Inspiration for this project came, in part, awhile before this semester’s paper had begun, both David (my partner in the project) and myself having had an interest in presenting our design work in a way that brought it ‘off the paper’. We’d toyed with using some old horror movie style 3d glasses and two cameras running at once to film models and other materials, and had considered bringing this idea into the rendered/digital environment before, but had experienced certain limitations in the way of it being rather uncomfortable for the viewer, not an advantage in a public gallery setting. In came Johnny Cheung’s ‘wiimote’ tracking technology: David discovered this on the internet someway through the beginning of the semester, and it had everything we needed- An immersive and changeable environment for the viewer, coupled with minimal discomfort due to the nature of simulating the 3d world on screen in relation to the viewer’s position rather than tricking the eyes with cellophane or polarized lenses.
Now, the mapping part: Using Johnny’s technology as a shell, we devised a way in which the immersive and changeable nature of the viewing experience therein could be of use in presenting some kind of useful/interesting information. Both our initial ideas for the paper were tied up in the movement (or prevention of movement) of a city’s inhabitants- presenting movement vectorially seemed like an avenue containing the key components we were after using the technology: a high volume of content filterable by the user, intuitively using their input to change the world in front of them (the wiimote tracking technology and their relative position to the screen in this case).
Data for the presentation was obtained by surveys (and lollies) at points around the CBD area, and was gathered in two scales (micro and macro). Each participant plotted their immediate paths around the CBD and areas just outside of its bounds such as Grey Lynn and Grafton- this was the micro scale, and their path to and from the CBD from areas in greater Auckland, if commuting- the macro scale. What we ended up with was interestingly not so strictly divided in terms of ‘very small’ and ‘very big’ paths as expected, despite the large scale difference between the maps used for the survey, we ended up with a spectrum of journey sizes and directions, from participants walking to lunch on Queen St from the university to travelling home to Waiheke from the ferry building.
How we presented and altered these scales using the wiimote technology was a decision made based on intuitive operation for the observer in the gallery, to zoom in to the small scale journeys the observer moves closer to the screen, to zoom out to the Auckland isthmus scale the observer moves back. As the scale is gradually altered the appropriate vectors for that scale show appear on the screen. To preserve the 3d quality of the environment and prevent misalignment of vector to map as the observer moves round the sides of the screen (in the process panning through the same scale slightly), the vectors were tied down at either end, this allowed the most accurate representation of our original data, while still allowing a ‘depth’ to the field of vectors, and a more interesting experience for the observer.
My shift at claystation came as a welcome break from studio work and its long nights, which possibly had some influence in my slightly warped input to the table (a tower inherited from Nita, slowly twisted and formed into some cybernetic creature every 60 seconds as documented by the time lapse footage of the event). Seeing the creative energy from others at the table was definitely most interesting, a group with a range of occupations and backgrounds coming up with some very well crafted and elaborate designs- particularly of interest was a large stadium complex using some Corinthian/bed of leaves inspired solar shades designed by a couple event managers, cool stuff.. I think the system has great potential as a ‘brainstorming’ device for a range of fields – planning, architecture, visual/graphic design, basically anywhere where particular dominance of personality should not influence the pool of ideas brought to the table, the medium seeming to remove creative inhibitions quite effectively. I’ve decided to ‘tweak’ the photos from the event slightly to show one individual’s interpretation of some of the forms created.
This short video was made as a teaser to my project with David, using the wiimote tracking technology developed by Johnny Cheung as a shell for our intentions in the final mapping project. While we represented the mapping information only as ‘info’ at this stage it allowed us to show our ideas tied up in changing of scale and user-‘filterabililty’ of content based on head movement.
I would propose that the motorway has the effect of shearing open the potential of city in its rectolinear/crystalline/radiated planned form. The frontier of the surrounding built context is repelled to a distance back from the motorway’s edge, in the process opening up a multitude of pocket/void space between the grid/bezier interface. In a sense then the ‘shape’ of the city where motorway is bordering is formed by the long reaching curves of the bezier.
Motorways/Highways are a feature of most major cities in some shape or form. They act as a vein/artery system allowing vehicular tranport en masse into, out of, and around cities at high speeds. Particularly in geographically sparse locations such as the Auckland Isthmus, motorways almost exclusively (save from ferry’s and trains) facilitate the multitudes who commute from (and to) suburbs and satellite towns as seperated as Rodney and the Bombay Hills.
Motorways tend not to be an afterthought in the process of urban planning/buildup, or at least, it would be difficult to construct an effective motorway system where the planning scheme had not already allowed the necessary space for one, without a great deal of destruction/clearing involved. Such was the case in Auckland around the Central Motorway Junction, where suburbs were pulled apart and streets foreshortened for this large imposition.
One consequence of the carrying capacity and high speed of motorways manifests in their distinctive ‘bezier’ shape. To allow safe turning angles and traffic separation around corners the motorway as a path must approach and veer towards its destination with gentle, wide reaching curves, far removed from inner city areas where a ‘shortest distance between two points is a straight line’/grid method is prevalent, and is most efficient to build around, creating an easily definable system of streets. The bezier motorway, in contrast to the city grid, creates no such street edges, onramps and offramps which inject traffic into/diffuse traffic out from the motoway must be set back to allow a safe speeding up/slowing down of traffic as they exit/enter the urban grids neighbouring.