Material participation: Technology, the environment and everyday publics

MaterialParticipation by Noortje Marres, cover
Material Participation
Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics

by Noortje Marres

Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2012, +206 pp., ISBN: 978-0230232112

This book develops a fresh perspective on everyday forms of engagement, one that foregrounds the role of objects, technologies and settings in democracy. Examining a range of devices, from smart meters to eco-homes, the book sets out new concepts and methods for analyzing the relations between participation, innovation and the environment.

In the last chapter of the book Spiral Drawing is given as an example of a performance that modifies the every day environment of public space and accentuates the various trajectories that composed it.

[…] Devices may also open up new ways of imagining material participation. To make this clear, I would like to discuss […] Spiral Drawing Sunrise. […] Using the Spiral robot-cart to record a sunrise on a public square in Amsterdam, Spiral Drawing Sunrise turned out to render its surroundings ‘present’ in a particular way. As the robot-cart made its slow circles across the square, it highlighted not only the path of the sun, but also the trams crossing the square, women walking their dogs and the unmovable dark glass building in the corner of the square that houses the Dutch National Bank. In doing so, Spiral Drawing Sunrise suggested a mode of environmental awareness that is reminiscent of sustainable living experiments.
By modifying the everyday environment of the square, it accentuated the various trajectories that composed this environment, trom trams to the sun, cyclists, and passers-by, making them stand out far more strongly than they would if you would cross the square routinely (as I did for many years).  […]

See pdf for full story on Spiral Drawing Sunrise by Noortje Marres.

See Spiral Drawing Sunrise web page for mor info on this project.