Moving City was the latest in a series emerging from a research project set up in 2000 at the University of Nottingham. Originally entitled “Architecture Exposed: New Ideas for Exhibiting the Built Environment” the project set out to challenge the conventional methods of presenting exhibitions about architecture through photographs and drawings shown inside a gallery. This format normally prevents a proper understanding of three-dimensional space by relying only on visual communication. In contrast, this project began by taking the exhibition ‘out onto the street’. This allows the combination of the full sensory experience of real spaces with the kind of analytical and interpretive information offered by a museum or gallery setting.
Early versions of this work used a printed guidebook to provide illustrations of imaginary design projects together with a written commentary, while participants visited the actual sites used for the projects around the centre of Nottingham. This format could also have been used to present alternative walks such as historic architectural landmarks, or current proposals for new developments.
For Moving City, the printed guide was replaced by a more flexible and re-usable electronic version, in form of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). Content could now be presented in a more dynamic way but it could also be updated more dynamically for future use. The content of the tour was an exhibition of work by architecture students from the University of Nottingham, showcasing proposals for public art installations in spaces around the centre of the city. Each space had been designed to display a temporary visual arts installation or performance event – sculpture, video, lighting, or sound – combined with permanent proposals to improve the quality of the spaces. By direct comparison with ‘best practice’ from other cities the target audience was encouraged to form their own ideas, and to visit an online exhibition. During the walk itself, a combination of maps, diagrams, text and video describing the new design proposals (as well as historical background information) was being displayed on the screen, according to the viewer’s location in the city.
Experience the The Moving City tour here (Flash required).