Key terms The city of Abadyl

Abadyl: Is the title of a painting by Michael Johansson made in 1987 for the exhibition populärminne (Popular memory) it is the combination of the word abstrakt (abstract) stad (city) and akryl (acrylic paint), it now lends it´s name to the project presented here. Years later when internet searching became available I found out that it also is a small mission in the USA.

Co-Creation: The aim to use co-creation is to break the common position of the single artist and instead put forward a positive friction between Abadyl and the invited co-creators perspectives and professions. To create a temporarily and mutual relationship where we can interact, evolve, reflect and innovate in a multidisciplinary setting that blurs the boundaries between art, research and innovation.

Fieldasy: Tries to bring field studies and fantasy together, to slowly create a discreet dynamic tension and/or displacement between persons, things, times, places, and events that are not usually – if ever – associated into new and surprising conjunctions.

New Media: All media objects that could be variably, dynamic, meta-tagged, manipulated, modular, algorithmic, cloned, copied, coded, trans-, cross- and dis coded or procedural.

Prototypes: Is our approach to explore the profound relationship between digital materials, tools and artefacts.

Scenarios: Helps us to provide detailed and specific data, which the co-creator can use as background material for their action and artefactual production.

Iterations: We strive to facilitate a openness towards what happens in-between the design cycles. To try develop and put forward qualities that are hidden from the concepts point of view and by doing so – have the concept redeveloped itself through the results and experiences we achieve by the iteration,

Different perspective/point of view: Common method to see the world through some one else´s eyes, through a philosophical statement or system. To help us rediscover the ordinary and the world that surround us.

JTA Symposium Notes

Wednesday March 25th 2015

Warehouse9, Copenhagen

Symposium  Notes


Michael Johansson introduced the symposium by asking Why here? Why the collaboration between Kristianstad University and Warehouse9?

Short PRAMnet introduction:

The PRAMnet group met in the late 90s. At that time new media was boring, it was more about forcing the digital material to act as physical media. PRAMnet worked with narrativity and virtual spaces in a practical, explorative and theoretical way.

Live performances + technology -> making the room into a more dynamic space.

Journey to Abadyl – a collaborative project building on performances, thesis, etc.


10:15 Presentation of project related cases invited guests

Niels Birk – Area Manager, Kødbyen

The Kødbyen area is divided in three parts, the brown, the grey, and the white area. The first being the oldest. The brown area was constructed between the 1870s and 1901 when Øksnehallen was built. It was a visionary construction which implied regulations and a structure to the city. The white area was constructed in the 1930s, and was built upon the new thinking of an area “only made for butchering”. The whole Kødbyen area is listed, the brown and white areas being on the highest degree.

The Meat-packing district shall continue to be a unique attraction in Copenhagen with a dynamic city life, which is home to both butchers, creatives and artists.

  • Meat & Creativity
  • Changeable international destination of experiences
  • Opening of the district
  • Active and open spaces
  • Creative growth

The tendency is towards more openness in the literary sense.

Challenge: The district is listed as one of 25 national industrial memorials. In the brown and white areas everything is listed. Not only the buildings are listed, but also the way things are working/functioning.

  • Well defined in space and use
  • Political attention
  • Development is regulated by the political vision and strategy

Potential leasers are scrutinised in order to ensure that they contribute to the fulfillment of the overall vision.

Ulrich Gehmann – Ideal Spaces

Marta Wroblewska 4.jpg

Journey to Abadyl is about world construction.

Spaces imagined – Idea, eidos (an image of something)

  • Spaces perfect –

ideal as aim

ideal as mythic longing

ideal as perfect(ed) functionality

Conceptions of spaces

  • Ideal as aim – perfect end-stage
  • Mythic longing – a narrative, a tale of the world as it is. What is the meaning (can be an enterprise, etc.). A fundamental tale.
  • Ideal as perfect(ed) functionality – We want to create a world that functions. What is the functionality of the function?

Spaces abstracted – Utopia

models, maps, technical networks…

A utopos does not exist in the real sense. It is a space to be made yet. Artificially created spaces. Ideal spaces (e.g. park areas, ideal cities, the capitalist world)

Conceptions of the world as it should be.

The current utopia of functional cities: smart cities, the internet.

Space and Gestalt

Gestalt: expresses the essence of something, its nature

  • is a systema, a system – unity whole
  • is a morpho-logical context – logos, con-textus

def. of Gestalt:

  • whole related to its parts
  • relation of parts to each other
  • relation of parts to the whole

“We look at the world in a functional sense. Not looking at the Gestalt.”

Space as Gestalt

Garden cities.

We can create an artificial world, if certain parameters are fulfilled we can replace it somewhere else. In the same way you can create enterprises, etc.

Ideal cities as Gestalten

City: civitas, communitas

Classical idea of ideal city

  • for all, not just for individuals
  • community

Civi – an individual living in a community, all with equal rights.

City as a whole: social + architectural

City of equals

City of civitas

New idea of ideal city

City: not civitas, but pool of resources for individual use.

  • city not as a whole, but as assemblage of fragments -> urbanism, smart city
  • Gestalt-matters do not matter
  • ideal city is not city, but space of resources

USE, USERS (e.g. the company Monsanto creating a filial in Copenhagen, not because they are interested in Copenhagen, but in the USE of the city.)

The funcionalist way – individual use. Material for my personal use. I use the world for my own personal purposes (think apps, networks, etc.)

The ideal city vanished with modernity.

Now: Users of the world. Functionality.




No real groupings – all acting as individuals in a fragmented way

(e.g. Hipsters – an abstraction in our cultural mindset. Not really existing. Certain ideas in common, otherwise only individuals functioning in certain patterns.)

Kristoffer Åberg – Design Fiction                Empires of the Mind




Science fiction

Gadgets from the future


Creativity & Imagination

“Design fiction as I am discussing it here is a conflation of design, science fact, and science fiction. It is an amalgamation of practices that together bends the expectations as to waht each does on its own and ties them together into something new.” (Julian Bleeker, Design Fiction)

[here should be Kristoffer’s model on the following]

Science <–> Science fiction

Science <–> Design

Design <–> Science fiction

Science –> Design Fiction

Science fiction –> Design Fiction

Design –> Design Fiction

Science – Scientists, scientific method, truth.

Science fiction – is about the unreal –> what could happen. Driven by imagination.

Design – elements of both science and science fiction. Creativity, imagination, new method, experience.

[here Kristoffer’s model on the following]


Co-creators                                        Design fiction methods

Design fiction

What could be:                                 Alternate reality

Design fiction

Near future

“Design fiction objects are totems through which a larger story can be told, or imagined or expressed. They are artifacts from someplace else, /…/” (Julian Bleeker, Design Fiction)

From a doodle a universe is unpacked!

Kristoffer’s model of : Unreality / Unknown (Known Unknown, Known Known, Unknown Known, Unknown Unknown).

We can rely on our intuition, etc, but sometimes we need to be pushed in certain directions.

Helene Kvint – Performance Art Duo – CoreAct (by Helene Kvint & Anika Barkan)




House made of coloured plexi-glass parts in a Mondrian style.

Poems by a Danish writer: Vagn Steen (constructivist poems)

This was a participatory work. The visitors had to send back a poem, making people from all of the world very creative.

“Moving Garden”

Invited people for tea.

An animal (dressed actor) – helped opening up conversations.

Performativity when moving the garden around the city outskirts.

Gathering people’s stories about their experiences of gardens, then re-telling the same stories as their own for other audiences.

In the end –> recalling some of the stories –> mp3 –> installation (in the Kødbyen area) where visitors can listen and spend time in the garden.
A Facebook page for the garden.
Sound artist creating sounds for the garden.

Work with elderly people.

Re-telling the stories in present or future tense.

Always working with settings.

Now working on a piece: “Sorrow”

Bombina Bombast – Emma

“What’s left” & “Strange Days”

Performance, Storytelling

“What’ left – Work in progress” – Video installation (available on Vimeo or BB website)

Concept: video walk – iPad showing the same space as you are in, a guide, a video, structured dramaturgy, the same for every site.
Started out with a play with presence and absence – what’s real in the virtual world? Real but not physically close.
Reality & non-reality.

BB have developed an aestethic. First-person, long takes, follow the characters as it is live, no cuts (like in first-person games).
The easier to follow the video, the more abstract to create the narrative.

Six tents. iPad with choices (right, left, forward)

The participants were activated by both the video and the choices. When choosing one direction, always the feeling of missing out something else.

People moved around in a structured way. (Games, choreography.)

The interesting thing was that the video was experienced as the reality for the participants.

The real virtual reality.

BB working with oculus rifts. One step further into the virtual reality.
What is imagination? What is real?

The technology BB are using aims for the game industry. BB use it in a more abstract way.

We don’t yet know how to tell stories in this media. How to tell stories in a 360° media.

Albin Werle – NYXXX

NYXXX – a group of artists (visual artists, writers, game designers, etc.) based in Scandinavia, making reality games.

Games that take place in the physical space but using virtual and physical objects.

Avatar condition! – Techno-biological beings.

The games we make:

  • Human participants (players, avatars)
  • Sound instructions (radio, mp3, etc)
  • Interactive environment

The game

[here: Albin’s model on the following]

Human body + Sound instruction –> Avatar

Interactive environment + Sound ambience –> Narrative space

Human participants – players and avatars

When we hear the world “avatar” we may think of the film “Avatar”, game avatars, or material manifestations of deities. Bodies controlled by outer forces.

Nyxxx avatar:

Human body + sound instruction

a mechanic, a test, an evaluation, a new suggestion

As an avatar you are not making your own decisions.

A different perspective –> like first-person perspective but using your own body in a physical state.

The story is not told to you, but through you!
Instruction difficulty levels

  • Easy – following simple instructions is really nice, makes it easy to accept the game and its rules. Accepting the easy level makes it more likely to accept the next levels.
  • Choice based – choose one object (“Do you take the red pill or the blue pill?”) It is nice to feel that your choices have consequences. Choices makes the player care. Even if you are following rules there are several ways to act out.
  • Hard – Find the problem and solve it.
  • Observation – sometimes it’s just great to observe other players, the environment or yourself.

Taking off your headset after a session is a pretty weird feeling.

Flickering between physical and virtual reality.

The doubleness is interesting.

Some concepts:

  • Simple technology
  • Simple design
  • Task complexity
  • Interactive environment
  • Enjoy ability


Doll/Human interaction

Exploring concepts like subject/object, dominant/submissive, master/slave, etc.


Magnus Wallón & Johan Salo – Do-fi Interaction Design


Do-fi (do fidelity)





“Blindfarm” – Game for stick-training – Target group: Blind children.

It taught us:

  • Learning is so much
  • Designing for disabilities gives possibilities
  • Give the people that will use it the power to control it
  • And much more…

It’s about how to motivate and engage with new technology.



Cultural & Heritage place

Create an outdoor walk

  • Online admin
  • All platforms
  • A tool for everyone
  • Research goes to product


What’s next?: 2 new offsprings that will take the locative media to the next level.


The best way to explore locations is through your ears.

Afternoon sessions

Journey to Abadyl


Michael Johansson

In 1997 research on a project how different ideologies manifested themselves into architecture and monuments. The ideologies were no longer present, but the monuments remained.

Led to a database including approximately 5000 3D-models

How could I reuse this?

Five architecture students built the base of the city. The infrastructure based on 16 Formula-1 tracks (loops). A city you cannot escape, only go around.

Could I invite people into this city?

At this time there were no narratives.

How can I find out what is on the street level? Find out what’s inside?

Coined the term Fieldasy – Field study / Fantasy.

Look at things, etc. as is. And at the same time play with it.

The Unknown!

Fieldasy method – scenario based method.

Lack of information is my strategy!

The people invent through their actions.

The scenarios are about artifacts. I give them a narrative. The physical objects let people create their stories.

A strict rule-set inside Abadyl:

  • 16 objects
  • 7 specific scales
  • 16 Formula-1 tracks

Unknown unknowns!

To take people from the familiar into the fantastic, and they still think it’s for real…

Frame of fiction!

Lean on the story-frame and act out things they would never do in the real life.


  1. Take a city part from Abadyl
  2. Take the instructions in Abadyl
  3. Paper prototype – make a walk in a real city (based on the Abadyl “map”) with the Abadyl instructions.

Thore Sonesson (PRAMnet)


A basic story frame “The Piper of Hamelin”

How to design the Anatomy of Choice.

How do you make the space into a democratic space?

“The space as an interface”

Should be a synergy of expressions.

Design a world in a different sense. An interactive drama must be experienced.

The participants creates!

Designing a stage for users. A stage to be used. The space is an interface.

“In order to play freely, clear rules are required.”

“We could be anyone, we are everywhere.”

Marika Kajo (PRAMnet)

Prototypes with a purpose.

How could we work with different sensors?

Group dynamics.



Spirits on Stage

Jørgen Callesen (Warehouse9)

Virtual puppets

Physical actions / Presence

Virtual representation

When you work with virtual representations you have to make believe. Believing a puppet is real. You have to create the illusion that they are alive.

Loops with different expressions.
Generative piece.

Journey to Abadyl – Anatomy of choice

8 parts

4 dynamic                                 4 static

(dynamic) can be played

in 4 different ways

Makes it 32 ways of going through Abadyl.

The static parts are known, the dynamic are not.

Full day event (8 hrs)