Simona Conti
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Hej! I'm Simona Conti and I was born on 22nd june 1986 in Arezzo, Tuscany…in the very heart of Italy.
I would define myself an artholic and a “cinephile”. I like design, art, photography and generally doing creative things.
I'm studying interaction design in a MA study course in Siena, Italy and from february to june 2010 I will be in Århus, for an erasmus program of 5 months. One of the reasons I chose the "Communicating (in) the City" course is that I found it full of matters and contents relevant to my major (Interaction Design) and I loved the course title at first sight. My expectations about the course are those of finding out new perspectives related to perceiving the urban landscape, which I consider a mix up of lots of factors: humans as individuals, human as groups of social beings that form network of interactions, buldings, streams, ways full of crowd flowing everyday in different directions, voices, sounds and lights…that's pretty a complicated and charming mixture of ingredients that I want to explore and analyse better and better during this course.
Well, looking forward to start the games! :)
Hej Hej!


Assignment n. 2 -> Make a personal and subjective map of Århus

Click on the map to see an enlarged version of it

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As one of the main things I notice when I visit a new city is its artistic expressions spread all over the urban area, I decided to create a map of Århus based on this "hidden" (in the official cartography and to the eyes of many people) dimension. I'm a real newcomer of Århus as I arrived here about two weeks ago. Therefore, working for this assignment has represented a very good pretext to discover this cold scandinavian town maintaining a critical and analytical look, but in the same time leaving room to emotions and subjectivity.
I took my reflex cam, my map of Århus to orientate (and to avoid walking in the same streets several times) and I decided to…just follow my instinct :) Step by step, I found out lots of little (or sometimes very big) urban form of expressions. Some of them excited me, some move my soul, some surprised me. And even if the snow and the rigid weather tried to put me off, my investigation led me to impressive connections between all these little expressive footsteps of urban art.
As an open-air museum, all these pieces of art have been voluntarily spread into the city area. No ticket is required, just to be a very good observer. You could find out originally painted house façades or stickers drawn by MorMor, papercraft and poetical messages hung up on street signals, installations and statues, strange benches (like those of Jeppe Hein) or maybe a Blu's (http://www.blublu.org/) work of art (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3245/2788795799_63b2c4e9bb.jpg).
There's no limit to art expressions. The limit is in our mind when we don't notice them (or the sum of them).

Her er Aarhus!

I've partecipated to the Kultursyge photo competition (the core of the competition was to take some pics of hidden places in Aarhus) simply sending the photos that I took to make my personal map of Aarhus. These pics where shown at the "Her er Aarhus!" exhibition (25th march-11th april 2010) that showed the planned urban transformation of Aarhus as a candidate city as 2017 european capital of culture (the exhibit was sited at the Ridehuset, Vester Allé 1, Aarhus). One of my photos was also published in one of the brochure distributed at the exibhition.

Here there are some pics…of my shown pics :D

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Assignment n. 3 -> Find a place marked by hybrid space in one of the versions we’ve been through in the class on Hybrid Space (class of 2 March).

Explain in max 500 words how it is a hybrid space. Include quote(s) from one/several of the readings for today and/or next week (space-place) in your argument. Document the place in pictures, video and/or sound.

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Click here to read about Dunne & Ruby's Placebo project


Assignment n. 4 -> Make an “audio-stand”. Find a place that you find sonically interesting and communicate it to the rest of us in a soundbite; max 30 secs. It doesn't have to be from Aarhus, but you could use this assignment as an opportunity to listen to the city you currently live in.

I recorded this 30sec "audio-stand" in one of my favourite places in Aarhus, the "RisRas Fillingongong" pub in Mejilgade 24. It's an intimate, woodish, "patch-worked", warm place where people can relax and have one (or more) beers. You can't order food inside, but you can bring your own (a kebab perhaps?)…I found this very cool! I went there (again :D ) on friday 19th march with two friends of mine, eating delicious muffins (just bought at the very close "Jeremy" bakery shop in Mejlgade 27) and drinking liquorice teas. It was 18:30/19, so it was full of people chatting, drinking beers and smoking narghilés, as usual…
Definitely feeling in a "hyggeride" place while there…I love it.

ps: As it seems impossible to add an audio file from my computer here in the Wiki, you can find my audiostand attached in an e_mail that I sent in FirstClass, titled "assignment#4_SimonaConti"…enjoy!

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Assignment n. 5 -> Create and perform a .walk and swap your walk with another group.

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Group 2a:

Simona Conti
Chiara Artini
Alessia Vidili

Click here to read the description of the .walk :
.walk by Simona Conti, Chiara Artini, Alessia Vidili


Assignment n. 6 -> Create a mis-guide in order for us all to create a full Mis-guide of Aarhus.

Concept: Tag the City

Each place of the city can appear completely different to different people (and even to the same person, in different moments and parts of the same day) according to the concepts of "situation" and "drift/dérive". The "When" and "Where" determine the "How". Just like the great impressionist painter Monet, who painted several times on canvas the same cathedral during different moments of the day with different lighting (the series "Rouen Cathedral"), people perceive the urban space in a really peculiar and situation-based (or "impression-based") manner.

Claude Monet "Rouen Cathedral, Facade (Sunset)"

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Claude Monet "Rouen Cathedral, Facade I"

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Claude Monet "Rouen Cathedral, Full sunlight"

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This subtle and subjective kind of space perception could enrich and augment each place. People could externalize these impressions converting them into forms of public(/artistic?) expressions just by tagging the city and adding little physical tags all around the urban landscape. Tags are simple and flexible (a thumb-up hand which can easily be used as a thumb-down/in whatever direction hand) "I like it/I hate it/I (….) it" symbols which can be enriched with comments or colours. They can enhance and enlarge our perspective of the city, suggest something to other citizens and tourists and create a physical open/editable layered museum and archive of thoughts and feelings. Just like urban artists silently do.

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And here it is my concept for an Aarhus Mis-Guide page:

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My own "Communicating (in) the city" experience

Some final thoughts about the course:

1. What is your most memorable experience from this course? It could be with regards to readings, artworks or your assignments.
I think to have 2 most memorable experiences from "Communicating (in) the City" course:
• The double performance of the .walk in Aarhus
• The snow performance (the one regarding how people subjectively map the space that surround them) made during one of the first lessons of the course

2. Name the text that you liked the most (or that you learned most from)(or that provoked you the most). Why?
“A misguide to Anywhere” by Fiona Walkie -> it has really been a pleasure to read it, especially after having developed a good knowledge of “communiting (in) the city” and urban perception/mapping/building. I have really enjoyed it fully and to me, it represented a sort of summary of the whole course contents and a way to rethink on issues touched during all the lectures.

3. Name one thing that you have learned from the readings (or, which text did you like the most). Why?
I especially loved (and consequently learned from) the SI theories about how to re-concieve a city and a urban space: the "drift/dérive" situationist concept, the "situation" as a way to actively live and re-shape the places we ordinarily walk through. These lectures explore something I've thought about for a long time, a lot time before starting this course. I think to have always owned a good sensitivity towards the urban landacape and elements connected to it: this sensitivity has let me fully understand and enjoy the themes treated during the course.

4. Which artwork/ artifact/ performance presented in class did you like the most (or provoked you the most). Why?
Both the “Sound of Silence” listening performance (by experimental musician John Cage) and the subjective mapping experience made in the Aesthetic dpt. courtyard, during the last snowy days of february. Both these experiences have had a strong impact on my own way of rethinking something I’ve been always used to (subjective mapping and sound/absence-of-sound listening) but without paying too much attention to them.

5. What was your reply to the assignments? List them all and think about how to present them – as a whole – to the others; as a collection, what have they contributed to the course?
All my assignments can be found here-> http://communicity2010.wikidot.com/simona-conti

  1. Presentation of myself
  2. Creation of a subjective and personal map of Aarhus (in my case a representation of Aarhus as an open air museum fulfilled with urban art)
  3. Description of a hybrid space (in my case the "Placebo Project" by Tiny Dunne and Fiona Raby)
  4. Making of an "audio-stand" (in my case a recording of noises and sounds of the central RisRas pub)
  5. Creation of a .walk and (double) performance of two .walks through the city of Aarhus, following 3-lines codes
  6. Creation of a page of an Aarhus Mis-Guide (in my case, the concept of my page was "Tagging the city with physical tags")

All my assignments are presented as a sequence of pieces that dialogue together and contribute to build a "practical theory" of the thinking and rethininking of the city of Aarhus and in general of any city. All these assignments represent a way of "learning by doing" that made my knowledge stronger and open my perception of the urban landscape. Moreover, my assignments as well as the ones of the other students enrich the contents of the course using a peer-to-peer strategy that is really useful and has a lot of advantages (like finding out new and "fresher" topics to treat)

6. Which assignment do you find most in line with the course content? Why?
I think that the assignment “create a subjective map of the city" was one of the most in line with the course content. It was a real way of let us all externalize and perceive the urban landscape as a new place to visit/live/understand. The concept of "dérive" is in a way caged in everyone of us, but it is difficult to notice/methodologize it. The accomplishment of that assignment represented a solution to this ingenuous lack of attention on things generally pereceived as secondary/not-relevant to us. It was a way to overturn canons and standard ways of looking to the city.

7. Which of your assignment replies would be most suited a mis-guide? Why?
Again, I think that my reply to assignment n. 2 ("create a subjective map of the city") is the most suitable for a Mis-Guide concept, being it the one that let me think the most on course theories and basic concepts.

8. What could be changed in order for it to become a better mis-guide?
Maybe it could simply be opened to a wider public asking them to rethink to the city as an open art museum in which they act as actual artists that contribute to make the urban/exhibit space better and more beautiful.

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