Michael Naimark, "Place Representation and the 'One Earth' Model"

May 2, 2011


MIT Media Lab, E14-633


Professor Naimark's presentation is available online.[click link to view in your browser; right click or control click to download]
Much of the history of representation, as both an art and a science, has concentrated on conveying sense of place. Representing actual places presents unique opportunities and challenges because–unlike fantasy places–actual places share common frames of reference as indexed by latitude, longitude, altitude, and time. Thus, all real-world representations can cross-correlate into a singular, unimaginably giant Earth model, containing as much detail as is chosen to add.
The big players know it and the field is lively. Advances and new features spring up weekly. So have critical concerns–around access, control, privacy, and authenticity. The arts community knows this and can play as both bridge-builder and provocateur. Naimark's presentation is based on a seminar taught last year at NYU ITP and touches upon such topics as crowdsourcing, ortho-stereo display, folksonomy, nodal points, "playbor," webcams, and the visual perception of Mbuti Pygmies.


Michael Naimark has been exploring place representation as an artist and researcher for over 30 years. He has made custom camera rigs to record from the street, sidewalk, air, rail, and hiking trail, and has filmed stereo-panoramic experiments in endangered World Heritage sites. His immersive installations have included 3D screens, rotating floors, and living rooms spray-painted white. Naimark's work is an unusual combination of optimism and activism, for example, it currently ranks #1 on Google searches for both VR webcams and camera zapper (as well as for academic art and technology). Michael Naimark is a visiting associate professor in the MIT Program for Media Arts and Sciences, on leave from the USC School of Cinematic Arts' Interactive Media Division. He has directed projects with support from the Exploratorium, National Geographic, the Banff Centre, UNESCO, Ars Electronica, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Paris Metro; and from Atari, Disney, Apple, Panavision, Lucasfilm, Interval, and Google (where he was a 2007 Research Award recipient). Naimark was the 2002 recipient of the World Technology Award for the Arts and has been a member of the Society for Visual Anthropology since 1984. For more information visit: http://www.naimark.net/feelingluckylist.html.

Host/Chair: Hiroshi Ishii

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