ORAMA Project


David Boardman



ORAMA is a collaborative writing system that supports the creation of shared spatial narrations (oramas, from the greek orao, vision). It is intended to interface and map the interconnected works of a series of individual artists and groups interested in building a shared representation of a space they live in, explore and want to reimagine (cities, buildings, districts, regions, etc.). ORAMA locates their creations within a dynamic hypertextual network that defines position, and relations of any part of the orama with the others and their connection through sense-links, the narrative paths through which the users can jump from one page to one another and explore the website. The complex resulting network is mapped through a cartography that shows positions and relations of the different creations shared by the ORAMA's users.



screenshots from "Trinorama" in OMARA

Any page within the system corresponds to a real or imaginary place of the space the ORAMA wants to represent. It can, for example, describe a sensation belonging to that place, present a brief story, or sketch a landscape, a situation, a mood of the experience of the represented space. The only rule is that any page be pertinent to the space described by the ORAMA. Following this principle any page stands as an autonomous environment where texts, videos, images, flash animations, scripts and sounds can find their place but is nonetheless connected with other points on the maps through a series of links that simulates the physical and psychical paths existing in real cities and spaces. The different creations are steps of the narrative paths through which the user explores the ORAMA and builds its own browsing experience.


ORAMA entails a complex back-office system which supports the process of writing of new pages and the modification of the existing ones, through a sofisticate editor through which the user can manipulate many different media (hypertexts, images, sounds, videos, flash animations, texts). The user can directly upload new pages or media on the site. Or alternatively he can use the embedded html editor to build a new page on the fly. Within this interface the user can choose among the different media shared on the site that he wants to use in his own page. The user can insert new links with any other pages in the orama. In this way he can build new narrative paths to be browsed by the users. Before publishing its creation he has to choose the icon with whom it is going to be represented on the map and its position. In this way he can locate his creation in a virtual spatial space that visualize the current state of the orama helping to plan new creations or modifications.

The cartograpic interface used by ORAMA adopts a sim-city like skin and perspective, representing every page with the icon of a space (building, lands, etc.), like a geographic object located in the imaginary space of the orama. The cartography can be explored by zooming on a particular point or panning across the maps. The connections of the pages the users is passing upon are graphically visualized in the detail window showing the relation of any point of the oramas with the others, uncovering the sense-links standing among the different creations. The visualisation shows the current state of the collaborative projecting of the imaginary space of the orama, and is the field within which the different individual creations are located and explorable.

map of "santiagorama" (left) and a close-up of "Santiagorama" (right) in ORAMA.

The final product is a work in progress hypertext that can be explored by the user in two ways: through the god's eye vision of the map or along the hypertextual paths existing among the different pages. The user experience reflects and augments the physical urban exploration of the city or the space the orama wants to represent. This interaction between imaginary and real space intends to offer a contemporary way of creative multimedia writing. To provide a useful tool to reimagine the identity and structure of the spaces we are living in. To support the collaborative construction of a common imaginary. To experiment new ways of collaborative spatial narration. To describe the contemporary spatial and urban experience their users live want to represent, share and connect with the others.


Today cities are maybe one of the most striking examples of the risks and opportunities offered by contemporarity. They could be a fascinating place to develop new kinds of shared culture, but are nonetheless the place where is more difficult to involve people in a common local imaginary, because of the dispersedness of the urban environment.

screenshots from "Trinorama" in ORAMA

The origin of the project stands within this context. We were unsatisfied with the already existing ways to describe the city and all the other spaces around us. We experienced a gap between our personal experience and the mediated world spread through radios, TVs, newspapers, magazine accounts. We perceived the cities and the urban spaces as something silenced by traditional media overuse, TV addiction, and disinterest. We wanted something to build our autonomous representation of the spaces we were living in.

ORAMA answers to many of the needs perceived at the origin of the project. It wants to offer a new social tool able to support the need for new collaborative imaginaries and narrations necessary for a redefinition of the cities, the urban spaces and their identities. Using the hypertext as a democratic text where the creation of many different people and individuals can be connected. Using the internet as a powerful media able to take people, and especially creative ones out of their loneliness and disperdedness to involve them in a wider creation based on sharing and negotiation.

In doing this the project was able up to this date to involve tens of different people, to gain significant attention from experts and media and to define a new digital storytelling genre, the orama narration.


+ ORAMA homepage of the project (italian)

+ Torinorama (Turin + Orama)(italian)

+ Santiagorama (Santiago de Chile + Orama)(spanish)

+ Valporama (Valparaiso *Chile* + Orama) homepage(spanish)


try the editor (ex. Torinorama)

Everyone can add another orama...everywhere. from stockholm to sao paulo to brasil.
To do that, just contact netzfunk.org by email hausfunk@netzfunk.org




David Boardman is a designer and media artist coming from Aosta, Italy. where he was born in 1978. He is a co-founder of netzfunk.org collective (http://www.netzfunk.org), an open network of dispersed artists sharing in common a subversive idea of art, and the hate for the multifarious mafias of art, culture, economy, armies and politics. The current expressive research lines are digital literature, robotics, meaning technologies, installation art and locative media. Between March and July 2005 he was invited in Santiago de Chile by visual arts department of Universidad de Chile to organize a PhD course "Una estetica para una tecnologia suave" - "Aesthetics for a delicate technology" (http://www.netzfunk.org/u/). During this experience he organized the locative media performance "Memoria Històrica de la Alameda" (http://www.memorialameda.cl), a collective artwork on Santiago's main boulevard Avenida Bernardo O'Higgins, commonly known as "Alameda", which was taken into consideration for his iconic nature of the Chilean social and politic history of the decades between the Allende's "Unidad Popular" and Pinochet's dictatorship. In september 2005 he presented "My favourite Abughraib links" warporn video at "The arts & politics of Netporn" conference in Amsterdam (http://www.netzfunk.org/index.php?task=viewabu).











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