Zines produced and distributed by CUP
It’s notable to point out the expression of education, civic agency and the performative socially activist arts tend to utilize a variety of tactics usually edging towards the technologically emergent. Many of the strategies used, whether gaming, infomatics, performance, immersive storytelling or networked communities each serve similar goals albeit through the lens of aesthetics, urban civic action or pedagogical education. In an attempt to merge these similarities with a call for study on the intersection as well as a streamlined application of appropriate theories to better develop of civic agency comes the International Journal of Learning and Media particularly with this article entitled Civic Tripod particularly focusing on ‘mobile’ and ‘games’ by the collaboration between three researcher Susana Ruiz, Benjamin Stokes, and Jeff Watson of USC. Civic Tripod curates, offers some interviews and wraps it up in the three distinct areas mentioned above with an invitation for cohesion:
” We ambitiously seek to curate a set of conceptually important mobile projects, and to connect them with a light weave of theory from three distinct traditions of practice. Specifically, this report outlines the emerging field of mobile and pervasive games along the dimensions of (1) civic learning, (2) performance/art, and (3) social change. Focusing on real projects from the field, we aim to reveal key opportunities and constraints on the mobile frontier for civic games…We argue that this three-legged “tripod” is increasingly necessary to articulate how mobile game projects are succeeding (and failing).”
While the Civic Tripod focuses specifically on gaming and activism, within recent years organizations such as Center for Urban Pedagogy in NY seek to facilitate collaborations with designers, media artists, and civic agencies in accessible formats.
“CUP projects are collaborations of art and design professionals, community-based advocates and policymakers, and our staff. Together we take on complex issues—from the juvenile justice system to zoning law to food access—and break them down into simple, accessible, visual explanations.”
Often this translates as multilingual poster/zines giving the concept of technology back to it’s traditional form both nationally and internationally, the printing press. However, CUP’s projects have recently ended with calls that branch out into the mediums of animation and interactive design and hopefully a potential for simplified mobile applications available on the feature phone entry level can become available in the future.
It’s taken an evolution forwarded by both the emergence of mobile technology and mass networking as well as the rejection of universal efficacy and utopianism of these applications that have brewed these current organizations of civic outreach.