According to geographer Doreen Massey (2008), space is the product of the simultaneous existence and interrelations of people. In his forthcoming doctoral thesis, Mikko Villi adapts this notion of space to the communicative space, where the interrelations do not occur between co-present people but rather between people connected via different communication media. By contrast, Villi considers place as very simply the physical location. Thus, people reside in a physical place, but at the same time they act in a communicative space, e.g. on the web or speaking on a phone.
In Media Factory we have discussed how we should define the factory concept. Is the factory a mode of operation or is it a physical place? One view is that a factory should be a physical meeting place or some kind of showroom, in other words a concrete building where different target groups of the Aalto University are able to meet. It is important to feel the presence of others, and perhaps also innovations are born more easily in a face-to-face dialogue.
But is it only the physical location that enables co-operation? How important is it to have one physical place, or could a communicative space be as efficient? Are innovative solutions not found in a state of spontaneity and euphoria and often spiced with humour? Could this state be achieved even better in an online environment? Maybe we should, then, design a combination of place and space, where the interrelations between people materialize in the most productive way.
Massey, Doreen (2008) Samanaikainen tila (eds. Lehtonen, Mikko, Rantanen, Pekka & Valkonen, Jarno, transl. Rovio, Janne). Tampere: Vastapaino.
Villi, Mikko. Visual mobile communication. Camera phone photographs as photo messages. Unpublished manuscript for a doctoral thesis.