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Community Mapping:
Sensing Pollution in London Fields
A Bodystorming Workshop


Robotic Feral Public Authoring

Space Media Arts

129-131 Mare Street, London E8 3RH | map


Wednesday 9th November 2005 2pm-5pm


Giles Lane, Orlagh Woods, Alice Angus, Sarah Thelwall



Do you live in, work near or use London Fields?
Are you concerned about pollution in the local environment?
Help us map and discuss how pollution affects the way we live, work and play by taking part in a Bodystorming workshop at SPACE Studios.

Why Participate?
This process is intended to help people feel more empowered about intervening in issues around environmental pollution, where it is usually the case that measuring levels of pollution is done by government agencies without local people being consulted. By exploring and demonstrating simple ways in which local people can build their own, playful, sensing and mapping technologies we hope to inspire fun, yet serious, methods that communities can employ for themselves.

The bodystorming workshop will aim to map some of the known and visible pollution issues in and around London Fields (by sending groups out to photo and annotate the area). We will then use these to explore the invisible pollution issues – air quality, historic industrial pollution etc – that may not be obvious. We will demonstrate a ready-made Feral Robot and experimental sensors we are developing with Birkbeck College that can upload sensor traces to the Urban Tapestries public authoring system.

Book a place
There are 25 places available for the workshop – if you live or work around London Fields you are warmly invited to book a place and participate.

What is Bodystorming?
Bodystorming experiences are designed to demonstrate and explore ideas and situations with groups of people. Fun and tactile, this approach allows us to investigate different qualities that an idea may have when applied in a physical setting – like a game it reveals the tensions and pleasures of limits and rules and reveals the kinds of relationships that occur through social and cultural interactions between people. Using props and take-home materials generated by the participants, everyone shares ownership of their experience.

About Robotic Feral Public Authoring
Proboscis has been developing a collaboration with artist / engineer Natalie Jeremijenko and Birkbeck College Computer Science Department to enable people to map local environmental pollution. Our aim is to demonstrate a means by which ordinary people could (in the near future) adapt simple technologies – such as toy robots and online maps – to map visible pollution (rubbish dumping, chemical leakage etc) and sense (sniff out) invisible pollution (air borne pollutants, ground-based toxins etc).

Proboscis has been researching new mobile and internet technologies for mapping and sharing local knowledge and experiences (what we call 'public authoring') with its experimental software system, Urban Tapestries. Natalie Jeremijenko has been adapting toy robots in Feral Robots to act as cheap and fun pollution sensors. This project will combine the feral robots with Urban Tapestries in an experiment to explore the site of London Fields from environmental, personal and community experience points of view.

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