the future of ShiftSpace pt.1

In a recent § meeting we started drafting the outlines for the
future of ShiftSpace. This will be the first in a series of posts to
try and get you guys involved on the process and hopefully get your
feedback as it evolves.

What is ShiftSpace and what will it be in the future?

We are currently working on a re-design of ShiftSpace and a lot of
interesting discussions have been coming up that I want to bring up in
upcoming blog posts.

We have always been thinking of ShiftSpace as an open-source project
where users can invoke a meta-layer of web information by hitting the
Shift and Space buttons on their keyboard. Through a set of tools users
can annotate, modify and thereby shift the content of any web-page. The
ShiftSpace platform can live on top of any website and its parasitical
nature is a means of challenging the private control of space online,
altering information and creating radical pockets of content that
augment the given web environment.

In the recent months the Museum of Modern Art has commissioned the
ShiftSpace team to join the re-design team of the MoMa website and to
use ShiftSpace as the technological engine behind the social and
personalized features in the new site. This collaboration brought up
many interesting questions. MoMa was interested in the functionality of
the ShiftSpace platform as a collaboration tool. For example, the
ShiftSpace platform integrated into the MoMa website allows users to
log in and create an account, browse MoMa’s vast artwork collection,
create and save sets of artwork from the MoMa collection and e-mail or
text message their sets to friends to inspire their upcoming visits.

Working on the redesign led us to think more about
ShiftSpace’s role online and the community of users and (at this stage,
even more important) hackers it wants to attract. A major part of the
ShiftSpace platform is collaborative, because shifts to websites can be
shared and commented on by other users. So we are now thinking about §
as more than “an open source layer above any website” but maybe more as
“a platform for social application that you can launch on any website”
(either from the client side or on the host side) (if you guys can come
up with a short tagline, please suggest).

As an open-source project ShiftSpace will never stop growing but we
will continue to alter and redefine it as more people become familiar
with it and start using it. I am going to blog about some of the
re-design issues that have been coming up in our meetings and keep you
updated on the latest version of ShiftSpace, which plans to launch by
the end of the summer!

Stay tuned…


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