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Research: Cultural Civic Computing

Interpretive Media Laboratory

The Interpretive Media Laboratory is a collaboration between UCLA REMAP and California State Parks started in 2011. The program builds on a six-year history of dialogue and experimentation in the Remapping LA project. It seeks to conceive and prototype innovative approaches to interpretive technology for the urban space.

IMLab's "Living Laboratory" is the Los Angeles State Historic Park, a significant 32-acre site immediately outside of Downtown Los Angeles. Site: imlab.ucla.edu

UCLA REMAP and California State Parks, 2011-present.


Science Through Technology Enhanced Play (STEP)

REMAP is collaborating with the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and Indiana University Bloomington to investigate how embodied play among elementary school students can be used to help them understand scientific phenomena (e.g., the working of forces, complex behaviors of bees). Instrumenting elementary school classrooms with advanced tracking, STEP is building upon the ways that young children engage in socio-dramatic play. Motion capture technology is used to record their interactions.

UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA REMAP, UCLA Lab School and Indiana University Bloomington, 2013-present. Supported by the National Science Foundation.


IMLab LASHP Trails App

As an extension of the ongoing collaboration between UCLA REMAP and California State Parks, IMLab is developing a mobile app to provide historical and cultural context for urban trails in Los Angeles. The current mobile website version (unveiled in Spring 2014) presents three looped "interactive interpretive" trails that start at the Los Angeles State Historic Park (IMLab's "Living Laboratory") and wind through some of the oldest sections of the City. Intended to encourage local community members to engage with L.A.'s history while also enjoying its public green spaces, the site provides photos and facts about the rich stages of development that previously occurred along the user's path.

UCLA REMAP and California State Parks, 2011-present.


Ambient Informatics

As part of an ongoing collaboration with cityLAB (a think tank within UCLA's Department of Architecture and Urban Design), REMAP researchers have been contributing to the study of Intelligent Transit Systems. By connecting urban transit’s complex data streams to people’s everyday lives through elegant, non-symbolic representations, the project aims to explore the potential for "ambient informatics" to impact the city experience. The research has focussed on the design, fabrication, and installation of an illuminated bench at the Weyburn Terrace Bruin Bus stop on Weyburn Avenue in Westwood Village next to the main UCLA campus.

UCLA cityLAB and REMAP, with support from the UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor, 2012-present.


Out the Window

Out the Window is an innovative initiative that involves youth and community-based artists in writing and producing impactful videos and location-based banner images about their lives and neighborhoods for closed-circuit broadcast on the LA Metro bus system. The program was implemented in 2010-11 with a seed grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The project is divided into two phases – the first involving youth-generated content and the second featuring videos made by artists, activists and storytellers.

Los Angeles Metro, 2010-present.


Remapping LA

Remapping LA is a long-term research effort started by REMAP in 2006 to engage urban communities in the design of technological systems that express their cultures and identities. The multi-year project features a decentralized approach to technological development, which is centered on three key principles: 1) Participation of the general populace, with an emphasis on the involvement of Los Angeles teenagers, families, and educators; 2) Awareness of the context in which the systems are being designed; 3) Encouragement of tangible and meaningful interfaces between project members and media.



Eco-Interns/Earth Day Latino

Twenty-five Latino students gathered on the first weekend of April 2011 to engage in a cultural media project with Fabian Wagmister. Armed with mobile phone cameras and empowered with creative imagination, they actively researched and gathered information in the Los Angeles State Historic Park. Together they created a collective expression of the co-existence of nature and the city. Their efforts were translated into a billboard, and the final artwork was unveiled opposite the park on Earth Day Latino.

Los Angeles State Historic Park, 2011.


Remapping LA: Hollywould

In Remapping LA: Hollywould, the community around Hollywood Boulevard investigated and articulated their interpretation of the urban neighborhood’s physical, cultural and social identities, resulting in a showing at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits (LACE). A collaboration with LA Freewaves.

Hollywood Boulevard, 2008.


Mobile HiFi Tours

Mobile HiFi tours were created in collaboration with Public Matters, the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. and the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California.  These mobile, location-based applications were created to "enable the user to travel through time, to experience the evolution of the neighborhood and the migration of Filipinos across Los Angeles through the stories of immigrants who have called it home."

Historic Filipinotown, 2008.



As part of the Remapping LA collaboration, an outdoor interactive digital mural was designed and installed in the Los Angeles State Historic Park.  Junction/Juncture invited people to investigate and engage with Los Angeles history. The project was a pilot collaboration between UCLA REMAP, CENS, California State Parks and Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development.

Los Angeles State Historic Park, 2007.


Quartieri della Memoria

Quartieri della memoria was an artwork for public spaces created under the direction of Alessandro Marianantoni. It focused on oral memories and set up a theater of the memory as a cultural rite in the audience’s mind. As the relationship between the residents and the public place changed and renewed, driven mostly by an economic policy, Rieti, a town in the center of Italy, was chosen as case study.

Provincia di Rieti, Italy and Los Angeles, 2005-2006.



ImageAbility was an interactive installation and participatory mapping tool created by Fabian Wagmister, with software development by Eitan Mendelowitz and technical direction by Jeff Burke. Part artwork and part tool for community investigation of the city, collective remembering, self representation, imagining alternative futures, and engaged dialogue, Imageability used a pen sketch-based interface to explore a large database of media about Los Angeles created by Wagmister.

Chiparaki Cultural Civic Computing Center, Los Angeles, 2006.



ludiCity was a situationist-inspired participatory experience/performance created by Fabian Wagmister and Jeff Burke that used mobile technology to promote collective exploration of and dialogue about Los Angeles, its psychogeography and historicity.

Gallery 727, Los Angeles, 2009.