Developing Devolution

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Developing Devolution (2008) is the physical computing installation project using the marker based, augmented reality technology to show New York City’s ratio change in publicly accessible space from 1912 to 2008.


2009 in Risd Digital+Media Master Program


Since human beings have built cities, our practical area to live in and access has extended tremendously through building architecture or developing underground areas. However, what about the actual ratio of accessible space? When we see New York City, how much space can we actually access? Many stories of most buildings are forbidden to enter, and the places that we can freely access are transportation, commercial and open spaces like parks. Besides those places, we mostly only enter and exit our own and our acquaintances’ homes and work places. I researched the data about the average number of stories in buildings from 1912 and 2008 to figure out the practical area, and calculated their value changes in connection with accessible area.



I placed those data in the form of floating plates on the New York City map using augmented reality technology, and those changing images were projected onto the wall. Each plate has a similar area of New York City in the same scale of the map. For example, in 1912, plates were 3.29 times duplicated vertically on the real New York City area and on 2008, plates were 5.15 times duplicated in the same way. Changing the direction of the hand on the clock looking gauge interface, the audience can see the different numbers of floating plates on the New York City map. Those numbers will be raised as we build higher and higher skyscrapers. And at the same time, our actual accessibility of the city will be smaller and smaller.

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