There is a perception that young users, even very young, take full advantage of technology simply because they manipulate and use it in one form or another. The research group Images, Words and Ideas explores what happens when people use digital tools consciously, thinking and reflecting both on the instruments and on the content to be managed. We are interested in the processes of participation in interactive communities mediated by audiovisual languages.
We explore three levels of participation:
- People participate on the Internet by receiving information and building knowledge, but without sharing it in that context. They are recipients of what others do. Consider, for example, how many people read online content but do not publish any of their own. They are active because they are interpreters of information and knowledge can be built from it, but they do not share it.
- Participation is a two-way street. Knowledge is shared and people often recreate what others share. Many forms of expression are used in order to do this, multiple print and broadcast discourses. Those people are active users in networked applications through which they share interests, knowledge and activities, both public and private.
- Those who use the net are aware that communication is possible because someone turned everyday human discourse into a language which could be understood by computers. For example, some users are able to understand or even design specific applications.
At this moment two concrete projects are underway:
DigitalKids is carried out in collaboration with Matadero Madrid, a community center supporting innovation and art. Young people participate with researchers and students from the University of Alcalá. The project is based on Instagram and combines this app with other apps free of charge on iTunes and Google Play. The project seeks to facilitate community creations closely related to cultural heritage and interactive art. In it, the spaces around us, both private and public, are interpreted by means of an iPad camera. Also, multiple readings through photography are explored, and the focus is on the interest in sharing.
Instakids examines creative processes that bring young people closer to cultural heritage, interactive art and humanistic knowledge, which are now being transformed when expressed and reconstructed through formal computer language. Our goal is for the app users to understand how an application is designed, at least at a physical or computational prototype, mainly focusing on digital art design.