, Emotional Catrography
Steffen Fiedler, Instruments of Politeness
Nicholas Felton, 2007 Feltron Report
YesYesNo, Nike+ Paint with Your Feet
Manfred Mohr, Random Walks
Jane Jacobs, Life and Death of Great American Cities
Mark Shepard, GPS Serendipitor
The Situationist iPhone Application
Fluid Forms
Stamen Design