Monday, January 26, 2009

Schedule of Classes and Assignments


Jan. 21

Introduction: What is Neighborhood Narratives?
The history of the class, case studies. Where am I? New Brunswick. What I carry with me. The bag exercise. The archeology of everyday life. Create your blog. Daniel Spoerri – An Anecdoted Topography of Chance.
Assigned Reading: William J. Mitchell, Me ++, The Cyborg Self and the Networked City, Introduction, Ch. 1 & 2
Assignment: Map your week on a T-shirt.

Jan. 28

Introduction to place and space.
Introduction to Locative Media and Locative projects
Psychogeography: One Block Radius (GlowLab)
Web 2.0 – Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Ning, Hipcast
Assigned reading: From Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: the perspective of experience
Assignment: Psychogeography I: Imagine a resident of New Brunswick, collect artifacts, create collage

Feb. 4

Place and Space.
Presentation of Cross/Walks: Weaving Fabric Row; Murmur Toronto;
Assigned Reading: Foucault, Of Other Spaces.
Assignment: Psychogeography II: Find the imagined person and interview

Feb. 11

Place and Space: Review of themes
Review Foucault.
Discussion of Foucault’s ideas about hetertopias; the archeology of place and space.
Richard Long. Sculpture in the landscape, tagging.
Assignment: Photograph a Heterotopia and post to Flickr. Link Flickr to your blog.

Feb. 18

Embodiment. Walking.
Push/Pull and stabilization: outside (weather permitting)
Akitsugu Mayebashi, Sonic Interface
Assigned Reading: The Situationists
Assignment: In pairs, have one person lead you to a location where you took a photograph. Close your eyes and have your partner lead you around the place. Phone in the description of what you are feeling and experiencing to Hipcast.

Feb. 25

Embodiment. Urban Planning and Mapping.
Design, politics and economics.
The geoweb, Google Earth, new neighborhoods without proximity
Review Situationists + assignments
Assigned Reading: Chapter 1: Mapping Cyberspace
Assignment: Emotional Maps

March 4

Janet Cardiff

(Public Art. Kystof Wodizcko and “Public Address”. Public memorials, counter-memorials.)

Review Maps.
Assigned Reading: Mapping the Homonculus.
Mid-term Assignment: MyMap of your personal geography.

March 11

Mixed Reality and Locative Media.
Review: MyMaps.

A variety of Locative Arts projects will be presented including MilkProject.
Assigned Reading: Locative-Media Artists in the Contested Aware City; Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape

Mid-term Review

March 18

No Class; Spring Break

March 25

Janet Cardiff, Sophie Calle
Assigned Reading: Locative Arts
Assignment: Following

April 1

Public/Private II
Review Following.
Outline requirements for final projects. Discuss locations.
Assignment: On-line following and the idea of driving a project on the street from the web.

April 8

Blast Theory – Uncle Roy All Around You.
Class Map as interface for final projects.
Begin discussion of final projects.

April 15

Project Development
More Locative examples.

April 22

Final projects due. On-site presentations.

April 29

Final projects due. On-site presentations.

May 5 or 6

Reading Period: Class critique and wrap up.


Neighborhood Narratives

Spring 2009, Rutgers University
Fordham New Media Lab at the Douglass Library
Wednesdays, 11:30 – 2:30
Instructor: Hana Iverson
Guest Instructor: David Gordon
Office Hours: Wednesdays after class, by appointment.


In Neighborhood Narratives, the urban landscape is a canvas where analogue and digital media, text, sound, and image are applied to real places in order to document the definable aspects of place that simultaneously reveal and construct their essence and trigger authentic engagement. The goal is to create a set of site specific annotations; such as sound maps, community histories augmented by websites, audio interviews authored and distributed over the cell phone, site specific installations that integrate radio and other communications technology, scavenger hunts along with many other types of combinations that when connected would produce a neighborhood narrative. This process encourages participants to combine the skills of the storyteller (the grounded expert with detailed everyday knowledge) with the flaneur (the mobile observer of the city with a broad overview).

Neighborhood Narratives uses alternative technologies, basic mobile recording devices, on-line open-source tools such as blogging, and Google Maps along with analog resources such as sketch maps to produce context rich stories that portray the world, city, or neighborhood. In Neighborhood Narratives we explore the real and metaphorical potentialities of mapping, walking, and wayfinding as methods of developing attachments, connecting, and constructing narratives in a virtual and spatial locality (neighborhood).

The final assignments are presented on location in the city. No prior technological expertise is required.

The course is divided into three themes:

Theme one: Place and Space. The course begins with a close examination of the concept of place. We explore questions such as: What is place? What is the difference between place and space? How are places mapped? What is the relationship of place to location?

Theme two: Embodied Practice. We investigate how a constantly changing environment affects the ways in which we physically stabilize our sense of orientation. We consider ways to ask strategic questions about encounter, gathering, and location; exploring our sensory alignment of the world, and how it is synthesized by the social mix of influences that affect both physical and virtual environments.

Theme three: Merger of Mixed Reality and Mobility. Mobile media are tools that connect the physical to the virtual, by handheld connectivity to networks and webs. New public sites are emerging as a result of this mix - situated storysites, community mapping, environmental installations that incorporate technology, to name a few - that create a new form of experience and authorship.



The class is 3 hours long once a week.
The class will introduce methods of collecting data and artifacts, internet and field observation, mapping and scoring, "show and tell" and the examination of project presentations with rigorous discussion. Mobile city-wide exploration (public transportation, on foot) will include the presentation of the final project on location in the city. The class will also engage in peer dialogue and interdisciplinary teamwork, to extend the breadth of a project through collaboration. Students will keep semester long blogs including observations, photos, video and audio recordings (where equipment and resources allow) - a personal diary of the Neighborhood Narrative experience.

Internet Access

All students are expected to have frequent, dependable access to the internet. It is essential that you have an active email account that you ACCESS FREQUENTLY, for email with faculty and with each other. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU CREATE AND ACTIVELY MAINTAIN A BLOG. If you have any difficulties with either Internet access, your email account or your blog, please see the instructor after the first class.

Technology Requirements

You will need some form of memory stick to save and transport your work. Access to a mobile phone and digital camera is recommended.


Readings will be handed out in each class.

Course Costs

There may be a charge for the xeroxes over the semester, up to and no more than $20/student. As expected with production courses, you may need to purchase supplies to produce your final project. Also, while it is not required, I would like to encourage you to use the communications features of your mobile phone: costs for voice calls and text messaging will depend on your phone plan.

Instructor Contact

The best way to reach me is by email. I am on campus once a week and am available to set up individual appointments, if requested.

Attendance and Lateness Policy

Attending the sessions outlined in the schedule is a requirement of this course. More than two unexcused absences will decrease the overall grade by one unit for each additional missed class. Five absences will result in a failing grade for the course. If you are going to be absent, please inform me by email at least 24 hours in advance. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to make up any work in a timely fashion. Three times arriving late will be considered as one unexcused absence. Being more than 10 minutes late will be counted as an absence.

Evaluation and Assessment


Research, attendance and participation 35%
In class assignments 30%
Final project 35%


Late assignments and exercises will not be tolerated. Failure to hand in an assignment by the due date and time will result in a zero grade for that assignment.

Research, Attendance and Participation

Group work, communicating and sharing knowledge through discussions, posting to the class blog, in-class presentations, and overall student participation are an essential part of the process of understanding course material.

Readings and blog postings are mandatory.

Prior to each class you will be required to complete a short reading and make notes of relevant points to bring up in class discussion.

Blog postings
Each week you will be required to a) make one post to your NEIGHBORHOOD NARRATIVES blog and b) to comment on at least one other student’s blog. Your post can be on: 1) a locative media project and your reaction to it or 2) a new media technology and how it relates to former ideas about photography (e.g. Spellbinder) or 3) if applicable, one of the required assignments.

International assignment (maybe)
You will be assigned to an international team of students and asked to complete an exercise. Success of the assignment depends on your ability to negotiate and communicate with fellow team members who are based in different time zones and have varying electronic communication styles. Please keep in mind that working internationally can be incredibly rewarding, but has its frustrations: Solving frustrations is integral to the creative process!

Assignments and Final Project

The remit for the final project is to create an urban, on-site, locative (cell phone, GPS, mapping, sensory altering) media art project that engages visual as well as embodied (spatial + body) ideas, and document the final project on your blog.

The assignments will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to realize your final project.