TexTales: Creating interactive forums with urban publics

Mike Ananny, Carol Strohecker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


In this paper, we describe the design and installation of a new kind of public opinion forum-TexTales, a public, large-scale interactive projection screen-to demonstrate how public city spaces can become sites for collective expression and public opinions can be considered social constructions. Each TexTales installation involved different groups of European young people taking photographs of everyday city events and controversial public issues, and then using custom software to invite general public passers-by in urban spaces to annotate the photos with SMS text messages. We analyze the design and implementation of these installations and identify a number of interaction design elements critical for designing expressive urban spaces: starting "intermodal" conversations; authoring for nomadic, unfamiliar audiences; distributing public discourse across mediated and physical space; and editing and censoring dialog to ensure that it reflects the norms and values of forum designers. TexTales is essentially an experiment in understanding how city spaces can be more than venues in which to take public opinion snapshots; instead they might be places that nurture and reveal collaborative, public expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Urban Informatics
Subtitle of host publicationThe Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781605661520
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

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