Designing Social Participatory System
(of M7red, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Today the internet draws uncountable senseless connections between
different people. Through “Ofon”, Mauricio Corbalán explores this
connectivity process, and elevates this into an opportunity for
exchanging ideas and mapping ideas in a more global scale. “Ofon”
is a connectivity office, as well as an experiment in networking
device that registers and empowers connections between public actors
through hypothesizing situation. Through analyzing and intervening
them, and at the end, the office produces maps, blogs to facilitate
the public conversations and participation in the internet.
This experiment of connectivity within cyberspace is intermediated
by a device happens in specific physical space, the "chatheater".
The "chattheater", as Corbalán introduced, is an attempt that connects
fictionalization processes with real ones in order to trying to
think again what means the public sphere. Participants were gathered
in a place first and were introduced with newspaper scenario for
discussion. Each of them was asked to choose a fictional character
profile to be used in the "chattheater" discussion. The “chattheaters”
in different places in the world were then connected to discuss
on some specific urban issues. The results collected from each of
the “chattheater” events becomes useful source for building up a
collective map of "potential" connectivity. The map shows
the possibility of connection between different cities in the world
by the sharing concern on a specific urban issue. The “Ofon” also
have some other more conventional practice of public relations or
"connectivity" diplomacy through blogging , face to face
meetings, targeted e-mailing, and molecular approaches.
Corbalán found the attempt so far was quite promising, as it encourages
people around the world to discuss on the new hospitalities and
the public sphere.
One of the important effects is that it engaged people that originally
thought as a matter of specialist, to communicate with the expert.
The specific setting of the “chatheater” also facilitates unexpected
exchanges between them.
Corbalán stressed that internet is the main space to develop new
situation in thinking. The uniqueness of “Ofon's” approach is that
it turns some of the long-blamed characteristics of the internet
into opportunities of new scenario of social connection. The meaningless
connection is portrayed in a new way for a global connectivity and
social awareness; the fictional identity of dishonesty is also translated
into an alternative opportunity of addressing the problems.
Mauricio Corbalán is an architect are architects based at Buenos
Aires and, and co-founded M7red with Pio Torroja. They are currently
working on the relationship between urbanism, media and politics.
They are developing collective projects to discuss urban topics
while producing new models of connection within the framework of
the new social interactions that emerged after the argentinian crisis
in 2001. They have developed “Ofcon”, a network device that registers
and empowers connections between public actors through hypothesizing