The “chattheaters” held at different locations

The interactive idea mapping at the “Ofon” homepage

Day Three: Designing Social Participatory System

Mauricio Corbalán
(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 situation.


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