Even before it had a name, the event was coming. Now, dubbed Spectropolis: Mobile Art, Media and The City, it's here. Convening panels, workshops and projects in Lower Manhattan over three days (Oct 1-3), Spectropolis explores how pioneering uses of communication technologies are generating new modes of urban experience and civic participation. Some of the projects have recently been put to use. Bikes Against Bush, for example, were downloading text messages of dissent and chalking them onto city sidewalks during the RNC. Others pose new ways to interface with the city. free103point9's Micro Radio Sound Walk modifies street sounds and feeds them back live into the participant's headphones to create walking tours of the city like it’s never been heard before. Umbrella.net by Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki experiments with the ad-hoc development of networks around Manhattan prompted by chance occurences or coincidence. The workshops offer practical information, such as how to build your own community network or make your own GPS drawing. And the panels, moderated by Jonah Peretti, Laura Forlano and Anthony Townsend, frame these diverse applications of mobile technology with discussions around their history and potential for wider social effect. See the site for a full schedule. - Lauren Cornell
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by Dorothy Howard on Jul 22nd, 2015