• UAPD is directed by media artist, Angie Eng in collaboration with New York artist, Jessica Higgins and a collective of student interns. Vietnamese artist, Rich Streitmatter-Tran will lead the RMIT University students in Ho Chi Minh City. The groups conduct actions in public centres highlighting private behavior in public space and the invisible boundaries/filters prompted by mobile technologies and urban invasions of one's public space.

    The UAPD blog is a 2007 commission of New Radio and Peforming Arts, Inc. (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Urban Attractors, Private Distractors was developed in residence at Eyebeam Atelier, New York City.

    The UAPD workshops, public actions and installation are made possible by an Eyebeam artist in residency 2006-07.

    Special Thanks to collaborating artist, Jessica Higgins for her participation in the NYC actions.

    Angie Eng is a media artist who lives/works in New York since 1993. She teaches youth media and creates experimental video installation/performance.

  • Student Interns NYC:

    Mutaquiy Mead
    Luz Perez
    Kristian Santiago
    Gilberto Francisco
    Ariella Goldstein

    Ho Chi Minh City Lead: Rich Streitmatter-Tran

    RMIT University Students

    Eun-Hye Kim
    Nguyen Anh Tu Do
    Ngoc Thuy Vuong
    Xuan Hao Nguyen
    Tung Mai
    Chi Mai Phan
    Nguyen Thi Mai Anh
    Tran Thao Ly
    Dang Tran Nguyen Anh
    Le Trong Duong
    Vo Nguyen Mai Tram

Archive for March, 2007

Urban Attractors, Private Distractors

Posted by admin on March 31st, 2007

This vlog project explores the shared psychodynamics that are involved in group boundaries that identifies what is inside (cultural, spiritual, political) and how it is reflected on the outside (architecture, urban planning, symbols, monuments). Here, psychogeography refers to the inhabitants’ collective psychological representations of place, the influences on those ‘maps’ and the group interaction and dynamics according to this common map.

Privacy boundaries both invisible and within the built environment are examined, categorized and compared between the New York City and Ho Chi Minh City. One study that will be observed is distance regulation in Eastern culture where close proximity of interactions brings much discomfort to the Western individual. Members of a communal society arrange their environment according to their own mental typography. Wide open spaces, austere structures, hidden transport systems do not reflect Vietnamese philosophy (Buddhism, Confucianism), politics (Communism) and values (filial, communal). Hence, the proposal of a radical post-planning Asian urbanism (William Lim). This glocal Asian city includes layers of collective memory (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City) and complex hybridized centers that converge and embraces a quasi-anarchistic approach (Bangkok, Shanghai).

Concepts of privacy, which is highly valued in the West, is compromised in the Eastern city with the extreme proximity of public transport, advertising, hawkers to places of residence. This is also noted in the African megacity of Lagos. Rem Koolhaas remarks of Lagos, “Every square foot is claimed by someone–for selling, for washing, even for sleeping–and there is almost no privacy. Many residents sleep outdoors. And what particularly amazes me is how the kinds of infrastructure of modernity in the city trigger off all sorts of unpredictable improvised conditions, so that there is a kind of mutual dependency that I’ve never seen anywhere else.” With its massive traffic jams creating instant markets on roads and highways, Lagos is not “a kind of backward situation, but, rather, “an announcement of the future.”

The separation of stage (public) and home (private) is broken down into a continuum of semi-public, quasi-private, privacy zones (private attractors), exchange centers (urban attractors). The mobile/global city will have no need for the romantic Roman city with private villa stepping out into intimate alleys leading to a semi-public street up to the public avenue and then onto the stage of the piazza. The megacity necessitates multiple transport systems superior to the individual private automobile. All is exposed. Therefore, how will the American with their philosophical and political values of freedom, individuality, mobility and exploration find privacy (physical, psychological and informational) in public space?

Developmental Time, Cultural Space, Studies in Pscyhogeography
A world of Strangers, Lyn Lofland
Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples, Haime Nakamura, Asian Ethical Urbanism, William Lim


During a 2 month period (March-April 2007) student groups in Ho Chi Minh City and New York City will conduct public action-experiments to observe the current psychogeography and how it reflects the transition from a modern-post-modern place to a new world replete with mobile devices and abstract space. There actions will be documented as video and posted to this vlog on a weekly basis.

These actions are broken down into 3 categories:

‘Re-mapping Public Attractors’,
‘Boundary Maintenance’
‘out/in, off/on’.

In ‘Re-mapping Public Attractors’ the group will break into 2’s or 3’s and go on a 1 hour derive. They will take video of symbols in the environment while noting private conduct and places of congregation. With this information they will make a video map using layers of symbols, geography and GPS paths. In Boundary Maintenance the groups will experience situations from their respective collaborators’ city. The New Yorkers will have a meal outdoors on the street on mobile stools and tables. The Vietnamese will place a temporary portable booth and ask passersby if they want a moment of privacy. Each action will be documented with video. ‘out/in, off/on’ uses customize traffic signs whereby performers will mark a space: ‘warning: private distractor’, ‘slow down: semi-private’, ‘merging traffic: urban attractor’, ‘warning: invasion of public’. Perfomers will locate a space that corresponds to their traffic wands and label the place accordingly while another documents with video.
Each group consists of an artist lead (Angie Eng, New York City/ R. Streitmatter-Tran, HCMN) and 6 students.

Additional collaborating artists/interns may facilitate the groups. All performers will wear white lab coats labeled with the UAPD patch. They will each carry a clipboard, digital camera and at least 1 video camcorder in each group. GPS devices will be used depending upon the action. Each action is the duration of 1-2 hours. A discussion will take place the following meeting. The group meets eight times. After each action the two groups exchange information and experiences via teleconferencing.

Public Places of Indeterminancy

Posted by admin on March 26th, 2007

‘Transform Space into Place’, Portland OR

The Farm, San Francisco, CA

Subversive Architects

Re-Publicize the City

Posted by admin on March 18th, 2007

In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) dining outside on the streets, sidewalks is very common. Like New York City, life is on the streets. People are on parade and few spend their times indoors for entertainment as is the case in most Western centres.


History, culture, philosophy, religion and politics shape urban centers. Architecture and urban planning respond to these factors. There are invisible borders between private/public behavior in Vietnam where life and livelihood is on outside and the ‘inside/indoors’ space becomes smaller and smaller. From morning to evening, inhabitants dine on mobile plastic chairs and tables. Vietnamese cities were originally organized according to the communal village. However, later colonization added a different layer to the urban landscape. For instance in Hanoi the French colonists tore down the temple on Hoan Kiem Lake and a post office was built in its place. For the Vietamese city, religion shaped the city center. For the west the city center was commerce and communications systems. With this influence and the global economy, inhabitants of new asian cities like Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City experience a mismatch of psychogeography.

Cinema centers replete with restaurant, store, gardens have replaced the town square as a meeting place in Western cities. The fountain is replaced by the screen.


These actions will examine the differences between the Western City and the Eastern City using New York City and Ho Chi Minh City as examples.

1. The performers in New York will experience the reactions of this behavior in the Western city by reinacting an urban dining room. They will use the props(miniature stools) to place in the middle of a public space such as the sidewalk, on the steps of a building.The performers will take the living room one step further by identifying atypical private behavior and perform it in a public space.

2. Performers in HCMC will explore the sociological affects of mobile devices (cellphone, ipods, videopods, headphones) on one’s conduct in public. Each performer will sms, listen to his ipod, wear sunglasses, conduct a conversation with another participant while following a map. His actions will be documented by another participant using a video camera. The performer will retrace his steps a 2nd time without the devices and be give his feedbak on the differences on his observations of his environment.

‘Image of the City: Kevin Lynch’

Communal Behavior of Ants

Looking at Cities
Village Community
Natural History of Urbanization

Re-Mapping Public Attractors

Posted by admin on March 18th, 2007

ancient indian map


In Rome, city centers spiral out from the water fountain in the piazza and then gradually make their way into the private alleys of one’s villa. New York City built on a grid is more linear and divided by uptown, midtown and downtown. But cities, both west and east also take into consideration historical, cultural points as well. This action examines mapping space according to direction and intersections of private space within the city. They will map place according to:

  • physical-urban architecture/form

  • symbolic-space for ideas
  • social- exchange in physical space

Zaha Hadid Architects


1. Collect images of different types of mapping and make a video to post to blog
2. Make a physical map of privacy within public designated areas. Locate ways to map out areas using symbols, geography, history, behavior.
3. Make a flash animation from GPS coordinates and findings from the derive

‘In Passing’ -The Light Surgeons

REFERENCES: http://www.angieeng.com/2006/12/difference-between.html

Tools: GPS devices

Feng Shui map

Mapping the right brain

Boundary Maintenance

Posted by admin on March 18th, 2007

Telephone booth as a Private Distractor


How does religion, culture, personal values and philosophy set one’s physical boundaries? This action re-creates a physical private space in public. The nostalgic telephone booth is a symbol of a period prior to mobile technolgies is used. People pay 5 cents to enter the booth to have a moment of privacy.

1. A portable telephone booth will be placed in a public square. Performers will advertise a private moment of 5 minutes inside the booth for 5 cents. This will be documented by video.
2. Participants will design/propose their own private attractors to wear/use in public.

i-Safety: 03:53-06:44
Moveable Types

By wearing the mobile phone scarf, you can venture into public spaces confident that if the need to compose a private text message were to arise the object could be pulled over the face to create an isolated environment. By WMMNA


a. as physical -place, space boundaries, solitude
ie. a room of one’s own, an unshared office space, a bathroom stall

b. as psychological -control over thoughts and emotions
ie. freedom of expression, make individual decisions

c. as informational –ownership/protection and security against public knowledge
ie. 100% encryption software, password protection, anonymity

on/off out/in

Posted by admin on March 18th, 2007

Do inhabitants of the new city need physical boundaries to delineate their privacy? Reading, sms-ing, ipod-ing, vpoding, or using any kind of mobile device are visible activities that may communicate to others: “I’m not currently available for any approach or talk”.more

As “symbolic bodyguards” (Lasen 2002b:27), mobile phones also contribute to the strategy of individuals to defend a minimal private space and the right to enjoy “civil inattention” [6] within areas densely populated with - potentially intruding and irritating - unknown strangers (Haddon 2000; Cooper 2000).


Psychogeography is the study of the collective ‘inside’ (philosophy, cultural values, politics and religion) and how it is reflected on the ‘outside’(symbols, monuments, architechture, urban planning.) This workshop/action explores how mobile technology has effected the social behavior of crowds and individuals in public and their definition of privacy.


Performers hold customized signs as they locate private/public space.
First the group will split in trios and go on a 1 hour dérive.

Visualize a city area referencing symbols, emotion, ideas, geography. Make diagrams of an urban space locating each area on a continuum of private and public. (Diagrams will be made into flash animations and keyed into video for the video installation. The installation consists of 5 placards ‘you are where’ mimicking the ‘you are here’ maps in parks. Image, animations and video will be projected onto the placards.)


  • customized mental or hard board traffic signs/wands with included text:
    ‘Private Distractor’, ‘Urban Attractor’, ‘Invasion of Public’, ‘Privacy Zone’, ‘Semi-Public Zone’

  • global positioning system devices
  • digital camera/camcorder

Urban Atmospheres
Vietnamese Architecture

The city creates a kind of uneasiness because the experience typical of pubic transport systems is that they split the visual field from the auditory field. People are constantly placed “in a position of having to look at one another for long minutes or even hours without speaking to one another. (Benjamin 1973: 38)’. Benjamin read the city as if it were a rune or a hieroglyph.