Cumulus conference, Utrecht

September 30th - October 3rd, 2004



Titel of the Paper:
Providing affinity


Michel Guglielmi
University of Aalborg, department of Medialogy, Denmark

Hanne-Louise Johannesen
University of Copenhagen, department of Visual Culture, Denmark


This paper will introduce a project sourced by an ideas competition called Landmark East England. It was open to anyone with the ability to develop and deliver a visionary idea for a landmark. A sustainable icon representing a new region in England, which comprises Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

Research found that there was a lack of identity or sense of belonging and nothing anchoring people to the region as a whole. Common affinity is somehow forced to the people of East England and thereby we came to the conclusion that a single landmark or a series of landmarks would do little to achieve true affinity.

Therefore, we based our design strategy in trying to elaborate an alternatereality based on fabulation, virtualization and narratives that we subtly interweaved into architectonic structures (fabric) of the real.

We have created plots and potential situations but also virtual events that calls for an undeterminated process of resolution. This process is activated by the user who co-produces the actualisation as an answer to a virtual reality that we defined at the first place.

The potential situations or the possible it is a fantomatic real. The possible is like the real. It is determinated and it only lakes existence. While the possible is already made, the virtual is like a problematic which needs to be resolved and actualized.

Our installations are based on high tech interactivity where we use sensors and remote communication to offer a sense of belonging to people sharing deterritorialized synchronic experiences.

But at the same time, the immersion experience is highly low tech and desperately analog, mainly based on fabulation, cartoons, and mushrooms growing in local forests. It ultimately appeals to the experienced sense of tangible reality.