Winner: Dr. David Harris Smith et al.
Institution: McMaster University
Title: HereWeArt: Children’s Civic Engagement Through Augmented Reality Placemaking
Format: Proceedings Paper
Conference: ‘Urban Assemblage’, University of Hertfordshire. Proceedings Series 25
We describe the motivations, theory, context, and realization of an augmented reality community art project that leverages geolocated media to engage children in civic life through storytelling and art making. HereWeArt (2018) is a smartphone app that combines AR and geolocation to position the artworks of children and youth as a site-specific public art exhibition. HereWeArt visualizes child-like wonder through creativity, while also raising questions of collaboration, youth civic engagement, and playing with ideas of sustainability in digital artwork. Geo-located AR art as a placemaking project amplifies the social and cultural contexts of a place. Engaging children in the initial creative process has important implications for cognitive development related to learning, creativity, and civic engagement. HereWeArt makes the most of these opportunities by involving children in civic engagement through inclusion of their creative artwork in a placemaking project. With reference to the notion of “placemaking” (LeFebvre 1991; Schneekloth, 1995), we consider how AR and geolocation amplify children’s voices in civic engagement. We offer a self-reflexive account of the development, production, and deployment of HereWeArt at an urban art festival. We find that including children’s voices in an AR placemaking project provides a variety of empowering narratives: initialization of youth civic engagement, raising agency of young people, developing new associations with mobile devices, and new approaches to sustainable placemaking.
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Winner: Zlatan Filipovic
Institution: American University of Sharjah
Title: Immersive Visit to Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra
The aim of this project is to retell the sorties of Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. This was a tidal island and village that was inhabited up to the formation and unification of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. Abandoned since then, it stands as material artifact of the community that merged in to the new federation. Stemming back to ancient times of the medieval Julfar settlement, today an archeological site near Ras al Khaimah, Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra is located on the trade routes between Asia and Europe. Using technologies of photogrammetry and volumetric time-based videography, this presentation is exploring potential of storytelling using the aesthetic of 3D point cloud and mesh representational modes. Capturing the present state of archeological excavations, urban fabric in decay and ongoing restorations done by the UAE’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Implemented by the RAK Department of Antiquities & Museums, this project integrates artistic digital reconstructions and sorties of the lifestyle in the past retold by its inhabitants. This immersive experimental documentary uses a range of volumetric video capturing strategies and 3D reconstruction workflows exploring the limits of AR/VR presentation modalities. Results of this research project are formalized in a series of prototypes and models that respond to the needs of storytelling and user experience design in contemporary museum environments, retelling the history in the context of the local, regional and global.
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Winner: Shana Sanusi
Institution: Taylor’s University
Title: Materiality and The Maternal: Spatial Politics and Agency of The Cinematic Apartment In Japanese Horror Films
Format: Book Chapter
Book Title: Narrating the City
Contemporary Japanese horror films produced since the turn of the millennium often explore the politics of space, place and architecture to reflect upon the social and spatial conditions of the post-economic bubble period. This paper concentrates on the fictional apartment as a spatial motif to expound on the performance of femininity and motherhood in modern Japan. Through a close reading of Dark Water (2002) and Kotoko (2011), this paper examines the materiality and interiority of the apartment complex to consider how the female protagonists’ experience of the maternal are affected by urban (built) space. I suggest that the apartment structure possesses an anthropomorphic presence that enables it to spatially manipulate its occupants’ bodies, subjectivity and thought, hence immersing them into becoming one with it. My reading of Dark Water addresses how the apartment setting corresponds to Elizabeth Grosz’s architectural discussion of the chora based on Luce Irigaray’s view of the female body, or more specifically the womb, as a house that is placed under man’s subjugation. I contend that the protagonist’s surrounding space, thus, castigates her to usurp motherhood in adhering to Japanese patriarchal order. By using Julia Kristeva’s abject and Mary Douglas’ insight on pollution taboos, this paper also briefly addresses the perpetual imagery of water penetration in the building that reveals not only a constructional flaw but an issue of contamination and corporeal boundary. Meanwhile, Henri Lefebvre’s account of the domestic space as a ‘mirror’ that reflects the formation of one’s identity informs my analysis of Kotoko. The porosity of the modern Tokyo apartment metaphorizes the decorporealization of the protagonist’s maternal body and the unraveling of her psyche. This paper concludes by delineating the apartment space as conflicting to Gaston Bachelard’s idea of the maternal house, for its interiority remains occupied by displaced ‘unmothering’ figures.
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Winners: Fani Vavili-Tsinika & Dr. Angeliki Malakasioti
Institutions: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & University of Thessaly
Title: Video Game Environments and Depression
The study explores the way in which contemporary video game environments deal with the depressive condition and the design aspects that are employed in order to develop digital and interactive spaces capable of affecting their users on an emotional level. Widespread digital culture, and especially the prevailing phenomenon of video games, is developing today at such a speed that it can be regarded as a modern type of epidemic. Especially, the new generation is fully familiar with modern technologies as well as with the “habitation” of the digital-analog reality. In particular, the number of players worldwide has exceeded 1.8 billion since 2016. At the same moment, this observation is juxtaposed with the phenomenon of depression, one of the most widespread psychological conditions of the contemporary world. Depression can both be regarded as a clinical state as well as a deeply intimate and melancholic mood or state of being. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, depression appears to be a silent scourge of the modern age, surpassing 350 million people, according to recent measurements. Interestingly, many studies show the extent of this disorder, referring to it as one of the most common mental disorders in the western world, and estimating that by 2020, depression will be the second disability factor worldwide, after heart disease. Early research observations described videogames as capable of provoking a depressive condition. However, recent multidisciplinary studies claim that according to recordings of brain activity in both players and depressed people, video games do not appear as the cause, but as the neurological counterpart of depression. In this context, the study will discuss cases of videogame design and the spaces they represent in order to provoke healing, or encourage a deeper understanding of an intimate human condition through alternative approaches of the ways people experience and inhabit digital environments.
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AMPS would like to thank and acknowledge the work and insights offered by its academic peer reviewers and awards committee in the selection process for this award.