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Tag "timeSpace"
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Animals have featured on this blog mostly in connection to technology in some form and always in regards to movement. Studying these patterns are especially fascinating as they complement snapshot impressions one normally has if just observing the animal occasionally. It is however also a reminder that movement pattern are much less structured and determined than is generally believed. Movement is goal oriented, but in order to maximise performance it is extremely flexible and opportunistic behaviour.

Movement is therefor very expressive, it tells the story of desire and emotion and is the basis of many art forms, foremost dance, eg. this old post on the movement of the body and creation of space.

Image taken from The Guardian / Snails of the gros-gris (fat greys) species saved from the plate.

An upcoming art work has mixed these aspects together and come up with a brilliantly mistifying snail ballet. Elizabeth Saint-Jalmes and Cyril Leclerc have created a dance of the animals supported by live music. It is also a live event that is coming to London’s Kings Place on Fri 20 & Sat 21 April – booking here.

Pixel lent / slow pixel from Cyril Leclerc on Vimeo.

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The urban and the sound are very much one and the same. Noises and tweets, squeaks and bangs, whispers and rattle are constantly present and play an important part in the shaping of the environment. consciously or unconsciously we are attracted or repulsed by certain sounds in specific configurations. But how is it interlinked with time and space, how does it tie in with time and certainly space, the much talked focus in the urban discussion.

In this interview we want to discuss these questions with Salomé Voegelin, an artist and writer who is concerned with the practice and philosophy of sound. Her work has been shown in the UK and Mainland Europe. Most recently her work “Barry Echo” has been included in Playing with Words, the Spoken Word in Artistic Practice, Cathy Lane ed., UK, CRiSAP and RGAP, Cornerhouse Publication, 2008. In 2007 she was commissioned to produce an urban pod-cast for RADAR in Loughborough, UK, and to realise, in collaboration with artist and writer David Mollin, a site-specific work for the Bregenz Kunstverein, Magazin 4, Austria. She is the curator of Clickanywhere, an online sound exhibition featuring sound work that focuses on the voice, http://clickanywhere.crisap.org/. Her published writing includes ‘Sonic Memory Material as “Pathetic Trigger” ‘ in Organised Sound international peer-reviewed journal, Cambridge University Press April 2006, and ‘Völlig Losgelöst’, a chapter in Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment, Angus Carlyle ed., published by Double Entendre in 2007. And a chapter on long duration on the radio for the book ‘Nachtschichten’, Jörg Köppl ed., edition Fink 2008.

Her book Listening to Noise and Silence: Toward a Philosophy of Sound Art
was published by Continuum Press in May 2010.

Since we are talking sound, we wana make use of sound and ditch the predominately visual approach, so turn the volume up and/or put on the headphones.


urbanTick: Is it important to be on time?
Salomé Voegelin: Of course I think it is impolite not to be on time, but I have become rather used to everybody always being late since living in England. However, I have been reminded of the importance of being on time by my son’s Kindergarten teacher, who, to stem off the slow trickle of late pupils every morning, keeps on telling the parents that if we want our children to learn to appreciate being on time we need to bring them to school on time.

urbanTick: We are discussing here three key words with very strong and evocative characters. They can be arranged in sort of a definition triangle, with each being used to describe the next one, let’s try this. What’s the sound of time and what’s the sound of space?
Salomé Voegelin: I want to bring these two questions together, which in many ways also answers the next. In the tradition of Western Philosophy there is a great dialectical urge to keep things apart, to see them as conflictual, defined against rather than through each other. Which is by the way a very visual “deducticism” in the sense that the meaning and status of the one is produced by deducing it from that of the other, rather than through the experience of itself. And so time and space are understood to cancel each other out, negate each other or use each other to the end of their own realization; and they are defined by their purpose rather than their experience. It is the function of the space by which I measure it rather than its experiential time, and it is the purpose of the time by which I read it rather than the experience of its space. Time and space thus exist in a purposeful conflict that seeks a resolution in a higher order synthesis, a better space, a better time, outlining a progressive understanding rather than a place to be. Thereby hinting at continual improvement that renders time and space vehicles only, to propel the subject, who passes through their a prior existence, onwards and upwards, towards always yet another such conflictual place.

Sound, a sonic sensibility, challenges the possibility of such a dialectical differentiation and the consequent imagination of their relationship as necessary progressivity. It sounds space in time and time in space and produces a place that is neither oppositional nor deductional. Instead it presents space and time as extensions of each other, where they exist in a critical equivalence: not the same but not combative either; an agonistic play that defines them both, but never for long in the same shape, inviting the experience of fixedfluidities and fluidfixities that are permanently differently now. Such time and space is a moving realm that changes in the continuous presence of perception. This realm is not functional however, but playful, and neither is it relative since it is generated through the listener’s experience where time and space find their particularity and contingent hold.

This proposition is based on the experience of sound as an invisible formless thing that is not there before its encounter, as is the assumption in a visually orientated philosophy, but is generated in my perception of it, always now.

urbanTick: You remove the dash between time-space in your book, can you explain this and how this relates to sound?
Salomé Voegelin: The dialectical conflict that is born from and leads to this progressive imagination of place is based on the idea of time and space as two autonomous entities (Gesamtheiten). It is, almost paradoxically, their exclusivity that allows us to pitch them malevolently against each other rather than focus on their playful interaction. I call both together through the notion of time-space, but remove the dash to call them timespace in order to avoid the possibility of exclusivity and immanent antagonism. In this way I aim to highlight the need to keep them together while also stressing their equal difference: They are elements of equal significance, they are neither the same nor opposed to each other but are generated through each other in the effort of perception.

urbanTick: Is there a past and a future in sound or is there only the here and now?
Salomé Voegelin: The term timespace allows not only for the imagination of a present place, as produced in the playful agonism between a present time and a present space, but also brings to perception the notion of an over-there and of another-time that are not opposed to or outside this moment of now but that constitute it in its extensionality. What I mean by this is that the now of a sonic timespace is durational. It is a thick slither of now, again a seeming paradox, but an imaginative possibility. Listening is extensive, it generates space in the temporality of its material. And it builds this temporal space not only from what we hear but also from what that audition produces in terms of a generative possibility. Sonic possibilities and memories trigger the present perception and also rush into this present moment to extend its space, which we prise open in the time of our listening to inhabit as place. This thick place of a present timespace allows us to inhabit the now, and at the same time it is our effort of perception, inhabiting that now, that produces the extensity of its place.

This extensity is of course not exclusive to the sonic perception, but a sonic sensibility has the ability to imagine it. In sound we inhabit our perception, we are always part of it; our sounds are as much part of the soundscape as those we perceive to be over-there. And it is this sensibility of simultaneity with one’s surroundings that enables the imagination of an inhabited, agonistically playful and thick now rather than of an exclusive, conflictual and functional now.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Lovely.

urbanTick: You are characterising the experience of sound as the here in sort of a thick slither of the present and as evocative. To what extend can we imagine the sound? Almost as in the secondary school physics example, where the excited teacher demonstrates with some fireworks how the light, the smoke, travels faster than the sound, the bang. From experience we’ll already be awaiting the sound as we see the little firecracker blowing up.
Salomé Voegelin: Sound is never an a priori, it is not there before its experience, but is generated in our audition and this audition is what extends its present moment to include all that could sound as well as what does. There is an anticipation to listening, which is particularly forceful when we are in silence; an almost breathless waiting for what might eventually sound. This anticipation is my agency of listening as a pull to generate the heard. Unscheduled radio is a good way to experience this: the formless invisibility of its sound means that our anticipation never leads to the fulfillment of one’s expectations but to the production of the heard, and this heard involves the imagination of ourselves at the moment of its production, inhabiting it. We do not imagine the sound but produce it, as imagined, in our auditory imagination.

urbanTick: In your book you mention Doreen Massey’s description of space and time as conventions, as matter of perception as well as believe. To what extend does this conception apply to sound.
Salomé Voegelin: Massey’s ideas of space and time not as dialectically opposed absolutes but as constituted in perception and therefore dependent on the inhabiting subject, has very crucially influenced my own thinking about time and space in sound. Her articulations are in many ways a critique of the theorizations of time-space compression in the networked age where fluidity is generally articulated as crisis and fixity seen as providing the certainty of place. She re-assesses these absolutes and makes any judgment dependent on the subject’s social and political narrative instead.

In sound too the reality, the timespace, of a situation is not absolute but depends on the perceiving subject. Sound does not provide us with representations of a priori situations, but forces us into its timespace place, to inhabit its material and generate it in this inhabiting simultaneity. There is then in sound too not one sensibility of time and space but a multiplicity of possibilities, which reflect back on the particularity of their perception rather than on a stable and absolute reality.

This is a very interesting starting point also to consider sound and a sonic sensibility in relation to art and the acoustic environment not only in terms of its aesthetic appreciation, but also in terms of a political and social consequence of a sonic subjectivity, a sonic community, etc.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Oblongs in Square Spaces.

urbanTick: Practically everything has a sound to it. Be it the clicking of the keyboard while typing a text, the whistle of the water boiler or the beep of the scanner at the supermarket till. Would it be possible to classify different sounds according to time?
Salomé Voegelin: Putting aside the notational control over time in conventional music production and its learned appreciation, for me the interest in considering the time of sonic occurrences does not lie in the duration of the sound but in the duration of its perception, and this recalls my answer to your last question, how it involves the aesthetic, social and political situation of the perceiving subject. In other words my interest lies not in classifying sounds as autonomous and abstract entities, but to engage in the time of their perception understood as the moment of their inhabited generation. These moments are not bound to clock time but generate our individual sense of it, as well as the sense of ourselves as sonic subjectivities inhabiting that formless time.

The discussion of this perceptual time and self in sound could grant us access to the reality of the world as a multilayered thing, illuminating “possible worlds”, whose spatiotemporal formation is formless by itself, dependent on the generative perception of its inhabitants, and mirroring their own formless possibility.

urbanTick: Is sound timeless?
Salomé Voegelin: It is not timeless but its time is full of space. It produces space from its time and invents the time of its space. Together they create the thick and complex slither of now that is our listened to environment and it is in listening, through an auditory imagination, that we appreciate the complexity and reciprocity of its time.

urbanTick: Do you think different times exist, take place or could be constructed?
Salomé Voegelin: The sense of now as a thick timespace invites the idea, mentioned already in response to your earlier question about the time of things that sound produces, of “possible worlds”. The suggestion that listening, the auditory perception, is not a receptive mode but a generative effort, which produces the now as a thickset thing that we construct and inhabit in our subjective particularity, might lead us to argue that there is not only the one, visual, world, which we pragmatically refer to as the real world, but that, there are many other, possible worlds that we thus generate. And, in extension that it is through sound, a sonic sensibility that we gain access to those other layers of reality, those possible and even impossible or at least improbable worlds. These other worlds do not cancel out or negate the “real” world, but extend and augment it. These worlds might or might not be indexically linked, thus no causal connection might exist, but inevitably, the imaginative perception of such possible worlds expands the way we experience the “real” world.

As a consequence of the idea that space and time are produced as timespace, and that this timespace is a thickset thing of present, past and future, of an over-there and of other-times, and the related idea that the world, experienced via a sonic sensibility produces possible worlds, we could imagine that equally there are different times, possible times and maybe even impossible times. They are a matter of perception, of invention of experience, but not less real, as it is our perception that generates them, and our subjectivity that guarantees them.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Skating.

urbanTick: These soundtimespaces of individual experience and timing, how can we make them sharable as important elements of interaction and social existence?
Salomé Voegelin: Sonic sensibility, in its insistence on contingency and experience rather than permanence and recognition questions the possibility and authenticity of the linguistic exchange. Instead of building on the certainty of language, a visual set of signs and symbols, it suggests a much more fragile and formless exchange. It suggests that communication is founded in principle on misunderstandings with exceptional moments of understanding, “moments of coincidence”, when our worlds overlap momentarily. This is not as frightful as it might sound. It simply means that we have to work harder to be understood and to stay in communication. That we cannot take communication for granted simply because we have the tool, language, to communicate, but that the actual moment of exchange needs my agency of speech, understood as the development of my agency of listening into language, to coincide with your willingness to share in that exchange. Sound elucidates the responsibility of listening and speaking as the basic condition of communication. A sonic exchange is based on the desire to share the heard rather than on a shared order or lexicon.

urbanTick: New media and technologies have questioned the definition of location with real time communication; the physical location of the body might no longer be the only indicator of the local. Did this change timing in sound, across different places?
Salomé Voegelin: Sound in many ways precedes and makes thinkable virtuality long before the technology enabled the production of digital places, virtual communication and multi-locationality of bodies and things. Sound’s invisibility and formlessness engenders an imagination that is not dependent on the reality of places and things but produces places and things and consequently invites us to invent our location in relation to those places and things. The body in sound is always the indicator of the local as it is its inhabiting that generates that local, however, what that body and what that local is, is a matter of imagination rather than of certainty in sound.

urbanTick: This year has seen a number of projects recording sounds to preserve them. On one hand this is part of the technology hype and we do it because we can, but on the other, is there a history of sounds?
Salomé Voegelin: I am fascinated by phonography and aural history, which, in terms of documenting, narrating and extending time and space are closely related, since both, in their own way, play with notions of the “real”. They both use sound to renegotiate reality, how it is constructed and told; what is real time, what is real space. And ultimately both invite us to generate our own sense of time and space.

Aural history of course has been around for a long time and listening to people describing their personal histories of the second world war, say, makes it apparent how very personal, individual and full of stories rather than realities and truths history, its times and places, is.

Phonography used as a strategy to garner material for composition of the patently composed, or to make us aware of the different facets of a visual reality, is very interesting in terms of how it problematises and plays with our ideas of a real space and a real time. Phonography is highly experiential. I am sure we can try to read a phonographic work as much as we read a photograph, but I doubt we would succeed to neatly summarise it. Rather phonography invites a constant re-telling of the scene recorded, a filling-in of the invisible space that is left by the microphone, constantly re-generating it with our own thick and expansive sense of time and space, producing our own timespace place from the heard.

urbanTick: Thinking of everyday practices and experiences, does sound tell the time?
Salomé Voegelin: I don’t think sound tells the time but it fills time, not in the sense of making it pass more pleasantly, functionally or usefully, but in the sense of making it thick with experiential stuff – a clump of sensation – senseable, in the sense of available to sensation, not however as a certain and shareable clock time but as a much more personal pulse by which we generate the world we inhabit at that timespace moment.

urbanTick: Time is often generally thought of as clock time, the continuous ticking sound of the counting of identical units. Is sound linear?
Salomé Voegelin: This personal pulse, which generates the timespace moment, which I mention in answer to your last question, is not linear at all. It draws the past and the future, the over-there, and the other-time and all sorts of things into its space not as a linear construct but as a fragmented constructing that fragments the listener too.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Hänsel und Gretel.


In an interview series urbanTick is looking closely at meaning and implications of time in everyday life situations. In the form of dialogs different aspects are explored, with the idea to highlight characteristics. The main interest is circling around the construction and implementation of different concepts of time between independent but related areas of activity, such as leisure and work, private and public, reality and virtual. This interview series will not be continuous, but more adhoc, so you might want to use the interview tag to catch up with the rest.

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The folks over at Oculus have been very busy developing the GeoTime software. Version 5 was released in the beginning of 2010 and they are going to released the latest update GeoTime 5.1 these days.
It includes some very interesting new features. The two major ones are the Network feature that allows the user to visualise the data as a network besides the time-space visualisation and the second major change is the support of the macOSx platform (see earlier post on mac adventours using GeoTime). This is in a sense a clear statement of independence, if there was critique that GeoTime integrates too closely with ArcGIS. However of course it continues to integrate well with Arc and support for the new ArcGIS 10 comes with the new GeoTime update.

The software is perfectly fitted for the UrbanDiary project that works with GPS tracks of individuals, investigating the spatial extension of everyday routines in the city. It is basically a purely spatial-temporal dataset. In a few easy steps it is possible to see the data visualised in a simultaneously temporal and spatial way, animate it as well as start analysing it.

Image by urbanTick / A view of different GPS tracks over the period of one month, using GeoTime and an OSM base map pulled in via ArcGIS.

The move away from a secondary software import via ArcGIS or Excel was a good move that came with version 5.0. The importing formats have been extended and redesigned with the release of version 5.0 to include CSV, XLS, and SHP file formats as well as the in version 4.0 existing KML. It is now handled directly by GeoTime through a functional assistant. With version 5.1 the import of GPX file format is added. Data from the GPS exported in this format can be loaded and added to a project directly.
The new dialogue allows to filter the data at import. This is useful especially for my crappy overloaded tables in which I tried to record way to much. The selection of just the five essential columns makes for a much more slik workflow.
GeoTIme focuses on temporal data, however the integration with realtime data has only be introduced recently with the 5.0 release. Now users can import live feeds via Geo RSS that automatically updates.

The data is initially visualised in the 3d view as a time-space cube. To interact with time one finds the tools on the left hand side vertically arranged. On the right hand side the menu provides a range of other tools including representation settings, pattern analysis, reporting tools and the new network tool.

Image by Oculus / An example using the new network tool in GeoTime visualising a computer network.

The network tool is a whole new field that has been added to GeoTime with this functionality. This is particularly interesting for the analysis of complex structure that include spatial and non spatial data, such as for example phone call data or financial transaction. In the context of the UrbanDiary project for which GeoTime is used here this new tool becomes interesting for the investigation of combinatory data from GPS and mental maps, as for the analysis of interrelationships between landmarks and actual route. For the visualisation different present network settings are available. Furthermore it integrates with the 3D visualisation of the spatial data and the network graph is directly linked to the time-space cube and highlighted areas correspond across the two visualisations. So specific sections identified for further investigation at one end can be look at from a different perspective at the other end.

For the data analysis in the spatial-temporal section, one of the new features in this 5.1 release is the stationary detector. The data can now be queried for events that have not moved in space over a longer period of time. This is useful for the data verification as well as detection of move and rest patterns.

One of the remaining points of critique is still the graphical representation of the visualisation as well as the range, simplicity and of possible manipulations of it. There have been however, some changes made and for example the colour palette has been extended. But still both the interface and the results are still very technical thought of and rendered. It would not ne a mater of just making it all fancy and colourful with rounded corners, but it would need one strong design direction as a well as an overall visual simplification.

Image by urbanTick / Applying the stationary finder to a track imported via GPX directly into GeoTime. This highlights the areas where the GPS device has not moved more than 100 metres over a period of more than 8 hours. It uses the OSM base map pulled in via the ArcGIS link.

In an comment on GeoTime 4.0, I hade described it as an end-of-the-line analysis tool. This was because the data could not be directly exported to other software packages. This has changed with this most recent update, now CSV export is supported in addition to the KML and screenshot export. The analysed file can be passed on to other software or users which dramatically enhances the usage and the integration of GeoTime.

Image by Oculus / The GeoTime 5.1 Logo.

In this sense the spaceTime aquarium has become a lot more sophisticated with this GeoTime 5.1 release. At the same time, though, it ha become accessibel for a much broader range of specialised fields through the extended palette of tools. It can now integrate in a workflow, be run as stand alone analysis software as well as operate across platforms. GeoTime is a very specialised tool and definitely offers the quickest and most comprehensive set of visualisation and analysis tools for temporal data.

For demos and further information on the GeoTime project use the inks or go HERE or HERE for earlier posts about GeoTime on urbanTick.

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Today is RGS day, actually RGS has been on since Tuesday this week. RGS is the Royal Geographical Society: ‘We are the learned society and professional body for geography’. The annual conference of course is a big event, prestigious and well attended we hope. THe official twitter tag for this conference is #RGSIBG10. So look out for this to follow the latest news on the day.

I will be presenting a paper in the session 143 organised by James Cheshire from spatialanlaysis. The session title is: Postgraduate Session: Analysing and Visualizing Social Change

THe paper I will be presenting is on aspects of routine migration in the city, the daily migration from home to work and changes in location on short term. I will be using both, the study using GPS to trace individuals in urban areas as well as the more recent twitter mined data with the New City Landscapes to illustrate these aspects. Important key elements will be time obviously, but also a number of aspects of repetition, memory and the creation of identity. There will also be a focus on visualisation using the Hagerstrand time-space aquarium.

The abstract of the paper:
The research project investigates temporal spatial patterns of citizens. For the study we are using GPS technology to track participants over a longer period to record repetitive activities. The collected data, through the GPS has a timestamp and a location, serves well this purpose. However the challenge is the visualisation and the interpretation of the data. To approach this problem the ‘technical’ GPS data is complemented with individual information collected through interviews and mental maps. This set of data helps to create a context, in which the aspects of temporal experience can be studied as an additional dimension to urban life. Visualisation concentrates on time budget in the spatial context taking location features into account as part of the memory as well as the creation of identity. For visualisation purposes a number of approaches are used, from time-space aquariums to animations.

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The famous time-space diagram by Thorsten Haegerstrand has featured a number of times on the blog. It was used often for a rather short time span. Initially Hagerstrand was more interested in long term time-space spans, such as life time patterns. In his Survival and Arena he describes an earlier version of the time-space diagram based on his research on life-history in relation to their geographical environment.
One of his examples data describes the population associated with a farm for over 100 years. The data spans from 1840 to 1945. This setup is still clearly a setting focusing on the geographic location. The farm stands in the centre of the observation and the population fluctuates.

Image by urbanTick / Taken from Hagerstrand, Survival and Arena in Timing Space, Spacing Time by Carlstein 1978. / The population associated with a farm between 1840 and 1945. Categories A-owner, B-tenants, C-lodgers, D-farmhands and maids.

There are other studies that look at tracks beyond the life of the individual. Another famous example is the study by Bradley, where he traced the life-time tracks of four generations. Here the representation rests on the map and does not explore aspects of time.
However Hagerstrand started incorporating the time aspect and the initial visualisation diagram was simply 2D and really complicated Only later the nowadays famous time-space aquarium was developed.

Image by urbanTick / Taken from Hagerstrand, Survival and Arena in Timing Space, Spacing Time by Carlstein 1978. / Representing the farm in space and time. Vertical lines represent the occupiers and horizontal movement represents the newcomers and leavers.

Only later this space-time representation was developed in to the aquarium type of visualisation. It is widely quoted and very famous, but reminds remarkably abstract and iconic. It raised a lot of critique and it can be said, that it remained largely theoretical and abstract model. This is due to the lack of computing power to actually process the available data and render the visualisation, but even nowadays, were it is possible as demonstrated for example by Kwan or Miller it remains unused. Some time-space aquarium examples on the urbanTick blog. One of the problem is the complexity the representation gains as soon as it cover longer timespans or numerous individuals. It reaches the limitation of a 3D visualisation displayed in 2D.

Image by urbanTick / Taken from Lentrop, A Time-Geographic Simulation Model of Individual Activity Programmes, in Timing Space, Spacing Time by Carlstein 1978.

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To continue from the post on the origin of architecture, which I have to admit wrote in a haste, there is an interesting talk by Greg Lynn on his project ‘New City’. It continues the debate with a lot of critique on the contemporary state of the city, but especially critique on the way the city is thought of, not only if we take virtual representations as indicators of the general understanding of urban aspects.

Image by imaginary forces – Screenshot taken from NewCity clip – the New City toroids.

Earlier this year Greg Lynn has given a talk that was broadcasted in the Seed Design talks series with the title ‘New City’. He was talking about a recent project he had on exhibition at the MoMa. It was the idea of developing a virtual world from an architectural point of view. His analysis of existing spatial and especially architectural representation in virtual worlds is quit interesting. I do not really have virtual world experience, like Second Life or something, but this is to some extend down to the visual representation. To me the graphics are simply ridiculous, why should I use this to represent my virtual self if I cannot identify myself with it? I can however identify with the graphical language used by Lynn. But then I think, this represents a very specific social grouping thorough factors like, culture, education, background, financial situation, location and so on. Whether you choose one over the other is not an as free decision as we might like to think of it as.
However this might be a side line of the debate, in terms of the evolution it is obvious that Lynn very cleverly positions his work in this context. His introduction makes good use of and plays well with the expectations of the audience. He knows exactly what this social group is looking for.

The most interesting aspect Lynn is talking about in this presentation to me is his critique on the spatial configuration. He says: “The world is not…ah..its not a globe. I mean I do think… I, I, do think Google Earth is fabulous, but the idea that you go on the internet to see what the world looks like and you find this kind of 15th Century globe sitting there, that you spin around on it on an axis, is … is very strange to me. (at 05.50 in the seeds clip”
So what the come up with is a series of rings called toroids, that are interlocked to replace the globe. it is an interesting idea and has a logic to it as he is talking about it. However there is definitely critique in terms of space, distance, separation and so on. However the visualisations are pretty sexy and this is probably what it needs to be.
However what I am really not convinced by is the actual representation of architecture. This has a long way to go. It looks at the moment like space box renderings. They are following a gravity model to structure activities, but the dealing with the actual form of something needs to be developed.
Especially in the context of the concepts of space and time as social conventions. The current model of space and time could be described as being based on the idea of a market place as the definition of a location and a time. However this would also needed to be radically rethought in this proposal, especially as Lynn introduces this new city as “a new sort of encyclopedia”. This would move the framework from the trade focus towards a focus of knowledge and this might generate a space time construction based on the library as the location and the past as the time.
However have a look at the talk it is only 20 something minutes so a good clip for the lunch brake.

Seedmagazine.com Seed Design Series

Here is an interview with Greg Lynn where he discusses the propsal.

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Mental maps have recently featured quite a lot on the blog here. It is an interesting field, even though currently they are not very popular in planning and urban design. It seems almost as if they are seen as late sixties stuff and have some sort of hippie touch to them, which puts a lot of people of.
However, I believe they are very interesting in connection with the late seventies Hagertrand time-space aquarium. Both techniques have some points of critic to them. The space-time aquarium is very top down, from a distant observers point of view, disconnecting the subject completely from its surrounding through the rising of the path and denying any sort of procedural creation of the individual. The mental map on the other hand is not objective enough, too subjective and ‘inaccurate’, very difficult to summarize.
The aspect of time is in both approaches very static. Even the time-space diagram, from my view, is very much thought of in a linear way, time as an undefined never ending arrow. This leaves the focus on the space.
As a conclusion it would be interesting to have a time focused visualisation and with it we might get a different view on the spatial aspect.
A funny representation is the following summary of movie characters by XKCD. It solely focuses on the time aspect in relation to the narrative. In this respect it completely lacks the spatial aspect and the loops and hoops are to me not directly plausible, but nevertheless this is interesting.
Regarding the UrbanDiary project, it would be interesting to come up with a similar approach and visualise the relationship of spatial encounters in a similar linear fashion.

Image by XKCD – click on image for large version

Thanks to Matt from wiseristhepath for he link.

–An update to the blog post—–Thanks to Chris for pointing it out

Daniel McLaren has already implemented a dynamic version of the above visualisation. He worked in flash. Head over to his page to see it in action.

Image by Daniel McLaren – Screenshots

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Time measuring is nowadays very precise and this we take for granted. To some extend in some sense time has become natural. This is probably a safe assumption to say. Most people would regard time as a natural occurring ‘substance’ and the watch around their wrist as a piece of technology ‘measuring’ this phenomenon. In reality it might be the other way round. The little and in some cases beautifully crafted piece of engineering is actually inventing the time as it ticks.
Certainly time is not a natural phenomenon even though we have grown to think of it as fundamental it is little more than a social convention or a cultural agreement that has developed over the last century and managed to extend its importance. The first wave came with the industrial revolution and the synchronisation of working hours. Time has entered individual households and then accompanied each individual around the wrist. Even more so, time players ‘behind the scenes’ a crucial role without which not much would work in today’s highly timed society arrangements. From computer networks to complex shipping and transport schedules everything ticks. GPS as a technology for example is basically based on time sync. Each satellite has up to three atom clocks to keep track of the time and provide the most accurate time the receiver is checking its time against. Besides the visual field of images and photography, time is probably the second most important field of technology in our era.
There seem to be two big groups of time application, one side is the technology applications and the other is the consumer side of time keeping. An application that somehow sits in between the two is the discipline of time keeping for major sports events such as the Olympics. The determination of the accurate measurement of the new 100m sprint world record has both aspects, on one side it is completely technical and a question of applied engineering, but on the other hand it is highly emotional and directly why millions of people are drawn into the fascination of sport. The company Swiss Timing is delivering this crucial bit of the games since the 1932 Olympic games in Los Angeles.
It is all very accurate, on time and in sync. In this job one cannot make mistakes there is only one chance to tae the time of a potentially new world record and the time ticks. So backup systems are needed. If time fails what do you do what can you rely up on that compares. The other problem is the accurate stopping of the time in relation to the finishing of the race. Who crossed the line first when exactly was the line crossed? Surprisingly, but probably obvious the back up is a visual method. It is all captured on camera, the finishing as well as the backup start signal. Here gain the power of the ‘true image is striking. Decisions in the dimension of a thousandth of a second not only decide over who the winner is, but decides over a number of attached an most likely very valuable extension, from sponsors to advertisement and supporter, sport is about money. The truth and evidence are important and it seems that once more the visual is dominant.
It seems that most of these types of measuring the time are all very much exterior and so far athlete centered technologies are not jet accepted by the IOC. Positioning systems and RFID technology are in trials and most probably the future of time measuring.

Image by “Ciclos d’Racco Anti-Age”, Agency: ByVivas, Curitiba, Brazil, Creative Director: Marcos Steffens, Art Director: Ricardo Madeira Peroza, Copywriter: Fernando Baibich, Illustrator: Studio M – takn from adoholik

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For the approaching weekend something to relax, a beautiful stop motion timeLapse with some tilt shift. The title suggest Switzerland, but actually it is Germany. The area is I think a national park that bares similarities with the Swiss mountain landscape.
It might inspire you for some special activity for the upcoming weekend. We are already mid autumn, the threes turn bright orange, red and yellow and start sailing off the branches and twigs. But those are also the days of these beautiful walks in the park or the countryside, with the low sun throwing an intense light out into the landscape.
Also have a look at Christoph Schaarschmidt other clips and movies, he does great stuff.

Small Life in Saxon Switzerland from Christoph Schaarschmidt on Vimeo.

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This will be a short summary of yesterdays ESRC seminar with the title Time-Space and Life-Course. It is the fifth and last seminar in a series over two years. It is chaired by Helen Jarvis from the University of Newcastle. Unfortunately it is the first seminar I have been to so I won’t be able to comment on the progress and the rest of the work that has been resented and discussed over this time period. As it was the last seminar the topic of the series as a whole and retrospective views have come up quite frequent. It has provided some insight on what has happened and how things could be related in a wider context. For a full brief of the seminar series have a look at the synopsis page.
This is a type up during the presentations and discussions so bare with me regarding formulation and construction of sentences. It might often be more sort of fragments and notes than actual sentences but hopefully it brings the content across anyway.

We are starting the day with live connection to Australia. The researcher Lyndall Strazdins introduce her presentation “Time Scarcity – Another health inequity” After the introduction though the presentation is run on a DVD locally.
This already is a really interesting setting under the time aspect. What time is it right now in Australia? I don’t know just from the top of my head. It is roughly on the other side of the world. After looking it up on the internet, they are actually nine hours ahead down under, this means at the time of presentation eleven UK time it is around eight o’clock at Australian National University in Canberra.
In her research she is looking at the length of time in particular the perception of the length of time. This is investigated by symptoms such as stress, busyness, and boredom? As her focus is on health the side of medical symptoms and impact on the body are important.
When moving on to the policy side of her talk she shows the example of the march for the 8 hour day (Australia- 8 hour rest, 8 hour, sleep, 8 hour education) in Australia that took place in Melbourne in 1866.

Image from wikipedia – Eight Hour Day Banner, Melbourne, 1856

She is pointing out that nowadays in connection with the shifting time budget-spending pattern, there are 8 hours missing for childcare. She points out that there is a great desire to look after children increasingly also from men. In a series of graphs tough, she also points out that the amount of work time in relation to time spent on child care is still only reduced by women, while men keep on working long hours. This implies that they want to add this part of the time budget on to the leisure or educational time but not cutting back on work presumably. She then goes on to ask whether this time inequality impact on women’s health? In an example from the States, the quality of food was used to improve women’s. This health food involved some extended preparation time, as it was prepared from raw ingredients. The impact on the change of food preparation was an additional 2 hours that somehow had the reverse effect, as the stress level rose.
Regarding to public health and efforts to improve it, she has found that respondents often quote not enough time as the main argument for not exercising, resting or using public transport. Lyndall concludes from this, to improve the public health, policies are needed to integrate time aspects as a health resource.
For the discussion and question session skype is switched back on to allow real time responses.
Time poverty as a term is quite interesting. It seems to be related to developed and undeveloped economies. A large study in Germany has looked at time poverty ad developed a new multidimensional description of poverty.
There was also the question in how far already existing underlying health condition affect peoples use of time, such as inability to manage time and end up being even more stressed. Lyndall argues that, beyond underlying conditions, she found hat income is directly related to personal time management resulting in a health impact.
A further questions comes back to the policy aspect of activities in time can be stacked and multiplied resulting in multitasking. If addressed in policy does it really capture the problem if time is integrated in policy? There might be some other aspects related to this? Here, Lyndall replies that it might be related to the redefinition of activities into a combined time, such a walk your kids, or jog while on the mobile phone. Research has shown that women actually already do multitask in their leisure time. Doing childcare, socializing, ….
From my perspective, I am missing here the space dimension. How do the distance, location and travel time affect the time budget? Location of cheaper homes for poorer families and distance to work or health care access.

Nancy Worth – Conceptualizing time space and space over the life course – PhD at Newcastle School of Geography, Faculty of Environment.
She Give a very compact overview of the past four seminars in the first part of her presentation. This give a very good impression of what the series was and draws out the context of the work presented on the day. IT was to compact and brief to actually follow and summarize on the spot, so I apologize for the lack of information her. But you can probably find some information on past seminars on the web by starting here.
Some interesting terms she dropped while talking about previously presented papers though I managed to write down:
The concept of different times, illustrated by the difference between child and adult time-space. Adults are oriented to result and intersection of traces (meetings, goals), were as children’s “young” time-space are more self oriented and less production orientated.
Time is produced by everyday practice.
The term GeoNarrative introduced by Kahn understanding the daily routines of everyday life. You can see here the direct link to the UD project and other topics related to urbanNarrative.
Nancy also mentioned a very interesting project of long term life course research, Capturing the life course in a documentary “the up series” reconnecting with people every seven years and documenting the progress.
Nancy also asks the question towards the end whether theory on space and time can be more than just clock time or distance space. Throwing up terms such as embodied time, lived time,..
From the audience some more reflexions on the past seminar series are provided. For example religion as a fractal of everyday life time-space, how did the seminar series relate to this question?

Eric Laurier – Mobile Technologies and the Coordination of Daily Life – University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences (he’s got this fancy slide swap braking down the slides into the RGB colours)
He starts with Hagerstand’s space-time diagram, focusing on bends and twits in the daily course, while criticizing the sort of logistics or particle feel of it. Moving on to examples of time-space research tools, he starts with the family calendar pointing out time restrictions similar to those as discussed by Carlstein and Hagerstrand. Also pointing at the moral order of the timetable. He also mentions that his own child started school this month throwing over the family calendar.
Showing work using mobile phones and pointing out the summons morality of the phone as a device similar to a baby crying. Someone will have to get up and answer it. The interesting aspect here would be the new mobility and location aspect of phone and calls while on the move, either one party or all. I suppose the more recent opening question is not any longer how are you, but were are you? He comes back to this point at a later stage. Eric then shows parts of his own work, starting with Habitable Cars an ESRC project. He plays a brilliant clip staring a family going to work/school in the morning – the routines of five family members have to be coordinated during this time in the car and all are issued their tasks. Te mother is leading the timetable while driving the car, briefing all members including the husband in the front seat. What a beautiful scene!
An other project called Location Family Values: A Field of Trial of the Whereabouts Clock is logging family members by mobile phones transmitted into the kitchen and ssigning all family members to activities. He provides insight by playing an audio file of an anxious mother talking about how this has helped her to visualize where the children are and that they have arrived at the destination. The device would also allow sending messages directly into the kitchen to exchanging information – but what for? The interesting aspect is probably the location of the device it self in the kitchen to mark the home location and the space to relate to.
He also points out that the tracking rise the question about observation. Just like questions around the UD project.
The device originally features only three locations where a status is displayed. The titles did also change meaning though, for individual families, meaning school at certain days as a location on other days it means playing football. There is a lot of flexibility while pointing in the direction of routine.
Going back to the old days with family phones as a very defined location in the family home. Related to the installation with notepaper, blackboard and telephone directory. Pointing out that the place here is very well defined and it is more of a place to place call, where as the mobile phone it turns more into a person to person phone call. (Is this true? Why should this be more personal?)
He is then finally jumping to the iPhone and the facebook application as something between the terms of timetable, diary, notes, messages and so ford. Modeling social network using these kin of applications makes Hagerstrandian geographers quite exciting to map information. His interest seems to be more in the area of how people use it and how respond and activity is generated from.
Questions and comments session comes back to restrictions and proposes to look at travel patterns in terms of dependencies of movement and restrictions probably. A second comment pick up the more nostalgic view through what might be the Differences between the patterns of pre mobile phones to now mobile phones area. As fifty years ago children could leave the house in the morning returning six or eight hours later. Where as now leaving the house needs checking back. Related to has the technology produced more anxiousness? This is probably directly a response to the whereabouts clock project.

At this point I might run out of battery power soon… POWER!
Later, back up with some juice…

The afternoon session starts with a panel discussion being introduced also to collect a pool of ideas to take the series into a next step and also looking at a publication. So there can be something expected in terms of a product, probably next year.
It is then again a review of previous paper with the panel member all reflecting on three previous papers in relation to their own work on the topic. Again this is going to be brief summary of the panel session.
Eric Lurier throws up the thought that the research on everyday is very much about not to overlook the simple hidden information that we are so much used to see that is easily overlooked. Steve Cummins picks up on this and relates it to routine activities that had more impact in the older days, 70ies. The meaning of marked days and church going and so on. The setting nowadays is very different and the routines have changed and opened up? He quotes Elisabeth (earlier paper) with the idea of sequencing and going on to analyze the individual and the collective in term of sequencing related to being selfish.
Recent time data analysis seems to show that the time spent together of men and women seem to come closer.
Rhythms over the different scales might not be comparable. Steve also throws up the thought about a nested concept of time in terms of scale. Especially in connection to life course as a concept of time how far can we go in terms of time perception from childhood to late age? – What does that mean in terms of tracking and travel distance?
Miles Tightis then talking about his research on walking and cycling and reasons why people choose to do so. He is doing walkalongs while they speak to participants on what they actually experience and how they take decision. (Could be an interesting part of the UD project)
He also has done some GPS tracking looking at tracks relating them to socio spatial aspects of the environment participants travel through. He raises the question of the sampling, how can it cover representative group, a problem I am currently facing in my research work.
He also has got a great example/story on routines and repetition and how he times his walking speed to meet the sequence created by the series of traffic light on the way from the train station to his office every morning.
Rachel Pain picks up on the issue of sample and represented groups. The panel agrees that previous papers presented have mainly looked at middle class settings and they conclude on academics being part of this and them liking to reflect upon themselves. She then also raises critique on the recent WOW techniques and visual methods, such as GIS and GPS, technology and so on. There is a WOW effect in the first place but afterwards reminds the question on but what now? There seems to be a lack of theory, contextual work and methods to approach or take the questions further.
During the discussion/question session some additional points are raised from interdisciplinary, founding to the definition of terms used in the discussion such as space-time, time-space. Also the uncertainty of the result or application of this field of research, if there is something such as time research and the question whether we are on the way to nothing with this discussion, even though or because everyone is currently talking about this from artists to scientists.

During the afternoon tea brake the host of the event, the Culture Lab University of Newcastle gives tours on their recent research projects in technology. We are moving on to get a motion capturing demonstration. The culture lab here at Newcastle University has some very expensive equipment to track and trace markers in 3d space. It is similar to the technology used in large-scale Hollywood animation films for the imitation of body movement, facial expression and gestures.
Downstairs in the interactive technology room of the culture lab, some newly developed touch screen tables are demonstrated and the ambient kitchen project. In the lab they have installed a kitchen that is equipped with sensors to respond to chefs actions. For example by using RFID technology the information projected onto the kitchen wall can suggest recipes corresponding to the ingredients placed on the work top. The project team aims at using the kitchen in an environment with elderly people and mental health patients to help them keeping up their routines and activities.

Image by urbanTick – Motion capturing installation at Culture Lab University of Newcastle

Image by urbanTick – Interactive worktops for collaborative work at Culture Lab University of Newcastle

Some thoughts on the day from my experince. There has been a lot of retrospective talking across the series. It is creating a sort of framework and context for the work presented as I pointed out in the introduction. However it is demanding for first time attendees. On the other hand it probably also highlight the fact that n overarching concept of time related research is actually missing and the community of researchers in this field lacks this overarching understanding of each others approach. In this sense, papers presented where all bits and pieces of the greater picture.
To aim for a publication of the series to this reflection and contextualization of he aspects make sense.
There has been surprisingly a lot of in depth critique and unwillingness to understand technology as pat of this investigation. I do agree that a lot if not most of the currently “exciting” project and works in the area of technology are born out of the technology itself aiming back at the technology without creating some sort of context. Nevertheless the technologies are so fast entering into everyday life (at least for the middle class) that neglecting this area of research by the technology by social researcher, geographers and health experts will definitely put them in a bad position to continue. Even in this, the time aspect is a topic and related to technology time has definitely speed up.
Picking up on the idea of slow and fast time I was surprised to hear so much about the old days. The old days and the current days as a concept of time organizations shines through in a number of contributions. This definitely raises the question if there is a real concept missing? Maybe even beyond this there is a lack of language and terms to talk bout time and to exchange ideas and concepts. In this respect the seminar and especially the series, as far as I can judge from the reviews, has and can in the future contribute quite a bit to the discussion around time.

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