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Faisal Anwar is a digital media artist Pakistan/Toronto. He has a diverse background in theatre, film, media, interactive art and graphic design. Anwar’s art practice explores fictional, sociopolitical and edutainment narratives. He is interested in creating participatory experiences that connect and challenge the conventions of surveillance and interaction in modern urban cities. His projects often bring together art and technology in odd configurations to explore human perceptions towards architectural spaces and social interactivity.

He is also the creator of 360EXtEndEd, a multiplatform project which explores a city’s economic and social evolution. 360EXtEndEd examines how, in this hybrid age of globalization, we perceive our relationship with the city we call ‘home’. 360EXtEndEd was launched in partnership for Toronto’s 175 Anniversary in 2009. Anwar’s other collaborative projects include: Zero Cluster, Into it, Gotcha and Feast in Exile. Anwar is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Habitat-LAB, Interactive Arts and Entertainment Program (2004) and has a Bachelor in graphic design from the National College of Arts Pakistan (1996). Anwar has also been an active member of the South Asian Visual Arts Centre’s Programming Committee (2006 – 07) and currently teaches interactive design at Centennial College and is the producer of an art and design studio called DGDIP.

Session Title: +city -a new paradigm in i-Doc curation/creation

The pervasiveness of mobile technologies, new platforms and ubiquitous computing define our era as one of constant connectivity and increasing data flows. As traditional content producers adapt to Web 2.0 digital practices, fictional & documentary content exists in competition for attention with the constant flow of content produced daily by individuals on the net. +city explores a new paradigm for the concept of and methodological approach to the creation of interactive documentaries. +city plays with the curatorial power of hashtags as a constantly shifting and grassroots generated tagging system enabling global conversations and the rapid/viral dissemination of content.

In focusing on twitter streams generated by specific hashtags, +city makes visible global networked engagement on specific topics in a interactive data visualization website. This new mode of documentary curation is designed to support audience mobile engagement in real-time through retweet and reply functions. +city works against the randomness of social media and provides a tool to make “Data” more meaningful for audiences.

The website for +city archives and analyze data feeds, while presenting that content in an accessible and interactive format. These latter features mark a shift from earlier seminal works of social web data-mining such as Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin’s Listening Post, which presented an orchestrated and curated sampling of real-time chat room content to moving effect.

Designed as an app for iPhone and iPad, +city is one component of a larger research project analyzing the interdynamics of social web communications and real world behaviour and experience through the mapping of geolocated content streams.

The app is on iTunes – search +city and it should be easy to find in the App store for iPhone & iPad. The website for the app is here, pluscity.me. The interactive website is in process.

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