DMC3 01 Introduction/Imaginary Platforms

DMC3: Session 01: Intro: Imaginary Platforms
Ti 14.09 - 13:00-15.30 teaching session: H1009 (auditorium)


Personal introduction

Involves variable roles of initiator, participant, author and curator, according to different collaborative and cross-disciplinary processes.

I used to say once.. [2005]

Within the field of media/socially-engaged arts
Specialising in mobile & collaborative interfaces/interactions
Understanding ‘art-work’ as a conversation, devised situation/workshop/event(s)

Now I say.. [2010]

Across the fields of media/ network/ environmental activism,
pursuing a participatory arts practice through workshops, performative events,
and storytelling.

Broad view of digital media culture: video, audio, text, syndication, internet, games, communications, virtual environments, networks, peer production

Digital Media Culture -> Open Source Ideology -> Action in (offline) places/spaces.

Involved with Pixelache Festival in Helsinki since 2004-


Imaginary Platforms

Etympology of 'Platform' in English (Finnish)

  • A raised stage from which speeches are made & performances are made (Lava)
  • A political stance on a broad set of issues, which are called planks. (koroke)
  • A raised structure for passengers (laituri)
  • (automobiles) A set of components shared by several vehicle models. (alusta)

(computing) A particular type of operating system or environment (käyttöjärjestelmä)
such as a database or other specific software, and/or a particular type of computer or microprocessor, used to describe a particular environment for running other software, or for defining a specific software or hardware environment for discussion purposes.
This lecture series explores

how artists, activists, small enterprises, corporations and non-profit organisations

use/or have used online and digital networks

to encourage people to actively participate in collective action,

and in particular, in the world around them.

It has taken place over the last two years in Autumn 2008 & 2009,

with the theme and approach of 'Imaginary Platform'.

I recognise that you as participants in the class as are knowledgeable about aspects
of digital media culture as I am, because I value the experiences you have yourself and how this can contribute to how you study or research a subject.

What platforms do you use?

I can and will share background information and ideas (maybe those from a tangent, from an artist-organiser's point of view) and show video documents which illustrate certain ways people have been manifesting platforms for participation.

We are all living in a highly networked society in this contemporary global North,

Dominated by information technology and digital communications.

Are we getting what we need, desire and pay for? (Actually in what way are we paying if at all?)

However it is the operating system or environment which will be most resonant definition here.


The self-identified 'Imaginary platform' project by each student will consider how they might employ these forms to encourage and inspire others to get involved in activity beyond themselves.

I believe as part of the process of engaging with the networked online world,

We have to engage substantially, some say immediately and unconditionally,

with our material, natural and social environment.. our habitat.

We have to take individual and collective responsibility for these environments,

and consider where & when to encourage others to engage also.


Examples of Imaginary platforms from previous years teaching..

1st year

Playing SuperMario offline in Alppilapuisto
Requesting photos from peers online
Mobile clubbing map on night out
Blog for underappreciated features in the City
Art Poster sharing platform
Band sample/Instrument/Member sharing scheme
LAN Parties
Modder's club for sport-related console games

2nd year

Online collaborative sound mixer for Djs
Summer camp for 3d (Blender) modellers
Remote presentation maker for developmental aid orgs
Match-making tournament and ranking system for fps gameplayers
Distributed computing system showing live updates of donations given by 'cloud'
Sporting platform for learning new sports

Layout and expectations of the course



Participatory culture and social media
To participate; historical interpretations; Art theory; Allan Kaprow: Elimination of the Audience; Happenings; Participatory Arts; Platforms; Web 2.0; Convergence Culture;

Open-source Society
Principles of openness, transparency, participatory, flexibility,
open-source applied to many aspects of social-organisation

Digital material & Maker Culture
Open-source software and hardware; Replication
Examples: BUG Labs, Arduino, RepRap (Rapid Prototypers)

Data Sustainability
Data farms; Open data; Cloud computing; Privacy issues; Commons-based knowledge production;

Art in Publishing Environments
Locative media, Tactical Media, Crowdsourcing Content-management systems, Media-sharing,
Art platforms

Open theme for students to decide

Game & Immersive environments
(Advergames; Edutainment; Games-Based Learning; Simulations or Simulation Games; MMORPG; Ubiquitous computing; Procedural Rhetorics

Peer-to-peer financing
Rotating Saving & Credit Schemes, Microcredit, LETS, Crowdfunding, P2P Finance,



What type of platforms?

Etympology of 'Platform' in English (Finnish)

  • A raised stage from which speeches are made & performances are made (Lava)
  • A political stance on a broad set of issues, which are called planks. (koroke)
  • A raised structure for passengers (laituri)
  • (automobiles) A set of components shared by several vehicle models. (alusta)

(computing) A particular type of operating system or environment (käyttöjärjestelmä)
such as a database or other specific software, and/or a particular type of computer or microprocessor, used to describe a particular environment for running other software, or for defining a specific software or hardware environment for discussion purposes.

Example A: E-Cars Now! (Finland, 2007-)

“During the 20th century the highways were dominated by petrol cars.

All those years the environment was polluted with exhaust fumes, and the motorists were been kept dependent on gas pumps. All this time a better technology was waiting for it’s time to come; a technology which was, and is, much more quiet, clean, energy-efficient and also has better endurance.

Now, the next generation of electric cars is rolling out to the highways, and now they come with an adequate range and performance. The technological barriers have been striken down but the economical restrictions still remain. New electric cars on the market are either outrageously expensive, or next to impossible to purchase. Meantime the car industry is shilly-shallying with whether to start mass production or not, even thought it would be the only reasonable way to bring down the price of an electric car. Or would it..?”

“Electric Cars – Now! Is a collective venture, which will make electric cars affordable to everybody. The project’s key to success is to gain a critical mass of consumers who desire an electric car. Various professionals working within the project are offering their expertise as attorneys of the consumer, when terms of mass production are been negotiated.”

In the first phase, the critical mass is specified as a combined purchase order of 500 cars. This number of orders brings the price of a family class car excactly to the same level as the price of a conventional car fitted with an Internal Combustion Engine(ICE).”


eCorolla on syntynyt! eCorolla is born! [05.11]

eCars.Now! in nutshell - short 3D presentation [01:17]

eCars.Now PowerPlant [00:41]

eCars eGUI [00:39]

Example B: Bon Bon Kakku (Vallila Fabrics, Finland, 2009-)

“Bon Bon Kakku is pioneering net store where you can design your own fabrics. If your design is a success, it will be also sold on the site. Every fabric designed on our site will be published on our site for viewers to see and vote for. We will choose the fabrics to sell on our store based on the results of viewers voting and by potential market value.

All the visitors of the site are scoring the designs, hopefully also yours; you can also promote your design to be scored. As the voting continues, the best designs get selected to the web shop. Go on - see how your design will do! The designs can be bought 25 €/meter + taxes & shipping.

Here’s how it works:
Design process
Show the world how talented you are and design a fabric everyone would die for. Upload the design to our competition and let democracy take care or the rest.
Voting process
Vote for the winner and advertise your own design in our Facebook page or on your own blog. Our top 20 score reveals the truth.
Shopping process
Everyone can buy all the designs from our shop! The most loved designs from the competitions will also become a part of BonBon Collection, available for everyone to buy. The winning designers get their own fabric for free and their name is printed on each report.
Copyrights & Creative Commons
The designers will keep their rights to the designs even if their fabric makes it to the shop. However, one can submit a giveaway version of the design to the Archive, where all files can be downloaded, recycled and reused. We recommend this option! Remix your art and enjoy free designs!”

“Vallila's goal is to find new talent and offer them some international attention and a cost free way making a brand”

The fabric is 150 cm wide, 100% polyester. The fabric is brilliant for curtains and also suitable for light upholstery and loose covers.
Your print must be 148 cm wide so that it covers the fabrics full width. White edges are 2 cm:s on both sides.
Washing is possible in 30 degrees in the gentle wash program of your washing machine.
Black fabrics require hand wash in 30 degrees Celsius.
Colours might fade in direct sun light.”

Example C: Teeme Ära ('Lets Do it!', Estonia, 2008-)

“We had an outrageous plan – to clean up Estonia from illegally dumped or littered waste, in ONE day! For that we needed at least 40 000 volunteers all over the country.

Since Estonia regained its independence in 1991, illegal dumping of garbage in our forests had been a growing problem. The issue was not just limited to the garbage itself, but also the mindset of some people which lead them to treat our beautiful nature as their private dumpster. Though attitudes have changed somewhat during the last years, a significant number of people had been continuing the habit. The amount of garbage littering our nature had grown too big for our government to tackle alone. And the problem was not in the garbage itself, it was in the mindset of those people who didn't respect our nature. So we knew that we had to do something drastic to shake things up, to make a real change.
We wanted to make it everybody's business and put the situation out there - for everyone to see. So that it couldn't be ignored anymore and something could be done. While doing so, it was essential to gather the attention and support from all different groups of the society - no exceptions by age, language, profession or lifestyle - we needed everybody!”

“There was more than 10 000 tons of illegal waste lying around in Estonian nature. In october 2007, as a group of active citizens, we realised that something drastic needs to be done. We developed a special software and geomapped more than 10 000 dumping sites all over the country. And on 3rd of May 2008, engaging hundreds of organisations and more than 50 000 volunteers, we cleaned it all up in just 5 hours!”

Watch [05:00]: |

Example D: Windowfarms Project (New York / International, 2009-)

“Goal 1

Empower urban dwellers to grow some of their own food inside year-round.

Goal 2

Create a web platform that allows citizens to collaboratively innovate globally toward more sustainable cities using locally available materials to suit locally specific conditions, a process we call R&D-I-Y.”

“The ultimate aim of the Windowfarms project is not primarily to create a perfected physical object or product. Rather, the targeted result is for participants to have a rewarding experience with crowsdsourced innovation. The team is interested to learn from participants' experience as they design for their own microenvironments, share ideas, rediscover the power of their own capacity to innovate, and witness themselves playing an active role in the green revolution.”

“The windowfarms project approaches environmental innovation through web 2.0 crowdsourcing and a method called R&D-I-Y (research and develop it yourself). Big Science’s R&D industry is not always free to take the most expedient environmental approach. It must assume that consumers will not make big changes. Its organizational structure tends toward infrastructure-heavy mass solutions. A distributed network of individuals sharing information can implement a wide variety of designs that accommodate specific local needs and implement them locally. Ordinary people can bring about innovative green ideas and popularize them quickly. Web theorists like Clay Shirky claim that this capacity to “organize without hierarchical organization” will be a fundamental shift in our society brought about by the web over the coming decades.”

Watch [03:43]:




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