Jarron Tham, Year 5, PG13 2021

Virtually Public

What does it mean to be in public? The reality of public spaces is one of urban desertification in favour of private virtual spaces, handing the scale of human interaction within the city over to machine learning and algorithm control. Sited in Somerstown’s dwindling use of formal public space, and speculates a public realm where the public rules by siting a virtual townhall within the future expiration of Story Garden’s meanwhile tenure. Although it appears in physical reality as a public retreat, it is transformed through an augmented reality to become a townhall, taking an integrated form of two parts where one reality suggests the existence of the other. The proposed become speculations into asking how the civic, social, and virtual constructs of future publicness alters the nature of who we are and how we interact in public space, how we gather local information and meanings of civic symbolism. It uses real-time interactive game technologies to test user(human) freedom of determination and ultimately asks if the private development of digital technologies can indeed make a space virtually public.

September 1, 2021