mjHi there. My name is Michael Johansson I work as artistic associate professor in digital media at the Kristianstad University HKR in the southern part of Sweden. In my profession I have always had a very close relation with the material I have used for investigating and execute my ideas. For all my works, no matter what material I have chosen for its execution, it is of foremost importance to be in a constant dialogue with them. There should be no difference between the critical mass of once idea and the final outcome of the artwork itself; it should be interwoven unity both in theory and in its form. Since 1984 the computer has played a major roll doing just that.
The strategy I have developed is how   you as an single artist can set-up a long-term working environment where you want to explore methods for both artistic work practice and technical research & development and in the end produce artworks of relevance?

My approach is to establish an environment which can facilitate artistic work practice  in a complex production environment such as the one of digital media, supported by invited artists, researchers and students. In other words, create a kind of gravity around a single project that other easily can transfer their knowledge into without having to provide all of its content from start.

Today the city of Abadyl has involved over 120 people, Exhibited internationally as well as in Sweden and China where I recently lived for almost seven years and been part of several external research projects in areas of textile, computer science, interaction design, cultural studies, theatre and film. This blog I gathered aome of my work and will show how I together with the different co-creators set up complex and open framework and used a city as a metaphor , to serve as a playground for the ongoing projects and the invited co-creators.

The city of Abadyl is virtual and physical, it is a database that contains all the gathered information in different file formats, it is and a storage facility for all of the physical artefacts, it is a website used for communication and documentation, it is a map for navigating,  it is a collection of stories extracted by the co-creators, it is a board game that can be played in three different languages; Swedish, English and Mandarin,  it is a collection of music and films recorded in Abadyl.  The idea in using different form of representation and materials is to achieve a continuously iterative process driving the different parts of the overall art project forward, developing relevant design theory and support innovation in area of technology and new media. In the chapter we put forward a design theoretical model and discuss our use of prototypes as a vital design material in our investigations.

The intention is not so far the establishment of a so called great narrative based and extracted in and from the City. Inspiration has instead been retrieved from the art of novel writing and its practice in constructing worlds. In “Postscript to the Name of the Rose”, Umberto Eco writes on the generative logic he has adopted, a logic both limiting and expanding creativity. The fundamental parameters guide what can and what cannot be included in a fictional but historically plausible universe. In The City of Abadyl we have chosen to focus more on the generative itself in this logic; that is to say, it is not about parameters resulting in a watertight consistent universe, but the main interest is in what can be generated from a  number of predetermined parameters. However since the project have been running now for ten years and all of the input has reached a level of complexity and detail where a lot of things can happen and be put into play. In the chapter we give some examples of  what has been generated and how we can conduct our work.

Abadyl is a proposed city, a fantasy, a set of codes and models, a library of artefacts and prototypes and foremost it is  it´s co-creators. It has become a large database of material that is interlinked through the architecture of a city, regardless of its incompatibilities. That space has proven itself as a continuously evolving platform for staging both immediate and long-term projects. By establishing a multidisciplinary common ground for a art practice, interaction design and technology development, through an investigation of philosophy and criticism in a dynamic material has so far been successful. It creates a open-ended way of working with art and design based on scenarios extracted from the framework and rule-set of the city. By using the  scenarios  the co-creators produce beforehand unknown artefacts in the area of art, design and new media. The Scenarios relate to the over all project of the city but is loosely defined as to allow the creation of art works, that though enriching the database. The artefacts themselves are autonomous from the mother project in the sense that they can be exhibited by themselves and appear in other contexts. They also act as generators while they generate new and unforeseen processes which extend into new and likewise unforeseen contexts. The co-creators disseminate their knowledge into the platform, but they also extract something which can inform their own future practice. The most obvious quality of letting the participants work with physical objects in relation to fiction and a digital generated presence is that it is much easier to communicate their result in a group. To bring objects and talk about them is very convincing especially if they are products of fiction. Choosing exhibitions, workshops and a website as format for the internal and external communication of the overall project seems very fit . It makes it attractive for people to continuously involve themselves in the further evolution of The city of Abadyl.