The Noise You Don’t Hear — re:form — Medium
In most human environments — and especially in cities — there are already ambient noises that act as fairly consistent “white noise” generators. Seth Horowitz, a neuroscientist and author of the book The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind, explains urban infrastructure as one giant sound machine.

“Sound travels faster through denser materials so in a typical city with lots of streets, the roads of the entire city are acting like a giant low-fidelity speaker and creating these noise bands,” he explains, adding, “It’s also why Venice is so quiet even though there’s thousands of people — no roads.”
Buildings, too, can be designed to produce noise that masks various sounds arising from activity within. As Hillel Schwartz points out in his book, the crescendo in office noise resulting from typewriters and telephones, then computer keyboards and conference calls, demanded a sonic envelope that could dull the aural sensitivity of the workers:
Architects who used double-paned windows, sound-absorbent panels, and acoustic ceilings to cope with the noise of typewriters and ringing phones in the open-plan offices that arose during the 1950s would by the 1970s use heating and ventilation ducts to add in white noise as “sound curtains” veiling desktop clicking and as “acoustic perfume” to give officeworkers a shared backdrop of productive, communal activity.

In 2005, these strategies were taken to the power of computing when the renowned supercomputer architect Danny Hillis and industrial designer Bran Ferren of Applied Minds brought to market a new invention called Babble, which was intended as a substitute for walls and acoustic tiling in offices. The clock radio-sized device, as described by John Markoff in The New York Times, was “composed of a sound processor and several speakers that multiply and scramble voices that come within its range,” effectively making phone conversations private without putting up physical barriers. Design giant Herman Miller brought the device to market, with dreams of extending the breadth of their office offerings beyond furniture like the beloved Aeron Chair.
sound_space  infrastructure  media_city  acoustics 
5 hours ago
(23) Views of a Former Verizon Building
Views of a Former Verizon Building is the second in a series of works that explores the physical sites of the global telecom infrastructure. The former Verizon building is located in the Civic Center district in downtown Manhattan, an area that has seen a proliferation of checkpoints and facial-recognition security cameras. Views focuses on the data center's proximity to the state apparatus, giving equal measure to prisons, courts, the African Burial Ground, the Tombs, and the destruction of Richard Serra's Tilted Arc.
video  infrastructure  infrastructure_aesthetics  telecommunications  media_city 
6 hours ago
Institutional Technology Transfer - University Press Scholarship
The intertwined genealogy of card index makers and typewriter manufacturers, leading to the production of the universal discrete machine, remains an American history of mergers and acquisitions. Remington Rand Inc. (manufacturer of UNIVAC in 1957) asserts itself as a small but persisting line of competition to IBM, merges in 1955 with Sperry Corp. into the Sperry Rand Corp., which in turn is acquired in 1986 by William Seward Burroughs’s Adding Machine Co. and is combined into the Unisys Corp. (figure 6.4). The appreciation of corporate history exhibited by employees of the Sperry Rand Corp. is praiseworthy enough: in 1976, a small independent company is spun off from the office supplies department threatened by liquidation, going by the name Library Bureau and to this day engaging in a modest yet flourishing library furniture business in Herkimer, New York.81
dewey  libraries  library_bureau  records  filing  remington_rand 
yesterday
Shipwrecks Under Istanbul - The New Yorker
When it came to choosing the exact location of the first tunnel spanning the Bosporus—the narrow strait that divides the European and Asian sides of Istanbul and links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara—one of the principal considerations was how to avoid encountering any archeological marvels....

That’s when they found the remains of a Neolithic dwelling, dating from around 6000 B.C. It was previously unknown that anyone had lived on the site of the old city before around 1300 B.C. The excavators, attempting to avoid traces of Istanbul’s human history, had ended up finding an extra five thousand years of it. ...

An engineer once described the Yenikapı station to me as a knot tying together different kinds of rail transport. It’s equally a knot tying together different kinds of time: millennia and minutes, eras and hours. The restoration of the ships, employing a technology first used on Viking galleys, takes anything from five to twenty years....

During most of the excavation, there were between six hundred and a thousand workers on-site, plus about eighty archeologists and other experts. The ships really did resemble surgical subjects, their rib cages opened up as each was measured, recorded, and documented by graduate students. Archeology, Kocabaş explained, is a destructive science. The site has to be recorded scrupulously, because the excavation will annihilate it. The Yenikapı team used a dronelike electric helicopter to shoot video from above, while a motorized camera on a scaffold took thousands of photographs and stitched them together into high-resolution images. Students traced a full-size outline of each ship on clear acetate....

After on-site documentation, the ships were transported to a specially constructed laboratory in the twisted back streets of Yenikapı. In several black rectangular pools, up to thirty metres long, dismembered ship pieces glimmered like eels. Nearby, some workers were easing a waterlogged beam onto a custom-built wooden bracket so that they could move it somewhere else. (Ancient shipwrecks have the soft, friable texture of feta cheese, so you can’t just pick them up and carry them.)...

In a shed nearby, a noisy filtration machine was chugging its way through approximately two thousand sacks of Byzantine and Neolithic dirt. Water gushed and cycled through the machine, pushing the dirt through a filter. “What turns up in there?” I asked the worker in charge of the machine. “There could be seeds,” he said...

Inside, thousands of uninteresting Byzantine artifacts awaited their reburial....

He was right: archeology is ideology, especially in modern Turkey. Mustafa Kemal, who founded the republic, in 1923, once wrote in a cable to his Prime Minister, “More students should be trained in archeology.” The Ottoman Empire—an entity that at its peak encompassed the Balkans and much of the Caucasus, North Africa, and the Middle East—had recently been dismantled by the Allied Powers, after the catastrophic defeat of the First World War. Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, asserting the principle of self-determination, was one of many signs that the age of multiethnic empires, such as the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian, was giving way to an age of ethnic nation-states.... In 1930, Atatürk appointed a committee to establish an ethnohistorical basis for a Turkish state in Anatolia. In 1931, the Society for the Examination of Turkish History published a radical four-volume history of Turkey, propounding the so-called “Turkish-history thesis.” The thesis held that the Turks were descended from an ancient people who lived around an inland sea in Central Asia, where they basically started civilization all by themselves... The theory solved any number of problems. It countered the Allied Powers’ characterization of the Turks as civilization-resistant occupiers of other people’s lands....

“When one piece is found,” she said, “it teaches you something. When thousands of pieces are found, it’s something else. At a certain point, you have the knowledge already, and the rest is a surplus.” You don’t have to be a conceptual artist to see in the surplus an irresistible metaphor for certain historical questions in Istanbul: once you start digging, so much stuff comes out that there’s nowhere to put it, and, eventually, you have to just bury it back in the ground….

At first, officials had proposed that the entire Neolithic layer be dumped somewhere for the archeologists to sort through: the whole layer had been a bog, so everything must be mixed up in there anyway. The archeologists objected that this wasn’t the case, and that hand excavation was required. One senior official went to Yenikapı and said that all he saw was mud, so why not excavate it with mechanical shovels? Just then, the archeologists discovered the remains of an eight-thousand-year-old forest—nearly sixty trees with their roots spread out—followed by the graves, with human skeletons laid out in fetal-like position between wooden covers, and other human remains in urns. They found three different burial techniques from the same historical period…..

Before freeze-drying, each piece of wood must be saturated in a forty-five-per-cent solution of polyethylene glycol, a waxy compound that replaces the water inside the cell walls, preventing shrinking or warping. Because the waterlogged wood is too delicate to be dumped straight into a forty-five-per-cent solution, the concentration has to be increased by five-per-cent increments every month or two. Getting all the pieces of a ship to the full concentration can take years…

ow Kocabaş had told me that, of all the discoveries at Yenikapı, he was most moved by the Neolithic footprints: because they “directly evoke the man,” they tell us something that none of the other objects, even the shipwrecks, can. “They represent the human without mediation,” he said. Back in the Stone Age, far fewer things mediated between humans and the world. There were no nations, no third class….

If fifteen houses are built on top of one another, which one is the most important? Whose voices should be heard—those of the living or those of the dead? How can we all fit in this world, and how do we get where we’re going?
archaeology  urban_history  palimpsest  records  archives  methodology  preservation  materiality  sorting  classificaiton  disciplinarity  nationalism  chemistry  historiography 
yesterday
Peter Lunenfeld on “Art and Technology” - artforum.com / in print
the show “From the Archives: Art and Technology at LACMA, 1967–1971,” which commemorates the pioneering exhibition launched by LACMA curator Maurice Tuchman to “bring together the incredible resources and advanced technology of industry with the equally incredible imagination and talent of the best artists at work today.”....

Tuchman joined LACMA in 1964 as a transplant from New York, and he initiated A&T two years after his arrival to harness the future-forward, techno-positive ethos in his new town. The exhibition revolved around an elaborate program to embed blue-chip artists—including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, Robert Irwin, and James Turrell—within corporations such as Lockheed, IBM, Teledyne, Ampex, and Kaiser Steel, as well as entertainment companies and research centers including Universal Studios and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. ...

The new miniretrospective at LACMA, curated by Jennifer King, delves deep into the archives to offer a fine-grained, behind-the-scenes look at the program as it unfolded. Materials on view include records of the sometimes antagonistic relationships between the artists and the corporations, such as the combative missives between the trickster John Chamberlain and an increasingly intolerant collection of RAND Corporation technocrats: “I’m searching for ANSWERS. Not questions!” “There is only one answer. You have a . . . warped, trashy idea of what beauty and talent is.” The show also includes extensive documentation—some of which the curator had to go to great lengths to hunt down—of the process behind several of A&T’s best-known projects, providing a reminder of the bubbling creative energy that propelled the program, as well as of the sheer eccentric originality of the work that it produced....

One is left to wonder about the historical reception of the program and the broader context of the global boom in art-and-technology collaborations in the 1960s, from Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), which famously paired hundreds of artists with engineers, to the technological experiments of Group Zero. A larger show might have been able to account for the very resurgence of interest that has made a reexamination of the initiative so relevant today. More specifically, understanding A&T’s long and seemingly unlikely rise to its current iconic status requires a closer examination of its relationship to Southern California’s economy and culture....

The fundamental problem facing Tuchman was that the nation’s attitudes toward technology transformed between 1966, when he first proposed A&T, and 1971, when it opened. Through the mid-’60s, technology carried the sheen of modernity, with such figures as R. Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, and Nam June Paik expressing utopian aspirations for expanded modes of communicating and new ways of living. By the early ’70s, however, artists, audiences, and even museum patrons had turned against the war in Vietnam, and technology had become synonymous with the military-industrial complex: faceless think-tankers directing Lockheed bombers as they rained Dow Chemical napalm onto the bodies of Vietnamese villagers....

How is it possible, then, that a few decades later A&T has achieved something like cult status? And why is A&T not only being historicized with the current retrospective but also rebooted with a new Art + Technology Lab at the museum, this one supported by twenty-first-century companies including Google, Hyundai, and SpaceX? The answer is simply that the original A&T went viral long ago and still hasn’t left Southern California’s system....

Indeed, conditions have long been just right for a techno-pandemic in Southern California. Local art fabricators like Jack Brogan and Peter Carlson were patient zero: From Brogan’s work with Light and Space and Finish Fetish artists in the ’60s and ’70s to Carlson’s partnering on contemporary sculpture with Charles Ray, Liz Larner, and Doug Aitken, the region’s fabricators have introduced everything from auto detailing to injection molding to surfboard glassing into fine-arts practice, extending the A&T model into a new role of fabricator as cocreative spirit.... Local technology companies remain not just willing but eager to work with artists...

The A&T virus infects not just works but also spaces. While MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Study and the Exploratorium in San Francisco are also legacies of the ’60s art/tech boom, it was in Southern California that the innate hybridity of the A&T process mutated the art world enough to alter the very mechanics of viewing and display. While the original A&T was a hierarchical affair, its descendants are more feral, egalitarian, and hackerish. True to A&T, these venues often embrace an engineering sensibility as much as an artistic one, favoring the “kludge”—an engineer’s term for a quick and dirty workaround—over the fixed solution. They are also resolutely idiosyncratic outgrowths of their founders’ obsessions, which are themselves usually rooted more in science (or at least sci-fi) than in art history. There is the justly famous Museum of Jurassic Technology, and right next door, clui, Matthew Coolidge’s Center for Land Use Interpretation... Most directly channeling A&T is Echo Park’s Machine Project—which falls on a continuum spanning twenty-first-century maker spaces, self-sustaining relational-aesthetic experiments, and sui generis SoCal eccentricities. Founded and directed by Mark Allen, Machine Project hosts everything from hackathons that explore the programming of Arduino robotic controllers to workshops on DIY cat architecture. Allen acknowledges his debt to A&T, especially those projects where the artist came to master the technology him- or herself, rather than relying on help from technologists. Yet there is an evolution of the A&T legacy, too: The critic and painter Peter Plagens maintained that A&T was about “hardware,” where Machine Project tends toward software, if only because it is more easily distributable and encourages a DIY spirit....

A&T was part of a much broader transformation that is tied specifically to the intersection of West Coast counterculture with the new spirit of entrepreneurial capitalism that sprang up in Silicon Valley. Engineers in California don’t present as straitlaced company clones anymore. Today’s “creative industries” employ coders who look, and claim to think, like artists. Art, or at least artifice, has hybridized with technology
art_technology  collaboration  critical_design  critical_engineering  laboratories  trendy_theory  DIY 
yesterday
bordorTopologies
It will be argued that, as a function of algorithmic rules of digital computation, today's surfaces produce a patterning of vision that is cross-cut by multiple orders of observation and a whole variety of depths, intensities, neuroses, psychoses, and densities. In dialogue with Galison's work on secrecy, the paper aims to show how the apparently edgeless surface of the locally flat surface of global planetary vision is striated not only by multiple corridors and targets, but also by blind spots, fuzzy patches and edges, resulting in the production of the recursive fractal of public-private in terms of degrees of public-ness and complex patterns of political and economic inclusion, exclusion and belonging.
topology  visuality  borders 
yesterday
The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies | Cult of Pedagogy
So here they are: 15 formats for structuring a class discussion to make it more engaging, more organized, more equitable, and more academically challenging. If you’ve struggled to find effective ways to develop students’ speaking and listening skills, this is your lucky day.

I’ve separated the strategies into three groups. The first batch contains the higher-prep strategies, formats that require teachers to do some planning or gathering of materials ahead of time. Next come the low-prep strategies, which can be used on the fly when you have a few extra minutes or just want your students to get more active. Note that these are not strict categories; it’s certainly possible to simplify or add more meat to any of these structures and still make them work. The last group is the ongoing strategies. These are smaller techniques that can be integrated with other instructional strategies and don’t really stand alone. For each strategy, you’ll find a list of other names it sometimes goes by, a description of its basic structure, and an explanation of variations that exist, if any. To watch each strategy in action, click on its name and a new window will open with a video that demonstrates it.
pedagogy  teaching  discussion 
2 days ago
Reading at the Roche Limit: A Review of “Fantasies of the Library” | Feedback
But rather than lingering over errata, Fantasies of the Library actively promotes an errancy that repositions the act of reading as an act of wayfaring, picking one’s way through a garden of forking paths. The page can no longer be likened to a cultivated vineyard, as it was for medieval monastic readers; situated within the disturbed ecologies of the Anthropocene, the page becomes something more like a makeshift archipelago on which an imperiled reader or precarious lecturer goes foraging rather than harvesting. It is an exhilarating, vertigo-inducing book, where within the span of a few pages your eye is confronted with multiple concurrently-running interviews and essays....

Is Fantasies of the Library a book, a “paginated exhibition” (as it insists), or a deranged reading machine à la Rodney Graham? Perhaps all three. ...

As Joanna Zylinska argues in an interview (“The Species of the Book”), the bibliographic imaginary of Fantasies of the Library must be more than merely the by-product of innovative design. Where, then, is the experiment if not in the layout?

Tentatively, I would see the book not only as producing an imagination but also—to cite from Eileen A. Joy in her recent essay on the disintegration of the humanities and the decline of the university—as offering (provisionally and rudimentarily) a para-academic institution, a shelter for the intellectual vagabonds, and radicant Gardens of Thought. The peripatetic practices of Springer and Turpin, of the academic precariat at large, and of all the rogue librarians encountered in Fantasies of the Library are (re)inventing Academia outside of the University—or within its interstices—and in these simultaneously coalescing and decentering communities the book is likewise becoming undone: becoming tool, becoming platform, becoming library, and becoming exhibition.
reading  textual_form  libraries  exhibition  books 
2 days ago
Spaces—The Cinema | Art Agenda
The presence of figures such as Conner and Sharits on the commercial gallery circuit—a status that eluded them in their lifetime, during which they were primarily recognized as filmmakers—demands to be seen as the apotheosis of a development that has now been underway for some 20 years: the recuperation of the history of experimental cinema into the art context. While the two have long been marked by significant points of interconnection, they have equally been characterized, at least historically, by very different disciplinary, economic, and institutional formations. But today, with Jack Smith’s estate represented by Barbara Gladstone Gallery and Kenneth Anger offering a three-screen reconstruction of Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1958/2014) through Sprüth Magers in the Unlimited section of last year’s Art Basel—to say nothing of the recent presentations of Stan VanDerBeek at Andrea Rosen in New York or Malcolm Le Grice at Richard Saltoun in London—it is increasingly evident that a major transformation has taken place....

Alexander Horwath, head of the Austrian Film Museum, wrote in 2008 that the popularity of cinema-themed art exhibitions (then at its height) existed in “an inverse relation to the number of successful presentation models we see,” while many remarked upon the difficulties of format-shifting, excerpting, and distracted spectatorship.(2) Nevertheless, such curatorial gestures, increasingly prevalent in the years that followed, paved the way for the recent market valorization of historical experimental film...

And yet despite the fact that we are arguably witnessing a second wave of infatuation with film history, it is not always clear that significant progress has been made in resolving the issues that emerged in the 1990s regarding how best to transpose films made for theatrical exhibition into the gallery context. Indeed, there is unsettling evidence that the situation may have worsened—particularly given that many works of the experimental documentary tradition tend to be at least feature-length and, owing to their engagement with narrative, resolutely dependent on start-to-finish viewing....

This makeover of a gallery into alt-multiplex might prompt one to question if “The Inoperative Community” should have taken place at a cinema instead. But it is key that the exhibition makes an argument for the importance of the movie theater from within the art context (where its specificity is too often forgotten), while simultaneously using the flexibility and temporal possibilities of the exhibition format to maximum effect and insisting that it can provide an appropriate context for concentrated viewing if deployed properly.
film  exhibition  expanded_field 
2 days ago
Sounding Out the Anthropocene - www.ixdm.ch
The international exploratory workshop will investigate the fruitfulness of a media ecological approach to sonic phenomena in the light of the Anthropocene discourse. Sonic aspects of global media infrastructures and current ecological issues will be discussed as well as smaller-scale sonic media constellations. The workshop is a collaboration of the working group Auditory Culture and Sound Studies of the Society for Media Studies (GfM) and IXDM.
ecology  media_ecology  infrastructure  sound  sound_art  listening  anthropocene 
3 days ago
How Snead bookshelves made America's biggest libraries possible.
Before the early 20th century, public libraries typically used wooden bookcases with fixed shelves to house their volumes. In the 1910s, new public literacy initiatives like Andrew Carnegie’s library-building projects, as well as institutional expansions at the Library of Congress and many universities, drove the need for a different kind of library shelf. The new wave of libraries—bigger and more comprehensive than their predecessors—needed bookshelves that could accommodate their rapidly growing collections of books. The New York Public Library, for example, installed 75 miles of new bookshelves in 1910 in preparation of its grand opening the next year. And the shelves from earlier decades simply weren’t going to cut it.

So where were these new libraries going to get bookshelves that were up to the challenge?  Snead & Company, of Louisville, Kentucky, was a cast-iron works business that manufactured everything from window frames to tea kettles to girders to spittoons....

The stacks rested on marble, glass, or slate slabs that were robust enough to support the massive weight of the shelves and the books they housed. The bookshelves had a “z” notch that would allow each shelf to be moved up and down to best deal with the height of the books being stored there.
bookstacks  intellectual_furnishings  furniture  libraries 
3 days ago
The Politics of Listening - Runway
One of the works featured was Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s video work The All Hearing[1]. The departure point for the creation of The All Hearing was a recent study of Cairo’s urban culture which reported that Cairo is one of the world’s three noisiest cities. At first I assumed that the predominant noise factor in Cairo was traffic and possibly construction for the densely populated Cairenes. However, The All Hearing reveals that Cairo’s ‘noise’ is largely due to the increasing competition to have oneself heard. ...

The video footage of these sermons, spliced between images of Cairo’s dense traffic and impenetrable spires of loud speakers, reveal that the quest for peace and harmony is more than just a spiritual exercise for most Egyptians....

one of the sheiks in The All Hearing draws attention to the common plight of people living between two or more mosques. This location usually involves living with competing minaret sound systems and, according to the sheikh, diminishes one’s ability for productive prayer. ...

However, it is self-expression through “loud speaker libertarianism”[2] that is closely tied with individual identity in everyday Egyptian life. The larger the sound system, the greater the sound, the more one can assert themselves in a densely populated capital teeming with nine million people. It is not just the volume but the uniqueness of the sound that sets one apart from their urban brethren: localized singing, melody and adhan[3] express an identity and the badge of belonging for individuals within their neighbourhoods and the greater urban environment. People blast their self-selected music into the public arena, families announce religious rites of passage and, as Hamdan says sheiks are determined to deliver their sermon “not only to their congregation inside the mosque but also to all passersby” which makes “amplified ethics painful to hear”[4].
sound_politics  Islam  noise  lawrence_abu_hamdan 
4 days ago
Neil Gaiman: Libraries are cultural 'seed corn' | Books | The Guardian
Neil: I think the most important thing is a space that’s safe, and safe in all sorts of ways. Safe to work, safe to think. And [a space that has] librarians, because the librarians are the people who are curating the thing. I would obviously always put a vote up for books around, because there’s nothing quite like the glorious serendipity of finding a book you didn’t know you wanted to read. Anybody online can find a book they know they want to read, but it’s so much harder to find a book you didn’t know you want to read. To just pick it up because the cover looks interesting. Pick it up because it’s sitting next to the book that you meant to pick up. Pick it up because it’s sitting there on the returned book stack, above, below the book that you were putting down. I would always have books around. Because there are studies now that seem to indicate that we absorb information differently if we’re taking it from a static page than if we’re taking it from a screen, which is fascinating. But if you told me that all you’d have is a comfortable room that was a safe space, with a person in it maintaining it, I could believe in that. You’d go over and you’d say, “I’ve heard of a film that was made back in the 20th century, and it’s something to do with a falcon, a black falcon, I think it was Maltese or something.” And they’d go, “Oh yes! Well, there’s a book, there’s a film, what would you like?” And you’d say, “Well, I’d like both.” And they’d press a little button, or wave their hands around, and hand you a unit, on which you would be experiencing both the classic film and the book. I can imagine that happening.
libraries  infrastructure  learning  public_space 
7 days ago
Werner Herzog blasts 'stupid' social media at Sundance
"My social media is my kitchen table," he said. "My wife and I cook and we have four guests maximum because the table doesn't hold more than six."
intellectual_furnishings  social_media 
9 days ago
A New York artist creates music data | WIRED Germany
Data are abstract and usually understandable only in processed form. Few people have the ability to pick out a statement from a database after just one glance. Texts and visualizations in the form of tables or infographics can help in reducing complexity. The New York artist Brian Foo goes one step further: It focuses on the sonification of data. That is, he transforms numerical values ​​in sound and programmed or composed so from records music. In order to make audible, emotional approaches to complex social issues such as income inequality, environmental pollution or flight....

The challenge was for him above all is to find a sound that represents the data without making a personal rating. In a first version, he experimented with various audio qualities. Low income sounded muffled and distorted, high incomes clear and voluminous. But Foo rejected the idea, because his goal is possible without prejudice to reproduce the records in auditory form.
big_data  data_sonification  music 
9 days ago
Binaural bits / Looking for the audio Thrill in acoustic Games | WIRED Germany
Slightly less threatening is what "Blowback - The search" to. The interactive science fiction radio play lets his players via headset and smartphone app in real time walk through the 3D audio world of underwater hotels, where you will be protagonist of a thriller as a player.

The development of audio games is still in its infancy. Although the technical possibilities are enormous already, the number presentable productions is low. The list of genre-platform Audio Games is long, the quality of the games, however, makes little desire to explore the genre further. But there is hope: The development of ever finer motion and position sensors makes the spatial orientation in virtual worlds better. As part of hype about Oculus Rift and Co also the concepts of acoustic room design in virtual worlds are better. The Verge even anticipates a binaural Renaissance thanks to VR.
sound_space  video_games  augmented_reality  binaural  listening 
9 days ago
ESSENTIA | Open-source C++ library for audio analysis and audio-based music information retrieval
Essentia is an open-source C++ library for audio analysis and audio-based music information retrieval released under the Affero GPLv3 license (also available under proprietary license upon request). It contains an extensive collection of reusable algorithms which implement audio input/output functionality, standard digital signal processing blocks, statistical characterization of data, and a large set of spectral, temporal, tonal and high-level music descriptors. In addition, Essentia can be complemented with Gaia, a C++ library with python bindings which implement similarity measures and classifications on the results of audio analysis, and generate classification models that Essentia can use to compute high-level description of music
sound  sound_map  audio_analysis  algorithms 
9 days ago
BBC - Archive - Archive Pioneers - Saviours of sound at the BBC
The BBC was nearly ten years old when it installed its first recording machine, but tapes and discs soon began to pile up in Broadcasting House.
Through broadcasts, internal BBC interviews and recordings never before released in full, some of the BBC's archive pioneers explain how - and why - they set about collecting, selecting and organising voices and sounds in the 1930s and 40s. The department was variously named over the years, as its role in preserving the BBC's output grew and evolved, but today it is best known as the BBC Sound Archive.
archives  audiovisual  archival_practice  professional_practice 
10 days ago
Feeding English Majors in the 21st Century - The Chronicle of Higher Education
While encouraging our students to be intellectual and academic explorers, we also need to instruct them on how to think about their postgraduate lives — and sooner rather than later.

All of which led to "Novel English Majors." The learning goals for the course include the decidely unsexy "connecting the skills and mindsets of literary analysis to diverse career paths."

We began the semester with David Lodge’s Nice Work, a novel in which a feminist English professor shadows a captain of industry and both find their stereotypes of the other upended. Some savvy students noted that in fiction and reality, factories and universities alike consider the bottom line extensively, despite their different vocabularies for such concerns. (Lodge has much fun with administrative memos in his novel.)

Later in the semester, students had to organize their own shadow schemes — by first spending time with someone in a field or job they were interested in, and then writing up the experience and presenting it in class. ...

Late in the semester, students collectively mapped their experiences from their major and came up with an impressive list of skills. It included the usual suspects — writing and research — as well as the ability to connect the small with the big picture, to manage a project and meet deadlines, to both listen and speak, and to create and innovate. When I asked students what surprised them most about the list, one of them excitedly blurted out, "These are all marketable skills."
liberal_arts  UMS  advising 
10 days ago
Informative Rooms. The Interior as Portrait | e-flux
Show me your room and I’ll tell you who you are. Do our living interiors provide information about our personality and our character? Are our homes externalized reflections of our souls?

Interiors act as places in which we live, work or represent ourselves. What is in these places also says something about the inhabitants, their view of themselves and the world. So, interior spaces are not just neutral containers, not merely the general framework or setting for life. Rather they are produced by people and at the same time impact those people. Man continually inscribes himself into a space so that the latter becomes charged symbolically and in turn enables conclusions to be drawn about the person who lives there.

Since private interiors were raised to the status of an independent subject in Netherlandish painting in the 17th century, artists have asked about the extent to which the inhabitants are also present in the things they collect in their rooms. The artists in this exhibition understand the interior space as a contemporary expression of an individual mindset and include it in their works as a kind of indirect portrait.

The artists participating in this exhibition use the interior to link collective “memories of home” and insight into the inner life of the artist. Space and subject become unified by composing their self-portrait as an interior or a building. Extensive installations enable us to once again become immersed in the living spaces of our past, while the camera gaze explores the “home sweet home” now and then. Equipping one’s own home, a suitable house, become an existential task or an inspiring puzzle when unknown personalities are (re-)constructed using fictional interiors.
home  collection  domestic  installation  furnishings 
10 days ago
Meteorographica, or Methods of Mapping the Weather, by Francis Galton (1863) – SOCKS
English Victorian polymath, sir Francis Galton was a psychologist, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, statistician and the inventor of modern scientific meteorology.

He was the father of the modern system of weather representation, as his book Meteorographica (Macmillan, 1863) was the first systematic attempt of gathering, charting and interpreting weather data on a continental scale.
meteorology  mapping  data_visualization  prediction  statistics 
11 days ago
Hot Metal Empire | ATypI 2015 | Tom Mullaney - YouTube
Beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, hot metal typesetting swept through newspaper plants and government printing offices across the United States and Europe – and soon through Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. With missionary-like zeal, the manufacturing giant Mergenthaler Linotype, along with its licensed UK collaborator Linotype and Machinery, carved up the world of script in accordance with the boundaries of empire and geopolitical spheres of influence. Soon, letterform artists and sales representatives in Brooklyn and London found themselves trafficking in Arabic, Armenian, Burmese, Devanagari, Hebrew, Korean, Mongolian, Siamese, and over one hundred other world scripts. In this presentation, I chart out the global history of this “Hot Metal Empire,” examining the relationship between non-Latin script development, media, and colonialism in the age of modern empire, industrialized production, New Imperialism, and the aftermath of the First World War.
typography  globalization  empire  type_design  language  graphic_design 
12 days ago
Sidewalk Labs
We’re on the brink of a historic period for cities around the world. By 2050, the population in cities will double, intensifying existing socioeconomic, public health and environmental problems. At the same time, innovations in technology can be used to design communities that are more efficient, responsive and resilient. Sidewalk Labs aims to foster the development of technology products, platforms and infrastructure that help improve life in cities around the world....

New technologies are already transforming commerce, media and access to information. However, while there are apps to tell people about traffic conditions, or the prices of available apartments, the biggest challenges that cities face -- such as making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage and helping government operate more efficiently have, so far, been more difficult to address.

Sidewalk Labs will develop new products, platforms and partnerships to make progress in these areas.

Announcing the new company, Dan said: “We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities. At a time when the concerns about urban equity, costs, health and the environment are intensifying, unprecedented technological change is going to enable cities to be more efficient, responsive, flexible and resilient. We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing technology products, platforms and advanced infrastructure that can be implemented at scale in cities around the world.”

Larry Page said: “By improving urban technology, it’s possible to significantly improve the lives of billions of people around the world. With Sidewalk, we want to supercharge existing efforts in areas such as housing, energy, transportation and government to solve real problems that city-dwellers face every day. Every time I talk with Dan I feel an amazing sense of opportunity because of his passion for all the ways technology can help transform cities to be more livable, flexible and vibrant. And when you combine that with his experience as an investor, in NYC government, and as CEO of the large information company Bloomberg LP, I can’t imagine a better person to lead these efforts.”
media_city  google  labs  smart_cities  civic_technology 
12 days ago
About | Intersection
Our Technology & Design team designs and builds automated, personalized and integrated products and experiences across digital and physical environments.

As the largest municipally focused Media company in the U.S., we are dedicated to helping cities transform public assets into platforms for innovation and revenue.
Together, we work at the intersection of digital and physical, technology and media, cities and citizens—building on the strengths of both companies to create value for citizens, governments and brands and improve life in cities around the world.
google  media_city  smart_cities  urban_informatics  urban_planning  public_space  wifi 
12 days ago
Networked Urbanism Using Technology to Improve our Cities – MAS CONTEXT
IG: In terms of Chicago and data, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) just opened its exhibition Chicago: City of Big Data, for which you are part of their advisory board. What are the goals of the exhibition and what are the tools used to engage with people?

JT: The CAF organized it by scale: human, block, neighborhood, and city. I think of it a little differently. How does data, surveillance, and sensors inform city design? How is it actually changing the way that we design cities or how should it? It is similar to the work we do here at PositivEnergy Practice. The flip side is, how can we learn more about our cities by looking at it through this prism? The CAF is giving a physical walking tour where you are looking at the infrastructure of data: cameras, data centers, and cell phone repeaters. Once you see those elements, you start to see the city in a different way. I think that is good. It also goes to the data literacy point. The Internet does not just rain down from heaven. There is an actual built structure.

IG: That is what Andrew Blum talks about in his book Tubes. Data is physical.

JT: It has a physicality, it has a cost, and it has an aesthetic. If the old wooden water towers on buildings are still there, they are festooned with radio antennas. And sometimes the cistern itself has rotted away so it’s just the antennas. What are the implications of that? Should we zone things differently? Should the city take an active role in making it beautiful?
smart_cities  big_data  open_data  infrastructural_literacy 
12 days ago
About – Guerrilla Cartography
The mission of Guerrilla Cartography is to widely promote the cartographic arts and facilitate an expansion of the art, methods, and thematic scope of cartography, through collaborative projects, hosting theme-based community workshops and symposiums, and mounting public exhibitions.
HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY
Founded on the idea that a new paradigm for cooperative and collaborative knowledge-caching and sharing could have a transformative effect on the awareness and dissemination of spatial information, Guerrilla Cartography formed in 2012 to create Food: An Atlas.

The food atlas project was an experiment in guerrilla cartography and publishing. An open call for maps was shared and re-shared through a network of people who care about geography or food (or both) and the cartographers and researchers decided by their submissions what would be in the atlas.

The atlas was published by a consortium of supporters using a crowd-funding platform—the people made the atlas, literally gave it form. The project garnered a lot of media attention—for its content and its methodology—and we continue to receive requests for content to mount public and web-based exhibits.
mapping  cartography  critical_cartography 
15 days ago
Mission Malta – Exploring the Sound and Energy Properties of Ancient Architecture - Graham Hancock Official Website
The ancient mythology of the ancient Greeks spoke of times thousands of years earlier when mythical beings with great powers were part of the cultural landscape. In ancient Greek lore the islands within and lands around the Mediterranean Sea were populated with Centaurs, Cyclops, Gorgons, Minotaur, Hydra, Sirens and many more nasty creatures. The origins of these hostile inhabitants make up the meat of the ancient Greek Mythologies, along with the messages and lessons they hold. They most definitely came from a deeply remote time in the distant past; a time long prior to the technical and scientific terminology first developed by the Greek Civilization, though many of the creatures’ names and powers appear to have a somewhat technical root.

Prior to the Ancient Greeks and the advent of scientific language and technical terminology, humans described things differently. The forces of man and nature were closely observed and described for many thousands of years by humans, even documented in the written history of many ancient cultures predating the Greeks. However, many of these texts were lost and the surviving may require deciphering within a new context. A hypothetical passage such as “…the water God that resided beneath the mountain, providing pure waters and sustaining life”, could be an allegory for “hydrostatic pressure”. Before the Greeks came up with a term for the science of hydrology, or the concepts of static vs. dynamic pressure, it would be reasonable to assume these concepts were known, observed and understood, yet were described symbolically or metaphorically rather than technically.
urban_history  sensory_history  sound_space  archaeoacoustics 
16 days ago
We've hit peak home furnishings, says Ikea boss | Business | The Guardian
The appetite of western consumers for home furnishings has reached its peak – according to Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer.

The Swedish company’s head of sustainability told a Guardian conference that consumption of many familiar goods was at its limit.

“If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings,” Steve Howard said at a Guardian Sustainable Business debate. He said the new state of affairs could be called “peak curtains”....

“We will be increasingly building a circular Ikea where you can repair and recycle products,” Howard said.

Ikea has introduced a series of environmental policies in the last year. It has pledged to invest €1bn (£755m) in renewable energy and measures to help poorer communities deal with the impacts of climate change. It has also pledged that all the energy used to power its shops and factories will come from clean sources by 2020 and phased out non-LED lightbulbs from its stores.
furniture  consumerism  sustainability  repair 
16 days ago
Why Are Paper Maps Still A Thing? | Motherboard
For all the benefits of having GPS-enabled smartphones in our pockets, there’s a case to be made for the continued existence of paper maps: they orient us in a way that ensures we’re more likely to know our way around in the future.

Paper maps are our friends where cell coverage is spotty, data roaming charges are high and outlets are sparse. Compared to urban areas, the availability of high-quality digital map data also tends to be lacking in more remote locations—but there are frequently paper maps to be found that fill in these off-the-grid gaps. And although digital versions of National Topographic System maps (the cartographic BFF of Canadian hikers) are now accessible in mobile form through iOS and Android apps for day trips, nothing beats a paper map for an extended journey in the bush.

Digital maps also aren’t the best medium for illustrating the passage of time. As new housing developments are constructed and highways are completed, digital map providers are quick to have them integrated into the datasets they serve up, making it challenging for users to see the way things were without an option to roll back to an earlier time.

...Thankfully, map collections in city, national, and academic libraries (like the one I work in) still use these artifacts to tell richer critical histories of place. Thanks to new digitization initiatives, the information contained on old, potentially outdated paper maps is being given new life in geographic information systems, or GIS. Practitioners in historical GIS have translated paper maps and other location-based media into digital form to overlay the geography of the past onto the present, from exploring the environmental and industrial history of urban neighbourhoods to illustrating the reach of empires. The New York Public Library has invited anyone to contribute to their digital version of the city of the past, through their easy-to-use Building Inspector utilities.

Some credit digital mapping platforms with providing a whole new way to serendipitously explore and experience the world, allowing us to wander without getting lost. But I tend to agree with Simon Garfield in The Wall Street Journal, who argued that “digital maps are the enemies of wonder." From the Ontario highway maps that I browsed in the back seat of the car as a child to the historic city plans that live in libraries like mine, maps have always piqued my curiosity for getting to know unfamiliar places—albeit, in a way that’s not so singularly focused on myself and where I am right now.
mapping  cartography  cartographic_history  archives  map_archives  map_history  materiality  paper 
16 days ago
In Search of the Novel’s First Sentence: A Secret History | Electric Literature
This is the cusp of the first sentence era. Trollope’s choice today doesn’t look ideal, but the reactions are, and the first sentence as it develops is all about the reaction. Whatever it did before, this is what it does—or is beginning to do—now. It gets people intrigued. ...

Critics were well aware something new was afoot. In 1898, a reviewer for London’s The Graphic describes a work in which “the very first sentence of the novel, proving its complete up-to dateness, is the key to the whole.” “Novels once had a way of inducting the reader into the story by first casting a leisurely backward glance over two or three generations of the hero’s forebears,” a writer for Harpers says in 1917, but now “your modern novelist has developed a sort of literary jiu-jitsu whereby, with the very first sentence, the reader is catapulted off his feet into the very thick of things.”
writing  first_sentences 
16 days ago
It's Nice That | Rafaël Rozendaal redesigns how we view the internet with an exhibition of tapestries and haikus
Digital artist Rafaël Rozendaal is turning the internet inside out with an exhibition at Steve Turner Los Angeles. His third solo exhibition at the gallery, Abstract Browsing allows the audience to view the internet through Rafaël’s unique perspective.

Fascinated and inspired by the back-end of our online world, Rafaël uses a plugin of his own creation to view the wireframe of any website he chooses. Searching for unexpected compositions and the discovery of “weird hybrids of human design and machine optimising,” he considers pixels on a screen akin to stitches on a tapestry and proceeds to create his own vibrant Jacquard woven artworks reflecting his most intriguing finds.
textiles  texture  wireframes  materiality  neomateriality  reading  textual_form  graphic_design  infrastructure  web_design  post_internet 
16 days ago
Installing the Future of New York - The New Yorker
The future is at Third Avenue and Fifteenth Street, and moving north. On December 28th, at the intersection’s southeast corner, workers installed a new public telephone called a Link. It is the first of its kind anywhere in the city, the country, or the world. By 2020, more than half of the 8,178 curbside pay phones in the city will be transformed into Links. When the Link went in at Fifteenth Street, a technician tried it out by calling the cell phone of the worker standing next to him. When the cell phone rang, the technician’s first words were not “Mr. Watson, come here. I need you.” On that same day, the crew put in a second Link, at Seventeenth and Third. Since then, the Links have been marching up the avenue. When they get to Third Avenue and Fifty-seventh, they will pause, only to start appearing on other streets. Eventually, there will be about seventy-five hundred Links throughout the city, and all the curbside pay phones (except for four of them) will be gone.

The Link stands nine feet six inches tall—a little higher than the average “Don’t Walk” sign. It is made mostly of shiny, extra-tough aluminum, has the shape of a hockey-stick blade, and gleams like a futuristic monolith that primitive humans might worship in a movie. Perpendicular to passing traffic, its sides will light up with advertisements, about four feet high by three feet wide, that change every fifteen seconds. The ads are the revenue producers, minting money for the city as well as for Google and the other investors in the consortium that owns Intersection, the company that runs the Links.

The ads also subsidize the service. The Link’s narrow edges are about a foot across. On the edge handy to the sidewalk, a keypad like the one on your basic pay phone will allow passersby to call anyplace in the U.S. for free. There’s no receiver; you talk and listen at a little speaker, like an apartment intercom. Above the keypad, a touch screen in a vertical configuration will give the user access to a Web browser. Below the keypad is a USB port for charging devices, and another port where you can plug in headphones. Mainly, the Link offers free Wi-Fi that’s a hundred times faster than the usual public Wi-Fi. The Links will bring high-speed Internet access to most of the city.

Scott Goldsmith, the president of media at Intersection, is a slim, intense native New Yorker, graying at the temples, who admires the Link passionately: “It will completely change how people interact with the city. People will love it!” He also knows a lot about old pay phones. Recently, he led a mini-tour of some of the city’s notable pay phones, in a spirit of hail-and-farewell. The tour group consisted of a fellow pay-phone fancier and Intersection’s publicist. They started at a kiosk phone on Fulton Street in Brooklyn near the phone where, years ago, Goldsmith learned that he’d got into law school. From there, he took them to a much photographed phone on Vesey Street, in downtown Manhattan, where hundreds of people made calls on September 11th. Eventually, the tour ended at a phone booth at the corner of 101st Street and West End Avenue.

“This is what I really wanted us to see,” Goldsmith said. “This is the classic old phone booth, one of only four like it in the city. All four of these phone booths are on West End Avenue, and all are what we call the Superman phone booth—the kind that Clark Kent used to go into and change into Superman. We plan to keep all of these phone booths. Even after all the Links are in, and all today’s pay phones are gone, this phone booth and the other three Superman booths will still be on their corners. We will fix them up, put the hinged doors back on them, maybe get the fans in the ceiling to work again, and maintain the booths carefully, as a nod to the wonderful history of the pay phone. Plus, they’ll be like the Links, in that all calls made from them will be free.”

“But then they won’t be pay phones,” the pay-phone fancier said.

“Hmm . . . I hadn’t thought of that,” Goldsmith said. “O.K., we’ll make it so they still cost a quarter. That way we’ll maintain historical accuracy.”...

By design, the Link has no flat surfaces on which you can leave, say, an almost-empty Pabst bottle in a wrinkled paper bag. These Superman booths still have the little shelf beside the phone and always will. Their small privacy will still vibrate, occasionally, with the old lonesome pay-phone emotions of our former lives. The Links, savvier about human entanglements, will not.
media_city  cell_phone  wifi  pay_phones  telephones  public_space  media_archaeology 
17 days ago
The Gray Scale
Boundaries and borders are almost entirely situational, their necessity, legality, even legibility dependent on where you are in time and space in relationship to the line; they are as much fiction as reality, as much a gray area as a sharp delineation. This is not to say that such things as clear lines can’t exist — they do. It’s just that borders, which at one hour may be impassable and deadly, can later in the same day suddenly be open to smugglers or spies or politicians or housewives. It just depends on the circumstances....

It is elegant to experience at geographic scale discrete points played out with such economy to form a line. In terms of human cognition, not to mention classical Greek geometry, it seems a shame to sully this purity with an actual wall, an impossible attempt to make a political border permanently impermeable. The difference for the viewer between the points and the line are acute; the monuments by themselves have a visible dignity. When the obelisks are subsumed by the presence of an actual barrier, they are diminished, sometimes becoming pathetic or cruelly comical. When the border is delineated by separate points, the flow of humans, plants, and animals is unimpeded, even as a boundary has been demarcated. The monuments stand sentinel among the voyagers, and the border retains its dignity because it is not dominated by fear.

The use of boundary stones is as old as the earliest urbanizations, the cities of Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and Egypt. When the Romans later used them across Europe, they had developed into multipurpose markers called termini; these reflected civil authority, referenced historical events, cued local geographic features, and invoked deities. If you moved or destroyed a boundary stone without permission, you risked not only civil penalties but the wrath of the local spirits....

A line marking national sovereignty is already something of a myth: a story that initially must be politely accepted by both sides and then constantly reaffirmed through negotiation. When the disparity between what is on the two sides of the line becomes too great — economically, environmentally, politically — people attempt to relieve the disparity by crossing. ...

Perhaps the only way to comment intelligibly on the photographic documentation of a border, therefore, is to admit that it belongs as much to studies in landscape ecology as to art. A photographic series made along a border admits of complexity, of systems thinking, of the necessity to bring different disciplines together to make sense out of what you’re seeing. And it requires us to acknowledge that the photographer changes the border as he or she photographs it, and vice versa.
borders  migration  land_art  geography  territory  landscape 
17 days ago
Metropolis M » Magazine » 2006-No2 » Research & Destroy
Design is added value. En masse, designers throw themselves into desires instead of needs. There is nothing wrong with admitting as much. Konstantin Grcic, Rodolfo Dordoni and Philippe Starck are found in Wallpaper boutiques, not in Aldi supermarkets. Unvaryingly, the poorest families – for they are always around – are still living with second-hand settees in grey, post war neighbourhoods, in a total absence of design. Orchestration of ‘third-world’ design assembled for the cameras cannot escape the image of the world in poverty having to make do without the luxury gadgets that are so typical of contemporary design. The hope that some designers still cherish, of being commissioned to work from the perspective of objective need, is in vain. Design only generates longing. The problem is the problem of luxury....

There is one discipline in which, less than ever before, the definition of the problem and the solution are bound to a scientific, technical, or even just a factual state of affairs. That discipline is graphic design – or visual communications. Even Paul Mijksenaar cannot deny the fact that passengers still manage to find their flights in airports where he did not design the airport signposting. Meanwhile, the letter type that he developed for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is also the airport’s logo. In graphic design, every ‘problem’ is coloured by the desire for identity on the part of the client. They are the problems and the solutions of the game of rhetoric, expectations and opinions. The graphic designer, therefore, has to be good at political manoeuvring....

In the future, design might have to assume the role of ‘developer’ if it wants to be taken seriously..... The true investment is the investment in design itself, as a discipline that conducts research and generates knowledge – knowledge that makes it possible to seriously participate in discussions that are not about design. Let this be knowledge that no one has asked for, in which the designer is without the handhold of an assignment, a framework of conditions, his deference, without anyone to pat him on the shoulder or upbraid him. Let the designer take on the debate with the institutions, the brand names or the political parties, without it all being about getting the job or having the job fail. Let designers do some serious reading and writing of their own. Let designers offer the surplus value, the uselessness and the authorship of their profession to the world, to politics, to society....

In 1972, for the catalogue for the exhibition, Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Emilio Ambasz wrote about two contradictory directions in architecture: ‘The first attitude involves a commitment to design as a problem-solving activity, capable of formulating, in physical terms, solutions to problems encountered in the natural and socio-cultural milieu. The opposite attitude, which we may call one of counter-design, chooses instead to emphasize the need for a renewal of philosophical discourse and for social and political involvement as a way of bringing about structural changes in our society.’7

With the removal of need and the commissioned assignment as an inseparable duo, the door is open to new paths. The designer must use this freedom, for once, not to design something else, but to redesign himself.
graphic_design  design_thinking  design_research 
17 days ago
Hunger is psychological – and dieting only makes it ...
In some ways, the hunger system is like the breathing system. The brain has an unconscious mechanism that regulates breathing. Suppose that system got shut down so that it was up to you to consciously control your own breath, adjusting its rate and depth depending on factors such as blood oxygen, carbon dioxide level, physical exertion, and so on. What would happen? You’d die in about 10 minutes. You’d lose track of the necessities. The intellectual, conscious mind is not really good at these matters of regulating the internal environment. It’s better to leave the job as much as possible to the dedicated systems that evolved to do it. What you can do with your conscious mind is to set the general parameters. Put yourself in a place where your automatic systems can operate correctly. Don’t put a plastic bag over your head. Likewise, don’t eat the super-high death-carb, low-fat diet. Don’t micromanage your brainstem by counting every calorie. You might be surprised at how well your health self-regulates.
diet  nutrition  biochemistry 
17 days ago
Rhizome: The Download
Downloading is essential to almost any kind of engagement with the www, whether code is sent into a browser window or files are delivered to a desktop. To download is to take from the network and to navigate the choreography of circulation itself; when we download, we extend the file’s narrative—its time-stamped presence spanning any number of geo-located servers—into the intimate space of the hard drive. The download is a prerequisite to more local activities, like scanning, printing, dispersing, and archiving. Downloading can transform a public post into private property; to download may be political.

The browser typically acts as our portal to “the downloadable,” extending a view out onto distant servers and directories through the hyperlink. We can (almost) always download anything we see through the browser window, regardless of an artist’s intent, but while a browser-based work is meant to remain confined—“performed” into the user's browser window for a temporal experience that is measured and dictated in certain ways by its publisher—the download allows the user's experience to play out within the more private sphere of the desktop. The download involves agency.

To shift art out of the context of the browser and onto our desktop is to borrow from publishing—“making public” by dispersing copies of files and enjoying them locally (and privately). Artists who distribute downloadable work invite us to activate the computer desktop as an intimate, performative space for engaging with art.

Building on a past program curated by Zoë Salditch, The Download is a new series of six works commissioned by Rhizome that presents posted files, the act of downloading, and the user’s desktop as the space of exhibition. Beginning in November 2015 and continuing into the next year, each artist’s contribution will be zipped up and posted for download. The Download offers the JPG, the TXT, the PDF and other file extensions by artists who view the file format itself as substrate. These works are free to own, print, share, and perform under your own conditions.

Christopher Clary
sorry to dump on you like this.zip (2015)
112 MB

do you play.jpg

Somewhere deep inside the directory of Christopher Clary’s sorry to dump on you like this.zip, the text “do you play” appears as a file name. This particular JPG is one of 1,860 images in the work: a pixelated 320 x 240 photograph of a bearded man, perhaps a profile pic, creation date February 26, 2001. Is it an invitation? Without punctuation, the phrase “do you play” reads like a provocation, a quick text message, short for “do (the two of) you play (outside of your relationship?)” Surrounding texts encourage a sexualized reading, but isolating it as a fragment suggests other takes. Are you a player? Who’s playing whom?

Consisting only of still images and their filenames, sorry to dump on you like this.zip can be read as a dramatic desktop play that takes on an almost operatic depth, with characters, dialogue, and changing scenery. Multiple voices speak the texts, including a chorus of porn actors, tumblr users, and the artist himself, but in this case I imagine the computer asking me—the user who downloads—if I play. In Clary’s work, the paratextual spaces of the operating system (file names, dates, metadata, keywords) can perform unlimited narratives, if the player is game to save, search, and sort.
download  textual_form  net_art  materiality  publication  interfaces  desktop 
17 days ago
Visible Language
This introduction to this special issue of Visible Language examines why, and in what circumstances, punctuation may become visible: when especially does it come into view and demand our attention? While punctuation marks are, of course, visible signs, when they are functioning according to our expectations (and sometimes even when defying them), they can be barely noticed. The essay begins with discussion of a passage from Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit in which a character’s punctuation is referred to. This serves as a starting point for identifying a number of questions raised by such visibility, matters that are developed further, and variously, by the essays that follow. These include: punctuation’s roles in articulating grammar and suggesting orality; what punctuation may tell us about views on education and literacy; defining punctuation; its historical visibility or invisibility; its variation according to technological change; and its iconic and figurative potential.
punctuation  graphic_design  typography  language  textual_form 
17 days ago
Visible Language (1967–) — Monoskop Log
Visible Language is the oldest peer–reviewed design journal, first published in 1967. For it’s first four years, it was published under the title The Journal of Typographic Research.

The primary tenet of its foundation was that reading and writing together form a new, separate, and autonomous language system. From its initial focus on typography, it has evolved with the changing landscape of communication design to embrace interdisciplinary relationships with anthropology, art, design, education, English and linguistics. The journal has covered subjects such as concrete poetry, artists’ books, Fluxus, painted text, textual criticism, the abstraction of symbols, articulatory synthesis and text, and the evolution of the page from print to on-screen display.
textual_form  graphic_design  open_access  publications  archives  language  word_image 
17 days ago
Refugee Republic :: Jumpstarting a new existence in an emerging city. Everyday life in a refugee camp.
Refugee Republic is an interactive transmedia documentary about everyday life in Domiz Camp, a Syrian refugee camp in northern Iraq.

The aim of the makers, artist Jan Rothuizen, multimedia journalist Martijn van Tol, photographer Dirk Jan Visser and webdeveloper Aart Jan van der Linden, is to enrich the existing image of refugee camps by building an anatomical sketch of everyday life in the camp, through a combination of drawings, film, photography, sound and text to create a sensory experience.

The interactive documentary, produced by Submarine Channel and De Volkskrant, premiered at the Amsterdam documentary festival IDFA on 20 November 2014. The Dutch version was released online on 28 November 2014 on De Volkskrant website together with a six page special in De Volkskrant newspaper. Simultaneously, OneWorld magazine published the documentary online as well as in a six page print publication in its monthly magazine.
mapping  multimodal_storytelling  refugees  camps  cartography  multimodal_scholarship 
17 days ago
“One Damn Slide After Another”: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech : Computational Culture
Seldom if ever has a commercial device exercised such dominance on the principal forms of public speech. For more than twenty-five years PowerPoint has shown up at lectures, events, talks, sermons, and briefings. What once were distinct occasions have now become formatted in the genre of the commercial demonstration. PowerPoint provides a common infrastructure, a template for the organization of speech, and for the logic of argumentation. As such, it shapes and produces the world. Nevertheless, the application has been almost entirely unremarked upon by critical scholars of media, technology, and the digital humanities. Why? Despite extraordinary claims about the total domination of algorithms, protocols, the digital, bits, and information, the material conditions of mundane software use go largely under-recognized as key sites for cultural work. Where, for example are the books about tax software, bug databases, or personal calendaring applications? ...

PowerPoint stacks information in time, forcing audiences to think sequentially rather than comparatively.... Whether formatted by Lessig or Takahashi method, whether delivered as PechaKucha or TED talk, presentations are emblematic of twenty-first century oral culture and its promises to reward specialists-turned-presenters with the Internet limelight of a worldwide stage...When David Byrne or Lawrence Lessig push slideware beyond its defaults they highlight the specificities of the medium; artists make visible the limits and possibilities in material constraints. Close attention to PowerPoint’s materiality, however, reveals that it makes little difference if one treats the slide as blank canvas or rhythmic sequence. Either way, the tool uncompromisingly enforces the centrality of slides presented one-at-a-time. ... The only way to display multiple slides, and therefore to make visual arguments less dependent on sequence, is to project in production mode. Doing so, however, also reveals speaker notes, underlined misspellings, and the associated mess of backstage work. This rarely occurs. Even where existing functionalities make alternative narrative strategies possible, the strong distinctions between views intervenes. ...

PowerPoint’s inheritance from the lineage of formal internal business communications is perhaps nowhere more evident than through the information practices at the DuPont Corporation. Yates traces the culture of gathering around graphics that took root in the twentieth century.21 Managers held shop conferences for superintendents from various factories and divisions. By debating the meaning of curves, slumps, and inconsistencies they adopted consistent practices through comparative work. In the years after World War I DuPont developed a system called the chart room that bound presentation to executive control. It was the heart of daily operations for DuPont executives. The chart room contained hundreds of large images suspended from the ceiling on movable metal frames that could be re-arranged via a system of tracks and switches adapted from equipment designed for moving bales of hay. The machinery facilitated comparison, discussion, and a concern with high-level strategy rather than operational detail. The chart room expressed and inculcated the ethos of systematic managerialism.

By the second half of twentieth century business presentations were delivered by flip chart, whiteboard, overhead projector, and 35mm slide. Bullet points, lists, charts, graphs, text, images, and diagrams were all part of their style. Long before software companies made presentation programs the genre was relatively stable all over the world....

At Bell-Northern Gaskins became intimately acquainted with the complex possibilities of making presentation content for overheads. The process began with employees collaboratively sketching ideas on paper or whiteboard. These initial drafts were copied by assistants or secretaries, then revised, and then prepared as plain text in a Unix-based editor like Emacs running on a terminal connected to a PDP11/70. Separate formatting macros were written in TEX and images were drawn on a separate workstation via a locally written bitmap editor. Content, image, and formatting files were then uploaded for post-processing to a DEC-20 where each picture was parsed into character-sized files and treated as a pseudo-font that TEX would typeset to look like pictures. Once the program executed, the output was spooled to a Versatec plotter that printed onto a continuous roll of grainy thermal paper that was automatically sliced into letter-sized sheets. In case the cutter failed a pair of scissors was tied to the printer with a string. Any mistakes or revisions meant beginning again.

Computer-aided typesetting enforced distinctions between content and formatting. Presenter, by contrast, allowed users to work with the finished product in real-time. ...

The bulk of PowerPoint criticism has focused on the genre’s inadequacy as compared to essays, papers, and reports. Slide decks do, however, possess their own interesting properties as documents. Their modularity allows them to be generated as piles and then later assembled into a narrative order.
They can be single or multi-authored, can structure a range of outputs, and can be easily revised, re-shuffled, and re-used. Their virtues as a flexible authoring platform are well-suited to the demands of the modern corporation. Slide decks coordinate, collate, document, and report on the work of heterogeneous actors in different groups, across different sites, and at a range of organizational levels. They travel vertically and laterally, both inside and outside the firm. In many ways PowerPoint files exceed classification as documents to become what Yates and Orlikowski refer to as a “genre in use,” or structures that determine norms but do not wholly constrain social practices.... Nevertheless, the software’s primary value comes less from distributed co-authoring than from an individual’s speech.
PowerPoint files can be read as documents but more often they are performed.

...Rich Gold, manager of the Research in Experimental Documents group at Xerox PARC and self-proclaimed PowerPoint maestro, characterized presentations as jazz. Slides are merely the starting point, the “bass rhythm, and chord changes over which the melody is improvised.”
rhetoric  textual_form  presentation  academia  software  epistemology  computing_history  data_visualization  performance 
17 days ago
HOBART: Word-Things: Michael Kimball interviews Ingrid Burrington
I recently made a new "word-thing" that follows sort of in this path: it's a protest sign with a white dry-erase board for its sign and a marker clipped to the side. I've been trying different things written on it. Right now it says "WE WANT EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE", which is a real anti-globalization slogan. But that piece is more about the way that tactics of resistance tend to be adopted by the institutions one seeks to evade....

The diagrams that you're linking to are from when I made a small book that was filled with blank Venn diagrams that I used kind of like a diary--instead of saying what I did that day or how I felt, I would look at things in my everyday life that seemed to have shared qualities and try to break them down, sort them out. A lot of them weren't actually that funny--some of them were really boring. Some of them were really maudlin. But then on occasion they really clicked. I like the idea that they are a form of storytelling. I think that I tend to employ information graphics, maps and diagrams, in my work because they provide an authoritative overtone that is rapidly undermined by the content.

...What I like about words is the same thing I like about maps or schematics--they represent the workings of a place or a thing while also changing the thing through the use of its own established framework. A map can make a place seem bigger and smaller at the same time. I enjoy the uncertainty and subjectivity that goes into using words as a material in art making.
textual_form  word_art  language 
17 days ago
What Should Graduates Know? - The Chronicle of Higher Education
What would produce a version of what it means to be a college graduate, regardless of one’s major, that would be as clear and strong as stipulating what it means to be a professional-school graduate? My own preference is to create a canon of methods rather than a canon of specific knowledge or of great books — that is, to define, develop, and require instruction around a set of master skills that together would make one an educated, intellectually empowered, morally aware person.

Here is a quick list of possibilities: Rigorous interpretation of meaning, taught mainly through close reading of texts. Numeracy, including basic statistical literacy. Pattern and context recognition. Developing and stating an argument, in spoken and written form. Visual and spatial grammar and logic. Understanding how information is produced, how to locate it, and how much faith to put in it. Empathetic understanding of other people and other cultures. Learning to explore rigorously the relationship between cause and effect and to draw plausible inferences. I should emphasize that I am advocating developing courses that are specifically aimed at creating those capabilities, rather than declaring that existing courses that are notionally about something else will confer them.
education  pedagogy  liberal_ats 
18 days ago
www.georgenelsonfoundation.org/george-nelson/works/storagewall-60.html
Nelson developed the Storagewall concept for the book Tomorrow's House, which he wrote with Henry Wright. The Storagewall was introduced in the chapter "Organized Storage." Even before the publication of the book, Life dedicated a title story to the wall, and had a freely standing version of the wall built. In addition, a Storagewall was installed in a single-family home in New Jersey, as the article reports. Storagewall formed the foundation for Nelson's almost two decades of work on storage furniture and storage systems.
nelson  intellectual_furnishings  domesticity  home  media_wall  media_architecture  furniture 
19 days ago
The Holloway Reading Stand and Dictionary Holder | jeff peachey
In honor of the long lineage of reading “devices” meant to make everything about reading easier and better, I would like to showcase the late 19th century Holloway reading stand and dictionary table. As the trade catalog’s longer title notes, this reading stand has a “dictionary holder, book rest, lamp stand and writing table”.
reading  furniture  intellectual_furnishings 
19 days ago
Gestation of the Canon
Jesus is depicted as presenting the synagogue reading from the prophet Isaiah, presumably in the form of a scroll. But the Greek texts of Luke 4.16-20 present two possible readings in describing what Jesus did with Isaiah's "book" -- did he "unroll" it, as we would expect in that presumably pre-codex era, or did he "open" it, and later "close" it, as later readers and copyists might have assumed with codices as their models? In most English versions (including RSV), Jesus "opens" and "closes" the "book," although in the NIV (and the Message, Holman, ESV, New Living) he "unrolls" and "rolls up" the "scroll" (in the Darby translation he "unrolls" and "rolls up" the "book"; in Young he "unfolds" and "folds" the "roll"; the Amplified version gives various alternatives).

Artists were not immune to this technological confusion. Numerous depictions of the authors associated  with biblical writings from around the 5th century onward have them producing codices: on the doorstep of the modern world
scrolls  books  textual_form  media_history  intellectual_furnishings 
19 days ago
Reworking Work – Herman Miller
Truly global markets, seamless connectivity to people and machines, instantaneous access to information and ideas, a merging of life inside and outside the office, and the increasing creative and production capabilities of individuals—these are just a few of the trends coming together to define a new landscape of work.
furniture  intellectual_furnishings  desks  screens  presentation_images 
20 days ago
Research: The DuPont Company's Chart Room | Hagley Museum & Library
In 1919, DuPont created a room specifically for maintaining large charts that showed important financial statistics for its explosives business and emerging chemical ventures. The room was located on the renowned ninth floor of the DuPont Building in Wilmington, a few steps from the offices of Executive Committee members. Multiple charts for each business tracked sales, expenses, earnings, assets and ROI for the current year and ten years of history.  Additional charts also tracked the information by month and included forecasts.

The chart room was fairly straightforward in the beginning but became more complex over time. A photo in Hagley’s collection from about 1920 shows the first system was a single rack of charts mounted in hinged frames, like pages in a notebook, which could be flipped from right to left as the presentation progressed. Managers sat in front of the display on rolling chairs so they could shift as the presentation moved down the line. In some respects, the room was more useful as a data library than as an effective presentation vehicle. Either way, the idea was advanced for its day.

As DuPont added new businesses in the 1930s and 40s, the number of charts increased substantially. Not surprisingly, the challenges of presenting them also grew. The end result was a monorail system that suspended the charts on wheeled frames which allowed them to be rolled in front of committee members. As the attached photo from 1950 shows, it was a fairly ingenious solution for getting lots of information in front of an audience in a limited amount of space. Sometime later, a small amphitheater with tiered seating was added that allowed departmental managers to also participate in the reviews, which were delivered by the chart room supervisor.

...The chart room was used from 1919 through the early seventies, at which time C. B. McCoy, DuPont’s CEO, had it replaced by information booklets that were distributed to the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Printing and reproduction techniques, particularly the Xerox® copy machine, had evolved to where it made more sense to print books than to keep a small group tasked with updating hundreds of posters. In addition, the widespread use of overhead projectors in the late 1970s also changed the way that DuPont and other companies presented such information.
data_visualization  data_space  media_space  charts  graphs  management 
21 days ago
Out of Site & Out of Mind: Speculative Historiographies of Techno Trash by Mel Hogan and Andrea Zeffiro - nanocrit.com
Our project goal is to render the material and immaterial residues generated from of our current and everyday media habits and behaviors more visible by accentuating the ecological and ethical dilemmas posed by the production, consumption, and disposal of media technologies. Raising awareness about the material choices of our communications technologies (including design considerations), as well as cultures of use and disuse, is at the core of this project.

As an approach, our project speaks more generally to research practices that too often overlook environmental questions in favor of new equipment made available through grants, and the allure and power of big data crunching made more accessible with emergent software and visualization tools. As we write this paper, collaboratively, using online services and editing across our multiple devices, the potential hypocrisy embedded in our research object is all too obvious. We critique the very tools and technologies on which we rely to propel these ideas forward. We acknowledge the tension, but explain the worth of the intervention that serves to demonstrate the importance of working with and within this reality, rather than suppressing it. Thus, at the crux of our exploration lies this question: how does scholarship, including scholars themselves and their daily practices, play into environmental devastation brought about by our technological hyper-consumption and our means of use, disuse, and disposal? These are issues that pertain not only to the glut of techno trash specifically, but to the shaping of the future of the networked technologies on which we increasingly rely to make sense of ourselves. 
trash  materiality  e-waste 
21 days ago
Wynken de Worde: Hamlet's tables
Hamlet's description of wiping away the records to clear the space for the commandment to remember his father has long been read as metaphorical. And there is much in the speech that invites us to read it as a metaphor: Hamlet describes his brain as a book wherein memory inscribes itself.

But Hamlet's reference to writing tables that can be erased is also quite literal...

It is worth noting, too, the size of the tables: small, and easily portable. What else makes this a portable tablet, as opposed to other, non-portable writing surfaces? Writing with quill and ink requires many more tools: quill, inkpot, a hard surface, paper, a quill knife, perhaps some blotting material. How could Hamlet--or an actor playing Hamlet--possibly carry so much equipment and stop to write with it? The only other tool required for these tablets is a stylus, and many surviving examples of the tables have evidence of a stylus having been attached directly to them, or kept within the binding.

Once again, the technologies of writing and the materiality of text shape what we can create. With erasable tablets, a scholar could note in his tables whatever he or she wanted to include in a commonplace book, transfer those notes to the book, and then wipe clear the table to be used again. Hamlet's juxtaposition of the table able to be wiped clean and the "book and volume of my brain" in which the Ghost's commandment will be inscribed enacts the practice of commonplacing that we have been considering.
writing  commonplace_book  erasure 
22 days ago
Matthew G. Kirschenbaum: Technologies of Writing Seminar (1)
The importance of erasure. Since writing spaces are often volumetric they have a finite surface area and a finite capacity. The materials are expensive and need to be re-used. In antiquity, wax was the erasable medium of choice. One carried about wax tablets and used the sharp end of a metal stylus to incise text. The other end of the stylus, flat, could be used to erase the text. A servant (or slave) would later transcribe your jottings onto parchment for permanent storage (few of these wax tablets survive, perhaps because they were never conceived as anything but temporary conveyances for the written word). As Peter pointed out, one writes in wax, not on wax—a distinction that would later become important to Freud when he talks about the mystic writing pad, which these tablets resemble. ...

“Persistence and chronic tensions.” The phrase is Don Fowler’s, and the point is that writing technologies overlap, superimpose, and feed back on each other in rich and unpredictable ways. Rather than hard and fast breaks in the history of writing technologies, practices persist, co-exist, and exert mutual force and influence. One historian of the book, Frederick Kilgor, uses the phrase “punctuated equilibrium” (borrowed from Stephen J. Gould’s work in evolutionary biology) to talk about writing technologies as characterized by long periods of stasis and stability, marked by periodic eruptions of innovation. This seems wrong to me. While most scholars can talk at some length about Gutenberg, far fewer are aware of writing tables, erasable tablets in the that functioned as a kind of early modern PDA
writing  erasure  wax_tablets 
22 days ago
Raviv Ganchrow - Quarzbrecciakammer -
Quarzbrecciakammer  sets up a circuitry that reestablishes flows between chamber reverberation, baroque seismology and quartz crystal electricity. It places 18th century architectural acoustics in measure with the undulations from Innsbruck’s quartz-phyllite belt, by way of voltage from crystalline sediments.

Quartz is nature’s microphone. It is a mineral that literally signals agitations - such as earthquakes and rockslides - in its immediate surrounding. A prospecting method known as ‘the piezoelectric method’ measures changes in electrical output of rocks, activated by explosives, to determine underlying mineral structures in the bedrock. Mountains can have their own built-in sensors simply due to their mineral composition. The jostling of quartzose stone in Innsbruck’s vicinity resonates with Neolithic copper digging and smelting, Renaissance silver extractions and Tyrolit industrial abrasion at Schwaz, Imperial Armory Iron ore pounding from Uderns and Fulpmes as well as impacts from the Napoleonic and World wars, not to mention the sloshing of rivers and scraping of glaciers.

One can only imagine the nature of a signal arising from the broader Inn Valley erosion as it gets transduced through countless crystal particles embedded in the quartz-phyllite belt flanking the valley to the south. And if rocks can signal, other crude forms of mineral awareness may also abound. More tangible waveforms from this mountain range are in fact under close scrutiny by way of a sensor embedded on a slope above Wattens. The WTTA sensor, one of several seismic monitoring stations in Tyrol, operated by Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics), sends out a continuous signal that is part of a much larger network of sensors playing back the ongoing symphony of global seismicity.
sound_art  materiality  geology  sound_space 
22 days ago
When Philosophy Lost Its Way - The New York Times
Once knowledge and goodness were divorced, scientists could be regarded as experts, but there are no morals or lessons to be drawn from their work. Science derives its authority from impersonal structures and methods, not the superior character of the scientist. The individual scientist is no different from the average Joe; he or she has, as Shapin has written, “no special authority to pronounce on what ought to be done.” For many, science became a paycheck, and the scientist became a “de-moralized” tool enlisted in the service of power, bureaucracy and commerce.

Here, too, philosophy has aped the sciences by fostering a culture that might be called “the genius contest.” Philosophic activity devolved into a contest to prove just how clever one can be in creating or destroying arguments. Today, a hyperactive productivist churn of scholarship keeps philosophers chained to their computers. Like the sciences, philosophy has largely become a technical enterprise, the only difference being that we manipulate words rather than genes or chemicals. Lost is the once common-sense notion that philosophers are seeking the good life — that we ought to be (in spite of our failings) model citizens and human beings. Having become specialists, we have lost sight of the whole. The point of philosophy now is to be smart, not good. It has been the heart of our undoing.
philosophy  academia  ideology 
24 days ago
The Sound of 18th-Century Paris | CNRS News
Paris as you have never heard it before! This novel experience is offered by Mylène Pardoen, a musicologist at the Passages XX-XXI laboratory,1 through the Bretez Project. The name is not without significance: the first historical audio reconstitution created by this team of historians, sociologists and specialists in 3D representations2 is set against the backdrop of 18th-century Paris as it appears in the famous Turgot-Bretez Map of 1739. Turgot was the provost of the merchants of Paris who commissioned the map, while Bretez was the engineer in charge of surveying the city’s streets and buildings.

70 sonic tableaux

More specifically, the 8’30” video takes the viewer to the heart of the Grand Châtelet district, between the Pont au Change and Pont Notre Dame bridges. “I chose that neighborhood because it concentrates 80% of the background sound environments of Paris in that era, whether through familiar trades—shopkeepers, craftsmen, boatmen, washerwomen on the banks of the Seine, etc.—or the diversity of acoustic possibilities, like the echo heard under a bridge or in a covered passageway,” Pardoen explains. While historical videos with soundtracks are nothing new, this is the first 3D reconstitution based solely on a sonic background: the quality of the sounds (muffled, amplified…) takes into account the heights of the buildings and their construction materials (stone, cob etc.).
sound_space  sonic_archaeology  sensory_history  media_space  acoustics 
24 days ago
What would feminist data visualization look like? | MIT Center for Civic Media
Feminist standpoint theory would say that the issue is that all knowledge is socially situated and that the perspectives of oppressed groups including women, minorities and others are systematically excluded from "general" knowledge....
Here are some beginning design thoughts about what feminist data visualization could do:

1. Invent new ways to represent uncertainty, outsides, missing data, and flawed methods
While visualizations - particularly popular, public ones - are great at presenting wholly contained worlds, they are not so good at visually representing their limitations. Where are the places that the visualization does not go and cannot go? Can we put those in? How do we represent the data that is missing?...Beyond simply missing data - how do we dig into data provenance as an entire subfield of visualization akin to the reporter's work of fact-checking and verification? Can we collect and represent the data that was never collected? Can we find the population that was excluded? Can we locate the faulty instrument that everyone assumed was working? Can we critically examine the methods of a study rather than accepting the JSON, CSV or API as is?...
2. Invent new ways to reference the material economy behind the data.
Akin to this question of data provenance, we also need to ask about the material economy behind the data. What are the conditions that make a data visualization possible? Who are the funders? Who collected the data? Whose labor happened behind the scenes and under what conditions? ...What if we visually problematized the provenance of the data? The interests behind the data? The stakeholders in the data?...
3. Make dissent possible
While there are plenty of "interactive" data visualizations what we currently mean by this is limited to selecting some filters, sliding some sliders, and viewing how the picture shifts and changes from one stable image to another stable image as a result....So one way to re-situate data visualization is to actually destabilize it by making dissent possible. How can we devise ways to talk back to the data? To question the facts? To present alternative views and realities? To contest and undermine even the basic tenets of the data's existence and collection?
data_visualization  feminism  epistemology  uncertainty  mapping 
25 days ago
spacetong(archiworkshop) creates mini pavilions for mobile library project
the ‘mobile library’ project is part of a larger initiative by the seoul innovation park, and the city of seoul, south korea to revitalize a site originally occupied by the ministry of food and drug safety. a number of social companies and startups have been gathered, and will continually work from the site to address various social issues in the city.

...korean studio spacetong(archiworkshop) led the design of four mini pavilions, with additional collaboration by jae-choul choi, john (pyung ki) kim, and woo-yeol lee. the spaces, titled ‘block’, ‘pipe’, ‘mirage’, and ‘membrane’ are named — as you may have guessed — after their most prominent material or feature.
little_libraries  libraries  popups  korea 
25 days ago
New analysis offers more evidence against student evaluations of teaching | Inside Higher Ed
gender biases about instructors -- which vary by discipline, student gender and other factors -- affect how students rate even supposedly objective practices, such as how quickly assignments are graded. And these biases can be large enough to cause more effective instructors to get lower teaching ratings than instructors who prove less effective by other measures, according to the study based on analyses of data sets from one French and one U.S. institution.
“In two very different universities and in a broad range of course topics, SET measure students’ gender biases better than they measure the instructor’s teaching effectiveness,” the paper says. “Overall, SET disadvantage female instructors. There is no evidence that this is the exception rather than the rule.”
teaching  evaluation  gender 
25 days ago
The Sound of Ruins: Sigur Rós’ Heima and the Post-Rock Elegy for Place | Interference
This article argues that post-rock as critical artistic practice can be seen as a sonic cartography: a unique means of affectively mapping the ‘geographical imagination’ (Massey 1999) of a place through sound. From this perspective, music does not simply reflect but “shapes and creates space through both its acoustical properties and its cultural codes” (Wood et al 2007, p.872), establishing the sensory and emotional ambience of place through sound, as well as forming a “cultural ‘map of meaning’” which listeners draw upon to “locate themselves in different imaginary geographies” (Cohen 1998, p.289). The central argument of this essay is that music plays a critical role in the temporalities of this imagination, contributing to the formation and reformation of spatial memories as it connects to and revives alternative times and places latent within a particular environment.

This essay investigates these complex dimensions of memory, affect and meaning within the sonic cartography of post-rock. In keeping with the understanding of this cartography as both material and meaningful, it first argues the genre engenders a concrete mode of listening to the urban, characterised as ‘auditory drift’, which is then dramatised within the textual codes of post-rock recordings. This latter point is developed through core case studies of seminal post-rock outfits – Canadian ensemble Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Icelandic quartet Sigur Rós – that also explore the politics of memory and the poetics of lost spaces central to post-rock.
sound_space  cartography  mapping 
26 days ago
Where Are Amazon's Data Centers? - The Atlantic
Northern Virginia is a pretty convenient place to start a cloud-services business: for reasons we’ll get into later, it’s a central region for Internet backbone. For the notoriously economical and utilitarian Amazon, this meant that it could quickly set up shop with minimal overhead in the area, leasing or buying older data centers rather than building new ones from scratch.

The ease with which AWS was able to get off the ground by leasing colocation space in northern Virginia in 2006 is the same reason that US-East is the most fragile molecule of the AWS cloud: it’s old, and it’s running on old equipment in old buildings....

Google’s web crawlers don’t particularly care about AWS’ preference of staying below the radar, and searching for Vadata, Inc. sometimes pulls up addresses that probably first appeared on some deeply buried municipal paperwork and were added to Google Maps by a robot. It’s also not too hard to go straight to those original municipal documents with addresses and other cool information, like fines from utility companies and documentation of tax arrangements made specifically for AWS. (Pro tip for the rookie data-center mapper: if you’re looking for the data centers of other major companies, Foursquare check-ins are also a surprisingly rich resource)....

Both of these factors were at play in the unincorporated area of northern Virginia known as Tysons Corner, an area just far away enough from Washington to be relatively safe from nuclear attack but close enough to remain accessible. One of the region’s earliest military outposts was actually a piece of communications infrastructure: a microwave tower built in 1952 that was the first among several relays connecting Washington to the “Federal Relocation Arc” of secret underground bunkers created in case of nuclear attack.

The particular alignments of highways that eventually connected Dulles International Airport in Virginia to the Capitol Beltway basically made this pocket of northern Virginia the first and last place for any commercial activities between the airport and D.C. This led to an outcropping of office parks that housed not only defense contractors, but also government IT and time-sharing services and, later, companies like MCI, AOL, and UUNet. Thanks to that concentration of network companies and a whole lot of support from the National Science Foundation, Tysons Corner became home to MAE-East, one of the earliest Internet exchanges and home to the foundation of what would become that Internet backbone. Networks build atop networks, and the presence of this backbone in Tysons Corner led to more backbone, more tech companies, and more data centers. Today, up to 70 percent of Internet traffic worldwide travels through this region, as the Loudon county economic-development board cheerfully notes in its marketing materials.
infrastructure  internet  cloud  data_centers 
27 days ago
Commoning systems: Organize, don’t jargonize | Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
So if you want this sort of sharing to thrive in your city, you’ll have to develop — or better yet, rediscover and reinforce — the values and the political culture that underwrite it.

...deeper challenge to the broader adoption of informal sharing services, which is that this is how poor people have always lived — both in the favelas and slums of the “developing world,” and in the deprived communities of our own cities. (They don’t call it “social innovation,” by the way; they just get on with it.) And I have doubts about the degree to which significant numbers of people raised in Western culture’s last full flush of middle-class prosperity will adopt ways and means of daily survival they’ve been taught to associate with poverty, until and unless they have no choice in the matter.

One response to this challenge is indeed to package collective services, to brand them brightly and make them trendy, so people can harvest the specific frisson of social distinction we associate with luxury consumption from performing their virtue in public....

And worse still, to build a service ecosystem on such foundations is to endorse the mayfly logic of the fashion cycle: that which is trendy this season is by definition a dead letter next year. By contrast, to function effectively in support of a community over the long term, participation in the commons has to be something more than a fad or momentary fashion. It has to be able to rely upon institutions, practices and arrangements that stabilize it and make it tenable as an approach to living. If those institutions, practices and arrangements are ones broadly associated with life under conditions of deprivation, the ingrained psychological resistance to adopting them may be the hardest of all these barriers to overcome.

The bottom line is that the practical insights that are necessary to render any such thing as a “sharing economy” workable at all get lost when this idea is depoliticized, as it all but invariably is in the “social innovation” literature and the popular press....

We’ll have to develop (or redevelop) a vibrant, active, living culture of commoning, not because it’s convenient or trendy but because it responds to our values. We’ll have to organize the communities we live and work in. We’ll have to do so even if, for some of us, it means admitting that we are choosing to live in ways that have always been adopted by people facing hard times, at whatever cost to the self-image as a dynamic, successful, self-reliant competitor in the late-capitalist marketplace we’ve cherished and have worked so hard to uphold. And these investments of effort and energy are fundamentally a matter of the politics we choose to live.
sharing_economy  commons  libraries  infrastructure 
27 days ago
Working with the Whitney’s Replication Committee - The New Yorker
How does the museum determine when to reprint the objects? And, once you start replicating parts, when is the work no longer the work? These and other questions are the domain of the Whitney’s replication committee, a little-known but increasingly crucial body within the museum. The committee is, as far as I know, the only one of its kind. Founded in 2008, it is composed of fourteen people—conservators, curators, archivists, a lawyer, and a registrar. The committee convenes to determine when a work of art, or a part of a work of art, cannot be fixed or restored in the traditional ways—when and how it must, instead, be replicated. These discussions result in recommendations that affect the way art works are maintained, classified, and described in exhibitions.


As I leave the building, I find myself thinking of the ship of Theseus, king of Athens. According to Plutarch, the ship

was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.
If it isn’t the same ship—if restoration has crossed into replication—which piece of timber was decisive? And where does the identity of an art work reside if it will be fully realized only in the future, plank by printed plank?...

Talking about undoing previous restoration led us back to Petryn. His approach was part of a long history of “cleaning controversies,” as conservators call them. (That Kline’s sculptures involve cleaning products helps position them, perhaps unintentionally, in relation to the conservation practices that his work subverts.) Such disputes are as old as Pliny, who claimed that a painting by Aristides of Thebes was ruined by whoever tried to clean it up for the Games of Apollo. These debates are fundamentally about temporality: should we celebrate the patina of time or what’s beneath it?
preservation  conservation  art  materiality 
27 days ago
How the Naming of Clouds Changed the Skies of Art
Luke Howard, a pharmacist by profession and an amateur cloud enthusiast, was born in London in 1772. By 1802, when he presented his Essay on the Modification of Clouds to the Askesian Society, he’d spent years monitoring the skies over his home city, and sketching their changing shapes to record their patterns. The entire essay is available at the Internet Archive, and Howard introduces the necessity of categorizing the clouds directly:...

Howard named them in three Latin terms: cirrus (“a curl of hair”); cumulus (“a heap”); and stratus (“layer”). Now 150 years after Howard’s death in 1864, the Science Museum in London exhibits some of his research tools and art in a small display. Some of his watercolors were created in collaboration with artist Edward Kennion, who likely refined the self-taught Howard’s sketches and paintings. Rachel Boon writes in a post for the Science Museum blog that it’s “been argued by historians of art and science that Howard’s contemporary John Constable was influenced by this new meteorological theory and it is visible in his powerful landscapes. Not only did Howard’s images inspire great art but so did his published essays which stimulated the imaginations of the poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Percy Shelly.”

Friedrich mostly stuck to ethereal suggestions of clouds, not that different from the century before, but Constable, who did his own studies, and others like J.M.W. Turner, instilled their landscapes with dynamic texture and warring shapes that responded to this new science. Clouds were no longer just fluffy afterthoughts, they were temperamental and majestic, with all the the complexity of nature.
classification  naturalism  clouds  weather  painting  art 
28 days ago
BCC - BalcanCanContemporary - All Forms of Shadow Knowledge Exist in the Fault Lines of Officially Sanctioned Knowledge
BCC: Universal accessibility to knowledge belongs to a certain political worldview that certainly classifies as egalitarian or “radical” leftist. How does the Public Library project relate to the ongoing commercialisation of educational institutions? Are online initiatives just as important as offline struggles and occupations?

MEDAK: Universal access for all members of society to a universal body of knowledge is, as all universals go, premised on naïve assumptions, so called political ideals. Such is the nature of dreaming politically. We know all too well that the universal human rights are premised on the existence of the state-form that excludes some for enjoying those rights. We know that in the fault lines of officially sanctioned knowledge exist all forms of shadow knowledge. We know that the access in the form of public library exists only as an exception to the market. Truly universal character of these ideals is only achieved by the definite negation of the present state of things: by struggling against their limitations and by acting in the struggle as if those limitations did not exist. This was, for instance, the heroic character of Paris Commune. A communism in existence that instantiated the universal republic – promised and never accomplished by the French Revolution 90 years earlier – then and there, over those 71 days in 1871.

This is how we understand the problem of commercialization and privatization of education: While struggling against the commercialization and privatization of education and knowledge, we have to instantiate forms of education and knowledge that are not subordinated to the needs of labor market and to the reproduction of the economic system. And in that effort the difficulty of organizing people, the disruptive character of offline occupations and the immediate relation of cooperation are truly transformative. Yet a collective reading of a book, be it online or offline, digital or physical, is at times just as incisive. An attempt to make accessible privatized knowledge just as effective. [22] Thus it is not so much which comes first, but if the two can be connected. If decommodification of knowledge in object form can be linked to decommodification of knowledge in institutional form.
libraries  epistemologies  commons  piracy  space_of_exception 
28 days ago
Archive Bound: The Measures by Jacqueline Goss and Jenny Perlin I The New School - YouTube
Archive Bound, presented by The New School (https://www.newschool.edu/) examines methodologies within the presentation, documentation, historiography, and exhibition display of non-object based and site-specific artworks. Additionally, the exhibition at the Center for Book Arts includes books, photographs, and ephemera associated with Conceptual, Performance, and Site-Specific Art practices. Several first generation avant-garde figures lay the groundwork for a discourse on the contemporary utilization of these crucial genres. A performance series is being held in conjunction with the exhibition at The New School.

On December 3, artists Jacqueline Goss and Jenny Perlin presents The Measures. Their essayistic performance considers the travails of two French astronomers/ mathematicians as they measure the earth’s meridian arc from Dunkirk to Barcelona as part of an attempt to determine the appropriate length of a meter at the end of the 1700s, as the filmmakers retrace the scientists' route. From the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel, The Measures explores the metric system’s origins during the violence and upheavals of the French Revolution. Along the way, Goss and Perlin consider the intertwining of political and personal turmoil, the failures of standardization, and the subtleties of collaboration. The film will be screened with a live voiceover by Goss and Perlin.
mapping  visualization  exhibition  history_of_science  measurement  place 
28 days ago
How Do Machines See? My Graduate Seminar this Semester | jill/txt
What happens to our understanding of the world when we no longer primarily rely on human perception but use machines and algorithms to sense our surroundings? We’ll be reading theory, learning about the history of visual technologies, and exploring digital art, literature, apps and games that engage with the question of machine vision.
machine_vision  mapping  microscopes 
29 days ago
Art Library :: Dynamic Order :: Sitterwerk.ch
The inventory of around 19,000 books is accessible to the public as a reference library. This inventory is currently being recorded and catalogued. At this time, 16,000 books have already been processed from a library-science perspective and can be called up on the Sitterwerk catalogue. In a pilot project, an RFID reading device makes it possible to find the books in the Art Library. This allows for a continuous inventory and thus a dynamic order. The Library can be adapted to the user, who can bring together subject-specific or also associatively related books in the shelves. Serendipitous discoveries thus become possible in the Art Library: when people search for specific books, they find other books that they had not been looking for but that, nevertheless, lie within the scope of their interests. The compilations of books are saved in the database so that this principle also leads to unexpected and yet specific discoveries in the digital catalogue.


Continuous Inventory by means of RFID Technology

In the Art Library in the Sitterwerk, the books are equipped with RFID tags instead of conventional written labels....
Thanks to these prerequisites, the order structure can be changed on an ongoing basis as a result of use and management, and be adapted to users. Individuals who work on a topic in the Library are able to bring books on it together and then place this compilation in the shelves. What is currently taking place can be illustrated through the selection of books — for example artists having their work realized in the Kunstgiesserei or the Photo Lab, newly developed production and restoration techniques, or novel library access systems. Individuals can also be invited to give expression to their interests through bringing together a personal selection of books.

As a result of this dynamic order structure, new options to search for and find books arise for the different users of the library. The way in which books are grouped and brought together on the shelves at a given moment allow for so-called serendipitous discoveries: when people search for specific books, they find other books that they had not been looking for but, nevertheless, lie within the scope of their interest.
libraries  classification  infrastructure  RFID  bookstacks 
29 days ago
Author discusses her new book, 'Manifesto for the Humanities' | Inside Higher Ed
Since 2010, I have been arguing for breathing life into the dissertation stage of the doctorate by expanding the possible forms the dissertation might take. My argument for embracing more flexible dissertation options proceeds from recognition that it’s imperative to affirm the intellectual mission of the Ph.D. as a project and redefine its paths to achievement. The current model is no longer adequate to the state of higher education, the state of the disciplines and the nature of future jobs in the profession. The current dissertation monograph remains inflexibly wedded to the traditional book culture format, and the habits of inquiry and production its conventional demands reinforce may not train doctoral students in methodologies enabled by, and skills necessary to navigate, this emergent environment.
Remaining wedded to the dissertation monograph as an isolated venture will limit students’ preparation for this increasingly collaborative scholarly world. Moreover, length doesn’t ensure quality. So many pages, so much excellence. This default to quantification is an unintended consequence of fetishizing the protomonograph. Opening opportunities for diverse models of the dissertation and diverse modes and media of its communication will signal the importance of preparation for new cultures of collegiality and new environments of scholarly inquiry and communication. If doctoral study is to launch the careers of future academic humanists and contribute to a robust humanities, then more flexible road maps through the degree, and a more flexible set of models for its capstone, are required.
Let’s design a dissertation of expansive possibilities, of which the monograph form will be one among several options. Some students will pursue the traditional dissertation, but they will also recognize that there are other options and thus other kinds of preparation important for their future careers. Some will opt for alternative models if that option is available to them, and they will surprise advisers and graduate directors with their conceptualization of this capstone to their studies. A suite of essays. A born-digital project. An ensemble of different genres of scholarly writing, perhaps directed to different audiences. A work of public scholarship, including its documentation. Or a documentary. A translation or textual edition. A project in comics mode....
It would be wonderful if doctoral students will have come from programs that did not require them to conform to a one-model-fits-all academic program, that encouraged thinking outside the box, that broadened the concept of professionalization away from the one-model-of-success narrative. Some will be adept at navigating digital environments of data, information, content, platform and code and at communicating their scholarship in multimodal and multimedia forms.
Many will be prepared to assess the options of open access. More and more will be adept at working collaboratively and valuing cultures of participatory inquiry, and thus enacting a new ethos of academic sociality. Others will have expanded their range of scholarly voices and idioms of communication. Many will not see teaching as an obstruction to their careers defined solely in terms of publication rate and record; they will have gained sophistication in a range of pedagogical practices. By the time they graduate, they will have been prepared for careers that unfold through diverse trajectories.
There are many ways to work toward this vision. One would be the radical move away from the standard three-credit course packaging of doctoral education, the experimentation with ensembles of one-, two-, three-credit courses and/or yearlong courses. In a less disruptive mode, I see two major changes on the way to the dissertation that require less disruption. The first: across the curriculum as a whole and across particular courses, alternatives to the seminar paper could be introduced.
These alternatives include collaborative essays, collectively produced glossaries of terms and concepts, a cohort essay project, a grant application addressed to a real grant program, a deep reading journal, a creative portfolio, a lecture for an undergraduate survey course. ...
Second: programs could offer doctoral students greater agency and mentoring in preparation from the start for multiple possible careers. This change requires that faculty and graduate programs dislodge the one-model-of-success ethos that discourages students from imagining themselves in careers other than that of a professor at an R-1 university.
graduate_education  dissertations  advising  multimodal_scholarship  pedagogy 
29 days ago
Navigating The Green Book | NYPL Labs
The Green Book was a travel guide published between 1936 and 1966 that listed hotels, restaurants, bars, gas stations, etc. where black travelers would be welcome. NYPL Labs is in the process of extracting the data from the Green Books themselves and welcomes you to explore its contents in new ways.
mapping  archives  race 
29 days ago
Free for All: NYPL Enhances Public Domain Collections For Sharing and Reuse | The New York Public Library
Today we are proud to announce that out-of-copyright materials in NYPL Digital Collections are now available as high-resolution downloads. No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse! 

The release of more than 180,000 digitized items represents both a simplification and an enhancement of digital access to a trove of unique and rare materials: a removal of administration fees and processes from public domain content, and also improvements to interfaces — popular and technical — to the digital assets themselves. Online users of the NYPL Digital Collections website will find more prominent download links and filters highlighting restriction-free content; while more technically inclined users will also benefit from updates to the Digital Collections API enabling bulk use and analysis, as well as data exports and utilities posted to NYPL's GitHub account. These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds. All subsequently digitized public domain collections will be made available in the same way, joining a growing repository of open materials.
archives  digital_archives  libraries  public_domain  data_visualization  interfaces 
29 days ago
Public Domain Collections: Free to Share & Reuse | The New York Public Library
Did you know that more than 180,000 of the items in our Digital Collections are in the public domain?
That means everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials in almost limitless ways. The Library now makes it possible to download such items in the highest resolution available directly from the Digital Collections website.

No permission required. No restrictions on use.
libraries  public_domain  archives  interfaces  visualization 
29 days ago
Art as a Learning Process: The Legacy of Black Mountain College
It investigates, on a fundamental level, how artists learn from other artists. It’s about influence and immersion. How Franz Kline was captivated by the dance performances he saw and incorporated that movement into the energetic slashing in his painting, or how Elaine de Kooning (visiting the college with her husband) ended up acting in The Ruse of Medusa staged at the school and working on Buckminister Fuller’s dome. What’s interesting is how the backstories come to the fore and how the process of learning intertwines, in some fashion, with the finished or continuing body of work.

That’s not to say what’s on display here is secondary or mundane; it’s just that the individual work is somewhat beside the point. What matters is the collection itself and the story it tells — beginning with the startling array of things made by the Albers, before moving into painting, music, dance, performance art, ceramics, and poetry. Singling out any one object, discipline, or person would be missing the point, because the experience of the place is the whole point. Black Mountain wasn’t a singular thing, but rather a kaleidoscopic, multidisciplined, deep dive into the passions of those around you. What’s consequential is not necessarily what was made there, but how.
Black_Mountain  pedagogy  process  collaboration 
4 weeks ago
At The Caslon Letter Foundry
William Caslon set up his type foundry in Chiswell St in 1737, where it operated without any significant change in the methods of production until 1937. These historic photographs taken in 1902, upon the occasion of the opening of the new Caslon factory in Hackney Wick, record both the final decades of the unchanged work of traditional type-founding, as well as the mechanisation of the process that would eventually lead to the industry being swept away by the end of the century.
media_city  metal  print  typography 
4 weeks ago
Inside the Internet
Photographs of what “the cloud” actually looks like
cloud  infrastructure  telecommunications  data_centers  photographs 
4 weeks ago
on-run-go
O-R-G is *now* a small software company. O-R-G designs, programs, publishes, and sells apps, websites, screensavers, and other small chunks of code.
textual_form  apps  screens  web_design  graphic_design  punctuation  databases  software  code 
4 weeks ago
The Urban, Infrastructural Geography Of ‘The Cloud’ — Vantage — Medium
The data centers that house the websites and other ‘cloud’ information we access daily are layered in the urban landscape even though the digitized utility of these spaces is not readily apparent. There is no symbology to data centers: no wi-fi symbol equivalent, for instance, to indicate what is housed within. While many of the data centers that encase ‘the cloud’, as the digitized, information-holding core of the Internet, are in out of the way places, in the suburbs or way past the suburbs, there are also many data centers within cities (www.datacentermap.com is a great source for learning more about where data centers are located).

Some data centers are in re-used, industrial-era structures that were built long before our contemporary, digital-era began. Urban or not, data centers are often located where they are due to proximity to railroads and the industrial city that relied on rail to move goods around. The railroad track is itself not consequential to ‘the cloud’, but the railroad track’s right of way is of consequence because that is where the fiber-optic cables are laid, cables that move ‘the cloud’ between a data center and the user.
Data centers connect individual users but are typically separated from their proximate neighborhood, embodying the juxtaposition between highly designed, connective objects in the form of smartphones and other cloud computing devices, and the quotidian landscapes we all inhabit. We have shifted our information storage, retrieval, and processing needs into digital devices, but the information still resides somewhere, and in many cases, that somewhere is, today, a data center.
data_centers  infrastructure 
4 weeks ago
everyday structures: The energy demand of “the bones of cyberspace”
Globally, these digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of thirty nuclear power plants (Glanz 2012). Interestingly and importantly when considering this energy use, data centers “were using only six percent to twelve percent of their electricity powering their servers to perform computations. The rest was essentially used to keep servers idling and ready in case of a surge in activity that could slow or crash their operations” (Glanz 2012). Of that output equivalent to thirty nuclear power plants, only 1.8 to 3.6 of those nuclear power plants energy output went to delivering ‘the cloud’s’ services. The rest went to keeping the ‘the cloud’ able to transmit some piece of data to a user in the split-second connection we have come to expect for accessing our digital services.

Digital infrastructure requires the input of significant amounts of electrical energy with its own geography and material impacts, from power plants, nuclear and otherwise, to high-voltage transmission lines and urban sub-stations routing energy to data centers themselves. ‘The cloud’, while accessible, essentially, everywhere around the world, is inseparable from regional electrical power grids, which are a very grounded, equipment-heavy, resource-intensive infrastructure: not cloud-like at all. The bones of cyberspace are not just data centers, network equipment, fiber-optic cabling, and cellular antenna sites, but also and more importantly, the electrical energy that powers these interconnected digital systems.
infrastructure  data_centers  energy  sustainability  temperature  hvac 
4 weeks ago
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