Reporting from Recalling RFID

On: October 24, 2007
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About Twan Eikelenboom
One of the first Masters of Media to crawl upon this blog (2006/2007)! Still following (and at times contributing) to this great project. Working at Dutch sectorinstitute for e-culture Virtueel Platform. Special interest in stories resulting from new media product use (think: sat nav gone wrong) and independent gaming. Also blogging at


On the morning of the Recalling RFID public program at Amsterdam’s De Balie, I passed one of the newly installed OV chipcard terminals at the metro station. It proved to be the beginning of a day that aimed to recall Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID). And through heated debate, recalling seemed to be two-fold: regain awareness of the topic to build on the past or, as Katherine Albrecht proposed, cancel the technology as a whole.

Flickr photo coverage by Anne Helmond
Full report at Virtueel Platform

After having escaped the RFID terminals in Amsterdam’s metro station, the audience was introduced to the subject by a short film/demonstration -see embedded video- in which people are shown walking, running, chatting and more importantly being watched in a shopping mall. The voyeuristic camera caught everyone in sight and showed detailed information of the avatars in the physical space and a flickering red warning in the case of an untagged person. The cyberpunk science-fiction of the 1980s has now almost become a reality, the fairy tale vision of first session moderator Rob van Kranenburg takes us even further into a possible future: ‘I see myself walking through the woods and suddenly a screen pops up from a tree and has info about the place’.

The Recalling RFID program put a strong focus on the question where are we now, and more importantly on the question: where are we heading? Session moderator Rob van Kranenburg mentions the concept of (Un)common Ground as a way to debate this move towards RFID and bring together people from various disciplines, in this case the field of RFID, and share experiences to perhaps create new visions.

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