URBANO Update: PARTI Time.

Last Friday, our design team met again to review all of the brainstorming documents and decide what direction our team would take. We were drawing from URBANO’s current work, notes from our own conversations and brainstorming, as well as the thoughts and ideas provided from the Urbano Fellows. Two common elements emerged while reading through these sources: a physical installation/object that allows for interaction with the art and ideas that Urbano artists are wrestling with and a digital interface to display these interactions and data collected from the larger community.

Taking this inspiration, our design team will create the PARDI, or Participatory, ARtistic, Travelling Installation. From our Project Proposal:

The team will design a mobile, physical installation which Urbano can bring to different community sites sharing information about Urbano, current student work and works-in-progress, as well as allowing community members an opportunity to respond or contribute to current projects. The initial run of the PARTI will engage with the current theme of Emancipated City, but the platform will be content neutral so that the installation remains relevant as Urbano engages with new themes in future years. The PARTI will allow the larger community, and in particular other youth, to contribute to and engage with the work that Urbano artists are producing. It will be installed in recreation centers, libraries, high school art classrooms, and other youth-serving organizations to both share and collect information and inspiration.

The PARTI will be a self contained unit capable of displaying audio visual work on a screen, collect video, audio, picture, or other data from participants, as well as display data collected back to the participant. The project will also include a web presence (engaging with Urbano’s current social media infrastructure) to share its location as well as displaying the video, audio, and data being collected. This web presence will also be the visual interface for the PARTI itself, allowing the content to be easily updated by Urbano staff in the future. The visual design of the PARTI will be developed collaboratively between the design team and the Urbano Fellows, a group of long-time Urbano participants. The design will also be adaptable and updatable to continue to be relevant with future themes (such as having a portion that can be screen-printed on, but then washed away and reprinted with new graphics).

One of the elements that most excites me is the potential for collaboration with the Urbano Fellows group, the group of youth artists who have taken a leadership role within the organization. Finding ways to bring the skills brought by the members of the design team (both students and Urbano Staff) and the skills that these artists are engaging (screen printing? performance? more). I think that this collaboration will make sure that the object/installation which develops is exciting, engaging, and representative of Urbano’s culture.

5 thoughts on “URBANO Update: PARTI Time.

  1. Hi Team! It’s exciting to see your open brainstorms focus around one concrete idea. If built correctly, the PARTI sounds like it will be especially useful for the Urbano Project in the coming years as well. Also, I may have missed it, but I didn’t see an actual project proposal anywhere. Did you attach it to one of your blog posts? If not, can you please put it up? Thanks!

    In your next phase of developing this, can you identify the problem that PARTI is trying to address and then explain how PARTI is solving that problem. This will make more clear the goals of PARTI.

    A few questions for you as you move forward:

    1) What is your plan for engaging students and fellows of the Urbano Project? What are their explicit roles in building the product and disseminating it?

    2) What exactly is the PARTI showcasing this semester and what exactly is it collecting from people?

    3) One of the concerns I heard early on from Stella was that the group wanted to broaden audience participation and engagement. How will the locations of the PARTI ensure this and will there be several ways for people to contribute to it? Can people contribute even though they are not standing in front of the PARTI?

    4) How will you move it from location to location? Will someone always need to monitor it? Will you build more than one?

    5) What will happen to the contributions that people put into the PARTI? How will Urbano Project use them? Will people who contribute be able to follow the project or have a feeback loop with the Urbano Project?

    I know you are still developing the PARTI, but it does remind me a bit of some research I did on a project that used vojo called 21 Days of Question and 365 Days of Action, where the City of Cambridge collected questions about domestic violence using different digital/non-digital methods in different locations to get a broader spectrum of society involved in the issue of domestic violence. Some of the take-aways may be useful for the way you employ PARTI:

    Nice work, guys! Looking forward to reading about the next iteration and feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

  2. Hi all, adding on to Aditi’s comments here, using the 4-part feedback strategy Urbano showed us on Tuesday night ­čÖé

    Proposal: PARTI.

    * Are you planning to design and build PARTI, or only design it?
    * You mention a web presence as well as physical object, your team will design and implement the web presence as well?

    * A physical installation fits well with URBANO’s approach.
    * A physical interface with data or content that’s hosted online seems like it would add something new to URBANO’s repertoire.
    * An object that can be moved to different sites seems like a potentially strong contribution to the overall ‘Emancipated City’ theme.

    * Will you have time to research, design, build, and revise the physical object?
    * Will you have time to do all that, as well as research, design, build, and revise the web presence?
    * Making ‘one big object’ has the potential to have a big impact, but if it doesn’t work well (for technical, aesthetic, social, or other reasons) the potential for a big fail.
    * Urbano seems to do excellent work already with physical installations, but perhaps has done less to link them with online spaces, apps, etc.
    * Your proposal suggests PARTI will be reusable across different locations, but Urbano does a great job at making site specific installations. Will young people from Urbano want to re-use PARTI later, rather than make something new?
    * How will PARTI be connected to the net?
    * Will PARTI be expensive to build?

    * There is a history of similar projects (installations designed to gather people’s feedback and send it to a web space). Research these ASAP to learn from them.
    * If you’re going to do both the physical installation and the web space, figure out your division of labor very soon. Who is responsible for each element?
    Instead of PARTI as an object being the main goal of your project, consider emphasizing documentation / how-to aspects of creating physical installations that link to a web space. For example, make an Instructable or detailed How-To Guide that will be useful to Urbano youth in the future, or to anyone who wants to make a PARTI-like installation.
    * Suggest emphasizing low-cost, reused, objects for PARTI’s construction. For example, can you use screens from old computers, tablets, phones, or Kindles? Take a look at Junkyard Jumbotron.
    * Wander around the Media Lab, especially the Tangible Objects group, to get ideas for physical interfaces to data.
    * Nearly everyone walks around carrying content capture devices: mobile phones. Not everyone has a smartphone though. Consider whether PARTI can ask people to use their phones to submit content, and to browse content. For example, you could use a Vojo group to let people call in to post their response to a question (about the Emancipated City), and then let them see/hear responses either via the screen interface or by calling to listen to other’s stories. After class was over last Tuesday, I showed Urbano staff how to set up a Vojo group and they were excited by the possibilities.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Aditi, we actually had a link to our Project Proposal in the previous blog post. Here it is:


    Sasha, I would love to do some research and actually implement the web presence. But, I am not sure if I can do it all by myself. But, I can use MIT’s App Inventor to come up with a simple Android app that displays a video about Urbano and then records the participant’s input. This could be useful if we use Android tablets on the physical installation. But, I’d love to discuss with you further about what can be done or what kind of technologies can be used.

    Here is a song for you all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrY9eHkXTa4

  4. Hi Team!
    It’s been fun to see how your brainstorms and design sessions have led you all to the PARTI. I’m going to share feedback using the Clarify/Value/Concern/Suggestion format also.

    You identified 3 other design candidates – the Walking Canvas, Dream Truck and Street Message — will you use some of the elements in this to guide the first uses of the PARTI or will you work together to choose a use other than these?

    How explicitly or subtly will street-interaction with the PARTI be reflected in URBANO web-space? Will you want to post content like video and photos directly to web spaces? And/Or will you want to reflect interaction with the PARTI in other ways?

    The PARTI could link people’s in-person participation with URBANO to changes on web spaces that URBANO maintains.

    Echoing Aditi and Sasha, I’m curious about which parts you will design and create during this term. Which pieces do you plan to do/show with launching at end of term?

    In addition to the 21 Days project that Aditi mentioned, you might want to check out the site from the 11 Million Dreams Storython http://www.elevenmilliondreams.com site. Heather Craig put this site together using Jquery Social Stream to create a feed of all social posts tagged with hashtag #11milliondreams.

    1 suggestion – the Mission for URBANO is currently written in the 3rd person. How about changing it to 1st person, “We” as this doc is written by all of you?

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