The aim is to create an experience, which can be tuned to the specific conditions of a place, while simultaneously being connected to other remote locations. What is discovered is dependent on ones position and that of a remote other.

The first phase of the project (Nov 2008-Oct 2009) focuses on the conceptual and technical development of the project. This phase will be achieved through working in sites in Spain, Portugal and Finland.

Location 1, Poble Nou, Barcelona, Spain

Description of the location
Historically the neighborhood Poble Nou was a small village, lying on the outskirts of Barcelona city. In the 19th century it grew to become a key industrial player in Spain’s history earning the nickname the ‘Catalonian Manchester’ for its extensive network of textile factories and other industries including the handling of food and wine, metallurgy and construction. Between the 1960-80s, the neighborhood experienced a period of intense industrial decline and desertification, which was further intensified as new industrial zones emerged in other parts of Barcelona. Consequently between the years 1963-1990 more than 1,300 factories closed in Poblenou, leading to further decline and neglect of the neighborhood. During this period many of the disused factories and spaces became inhabited by artists and squatters who set up studios and grass root initiatives. In turn the neighborhood forged for itself a new identity, which was active shaped by the artistic and creative communities which lived and worked in Poble Nou.

This identity was challenged as recovery plans for the neighborhood began to emerge. These plans were in part kick started by the 1992 Olympic Games, which lead to a series of major changes not only in Poble Nou but also in the surrounding neighborhoods. The creation of the Vila Olímpica (first residential BCN quarter on the coastline) and the construction of urban beaches and playgrounds lead to further changes in the neighborhoods socioeconomic conditions and make-up. For example, communities were eradicated as the building of new roads, which linked the area to the city, airport, etc., were constructed. In 1999 as the last part of the Diagonal Avenue opened and linked Poble Nou to downtown Barcelona, there was increased public debate about the future of the 200 hectares (equal to 115 blocks) of industrial land of Poble Nou, which had yet to be refurbished. The outcomes of this debate was the approval in July 2000, of the Amended Metropolitan Master Plan for the refurbishment of industrial areas of Poble Nou, known as 22@ Plan – a name derived from its original industrial zone or location. However the result of the 22@ Plan has lead to further transformations in the neighborhood as buildings which had for years been used as artist studios, community centers, local industries or squatted houses were evicted as the new plan was put into place.

The 22@ plan continues to be implemented in Poble Nou and is considered as the most important urban transformation in Barcelona and one of the most ambitious in Europe, with investment of 180 millions euros.

The plan aims to create ‘…A new model of city providing a response to the challenges posed by the knowledge-based society’ by converting Poble Nou into the city’s technological and innovation district, as well as increasing leisure and residential spaces. In implementing this plan the neighborhood of Poble Nou in a short space of time has experienced radical changes both to its built environmental and its sociocultural conditions. This has lead not only to changes in ways of living but also the loss of certain community lifestyles as new modes of living and consumerism are overlaid upon the neighborhood.

In technically realising the first Pop-Up Landscapes prototype at Hangar, the team drew on the physical transformations occurring in the built environment, in Poble Nou.

The first technical tests of the installation prototype used panoramic day-night photos of the built environment, which lay directly outside of the Hanger, media art space. These images (Day=Environment A; Night=Environment B) were inserted into the Pop-Up Landscapes software and projected.

What elements of the images were revealed, mixed or fragmented was dependent on your position and whether you choose to work side-by-side or remotely with another.

Location 2, Mação, Portugal

Description of the location
Mação, central Portugal is situated by the Tejo River between the transitional climate zones of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The area is famous for its pre-historic art examples some of which are the richest in Portugal and in Europe. Over the last ten years the region has suffered from severe droughts, which have radically changed the landscape. Drought impacts were also catalyzed by catastrophic forest fires, which burnt to ashes most of the municipality forest area and led to fires within the town of Mação. Consequently the region is considered semi-arid and the issues of desertification are leading to severe soil and vegetation degradation.

In addition the area not only suffers from a physical desertification but also from human desertification. The region has approximately 8,000 people, spread over 400 sq kilometers, the majority of which are over 50+ years. In the 50’s and 60’s a combination of influences resulted in massive migration towards Lisbon and decreased use of land for pasture and agriculture. These major changes in land uses were extradited as the land was turned into Eucalyptus and pine forests, which over time have lead to further degeneration of the soil.

Consequently within Mação there is a combination of human-environmental desertification phenomenons taking place in the area, which provide interesting challenges. In taking Pop-Up Landscapes to Mação we will take into account these environmental conditions and their influence on the peoples perception and construction of the landscape.

In Mação the team will focus on developing a set activities with members of the community (senior citizens, master archaeology students and primary school children). The aim of these activities will be to gain a greater awareness of how a community would transmit a sense of its place. For example, what sites would it choose to show to someone as an example or memory of Mação? What changes have occurred in the town? What have people been happy to lose? What would they like to preserve?

Further technical tests of the software and interface will also take place in Mação, exploring the play and overlay of images from different timelines (past, present and future imaginations).

Location 3, Archipelago, Finland

Description of the location
The south-western Finnish Archipelago is one of the most unique maritime landscapes in Europe and one of the largest archipelagos in the world. Depending on how one defines an island there are approximately 20,000-81,000 islands, skerries and land areas, which are tightly clustered together and make up the region. The main islands are easily accessible from the mainland of Finland and the official languages are Finnish and Swedish.

Borne from melting ice sheets some 10,000 years ago the actual outline and number of islands that make up the archipelago is continually shifting. This is part due to changes in the landlift which continue to this day, revealing new skerries and land.

The Baltic Sea in which the Archipelago is situated is also unique. Due to the many rivers that flow into it, it is one of the largest bodies of brackish (low-salinity) water in the world. The sea is further characterized by a series of basins of varying depths, which are separated by shallow areas or sills. Additionally the connection to the North Sea is very narrow which further impacts on the sea water composition. For example, the lack of a major inflow of saltwater from the North Sea has in the last two decades decreased the salinity of the water and in some cases increased the temperature. Due to these specific characteristics, the Baltic Sea is one of the most studied in the world as it is also highly sensitive to human and industrial pollution.

In the last century certain parts of the Baltic Sea have experienced serious deterioration due to human and industrial pollution, the destruction of wetland resources, historically poor legislation as well as natural processes of change. Increases in human and industrial pollution has led to many harmful and highly toxic substances (chlorinated terpenes, halogenated paraffins, polyaromatic hydrocarbons) now been present in the sea. These substances bioaccumulate and cause further long-term damage. Added to this there has been an increase in natural substances and nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen compounds), leading to changes in the levels of oxygen present in the sea. Consequently the effects of eutrophication (changes in chemical nutrients) in the archipelago have been well documented.

In sum, the conditions of the Baltic Sea and the Archipelago involve a complex set of interrelated political, economic and human variants which have contributed to the environmental change and degradation of the Baltic Sea.

In relation to the urban and rural landscapes of the other Pop-Up Landscapes case study areas, the Baltic Sea provides an example of a landscape which has continued experience transformation, which in turn influences the human connection to the landscape and the Archipelago region.