Observations on media and site

As sited media becomes more pervasive, it is also increasingly seamless. Integrated with architecture, it no longer appears as a singular anomaly or product, and instead as an interpretive layer—draped over the physical landscape and augmenting our experience of the concrete and tangible. Unlike location-aware mobile media, sited media has the potential to not merely reference, but rather create places.

In parallel to mobile devices, sited media is also becoming less about hardware. We are already living in an environment where information is largely freed from its hardware dependencies. While in the past, specific information was associated with specific hardware, today information is disembodied, accessible, and adaptive—available in various formats and levels of detail suited to the context we absorb it in.

Devices are generally becoming more universal, in terms of the content they are able to display. The same content can now be viewed on a multitude of devices, from laptops to mobile phones. Sited media, too, appears more often than not as an unconstrained, ‘generic’ display surface for information, rather than a content/hardware compound. By not constraining the type of information it can display, sited media places less emphasis on technique or hardware, and more on content.

If, conceptually, we can speak of a physical, tangible plane on the one hand, and an information plane on the other, sited media is at the intersection of the two: it creates moments during which the physical plane, augmented with information, becomes a hybrid space or heterotopia (to borrow from Foucault). For both mobile and sited media, the display will continue to become invisible, while information, in its various levels of detail, will become the primary entity—in some cases referential of place, in other cases defining it.

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