A few days ago, +Jason Farman
wrote this article for The Atlantic to challenge the notion that technology disconnects us entirely from the world we live in. In it, +Broadcastr
serves as one of his examples in which technology actually adds depth to the experience we can have in our physical worlds.
This comes in tandem with a slew of interaction design predictions in the past few months -- one camp famously deriding a future with "pictures under glass," advocating for tactile technologies instead, while Corning, a glass technology company, dreams of it with endless possibilities.
These two particular topics converge in my thoughts here, because I too don't think that the sides of these two situations are necessarily antithetical. In fact, I often think of Broadcastr as a twofold bridge: one which uses technology to add depth to the physical world, and one that can also introduce the morphing versatility of "pictures under glass" to our tactile, spatial, and temporal existences.
Broadcastr is often recognized for the way it adds significance to a place in real-time; indeed, our most shining feature is the Geoplay
option which enables users, tracked by GPS, to walk wherever they please and to have nearby, highly rated broadcasts play as they go, ranging from history to personal stories to fictional narrative. It's exhilarating -- a feature that I personally like to call "a temporal X-ray vision." However, this is only the side of Broadcastr in which place gives content significance. The lesser-discussed side -- and the side which, to me, will make Broadcastr relevant long after the mobile tech bubble bursts -- is that content gives place meaning.
We use glass because it's unassuming; the most transparent form of hardware to encase and present the infinitude of software. We use glass because we haven't yet found a way to transfigure the world into a blank slate. Yet, why should we aspire to this illusion at all? Technology, in this way, makes us dishonest.
I see Broadcastr as the catalyst in a new breed of technology: one that builds upon an existing world by uncovering its previous iterations, like America in the 1920s, '50s, '70s; by enabling storytellers and dreammakers to create their visions on top of their own local topographies; and by imbuing our personal voices, our lives, into a world that very much exists already; a world that begins through our attention and care, for which discovery is an act of creation. Broadcastr is a way to leverage technology to redirect our interactions with the world back to, well, the world itself instead of an abstracted place we have created to give us the illusion of power and influence. And I honestly can't be more excited to be a part of that transition.