Nowadays, online communication and virtual communities are increasingly important and often tend to substitute for “real” offline contacts among people. In such a scenario, trying to maintain a human, local dimension within virtual relationships could seem a utopian and unrealistic task.
The objective of the MAZI project is not to replace the Internet, but to complement it with local networks to support interactions that are meant to really be local. In fact, only a local community composed of individuals that are aware of the needs and necessities of their reality can help in facing specific contextualized situations.
In Greek, MAZI means “together”, and this is the keyword, meaning, and final objective of the project: to build local community networks, together with networks of people who already share common interests and challenges. The MAZI idea arose during the Internet Science Network of Excellence Summer School (2012) where some partners had the chance to meet each other. On that occasion, the attendees built up a community network and decided to write a proposal on this topic.
At the moment, the consortium is a very interdisciplinary one: this means that the partners have the same objectives but, at the same time, they speak different languages. Interacting through the toolkit as the project's boundary object and finding a common vocabulary is surely a challenge, but this multivocality is the only real possibility for staying “together.”
Description of the outcome
Reflecting on our online experiences
Polylogue is an interactive installation, fed by visitors through their mobile devices locally. Through an open WiFi, anybody in reach can send text messages which are printed immediately on a paper roll that runs in-between two translucent, black boxes.
“Polylogue” offers a physical experience analog to apps like Snapchat and thus serves as an antithesis to the internet’s “eternal memory“, as the messages and their relationships only exist situational. Unlike digital messages, which often travel for thousands of kilometers, messages submitted to “Polylogue” travel exactly 2m until reaching their final destination.
It depends on the density of conversations how long it takes for a message to get from one box to the other to be shredded: the more and the faster visitors feed the installation, the more short-lived a single message becomes.
Polylogue 1: http://cargocollective.com/andreasunteidig/Polylogue
What you need to use it
When a user is in front of Polylogue, they just need a Wi-Fi device – smartphone, laptop, computer – in order to connect to the open Wi-Fi network of Polylogue. As soon as the user is connected, a captive portal will open where they can write their messages and send them to be printed on the paper roll together with other messages sent by other users in reach of the Wi-Fi signal.
Do you want to contribute?
Anyone can contribute, since it is open-source and all information (including files for the laser cutter etc.) can be found on GitHub.
- Github repository: https://github.com/lutzer/polylogue
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