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Digital Markers: Making contingent markers with localised networks

An abstract installation of lights
An abstract installation of lights
Crumbles Turret Light Show, Image courtesy of Jet.

Prototyping, testing and embedding digital DIY networking tools as an archiving platform for the recovery and creation of local histories of disappearing sites in London.

Project duration: 1 December 2019 - 31 September 2020
Funded by: DesignScapes, H2020-SC6-CO-CREATION-2016-3

Project summary

The Digital Markers project will prototype, test and embed a digital DIY networking tool to establish an archiving platform for the recovery and creation of local histories attached to disappeared and threatened sites in London. Digital Markers will use participative design strategies to bring cross generational communities of interest into dialogue with artists/designers in order to co-design, co-author and collectively produce a digital marker/un-monument comprised of site and community related material hosted on the local networking tool.

The project will generate a set of strategies and frameworks for facilitating both visual recovery and activation by linking past and current communities who may have previously been excluded from self-representation, archiving and publishing. The Digital Markers tool kit will be transferable and customisable according to the needs of community contexts, building community cultural capital and giving voice to underrepresented communities.

Digital Markers will be based on current Mazi technology and will develop and extend its application. MAZI technology is comprised of a set of adaptable tools hosted on a localized platform comprising Do-It-Yourself low-cost networking hardware, and free/libre/open source software ‘Floss’ applications.

Project team

Project aims

  • Co-create a set of textual and visual artistic digital tools that can be customized, hosted and located according to the needs of the community, enabling innovative community action and developing peer to peer instruction – based on mapping their own user experience - for other groups to utilise within their local context.
  • Develop Mazi hardware by designing and producing a prototype all-weather housing, allowing for the wi-fi network to be permanently available and accessible within an urban exterior environment.

Digital Markers will work directly with community groups and local residents in one of the most densely populated inner London areas. A flat working approach will be used, creating an ongoing dialogue where co-design methods establish the conditions for both participation within and for the advancement of the project through workshop prototyping. Throughout the project the Digital Markers platform will be permanently hosted, moving between different cross generational groups and adapted through application. Working with 3D open source digital modelling tools and visualisation to facilitate, community authoring/voice/representation.

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