City Sets

2011Web archive and multi-video player for an international project

The Citysets Media Player site was built for Crucible Studio’s Citysets project that combined visual research, media art productions, exhibitions and interactive forums within the World Design Capital Helsinki year 2012. The project sought to invite people to explore the city and its design with open eyes and to discover and discuss the values embedded within an urban environment. The archive functioned as both a collection, as well as a performative tool where multiple viewpoints could be juxtaposed through simultaneously playing timelines. The Media Player was built as a web tool that served three very specific objectives:

  • Media repository of videos produced as part of the Citysets workshops.
  • Exploratory tool to navigate and search the video archive.
  • Exhibition or performance tool using the video-archive as the source material.

Multiple videos could be played simultaneously and, the videos could be resized and composed against a black background, and controlled simultaneously. The uniqueness of the UI was this very affordance: the ability to arrange and juxtapose multiple videos, and control their simultaneous playback.

The production work was carried out over three months in close association with the Citysets team. The archive was developed as a desktop only application, and thus was not responsive by design. The design was intentionally bare-bones and divided the browsing / playing UI into a logically three-stepped action sequence — filter, select, arrange and play. The first column dealt with filtering the dataset with desired parameters. The second column displays a chronologically ordered view of video thumbnails. The final column is initially empty, and displays multiple video players as they’re clicked and added to the playlist by the user. Once the videos are selected, they can be scaled / stacked / arranged as desired across the entire window for simultaneous playback.