Marcin Sobieszczanski /// “The «living media design»”


On the occasion of my recent collaboration with INRIA Sophia Antipolis, especially with the Biovision team, I developed a theoretical framework for what I call “living design media”. Subsequently, I am working on the design project of a collective, immersive, outdoor augmented reality, viewing/speaking, multichannel interactive media, attributed by a two-dimensional evolution concerning: the real protagonists of the visual situation, both the viewer and the viewed (sight), and the modelling/automatization of the results of his learning provided as the techno-cultural sophistication of the “social seeing” and its correlated sensory afferents, together called the “multisensory gaze”…

The project is already written and is waiting its implementation. The environment: real, sensors, display, spectators, agents of watched objects, is designed as an organic, functional, correlations network. The original feature of this project is that the construction in all its stages are directed by the results of the prospective operation of the prototype, so we find it a series of prototypes P1, P2, Pj… where each successive version depends on the results of the functioning of the previous one, in the physiological and industrial relevant time.

This is the inspiration which, apart all prototypes that I have seen – among other Calit2, served as my poetic basis for the design of the project (as Irving F. Morrow for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge…).

In “Mr. Turner” by Mike Leigh, released in 2014, sailing ships seem to “appear” in front of a window in the room occupied by the painter in Margate. Jonathan Crary in “Techniques of the Observer” (MIT Press, 1990), already explained this phenomenon by so called “phenomenological anticipation,” present almost consciously in aesthetic quest of Turner. Some text from Joseph Conrad talks about women watching the sailors depart from a small port of Essex. As the ship sails away, their eyes full of fear and hope, it is also a quasi-professional watching. In exchange for this “advised” gaze, the behavior of departing spouses appeared to be “view-oriented” as though their ship exhibited its visible surfaces, flanks and wings deployed, according to the more persistent, in magnitude and time, orientation and positioning in the “sea view”, with respect to the prospect that can be practiced from the pier. This “interaction” beyond consciousness of its protagonists was however deliberate, carefully executed and almost ritualized…

Aside from the “visual” metaphor, we have in this description all the elements of an enviromentalized, immersive “media”, formed by the harbor pier, which is both, a defensive work against the sea, and a visual monitoring tool, and the nautical landscape peopled by the objects aware to be seen.

Can we technologically model this media and build it? What results can we expect from such a technical materialization? What lessons can we bring from its functioning? Several challenges arise in this synthesis. Firstly, the critics’ issues from the examining the criteria of sensory completion, essential in all prototyping approaches of multisensory media, then the protocols of the multiscale interactions, and finally after a praxis and social experience an experimental media, calling for his own evolution…”

The project of design proposed here is based on the development process of an abandoned prototype, commonly called “What is happening?” and is part of the technological and conceptual aims published by Calit2 institute in St. Diego. We take it and, emphasizing above all its social character, we call it “Look!”. If the eye causes a monstrative action from the part of the object being viewed, or rather the subject looked coupled to a device, such as a means of transport, the interaction of many viewers may develop a social “look” that triggers more complex interactions which must be taken into account in the prototyping aimed at a wide audience. This collective dimension is currently absent from considerations of industrial designers, usually obeying the ideology of consumption imposed by the solipsistic marketing, victim of the social myopia. Many prototypes and industrial objects have been abandoned because of the deficiency of programming of social “interactions”.


Marcin Sobieszczanski HDR is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication Sciences LASH / UNS (CNU section 71 and 18). Holds a DEA applicable models in the Humanities at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris (dir. Jean Petitot), a PhD in image and image technologies (cognitive approach of the image) in Paris 8 (dir. Edmond Couchot) and an HDR in Dijon (tut. Pascal Lardellier), he has taught at several academic centers, Angers, Rouen, Montreal and Paris. He performed numerous research stays in Nijmegen (Netherlands), in Wroughton Science Museum Library & Archives (UK) and California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology in San Diego (US). He adhered, in 1990, to the movement of cognitive studies in art and communication. He works in the neurobiological updating of the theories inspired  by cybernetics. His current research in the laboratory “Information, Media, Media, Mediation” are structured around the interdisciplinary issues: Design of Environmental Media, Immersive Environments, Evolution of Cinema.

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