Downpinn, Demolight, LeuchtMal & LayerPlayer

In the weeks leading up to The Mobile City Conference, we will feature a number of art works, research projects and (commercial) applications created and carried out by some of the participants of The Mobile City. Today: the work of Christoph Emenlauer, architecture student at the University of Stuttgart and author of Derwohnblog. Currently he is working on his diploma thesis “public and private spheres, new media and the perception of the city“

Downpinn – physical artefacts of virtual landmarks

Until some time ago, internet was considered a placeless place. However GoogleEarth, Flickr worldmap and mobile technologies, such as GPS established a new understanding of the internet as a place where place began to matter again. Today there are many layers covering a city, every place exists twice, as physical space and as it‘s virtual counterpart.
Downpinn re-evaluates the connection between the two places. The pink „bixo“is street furniture that is set up in a place where many photographs have been taken and uploaded on open platforms like With its imprinted sematag it directly links the material place to the pictures taken there.
Thus they offer a new way of seeing and getting to know the city.

DemoLight – grass-root principles in urban lighting

One of the main benefits of the internet could be its lack of hierarchy. Differences as well as distances melt away, turning each one of us into a provider of content as well as its reader. Everyone can be heard, it’s hard to buy a product without getting to know at least a couple of opinions of other people about that product.
DemoLight is a system of street lighting that applies the system of evaluating and judging onto an urban scenario in Stuttgart. Theodor-Heuss street used to be an urban Autobahn, now it hosts nearly 20 bars, discotheques and nightclubs.
The street lighting therefore is an interactive lighting device, which shows how good each bar is. Giving more light to the bars that receive good critiques, or that are currently well attended and less to the rest!

LeuchtMal – shining messages for the Weissenhof

The city not only consists of its immediately visible streets, squares, places and buildings, but also of a number of layers, superposing the built environment. Historical layers, sociological layers of use and living in a place, technological layers such as GPS and internet as well as the built environment all make our image of the city.
The Weissenhofsiedlung is one of architecture’s most famous housing projects. Built in the 1920´s, architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius participated in the project, which nowadays still pulls thousands of visitors towards Stuttgart each year.
During the „Lange Nacht der Museen“ in April 2008 many visitors are expected to see the project and a special part of the exhibition is planned.
A narrative layer is applied to the entire settlement, composed of quotations from the involved architects. These „messages“ are written with uv-sensitive paint that is only visible with special pocket lamps. Provided with these lamps the visitors can discover the hidden secrets of the Weissenhofsiedlung.


LayerPlayer is a cross-reality game, exploring the altered significance of space due to new media technologies. It is designed for the university-building in Stuttgart and interacts directly with the building. LayerPlayer applies a second virtual layer onto the existing building. Every location exists twice, in the material building and in its virtual counterpart. They are directly connected via the internet. The building therefore obtains a new meaning – during the game it plays the role of a large interface.
During the game the player has to change constantly between the two layers virtuality and reality. Therefore he or she is always equipped with his laptop, internet-cable and a medi-pack.
The objective of the game is to reach a specific room in the building and to login at that location. On the real layer the player has to reach a room as quick as possible. Once arrived, he enters the virtual layer and makes a strategic move. On the internet the player can see which ways are blocked and which he can use. At each login the player changes the configuration of these passageways. While running through the building the player is virtually blind.
Project with Christoph Witte


The Mobile City website is maintained by Martijn de Waal and Michiel de Lange.