« Technology Review 10: Augmented Reality | Main | User-driven distributed control of collective assembly using mobile, networked miniature robots »

14. 03. 2007  12:46 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Will we "learn" again from Las Vegas (in Google Earth)?

The title of this post is of course a bit of a joke, but it is especially a wink to the famous book by Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown, Learning from Las Vegas published in 1972.
As I was following with distance some GE blogs, I noticed a few weeks ago a certain quantity of posts announcing new "buildings" with good realistic qualities in "Las Vegas". This sounds like a comment on the real city!
As Las Vegas is mostly already the transposition of existing buildings or monuments into an entertainment city, an "island" in the middle of the "desert", as it is a "faked reality made real", a conditioned space, it has already a lot in common with a "2nd world": the duplication of an existing situation with all the problems we can see in Las Vegas. It hardly generates more than an amusement park for grown up...
So to say and by extension, we could tell that Google Earth is becoming a kind of global Las Vegas (even if it is still not an entertainment park at the moment we write these lines)) but that Las Vegas into Google Earth has the hidden potential to become something much more conceptual, intriguing and complicated: a Las Vegas located both as an island into the desert and into "Global Las Vegas"... An "überpop" city.

It looks now pretty clear to everyone that Google is building a "geo-mapped - search everything from anywhere" system (even locations in books will be mapped) with references potentially working in all directions: from digital to real, real to digital, fiction to real, digital to fiction, real to real, digital to digital, etc.
With Sketchup as a free modeling tool and therefore the possibility for everyone to create new Google Earth layers or objects (as well as any geo web content), Google just need to turn GE into a multi-user / 2nd Life like universe to get a kind of ultimate 2nd world like project and connect everything: get geo-referenced data on you future cellphone, hybridize digital and real life, play with your avatars on the GE layer you want or you just have created, fake your real home, etc.
Those GE images gives a good idea of the complex mediated and layered world we could possibly live in the next decades. This could become the "second learning from Las Vegas": an hybrid fake, highly layered and mediated space, that if it gets combined with powerful visual AR mobile devices/softwares, such as the Nokia MARA one, could produce an instant real-soft city/earth.
You just miss now the concrete building of some Google Earth icons into real Las Vegas, of a Casino-hotel based on a successful ego-shooter game and the mish-mash mapping of everything into everything to get the look of the potential future city. A city where you won't be able to tell what was first, second or third, what is physical or digital, real of fake, etc.
We can now discuss if this is good or bad (I mean, do you really like to eat a deep-dish pizza on the Piazza San Marco in Las Vegas!!?), but the process looks to be on its way...

Posted by patrick keller at 14. 03. 2007 12:46