Human perception plays a crucial role in the way public space is perceived. Not only does it determine a surrounding’s influence on the observer but also the way the observer acts in and interacts with the surrounding. With the chosen interdisciplinary approach, Public Space 2.0 tries to enter the general public space discourse. The collaboration of arts, technology and architecture culminated in the realization of a technological extension of the human body that offers the person wearing it the possibility of achieving additional levels of perception of public space. One’s own strongly interpretational perception becomes extended, maybe thwarted, habitual behavior experiences transformation and new motivation for interaction may be felt. From a technological point of view the resolution of the paradox of extended subjective perception on the basis of objective measurement is the subject
of basic research shown
in all authors’ current work. Environmental parameters are collected by wearable sensor technology. The subjectivization of perceptional symbols takes place in a subsequent process. In early anticipation of radical constructivism the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund
Freud, developed a model of subjective human perception. Furthermore he understood himself as the third in line to deeply offend mankind (with Copernicus – the earth is orbiting the sun – as the first, and Darwin – man descends from ape – the second) as he realized that a part of one’s own emotional life withdraws from will’s awareness and authority, saying that most thinking remains unconscious. He himself said that ninety percent of what we understand as external sensation in fact is the result of unconscious evaluation. Freud used the metaphor of the ego, the psychological authority that among other things represents planning, ratio and consciousness, being only the small horseman on a big horse who then would be the id as the one authority representing unconscious wishes and desires. The super-ego as the third authority is the horse trainer and represents individually internalized rules and their readings. In technical and natural sciences the notion of objectivity plays an important part, as mainly in the context of reproducibility of experiments the discussion of objectivity becomes a central motif. Iteration may be achieved if additional influencing parameters evoked either by means of the experimental set-up or by the scientists themselves can be excluded. Mathematical formalism therefore gets adjusted to convey output and to allow for further comparison. The final artifact produced in our research project as the technological extension of the human body allows a kind of neck sensation (as a modification of the neck brace, a device worn around the neck providing sensory stimulations). As built prototype it explicated two
main insights of human perception, namely subjectivity and the understanding that thinking is a mainly unconscious operation, and therefore enables its wearer to experiment with these insights. Via noise transmitting speakers and vibrating motors the prototype is able to transfer a stimulus that, dependent on objectively collected data of the given environment, is subjectively perceived by the person wearing it. As our individual system of symbolization is not capable of responding to uncategorized, specific stimuli, we can talk about a general deficit experience. Reflection about gained experiences is only enabled by a system of symbolization that categorizes memories, as perception cannot be recorded like an event. In the research process of Public Space 2.0 some insights gained in the context of Artificial Recognition System (ARS project at ICT) have been considered, though time was very limited. The ARS project’s aim is to create an artificial mind (AI) that is able to control technical devices following the same principles as the human mind does. This aim meets AI’s originally stated guideline, although today’s AI is already stepping back from that, as many predictions concerning success in realization could not be sustained. One reason among others was the lack of realization of inter- and trans-disciplinary work. Following a new approach, the ARS project tries to consider all that in order to trigger discussions about the technological reproduction of human mind. In this project technical scientists and psychoanalysts closely collaborate, because in terms of a later implementation the psychoanalytical meta-psychology can be regarded as the most promising description of the processes of human thinking. But as psychoanalytical theory is split in different schools, and as theory itself is formed hermeneutically, it is inevitable that compatible theories are chosen and assembled by experts. In regards to central theoretical elements of the newly found »psychoanalysis and information theory« the interdisciplinary approach is difficult as the participating experts do not sufficiently free themselves from their scientific background. Trans-disciplinary translation processes become essential, which from today’s point of view may be generated in the course of in-depth-hermeneutical research workshops. In both projects the question of reproduction of human perception plays a crucial role. For ARS this would be the motivation, the research’s aim. In Public Space 2.0 it is the technological prototype which makes it possible to change the parameters of perception and introduce additional layers of experience in public space. Public Space 2.0 has linked many influences from fields of architectural theory, design and computer technology. In the course of the beginning research process based on hypothetical premises a first prototype has been produced, different from its improved follower. The initial draft, a bag carried by test persons, resembled a collector of environmental data. The bag was carried around, data concerning the surrounding environment like noise, temperature, light, GPS and WLAN was effectively obtained. For the second draft qualitative ways of setting questions for empiric experiments were developed and analyzed in the course of a seminar, in order to iteratively categorize the prototype and its contribution, and to implement a qualitative approach. From a technological point of view interdisciplinary operations bear a considerable potential of conflict, mainly concerning basics, which have to do with the problem driven work of engineering sciences which by nature aim at achieving solutions to given technological challenges. In the course of a research process each progressing step relies on the one before. Similar to the shape a funnel, the open wide side is determined by the range of addressed topics while at the other end the narrow part represents the solution. In the beginning one notices a rather broad field divided in small sub-areas; within one of these sub-areas the main challenge is to be located and finally gets materialized in relation to a potential solution space. Initially, various solving options are evaluated and synchronized, in order to understand which is best according to the current knowledge and chosen criteria. In consequence, new paradigms introduced at the beginning of the overall research project start to inform the following evaluation process, laying out renewed paths for investigation and analysis. Engineering sciences normally direct their focus on developing steps and aspects in linear connection to a possible result. Of course, for the actual process of research this only represents an abstract model. Approaches can lead into a void, presumptions can turn out wrong, renewed ideas for possible solutions may come up in between. A strict top-down structure appears as necessary condition for a sustainable presentation and exchange of achieved solutions and research work. Insights that may change formerly set focus points, are being dealt with in a different section of ongoing work. Research agenda and project outline are set in relation the state of the art. Reference projects older than a couple of years are usually not considered to be relevant any more. However, in the field of humanities it is more common to mainly refer to originals than to so called secondary literature. This, for example, has become obvious in cooperation with experts working in varying fields such as architecture or psychoanalysis. Given multiple authorships, various theories are coming together, which manage to somehow define a common theoretical territory, but certainly lack a standardized language, as it is common and essential to pure technical science to keep up with the speed of fast changing sciences. On the contrary, psychoanalysts who agree to deal with another author’s structure of description, perceive these proceedings as rather limiting to the overall work process. From the point of view of a computer scientist it appears to be rather necessary to keep normative standards included, such as grounded theory, especially if there are different interest groups collaborating in the same field of research. In contrast to the science oriented top-down approach, in the Public Space 2.0 project we made use of an iterative method that – due to the given framework of arts-based research – allows to reintegrate formerly gained interdisciplinary insights by reformulating main research questions. First the initial question is pursued, afterwards gained insights eventually transform the way the question was originally formulated, and finally a new context is formed that again can be observed from other points of view. This process is being repeated. In our current project this working method produced various effects that in the end managed to contribute successfully to the overall interdisciplinary insight though it did break away from the classic scientific method of following set goals as described earlier. One of the initial ideas was to deal with questions about public space and 2.0 web technology, referring to one of the central public squares named Karlsplatz as an exemplifying spatial situation. In the ongoing project this idea was put aside. Also the concept to document the research process in the format of a manual or a guideline to address those involved in the actual planning and design processes of public space, became significantly altered. Specific questions in regards to political settings of public space planning procedures in Vienna have not been relevant throughout the overall course of the research process. The analysis of a competition brief was important only at a certain point of the project’s iterative process. In the end, by opening up the targeted reading audience, an alternative self-contained format could be defined. In general, methods used in the course of the Public Space 2.0 research project including corresponding scientific approaches, turn out to be not that different from each other. For both the state of the art functions as a primary reference, both approach the work process in a distinct way and seek to produce results that in the end may leave an impact to the definition of the current state of the art. And both methods are being performed iteratively, although they are motivated differently and operate at different frequencies. According to the experience achieved by means of the common work experiences, main differences appear in the way temporary results flow back into the research process. Concerning technology the validation of systems plays an important role. Meanwhile there are elaborate methods that quickly and objectively allow precise evaluations in regards to the well or mal functioning of a certain approaches, in other words, how to determine ongoing technical progress or failure. In regards to planning procedures in the field of architecture or urban planning, maybe similar to
arts-based research approaches, one can hardly locate such evaluation methods.
Here, evaluation processes usually include information based on subjective evaluation as it is often grounded in field surveys. Incorporating subjective dimensions usually implies having to go through more discussions and negotiations than needed to achieve technical results. Above all a collaborative project of this kind demands the agreement about an overall common point of view, which to those with a science background is a rather unusual procedure. But as others with a more creative, maybe even art-related background are used to discuss actual points of view, they find themselves to be exposed to the danger of confusing the level of negotiation along standpoints with a higher operational level of having to achieve a set goal. As to an interdisciplinary team, it turns out to be a complex task to determine the common ground as a basis for further decision making and investigation mainly due to differing methodological preferences which tend to transform one potential common point of view into a multidimensional vector. In summary, next to the output of a wearable artifact, the ontological level of exchange may be regarded as a true result of the discussion process, finally providing access to all areas of knowledge of participating disciplines. The technical dimension of the overall perspective of Public Space 2.0 is characterized by the experience of its protagonists as information and communication engineers. In regards to the main issue of ›participation‹, it includes technical constituents of various groups: firstly the one of communication infrastructure of mainly wireless nature, secondly the one addressing customer needs and preferences in regards to (sensory based) user input variables and options to chose from, and finally the one about single person feedback systems in
the context of social, public environments. In the age of smart phones, technical questions concerning the subject of interface and infrastructure have been mainly resolved, while the area of sensory technology still remains open for further innovative development. Static datasets such as motion-, personality-, or user-profiles, may be generated through input or learning mode. Multi-modal human-machine interfaces are considered to be dynamic datasets. On the side of the output, there are not only options for multi-media art production delivered by media-facades, acoustic media, or lighting technology; but there are also virtual options like multi-modal traffic assistants (that would combine bicycle for hire, car sharing and public transport),
messaging services, as far as virtual 3D images of a simulation that offers
its users even more possibilities for interaction. In this way, we can get closer to the aim of Public Space 2.0 that takes advantage of the social network infrastructure. But the true successful embedding will only be achieved as soon as the crowd goes beyond the use of public space, entering the realm of public design. The Viennese Charta allowing everyone to nominate important issues for the city’s politics, but also ePetition in Germany, beneath many other initiatives, are vividly indicating how much attention and interest these issues currently raise.
 Foerster, Heinz von, Understanding Understanding: Essays on Cybernetics and Cognition, Springer. 2002
 Freud, Sigmund, »On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis«, in ›Beyond the Pleasure Principle‹, ›The Ego and the Id‹ and other Works, Richards Angela (eds.), Penguin Book. 1984