Friends of Friends_an experimental research project which reimagines the ubiquitous parking lot as a space for new forms of collective experience at the nexus of technological and physical forces. Building-like electronic signs and markings work in concert with bumps and sensors on the road surface, providing new forms of inputs and outputs for media to flow back and forth from people to devices to vehicles to environment. Sponsored by a faculty grant from Intel Research People and Practices Research group and Supported by Arts Center College of Design.

Friends of Friends investigates new forms of social urban experience by proposing systems of technological objects which act as crossovers between online social networking services and the physical city. The project redesigns the ubiquitous parking lot into an elaborately hybridized ‘third space’ that exists at the threshold of palpable local and intangible internet-based domains. Cars – driven by individual occupants – are the primary means to navigate and activate these environments. Constellations of building-like physical icons, signage, bumps and markings incorporating sensors and displays provide inputs and outputs for media to flow back and forth from people to devices to vehicles to environment. Various acts of maneuvering and parking have corresponding network actions of ‘friending’, ‘like’-ing, ‘check in’, and so on. The project seeks to define a hybrid environment that offers novel possibilities for interaction and inhabitation.

Shona Kitchen + Ben Hooker assisted by Hye Mi Kim, Jae Yeop Kim and Alex Braidwood