Sunday, March 23, 2014

Palace of Public Opinions

The visitor is treated to a constantly morphing land­scape of public opinions. As the off-site public votes on issues (online), they become topics of discussion virtually represented at the site. 

The Palace of Public Opinions is an attempt to reim­agine our interaction and attitude towards political opinions. It offers a spatial and temporal interval that allows for public discussions and criticisms of political issues of the country to be generated. It serves as an interactive three dimensional diagrammatic archive of public opinions that deal with the underlying politics of the physical transformation of land and disputes over territorial ownership. The virtual space allows for the visitors to view real-time opinions. It also serves as a mass gathering space for when there are events such as an election. The visitors are encircled by the live virtual scoring process of the poll. This infrastruc­ture of public opinions is an operable representation of reality that is measured and evaluated by the citi­zens of today’s digital democratic society.

The Palace of Public Opinions, a real-time measure of public satisfaction and attitude towards the current political issues, takes on a collaborative approach in order to accumulate information which is used for observation, measurement and assessment of reality that has minimal amount of distortion and filtering. Current political status of the nation is then abstract­ed and translated into a spatial representation.

The virtual space treats human as a measuring tool to measure the values of both quantitative and qualita­tive public opinions. It aims to work as a generative platform where the matters of fact or the pragmatic reference to the real world will be observed and re­constructed as an abstraction of reality. It serves as a space where the non-pragmatic reference will be cre­ated upon. This includes the more specific interpreta­tion that is driven by culture, sophistication, emotion, imagination, or speculation. The users of the space will be able to experience this accumulative data spatially.

The project displays a symbiotic relationship between the past, the present and the future of the people, of the system and of their coexistence. Our lives inevita­bly revolve around politics either in a direct or indirect way. Since the beginning of civilization, humankind has created systems of governing where the most pow­erful entity is the one who would rule his constituents. We, the governed, rely our lives on the stability of our leader.

In recent years, social media has become influential and increasingly used in political context. Social net­work websites and blogging services become the cur­rent platform for political communication. They allow the public to actively and constantly participate not only to share information in general but also to give political opinions through the network.

In this era of digital democracy, the virtual space acts as a political communication platform that sources its data from an online infrastructure and monitors rea-time opinions of the citizens both quantitatively and qualitatively. The project speculates the working of political communication platform and how public opinions can be represented to offer access to a more transparent politics.

Data dynamically shifts as opinions are formed. Each issue is generated around the Sanphet Mahaprasat Palace. Each representation of issue is structured by two types of facts, facts about the issue and facts about the voters. The former comprises of what the is­sue is about and where it is happening in the country. The latter displays occupation and age-range which are factors necessary to know in order to understand the value of the opinions. Occupation here is classified into five sectors as follows

Primary Sector: agriculture, mining, forestry, farm­ing, grazing, hunting, fishing and quarrying.

Secondary Sector: metal working and smelting, auto­mobile production, textile production, chemical and engineering industries, aerospace mnufcturing, en­ergy utilities, shipbuilding and construction.

Tertiary Sector: retail and wholesale sales, transport and distribution, entertainment, restaurants, clerical services, media, tourism, insurance, banking, health­care and law.

Quaternary Sector: government, culture, libraries, sci­entific research, education, information technology
Quinary Sector: top executives or officials in fields as government, science, universities, nonprofit, health­care, culture and the media

The height tells how long the issue has been brought up for. The issue moves towards the center once it has been nominated by more than 50% of the eligible off-site voters.

The visualization of data within the virtual space is made possible with an aid of a digital prosthetics. A bionic contact lens becomes the tool for measurement and evaluation of public opinions, of reality. This digi­tal tool will be given to the first time eligible voter at the age of 18. It will be given out by a non-governmen­tal organization that only aims to provide public ac­cess to transparent politics. To wear it or not is up to one’s own decision.

The lens allows for the public to perceive representa­tions of opinions of their fellow citizens wherever they are in the country and to get an overall view of the country at the site. With modern scientific and tech­nological developments, we are now able to visualize and interact with live data. Yet despite these advances, this innovation is still speculative and subject to er­rors.

When we are entering into the digital age, the risk of being virtually fed with filtered information or being under government surveillance is greater than ever. The lens is, on the contrary, turning the uncertainty into an opportunity, a possibility. Instead of the gov­erning watching you, you are now watching the gov­ernment. 

The cultivation of opinions reflects the working of the nation’s political domain in its bright light of appraisal and respectively, the inevitable refusal and denial. We are assimilated to this political culture so deeply that undeniably we grumble and resent the system. Our discontents are eventually manifested in protests and mass gatherings. The Palace of Public Opinions ac­commodates public gatherings, allowing people to ex­change opinions, to make up their minds, to reassess reality.

Issues move in towards the ruins of the Sanphet Mahaprasat Palace according to current trend.
A virtual map on the sky represents current issues happening across the country.

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