Location aware media raise many challenges and questions about the significance of primal concepts like place, space, and location. The Neighborhood Narratives (NN) Project described here is a forum to respond to those concerns and provide insights into their theoretical underpinnings. We ask participants to apply various media (analogue, digital, text, sound, image etc) to real locations on the urban landscape. They use cell phones and GPS handsets to design projects and installations augmented by associated web sites, audio interviews, scavenger hunts etc. that locate their stories in the immediate environment. Exploring concepts such as public/private, physical/ mediated, place/non-place, a final project is created and presented 'on location' in the city.
Neighborhood Narratives is organized around the intersection of media, place, and space. It explores key technologies, ideas, applications, data, and policies that inform and shape the emerging geoweb of public space. Place is where the relevant encounters occur. Unlike the sociological, anthropological, political, or cultural perspectives commonly employed to analyze place; the new media 'deploy spatial and topological notions' to question and demystify discourses of knowledge and power in places.
At Temple, NN linked the main campus of Temple University with its international campuses in London, Tokyo and Rome. The complex historical, cultural, socio-political and economic contexts that affect each city, affect the students and classroom dynamic - thus heightening the exchange of information.
Neighborhood Narratives has fostered collaboration with an international group of movement artists (Center for Creative Research - CCR) to examine the role of embodied practice in interdisciplinary investigation. The central thesis is that movement artists provide a unique prism through which intersecting and parallel lines of intellectual inquiry can be initiated and examined. The next phase of NN is to orchestrate a set of long-term, campus-based pilot residency projects to test these ideas.