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This is an idea i drew up for the interim reviews last week which followed on from my surveying of the city centre billboards and the proposal for Sheffield to could go Ad-Free. This idea focuses on the re-use of the billboards that are already existing parts of the infrastructure and are sited in key places to gain attention and maximum visual area. The design is an on site printing system that would be fed by a roll of paper that my mill would produce at Park Hill. The devide is linked to an internet connection to allow remote control of its source information that would be printed. My initial ideas for what would be printed were focused on the existance of the SheffieldForum.co.uk which has over 52,000 members who discuss all topics. Some of the discussions start and end abruptly but some go on and on for pages and obviously resonate with more than a closed community that some web forums are made up from.

By utilising the varied siting of the existing billboards the forum topics could be directed to a location relating to the discussion to give some context and physical relevance to the printed output. So an arguement that has spawned bacause of a recent planning approval could be sent to a ThinkingPrinter close to the site itself, or a employer that is planning to cut jobs could have discussions printed close to its site as a form of expanding paper picket line.

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The idea to use printed media and paper is intentional to allow on site additions by pedestrians or even take sections away with them if they particularly enjoy them(this may be more relevant to sites that could be tailored for artwork display). This follows the arguement line of some that believe the paperless world idea will never come into being because humans will always desire a physical copy as they associate it with control and interaction rather than virtual intangible formats. This is why a digital screen for this concept would be redundant as it is no step forward from the online forum which we utilse through the computer, the mental barrier is still present until you can see touch and change, all on your own in one place.

After drawing up this idea I found a similar idea that has recently been opened in the Science Musuem, London, which is called ‘Listening Post’. There is a detailled description of the installation at the link below, but in summary there is a matrix of screens that present the online conversations from chat rooms etc in various forms of analysis with music and speech collaborating with this visual display to create a ‘dynaic portrait’ in the style of a symphony. This seems to suffer the same problem that I mention above though, that of viewer isolation rather than participation. This is voyeristic display and intended much more for analysis rather than a catalyst for interaction. Despite this, as a process it seems very impressive and i look forward to taking a look at it when I’m in London.

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http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/galleries/listening_post.aspx

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