Science of the City: more science and more cities!

More and more institutions are giving its support to the Science of the City project. ¡We are 15! La Mandarina de Newton, creator and coordinator of the initiative, The Tech Museum, Arts Santa Monica, Transit Projectes, the Observatori de la Comunicacio Cientifica de la UPF, the Barcelona Culture Institute, the Catalan Science Communication Association (ACCC), Tercer Milenio, the science supplement at the Heraldo de Aragón, Paris-Montagne, the Paris Academy of Science, the Liberty Science Center, the NY Academy of Science, the NY Hall of Science, the Biobus and the Singapore Science Center.

Science of the City aims to promote a different view of what science is and where we can find it. With the aim of democratizing the scientific method -the ability to observe the environment, ask questions, be critical, design experiments to verify or falsify hypotheses and communicate the results. Science of the City encourages participants to make a video of two minuts linking their city with science through a question, a discovery or an experiment. During these last weeks we have begun to receive new videos. Participants have shared with us interesting challenges like: Could we use the energy from noise to transform it into electrical energy or why a clock can be invisible inside the water. Participants also experienced with skates and found answers to questions of optics. Here you can see some of the videos:


Science of the City will be represented at the Science Festival in Barcelona next june the 18th and we will also be in the Science Festival in Paris.

On the other hand, the Science of the City team has been running activities at a Youth penitentiary (sòmnia), Garbí School and at Benjamin Franklin Intenational School.

The call ends on June 30th for the videos in Catalan, Spanish and English, but continues until July 19th for the videos presented in French. During the month of July eight awards will be given: to the best video, the best video in Spanish, English or French, the best question, the best discovery, the best experiment and the most voted. ¡¡Go to the Tech Virtual webpage and start a project!!

Share

Science of the City, opening its own website!

The “Science of the City” project continues encouraging citizens around the world to look for science that lurks in the corners of their cities and putting it on a 2 minutes video. This was published at El Tercer Milenio from the Heraldo de Aragón newspaper.

More and more institutions, museums and universities are adding efforts to contribute to the promotion of this project. Currently, we have the support of The Tech Museum that sponsors seven awards, Arts Santa Mònica, Trànsit Projectes, the Observatori de la Comunicació Científica de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona, Singapore Science Center, Liberty Science Center, Biobus, NY Hall of Science, The NY Academy of Sciences and Paris-Montagne. Wiser-U will also sponsor the best French video award. So for now, you can participate in English, Spanish and French.

In addition, we have announced the project site. You can find it at Scienceofthecity.net. We hope you like it and  we encourage you to use your holidays to make a science video in your city or in your holiday destination city!

We are also in Facebook!

Share

From Interaction to Co-Creation

Some days ago we had a long discussion among several members of A+C+C CoCreation about the differences between the various projects that we have been reviewing.

It helped us to ask ourselves about what characterizes the different labels that are being used by several projects and cultural institutions where new forms of relationship with the public are experienced. We also wondered how the public is no longer a passive element and to what extent each institution or project dares to change.

Each one of the used terms has its difficulties and ambiguitie. Certainly each one can evolve on a different scale. But for the time being, the scale of co-creativity that we present helped us in thinking about several projects and cases. Somehow, we have simplified the scale of participation that can be found in “The Participatory Museum“. We tried to introduce our own vision to go a little beyond participation. At least if participation is understood mostly as the promotion of social relations between the members of the communities around a project or a cultural institution. That is, we go a little beyond the concept of contribution, contributory projects and try to see how to characterize co-creation.

So here are some adjectives that we worked with.

Interactive: These are projects and institutions that promote participation in a limited and predefined way. Much of traditional science museums that were created or renovated between the 60s and the 80s fall into this category. Clearly, this was an important step for museums at that time. A paradigmatic example in the field of science is the Exploratorium in San Francisco. In art, the concept of interactivity is perhaps wider, but it could be identified with a tradition of interaction with viewers. We can book this definition for all projects in which the user does not provide content and reacts to the content prepared by others who are not part of the group of viewers/users.

Open: These would include projects or institutions that intend to show their work processes that are needed to prepare their contents or activities. For example, the MOMA in New York is inviting the public to see the “props” of preparing exhibitions. Halfway between the observation and the collection of interests and needs of the audience, the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey has opened a part of the exhibit design process to users, who may participate in meetings of museum professionals. This could be the zero level of participation.

Participatory: The institution or group leading a project invites participation, with great variability of what is required in this participation. Here sometimes it is worth making a distinction between what is “participatory” and what is “contributory” as Nina Simon remarked in her book. Participatory actions can simply consist in giving opinions, However, they can be more than that and eventually affect the decision making process of the project itself (event, exhibition, etc.): these are the ends of the famous scale of participation of Sherry Arnstein. Contribution also evolves from the simple action of minimal interaction, provision of feedback in the form of opinion, to the contribution of content.

An possible example in the participatory category would be the exhibition organized by Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture, CCCB, “La ciutat dels horrors” (“The City of Horrors”) where they asked viewers to contribute with photographs of their town that would show some show some “horrific” aspect of it. We have analized this case and we will discuss it in more detail on a future post.

Another example would be the exhibition organized by Mediamatic in Amsterdam around the concept of travel. Mediamatic developed several cycles of invitation and group curation. They created a website on cities around the world, imitating the typical site of a travel agency informative website. They invited local artists of the different cities to act as “guides” in their own city. Travelers scored the artists according to their proposals as guides. This was the basis for selecting an artist from each city to produce an exhibit about his or her city (which should occupy a space of 2x2x2 m in the final exhibition venue). Finally, the  global exhibition was held at Mediamatic. The process was not designed by the participants but by the institution, that is, Mediamatic. Contribution by each artist was done on an individual, apparently there was no much cooperation between artists working on the exhibit of different towns. The institution acted mostly as a promoter of the initiative and as a content aggregator. It was not clear if there was interaction between artists and the public during the process conducive to the final exhibition other than in the “tourist guide” phase.

Co-Creative: In these processes, it can be difficult to tell who is the “public” and who is the institution or the artistic or scientific leader of the project. At the top of co-creativity, the public creates as much as the institution or there is not institution to speak of (apart from the fact that the relationships between the public conducive to the project are a set of norms that can be understood as a temporary institution). The public helps defining the process, its content and its outcome. It is difficult to find fully co-creative projects either in the field of arts or in science. CoCreative processes have some similarities to the processes of meta-design (or P2P Open Design, for example) in which participants (“co-creators”) decide how the process will proceed and then, they join the project playing various roles at different levels of commitment and responsibility, building and providing knowledge in the process. In the project “From contemplation to participation and beyond,” participants co-created the exhibits, but the design process was defined by the leaders of the project. MediaLab Prado has several open formats in which the objective of the project, its process and the contributions are defined by working with the “public.” In these cases, collective creative dialogue is generated.

Traditional institutions are rethinking where they stand in terms of these categories. There is a wide range of response from those who believe that traditional forms of the museum should remain as they are to those who believe that these institutions, both in science and art, must work in more open spaces and weave co-creative relationships with the “formerly called” public. The question is whether or not each institution wants to evolve towards symbiosis (a concept of the A+C+C CoCreation Contextopedia which we will comment in the future), or explore other possibilities in between.

——————————————–

Credits of photographies:
- Alaskan Dude: http://www.flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/
- La Mandarina de Newton S.L. 
Share

A + C + C: one step after another in the culture of co-creation

The workshops organized by Co-Creating Cultures last fall, within the CCCB I+C+i cycle of activities is having other outcomes besides its success in participation.

A group of participants in the workshops thought at the time that something else could be done in promoting a reflection on participation and co-creation. We have come together and start working on stabilizing a project and a group around the concept A + C + C: Art, Science, Culture and Technology in their Catalan and Spanish initials.

We start with an evidence: the total hybridization of the various practice fields from art to technology that is amplified and reinforced by the emergence of new forms of creation and knowledge sharing provided by technology and specifically, the culture that Internet has spawned.

The field is wide and offers room for many actions.

We have focused on co-creation as a present and future space for at the intersection of Art, Science and Culture. Yes, we know that Science is part of our culture in our society, but it seems we still have to refer to the different components in A+C+C. We also want to stress the many possibilities for interaction between all of them.

“Co-creation” is a term used in a restricted sense in the field of user-centered design but A + C + C takes a more broad and open view on it in order to study and promote the process of collaborative creation and everything that connects with it. And there is much that is related to this concept, from new ways of organizing to new forms of production. At this point we need to find influences and concepts and practices of many different initiatives from the Open Source to Design Thinking through the ArtCiencia in order to connect with them and turn them into productive partners of A+C+C.

We have defined our “Contextpedia” to better understand some terms that correspond to these actions and to new possibilities. Some of them are old terms to which we give our precise meaning, others are new inventions. For example: “symbiosis”, “open earning”, “dialogical action” or “knowledge brokers.”

It is a first step in framing the new action reference space.

The first phase of the workplan we have put in place “under the radar” since last fall includes a clarification of the scope of “co-creation”, a collection and case studies of initiatives ranging from interactive to the co-creation through participatory experiences in art, culture, science, technology and design.

We acknowledge the assistance of various individuals and entities that have agreed to share their knowledge through direct interviews. Amasté, Liberty Science Center, CCCB and the Museum of the History of Immigration are some of our patient “observed” people and entities.

Ww will continue interacting with them and with other groups and organizations that, in one way or another,  explore and promote the field of co-creation.

Share

Cooking up a new exhibition at the Liberty Science Center

The Liberty Science Center in New Jersey is creating a new exhibition on “Cooking”. This time, though, they have decided to open their kitchen to the public and let people participate in the creation process of this exhibition on the subject of cooking

They have created the network “Cooking up” the Liberty Science Center exhibition, to bring together the exhibition team and outside people who are interested in participating in the development and design of this new exhibition. Their main goal is to create a nice group of people who we can share ideas and add some flavour to the final exhibition.  At the moment, they have more than 700 members that have joined their network.

They also invite people to go to their weekly meetings so there we were for the last two weeks. Each session they discuss about new parts and spaces of the global exhibition. All the details are brought into the conversation and the final conclusions of the meetings are uploaded online. The creation process travels from online to offline to go back online to eventually become offline… During the whole journey contents change thanks to people’s contributions and on the top of that, anyone who follows the journey will, for sure, learn more things about science, food, cooking, technological applications and museum tricks.

This is a great project that we are very pleased to follow!

Share

Looking around the world

Training

Publications

Press clipping

Working Groups

 

@CoCreatingCult Tweets

Follow @CoCreatingCult on twitter.