In on the idea

Having met with Andreas and Kathrin about this project this is what I wrote to them:

Subject: Folkestone Triennial

To: Andreas Lang (public works), Kathrin Böhm (public works)


Folkestone Triennial is a more challenging project, but I like a challenge. It seems you want to create an iconic pattern language for describing social relations, over time amassing data that can be retrieved for presentation in a number of ways.

The language, and the structures it creates, will need to be extendable, allowing for changes which may not have been perceived at the planning and development stage, allowing for new icons and relations, to be added. This will need to work effectively with all presentation systems.

To this end it seems you need to find a way of describing the relations that may happen, and the icons and their properties, storing them in a database and retrieving them. The input and retrieval will mostly be abstracted from the data, and the gathering of this will come about in a variety of ways: for instance via physical interaction, or by second hand narration.

I would approach this with you by first of all trying to describe as many icons+parameters and relations+parameters as possible to try and see what consistencies and inconsistencies exist, as well as ironing out the meaning of the relationships. This would allow for a database to be built for storing the gathered information.

I'd then create a simple input mechanism, one which required a lot of knowledge of how the system worked, but allowed access to all parameters and options. This would be used to input some initial sets of data, allowing us to see how the parameters were used and which were important, and allowing us to revise that.

The third step would be to create some simple output mechanisms for the data, so that it could be presented in one or two forms. This would allow us to see how the data could be visualised, and what parameters were the most interesting to represent.

The next step would be to create an abstracted input method, such as the RFID based system we discussed, or a screen based or keyboard based input system for accessing the iconic language and parameter set to build the stories.

Finally a rationalised output interface would be built to allow the envisaging of the data gathered.

Each of these steps could be very open ended, but it appears you have already started upon the steps of defining the language and parameters. I managed to gauge some of the intent here with the language you had created, but have still to unlock how you tie all this together building the narratives, then translating that into a map... a further conversation I'm sure.

I can see this being quite an involve process, each step of the above taking between 5-7 days works, so my initial thought of 30 days work seems about right - though obviously visualisations could be produced for a long time I we'd get a lot of what you were tying to achieve honed out in the first step.

I'm happy to site down with you and try and work out some more specific details in the future if you want to.

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