PLUGGED-UNPLUGGED is an organising concept with which the differentiation of public space is boosted by using new media.
An area or space can be marked out as a PLUGGED ZONE or an UNPLUGGED ZONE. The zones are polar. In the PLUGGED ZONE, the usage of new media enhances public space into attractive urban areas where current, on the spot information is available and can be exchanged. The UNPLUGGED ZONE is guarded against the feverishness of today's networks and provides peace and space for personal experiences. Both zones offer explicit possibilities for social, economic and cultural living. PLUGGED and UNPLUGGED ZONES are exponents of what public space is all about: diversity and accessibility, reactions and reflections, predictable and unpredictable meetings and events. Both zones add quality to everyday city life.
A PLUGGED ZONE is a place where the latest news will be the initial onset to make contact. Local, national and international information will be shown on a large plugged screen. In this manner for example, the latest news, cultural events, stock exchange reports and train schedules could be provided in public areas. Moreover, in the PLUGGED ZONE people could react to the information and to each other via their own hand-helds. Together, the plugged screens at the various locations form a network and can refer to each other.
We can actually make contact with the whole world via mobile telephones and important public places can once again fulfil their historical role as places for getting together and exchanging information.
PLUGGED ZONES are dynamic spaces. A square could function as the place where it's all happening. It will be the place to reflect on recent events (where were you on 9/11? …) or for example to give your opinion about a theatrical performance. In turn the square boosts the social and economic life surrounding it.
At the station we are provided with world news, travel information and specific information about destinations. We can make reservations and buy tickets via the plugged screen with hand-helds. In this way transferiums really become gateways to the world.
Plugged screens can also be placed temporarily. At places such as festivals, where many people get together, the presence of a plugged screen could emphasize a sense of belonging and the topicality of the festival and link up to other distant gatherings.
An UNPLUGGED ZONE is a place where your individual experience can be the initial onset for personal contact. Using hand-helds in an UNPLUGGED ZONE is not possible. Other signals are also obstructed. UNPLUGGED SPACES are zones which don't tolerate media intervention. Being devoid of sounds from telephones, computer games, advertising and radio signals, space is created for city silence and for getting to know the people you meet there. The space itself is the cause for reflection and response: what you see is what you get. There is no informative schedule, but space for personal interpretation: events develop spontaneously.
UNPLUGGED ZONES are unique spaces. They provide an area with character and structure, each having its own colours, scents and sounds. They are information-free safe havens.
A park becomes a hortus conclusus, a space for meditation and inner reflection where tai-chi can be practiced undisturbed. By travelling in a train compartment which has been designated as an UNPLUGGED ZONE, the passing landscape and the peace in the compartment become your mode of transport. Once again a beach becomes a wide-open space where the timeless play of water and wind is not disturbed by a noisy radio or by 'GPS tourists'. PLUGGED-UNPLUGGED calls for an organisation which initiates and manages the networks of the zones. In consultation with local partners, the organisation assigns the status PLUGGED or UNPLUGGED ZONE, takes care of the realisation of the zones by fitting in the plugged screens and associated networks or indeed installing the protective shields, and appoints local, national and international editorial staff who control the information on the screens.
The locations of the PLUGGED and UNPLUGGED ZONES will be available on www.plugged-unplugged.org and it is possible to visit the screens and to react.
Plug in and share the world / Unplug and share your world.