Friday, 14 January 2011

Reflective Chat: Highrise

Highrise/Out of My Window is an interactive documentary by Katerina Cizek that focuses and connects the lives of the people around the world who live in blocks of flats. This weeks chat session was centred around this topic.

Click here for link about Highrise Out of My Window.

Click here for interactive video of Out My Window.

The first window I clicked on used interactive video pan technology. Impressive, I’ve never seen real 360-degree interactive videos before. After the initial wow factor of playing with this I got hooked on the real life stories and watched them all. I was in tears with some stories, but also found it intriguing to see inside people’s homes and extremely inspirational to hear how people helped each other through difficult times. I loved the way this was done it gave a real insight into people’s lives on a very personal level.

In some ways I found Highrise quite similar to an Installation that was at the Tate Modern in 2007 called Global Cities: Click here  This focused on the growth and expanse of cities and populations around the world. There were also videos of people talking about their lives too, but I found Katrerina Cizek’s Highrise/ Out of My Window had much more of an impact on me.  Besides the 360-degree interactive video technology being very impressive I found the emphasis on the individual much more personal. I think this was due to the narrative, though it was debated in our chat that there wasn't one, well not in the traditional sense. For me the narrative was the connection of all these people living in practically identical homes yet all having unique lives and experiences. In one sense it’s very similar to a question within my own project: How does individualism prevail within a system?  If you see the system as a structure of concrete buildings then this would be seeing how individuality exists within that system. I found actually seeing inside someone’s home gave it a much more individual and personal edge which seemed quite special.

During our discussion on Highrise some other issues arose. Open-source was mentioned and the group talked about their thoughts on whether an open-source community could create something like Highrise. While I think open-source is the way forward for many computer programs I’m not so sure for something like this. It may possibly work but I have concerns that it may turn out terrible. Since a young age I have been a fan of Star Trek, and have also watched some fan films too and to be honest found them absolutely rubbish with bad acting, terrible FXs etc. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that people shouldn’t make fan films either, but it would be a shame to see Highrise turn into the equivalent of a fan film.

Another interesting topic arose from the chat. Osiris pointed us in the direction of Sea Dragon Photosynth:

Sea Dragon and Photosynth demo
Uploaded by tedtalks. - Videos of the latest science discoveries and tech.

I found this technology to be both brilliant and scary at the same time. I think what concerns me the most is the thought of this technology being able to recreate and replicate a person in 3d. I have visions of people being framed for crimes they didn't commit, but may be this is just me being cynical.

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