For researchers in ubiquitous computing there is a growing concern in understanding how innovative technologies might reflect and enhance current social practices of mobility and the personal and collective relationships we begin to build with and within the spaces we move through every day. In this paper we present a design sketch for an example of such a technology. Currently a work-in-progress in its conceptual stage, undersound is an application drawing on prior research, to support music sharing and distribution within the London Underground.
Every day, 3 million people travel through London by means of the Underground, the oldest subway system in the world—people hate it, people love it. Still, the Tube is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city, and practically one of the most used transport systems. With the project undersound we are exploring the experience of riding the Underground and the mediated perception of the urban space through the design of a highly contextualized interactive system—a music-based application that encourages people to interact with others and with the Underground itself.
The aim of the project is to make people reflect on their experience through the use of music, to see people’s behaviours and patterns of movement in new ways.This sub-polis offers a unique view of London and its inhabitants, a place of diverse personal and collective experiences marked by conflicting feelings of togetherness and solitude. This work seeks to reflect and enhance these experiences, drawing on current social practices of both cocooning and socialization by means of technology—it is intended to be wholly part and of the tube.