Alan James Maizey

I am an undergraduate student from Australia. I chose this class because I am drawn to the city in many ways. Having grown up in a town that in no way resembles any kind of major city, I enjoy walking through these concrete jungles and exploring their differences in compared to what I have grown accustom to. I find the constant growth and expansion of cities overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. I an highly intrigued by the smaller, less noticed spaces of a city: alleyways, loading docks, miniature gardens and parks.

I love taking photographs. I love the beach and bodyboarding. I love sunsets and sunrises. I love unicorns.






Representing a major shift in consumer attitude toward autonomy, responsibility, and independence are the increasingly popular self-service machines found in many major chain supermarkets worldwide. Accompanying the introduction of these devices to the contemporary marketplace is the evolving mentality of mobility and freedom that the use of these devices propagates in the user. Creating an isolation from human interaction through the use of technology, in order to serve the user in ways that allow them to engage and participate rather than observe and distance themselves, is a factor that is taking place via the installation of these machines in high traffic, public spaces. As suggested by one frequent user in the United States and noted by Amy Harmon, this form of independent consumerism is not such a bad thing, “Dealing with humans in such situations ‘just slows you down,’ [Kimberly Ward] says. ‘This is a lot more convenient’ (Harmon, 2003).
In terms of mobility, shoppers, who traditionally remain static when having their items scanned and assessed for them are made mobile through the use of these ‘self-service’ machines (de Souza e Silva, 2006). Where they would otherwise simply watch an attendant scan item after item whilst remaining still, the users are invited to actively participate in the experience of processing a transaction. Although one could argue that the presence of mobility is somewhat obstructed by the bolts fastening the machine to the floor, a counter-argument would be that the shopper is provided psychological and physiological freedom. Releasing the customer from the traditional bond of the buyer/seller dichotomy by offering the control of such transactions to the party, whom are commonly forced to idly watch without active participation; the customer.
The experience of being immersed in a Hybrid Space begins for the customer when they enter the shopping complex. Firstly they may notice that their bodies are being sensed by the automatic gates which permit entry to this space. Secondly, a glance upward will reveal the voyeuristic camera systems recording and tracing their every move. Touch is acknowledged when customers interact with the display screens of the ‘self-service’ machines. The user engages in ‘conversation’ with the machine as they listen to instructions given to them via a speaker. Visual cues are given for those with hearing disabilities and are seen in vivid on-screen diagrams. This piece of artificial intelligence guides and aids, or lets its ever-changing master take complete control.
As far a migration between digital technology and physicality is concerned it could be fairly argued that self-service machines represent precisely the opposite effect; allowing users to migrate from physical interaction with other human beings in favour for a process that promotes total independence and autonomy from sociality (de Souza e Silva, 2006). This perspective however is a common drawback of technological encroachment into the social arena. Instead, I propose that what may be occurring is a luring of a new audience, or rather a ‘welcoming back’ of a lost audience, who for years had chosen to purchase their goods via the internet from their homes, into the highly sociable arena of the supermarket.







1. What is your most memorable experience from this course? It could be with regards to readings, artworks or your assignments

My most memorable experience with this class actually occurred outside of it. I was speaking to some friends about the concept of this class and what I was going to focus my assignments on. THey were impressed to hear that there could be such insight into the cityscape. Personally I enjoyed reading about the locative games that encouraged tourists and residents alike to interact with cities in a different, playful way.

2. Name the text that you liked the most (or that you learned most from) (or that provoked you the most). Why?

I particularly liked the Jason Farmarn text as it highlighted most of the reasons that I found to be interesting in terms of the way people can alter the way they look at the city through the use of platforms that have been traditionally constructed to be enjoyed and utilised in a ststic environment such as ones home. I believe that his paper and research gives us a new way to look at contemporary gaming and social interaction as a single entity.

3. Name one thing that you have learned from the readings (or, which text did you like the most? Why?)

I learned that the city does not have to be isolated from certain members of the community just because they choose to be involved with a leisurely activity such as social networking on a digital platform or gaming.

4. Which artwork/artefact/performance presented in class did you like the most (or provoked you the most). Why?

I particularly enjoyed the Monopoly Live artwork/performance that took in the streets of London (and not just because I love Monopoly!) It was fantastic to see a game that was such a large part of my childhood become a reality in a very

5. What was your reply to the assignments? List them all and think about how to present them – as a whole – to others; as a collection, what have they contributed with to this course?

I found the assignments to be a fluent way of converting theory into practice. Although in some cases we were simply appropriating artworks made by other social commentator and artists, that does not detract from the fact that they were a useful set of tool that helped obtain a deeper understanding, from a student's perspective. As a whole I would present my assignments as a framework, consisting of abstract ideas and fresh viewpoints, to be used when looking at contemporary communication methods in the city. I would suggest that the assignments hold potential the to instill new ways of thinking about our relationship to space and static objects, such as buildings and solid structures.

6. Which assignment do you find most in line with the course content? Why?

Apart from assignment one, talking about myself (which is something I enjoy, because I am awesome), I found assignment four to be the most pleasant. Stopping to take in the physicality of the sounds and how they evoked certain emotions in me was a very enjoyable experience that helped me to understand the metropolitan scape much better. I see this assignment as relating most to the course content in the sense that it was the most unique way of interacting with a city in a new fashion. It drew my attention to segments of the readings that spoke specifically about altered perspective as the way of progressing through the urban sprawl.

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