Mediamatic at PICNIC 08

On: September 29, 2008
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About Cornelia Scripca
Currently a New Media Master student at Universiteit van Amsterdam. Graduated Film Faculty at the National University of Theater and Film in Bucharest, department of Audiovisual Communication.


Mediamatic is a project partner of PICNIC.
Excellent coders, designers and physical computers participate in this heavy duty camp to explore recent technologies, RFID, interaction design and social processes. The goal of the Camp is to realize multiple interactive installations, wearables and spaces for the visitors of PICNIC to play with.

I went to PICNIC a few days before it actually started. I was taking a walk with my friend to see how the place looks like. It was empty but the huge white dome (E-Art Dome) was already there. In a small room located near the Old Gas Factory a group of people was working hard. My friend introduced me to one of the ‘hackers’ so I had the chance to talk to an ‘insider’, Arjan Sherpenisse.
In order to participate to the Social RFID Games you needed to have an ikTag. With it you could start a running race, or test your alcohol intake or support one of the two DuckRace players etc.
Arjan explained to me how two of the projects work. One was the DuckRace: two players start their race cars with their tags. The race track is based on the personal profile and network of the players. Since it’s a social game, the audience could influence the race car with their ikTags.

Two other ‘mediamatics’ were outside carving some wood, building the platforms. Their work was similar to creating small architecture models. I was impressed that they were working with so much passion. ‘We didn’t sleep for a few days’ Arjan Scherpenisse confessed.
Thirty people from all over the world were there, in the small room, working day and night for the Mediamatic projects.

On Thursday, the second day of PICNIC I was back there. This time I was dissapointed that I couldn’t join the conferences and in fact I couldn’t enter anywhere. It would have been a nice experiment for me if I had at least an ikTag to play around.

6 Responses to “Mediamatic at PICNIC 08”
  • September 30, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Hi Carina,

    Thanks for the report. You could get an iktag at the mediamatic dome, and that was free of entrance, I belief… Anyways,some comments (more towards mediamatic, i think);
    RFID dates back from around 1992. So, what recent technologies again?
    And what is the link between “social” and “RFID”? What you’re basically researching then is the social side of a barcode (?), which in essence does not make any sense. The application, thus the implications of certain technologies and, as a result, their possibility to be social or not is worth questioning.
    Ok, it is true that RFID is an accessible (thus very hackable) tool to use in creating an ‘internet of things” or “networked objects”, but there’s so much more out there. Too bad Mediamatic is focusing only on arphids for the last couple of years.

  • September 30, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    The difference between rfid and a barcode is that a barcode is not linked to a database and it does not send out your id. Using a barcode would make no sense for mediamatics’ social (read:networking) purpose as no links will be made between users. An important aspect is their database and their anyMeta system. You could think of using a “newer” technology like wifi or bluetooth but then it is still not connected to a database and trying to get people to link to their mobile account would be much more difficult.

  • October 2, 2008 at 10:46 am

    @ marijn.

    Get your point. However, a barcode, like the one you can find in the supermarket is also hooked onto a database! Anyways, the point to make is that RFID is “just a sensor” hooked onto a database: you can hook any sensor and/or actuator to a database (and then to the web/ social software). RFID in this case is just an easy way to make the connection, due to its wireless-ness and the fact that this ‘wireless button’ has its own unique identifier. RFID in this sense is not sending out your id, it is sending out ITS id (which is a big difference).
    Connections such as bluetooth are way smarter, but (unfortunately?) way more secured, so yes more difficult, but not impossible.
    The strong point in RFID for me lies in the possibilities for alternative interfacing/ physical computing, rather than it being linked to social software and your profile. Ah well, could go on forever about this, but I won’t ;)

  • October 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    yeah, good point…I realized this once I posted it, of course they are connected to a database, but it has no read/write capability. Anyway, indeed we can go on about this.

  • November 22, 2008 at 2:09 am

    In the sense of identification, yes, bluetooth and RFID are the same: they both emit an unique (enough) identifier. However, in the sense of physical presence, they differ a lot: the 4cm reading distance of mifare tags has its advantage: you can really detect whether a tag (e.g. person) is doing something *right now*, at the spot. That’s impossible with bluetooth.

    About security, at Mediamatic we don’t use any of the security-enabled features of RFID; we only take the tag identifier for use in online applications, instantiating the physical connections into the social network.

  • March 4, 2010 at 4:31 am


    race car games. Remember that it takes time, effort and dedication, just like…

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