Diasporic/Decolonized Archives – Player View – Pad.ma
Dr. Shannon Faulkhead’s research concentrates on the location of Koorie peoples and their knowledge within the broader Australian society and its collective knowledge as reflected through narratives and records. To date Shannon’s multi- disciplinary research has centred on community and archival collections of records. As the Finkel Fellow, attached to Monash Country Lines Archive, Monash University, will allow for greater exploration and development in the area of Indigenous archiving.
indigenous  archiving  postcolonial  preservation  cultural_heritage  archives 
32 minutes ago
Publications | Beautiful Data
These publications serve as entry points to engagement with both the material and the modes of inquiry that shaped the Beautiful Data workshop. With the intention of “open-sourcing” the elements and processes that came out of the workshop, these publications complement the material available on this website, offering routes for exploration of this material that are meant to be applicable in diverse contexts. We hope that you will activate whatever elements seem useful to you, fostering the continuing evolution of Beautiful Data.

The field guide documents the concepts and flows of information that came out of the Beautiful Data workshop, linking critical discussion with invitations to experimentation and making. Using a range of modes, including case studies, maps, activities, and prototypes (and linking to online documentation of these elements), the guide aims to serve as a resource, providing various entry points into the dialogue surrounding Beautiful Data and promoting further experimentation around this material.

The prototyping game provides a set of raw materials for remixing and rethinking the ways in which we design experiences with objects. This playful framework, drawn from institutional missions and contexts, offers springboards for discussion, ideation, and project development.

The provocation cards, drawn from the work of participants in Beautiful Data’s weekend workshop component, provide prompts for adventures in museums, lightly provoking users to engage with these spaces in new and generative ways.
curating  museums  exhibition  objects  exhibition_design  design_methods 
33 minutes ago
Monash Country Lines Archive - Monash University
The Monash Country Line Archive demands intellectual engagement in regards to issues associated with how best to construct a living archive that is a decolonised space in which communities are happy to see their material stored. It also provides an exciting place for scholars to work and share knowledge.
archives  indigenous  cultural_heritage  narratives 
1 hour ago
Monash Country Lines Archive | Faculty of Arts, Monash University
The Monash Country Lines Archive (MCLA) is a collaborative Monash University project between the Monash Indigenous Centre (MIC), Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Information Technology with a team of Monash researchers, digital animators and post-graduate students from the Monash Indigenous Centre, Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Information Technology. The Monash Country Line Archive demands intellectual engagement in regards to issues associated with how best to construct a living archive that is a decolonised space in which communities are happy to see their material stored. It also provides an exciting place for scholars to work and share knowledge.
archives  indigenous  cultural_heritage  animation  narrative 
1 hour ago
Mukurtu CMS | The free, mobile and open source platform built with indigenous communities to manage and share digital cultural heritage
Mukurtu (MOOK-oo-too) is a grassroots project aiming to empower communities to manage, share, preserve, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways. We are committed to maintaining an open, community-driven approach to Mukurtu’s continued development. Our first priority is to help build a platform that fosters relationships of respect and trust.

The Mukurtu software project began as a response to the specific archival needs of the Warumungu Aboriginal community in the Central Australian town of Tennant Creek. Warumungu community members collaborated with Kim Christen Withey and Craig Dietrich to produce a digital archive that would allow them to circulate, view, and narrate materials following their own protocols. Mukurtu is a Warumungu word meaning ‘dilly bag’–a safe keeping place for ritual materials. Warumungu elder, Michael Jampin Jones chose Mukurtu as the name for the Warumungu community archive to remind users that the archive, too, was a safe keeping place where Warumungu people could share stories, knowledge, and cultural materials properly.
open_source  archives  collection  indigenous  preservation  cultural_heritage 
1 hour ago
Beach Read: DBALP Designs Indoor/Outdoor Library in Bangsaen — KNSTRCT - Carefully Curated Design News
In celebration of Siam Cement Group's 100 year anniversary, the cement makers have sponsored the creation of three new structures on the shore of Thailand's famed Bangsean beach. One of these new builds is the Bangsean Public Library designed by local architecture firm DBALP.

The indoor/outdoor structure is constructed of two materials; sheets of corrugated polycarbonate and wood. It's the simplicity of the construction, layout and materiality of the rectangular structure that makes this library so dynamic. The entirety of the rectangle's width is comprised of two, full-length-full-height wood doors that fully close the structure when shut. When open, the library is welcoming and lively, begging for beach-goers to stop in for a read.
libraries  architecture  outdoor 
Urban Omnibus » From the Ground Up: A Review of Mapping Brooklyn
In their exhibition statements, BRIC’s Elizabeth Ferrer and BHS’s Deborah Schwartz outline the benefits of inviting contemporary artists to engage a historical collection: while BHS presents an “incredible range of work in the long-established field of cartography,” the artists conceptualize the older work and uncover “a means of interpreting a world close at hand.” This statement suggests a duality within mapping, with “the multitude of ways that maps can represent, on the one hand, such practical matters of wayfinding, property ownership, population shifts, and war strategy, and on the other, the terrain of the metaphorical, psychological, and personal.”

Although art historians, artists, and cartographers now call attention to the erosion of these distinctions, Mapping Brooklyn is too hesitant in creating evidence for it. Patricia Smith’s surreal emotional landscapes of mourning and memory hang without historical precedence or comparison, as if the past has nothing to share on such intimate subjects....

Ferrer writes that mapping is “an enduring theme in great art because of its utter flexibility as a visual signifier.” However, to borrow from landscape architect James Corner’s essay “The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention,” this line of thought stops short of acknowledging that geography itself is not “access to reality.” Landscapes are dynamic processes; images of territory might not be adequate depictions of the forces and realities on the ground. Drawing from Baudrillard, Deleuze, Derrida, and others, Corner argues that mapping is a “doubly projective” maneuver that first abstracts landscapes into the mind and then translates them back to the page. Perception of place inspires behavior, which in turn sculpts the real ground on which we stand. It is the coloring and forming of “the grounded individual” and her sense of the world that are the map’s meat and the artist’s arena. The connection between how we see and how we act is why mapping endures in and as art.
mapping  affect  archives  exhibition 
3 days ago
Envisioning a Colorado Haven for Readers, Nestled Amid Mountains of Books - NYTimes.com
The project is striking in its ambition: a sprawling research institution situated on a ranch at 10,000 feet above sea level, outfitted with 32,000 volumes, many of them about the Rocky Mountain region, plus artists’ studios, dormitories and a dining hall — a place for academics, birders, hikers and others to study and savor the West.

It is the sort of endeavor undertaken by a deep-pocketed politician or chief executive, perhaps a Bloomberg or a Buffett. But the project, called the Rocky Mountain Land Library, has instead two booksellers as its founders....

For more than 20 years, Jeff Lee, 60, and Ann Martin, 53, have worked at a Denver bookshop, the Tattered Cover, squirreling away their paychecks in the pursuit of a single dream: a rural, live-in library where visitors will be able to connect with two increasingly endangered elements — the printed word and untamed nature....

There are tales by Norman Maclean; wildlife sketches by William D. Berry; and books on beekeeping, dragonflies, cowboys and the Navajo. The couple said that groupings of books would be placed around the ranch, organized by theme: mining, railroads, fur trade, Native American tribes, natural history, astronomy.
libraries  idiosyncratic_libraries  prelinger 
4 days ago
MoMA | MoMA’s Digital Art Vault
Today I’ll describe how MoMA has faced head-on the significant challenges in digital preservation by designing a state-of-the-art digital vault for these collections. In order to distill some rather technical and complex ideas that inform this effort, I’ll break this digital art vault down into three parts: the packager, the warehouse, and the indexer....

... there is essentially nothing about a QuickTime .MOV file that says, “Hello, I am a video file! You should use this sort of software to view me.” We rely on specially designed software—be it an operating system or something more specialized—to tell us these things. The problem is that these tools may not always be around, or may not always understand all formats the way they do today. This means that even if we manage to keep a perfect copy of a video file for 100 years, no one may be able to understand that it’s a video file, let alone what to do with it. To avoid this scenario, the “packager”—free, open-source software called Archivematica—analyzes all digital collections materials as they arrive, and records the results in an obsolescence-proof text format that is packaged and stored with the materials themselves. We call this an “archival information package.”...

How can we prove in 100 years that a given digital object in the collection has not become corrupt, and has not been maliciously modified, since the moment it entered the collection? It would be of course impossible to periodically manually inspect millions of digital files. To address this issue, the packager passes each and every digital object through a cryptographic algorithm called a “checksum.” The checksum value for one digital file is essentially a sequence of a few hundred letters and numbers. This provides us with the ability to come back to an archival package in the future, run the digital files through the same cryptographic process, and check to make sure that we wind up with the same values that were originally recorded. So in summary, these archival packages contain not just MoMA’s digital collections, but the information that we will need in the future in order to understand what the materials are and to confirm their authenticity. These archival packages are then sent off to what we call the “warehouse”—a digital storage system maintained by the infrastructure division of MoMA’s IT department.

This is the digital equivalent of MoMA QNS, our physical art-storage facility in Long Island City. The “warehouse” is a very large cluster of hard drives configured as a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) that lives in our data center at 53 Street, along with a duplicate of the entire cluster that lives offsite at MoMA QNS. This has served us well for about five years, but this type of disk-based storage becomes an untenable expense with very large amounts of data....

We are currently in the final stages of designing a completely new “warehouse” with a company called Arkivum. This system will include a small cluster of hard drives, but for primary long-term storage it adds a very cool new element to the mix: data tapes. When archival packages are first stored, they land on the cluster of disks, but are shortly thereafter copied to data tape, a process that is automated by software (and robots!). ...

This system will allow us to store the projected 1.2 million gigabytes of digital collections material redundantly in three locations: the Museum, our art storage facility in Long Island City, and our film preservation center in Hamlin, Pennsylvania.
archives  digital_archives  storage  preservation 
4 days ago
7 Classrooms: library as pedagogical incubator - The Ubiquitous Librarian - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Not only do we use these rooms to expand our teaching capacity, but they also enable us to observe and learn from others. Watching Jill Sible operate in SCALE-UP is inspiring. They help us become better teachers. Hosting courses and related activities invites spontaneous encounters and conversations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

The added value is using these spaces for other purposes: workshops, seminars, symposiums, exhibits, showcases, media labs, meeting rooms, study rooms, group work rooms, tutoring rooms, and other activities.

So there is a functional layer. We can teach more. We can teach differently. Other people can also teach more and differently as well. We can partner more with them on instruction and other projects. When the rooms are not “classrooms” they can serve a multitude of other needs.

There is also a symbolic layer. The Library is committed to the teaching mission of the university. These seven spaces are not just more classrooms— each one is different. They encourage experimentation and new types of assignments and class interactions. Students and instructors feel differently when they meet here compared to most other rooms on campus. These classrooms are helping us become a pedagogical incubator.
library  pedagogy  furniture 
7 days ago
Fornasetti | History - The Artist at War
The masterpiece that stands the proof of time as one of the most unique and mind-bending products of Fornasetti imagination is the Stanza Metafisica. Made of 32 shutters, each 3 meters high and 50 centimeters wide, the Stanza is a modular wooden screen decorated with imaginary architectures and unreal landscapes. A thought-provoking monument to Practical Madness, an awe-inspiring effort, four years in the making, aimed at creating a place to meditate and forget the struggles of modern life.
media_architecture  memory  studioli 
7 days ago
BLDGBLOG: Music for the Asset Bubble
Via some indirect links following an email tip from Sam Grawe, I stumbled on this collection of ambient music "mostly emanating from the corporate infrastructure of the 1980s asset bubble. FM synthesis, prefab 'lifestyle' soundscapes and the illusion of nature in a hyper-urban environment."

It's music as the icing on the space—a sonic introduction to new forms of interiority, smoothing your transition into supermodernity—or soundtracks for architecture in an age of capital accumulation. New Age meets non-place. Imagine a room that makes no sense until you play the right music in it.
sound_space  branding 
10 days ago
Time, Timing and the Timely by Cameron Tonkinwise - Core77
Community-Partnered Courses are sometimes—not always, but more often than should be—excuses for courses that seem to involve less time, rather than more. The learning is thought to lie in the experience of learning to work with the wicked problems of community partners, so less prep is even occasionally considered better for this kind of sink-or-swim pedagogy. The DO-ference proved the reverse—that community partnered projects take much more time to get to the place they deserve.
This makes community partnered projects very difficult for universities. Firstly, there is always the procrustean problem of wedging a community's problems into the arcane timetabling of a semester length class—"your problem needs to be only of a size that will fit a 10, 12 or 15 week class meeting twice a week." Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, there is the issue of how a university accounts for the prep time required of a community project. In effect, universities pay faculty to teach, and in some cases to do research and service; in which cost center then to put the time spent with community partners, time that will make for an effective learning experience (or conference) but which is not actually time spent in the classroom? This time is not well characterized as research (is new knowledge being created?) or service (normally meaning 'to the university')? Without solving this accounting problem, how can universities be incentivized to deploy their intellectual capital, including those int
curriculum  civic_engagement  teaching  conferences 
10 days ago
Printed Matter: Fantasies of the Library and Land & Animal and & Nonanimal – intercalations: paginated exhibition series 1 and 2
The intercalations: paginated exhibition series is an experimental foray exploring the structure of the book as a potential curatorial space. As the reader-as-exhibition viewer moves through the book-as-exhibition, she discovers that the erratic intercalations of the Anthropocene invite new forms of literacy, visuality, inquiry, and speculation that are, in the words of Clarice Lispector, less promiscuous than they are kaleidoscopic.
To celebrate the launch of intercalations 1 and 2, please join us for a conversation between MoMA Librarian David Senior, former NYPL photography curator Julia Van Haaften, and series co-editors Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin about book-exhibitions, libraries, and publishing in the Anthropocene.
libraries  classification  textual_form  book_art  library_art  foucault  exhibition  museums 
10 days ago
What’s that Smell in the Kitchen? Art’s Olfactory Turn - News - Art in America
The subversive nature of Yi's trip to Gagosian lines up with her feminist intentions for working with odors. "My interest in smell is very political, critiquing the regime of vision our society imposes on us, re-thinking how art should work on us, questioning the value judgments placed onto the senses," Yi wrote in an email. She cited art historian and MIT professor Caroline Jones's book Eyesight Alone (2005), which "takes Clement Greenberg as subject and victim of this repressed attitude toward all other senses that weren't in the service of the ocular." Yi's restoration of scent to art responds to a phallogocentric privileging of the eye as the organ responsible for knowledge and domination. It is also a way, Yi says, to counteract the collective loss of the olfactory sense, beyond the recognizable odors found in commodities like expensive fragrances and cleaning products.

Scent is gaining momentum in young artists' practices, pointing to a desire to re-engage with the body at a moment of technological change. At this historical juncture odor can act as a substance to combat alienation, to bridge distances. Raspet, one of Yi's collaborators on "You Can Call Me F," created a scratch-and-sniff distillation of the scent in Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco for an exhibition in 2014. Raspet's installation effectively updates the gestures of first-generational institutional critique that exposed the myth of the gallery as a neutral space....

The two-part exhibition "Sensorium" at MIT's List Center in 2006 and 2007, which featured artists exploring senses beyond vision, also proves an important touchstone in contextualizing this recent wave of olfactory production. The work of Sissel Tolaas, a Norwegian artist and scientist, is especially resonant. For the MIT show, Tolaas created a scratch-and-sniff wall installation, infusing paint with an artificial smell of human sweat based on samples given by frightened men.
sensation  smell 
11 days ago
BLDGBLOG: Infrastructure as Processional Space
This precise control of human circulation was also built into the landscape—or perhaps coded into the landscape—through the use of optical character recognition software (OCR) and radio-frequency ID chips. Tag-reading stations were located at various points throughout the yard, sending drivers either merrily on their exactly scripted way to a particular loading/unloading dock or sometimes actually barring that driver from entry. Indeed, bad behavior was punished, it was explained, by blocking a driver from the facility altogether for a certain amount of time, locking them out in a kind of reverse-quarantine.

Again, the implications here for other types of landscapes were both fascinating and somewhat ominous; but, more interestingly, as the trucks all dutifully lined-up to pass through the so-called "OCR building" on the far edge of the property, I was struck by how much it felt like watching a ceremonial gate at the outer edge of some partially sentient Forbidden City built specifically for machines.

In other words, we often read about the ceremonial use of urban space in an art historical or urban planning context, whether that means Renaissance depictions of religious processions or it means the ritualized passage of courtiers through imperial capitals in the far east. However, the processional cities of tomorrow are being built right now, and they're not for humans—they're both run and populated by algorithmic traffic control systems and self-operating machine constellations, in a thoroughly secular kind of ritual space driven by automated protocols more than by democratic legislation....

...this overly simple word masks the often startlingly unfamiliar forms of spatial and temporal organization on display. This actually seems so much to be the case that infrastructural tourism (such as today's trip to Bayonne) is now emerging as a way for people to demystify and understand this peripheral realm of inhuman sequences and machines.
transportation  containers  ports  infrastructure  logistics  algorithms 
11 days ago
NYC Library Awards
Join us in celebrating the best public libraries in New York City by nominating your branch to win $20,000!

If you live in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island, you are probably within walking distance from at least one of New York City's 207 public libraries. How does your neighborhood library make your community a better place?
libraries  branch_libraries 
11 days ago
Inside Manhattan's Adorable New Pencil Shop: Gothamist
For many years I've been searching for a Pencil Of The Month Club, but eventually lost hope and came to terms with being a rare lead appreciator living in an ink and screen world. So when I heard of a pencil shop opening on the Lower East Side, the first thing I wanted to do was ask the owner, Caroline Weaver, if she'd be introducing such a club.
Weaver told me, "This is definitely in the works and will start in May or June. I'll send a really special pencil (old or new) each month along with its story. Stories are really important with pencils—aside from its physical characteristics which often vary rather subtly, it's what sets them apart from each other." This is my kind of pencil shop.
pencil  writing 
12 days ago
If, one day, *everything* will be accessible online or in some digital
format, then what will this really entail - practically and

"Excavating The Archive: New Technologies of Memory" will bring together
internationally-renowned computer scientists, designers, new media
theorists and artists from the U.S., Europe and Australia, to explore
this utopian proposition.

Speakers will define the cutting edge in digital archiving, presenting
new projects and advanced software prototypes for collection,
navigation, visual representation and data mining of vast bodies of
information, in diverse cultural and commercial contexts.
archives  databases  archive_art  interfaces  storage  conference 
12 days ago
wac | gallery 9 | walczak + wattenberg | global online wunderkammer | wonderwalker
In my 15 minutes today, I would like to briefly sketch some experiences with technologies of memory and pose some open-ended questions about how the idea of the wunderkammer might be an interesting way to think about "putting things in their places."

Many artists are working today with issues around technology and the archive, from Muntadas's File Room to Sawad Brooks' and Beth Styrker's DissemiNET to Fred Wilson's Road to Victory to George LeGrady's Slippery Traces to Natalie Bookchin's Databank of the Everyday to Cohen-Frank-Ippolito's Unreliable Archivist to Eugene Thacker's ftp_formless_anatomy to Zhang Ga's Censorium to Rick Rinehart's Boolean Typhoon to Eduardo Kac's Time Capsule to Noah Waldrop-Fruin's Impermanence Agent to Thomax Kaulmann and the Open Radio Archive Network Group to C5's 1:1, just to mention a few.
databases  archive_art  data_aesthetics 
12 days ago
The Radical Art of Archiving Performance, as Practiced by Martha Wilson
The practices of using first-person accounts or oral histories, ephemera and grassroots archives, as well as alternative publishers, have long been core strategies for feminists seeking to document and preserve histories that have been ignored or mischaracterized by institutions. Watching Schneemann deftly toy with the transmission of her own history, I couldn’t help but reflect on the shows I had just seen of work by Martha Wilson and the organization she founded, Franklin Furnace. Both exhibitions foreground a first-person archive that is, even as it winks and nods, taking a serious approach to preservation and asserting influence.
preservation  archives  performance 
12 days ago
The Hyper-Stacks and the Post-Enlightenment | booktwo.org
In this work I wanted to explore the parallels between museums, intelligence agencies, and software programmes themselves: reduced to processes, each is an embodiment of a certain set of politics which is not always visible to the outsider, or to those subject to them – or even, as agglomerations of histories and departments, those who nominally operate them. Each is also a model of the world and a way of seeing it, but crucially it is an operational form of seeing, actively remaking the world to conform to the model it attempts to reproduce. By critically analysing and understanding these processes, it may be possible to influence the world that they are building around us. In the case of the intelligence agency, this influence may take the form of blocking or redirecting its gaze; in the case of the public institution it may consist of reconfiguring its historical narratives to better represent the experiences of the excluded; in terms of software it is a process of recognising and asserting agency within an increasingly technologically augmented and mediated culture and society. Each of these forms of action, these strategies, is one of systems literacy: understanding complexity and embodiment in one domain, and being able to generalise that understanding to other domains: legal frameworks, social codes, nation states, domestic politics, corporate hegemonies.

The Five Eyes installation is, in part, another in a long line of works which makes visible the invisible in broad terms: both literally in the rarely seen archive files which support the objects on display – their own data shadows, or metadata – and more figuratively in the exploration of provenance and politics within the museum. As always and increasingly when undertaking this work, I feel the limits of its approach most keenly, and want to use this opportunity to explore some related examples....

I was reminded of the MareNostrum when we installed Five Eyes this week, because the stacks of archive files in their glass cabinets appeared even more like server stacks in the splendour of the V&A’s gallery than they had already in my head. It’s the lowest form of visualisation, really, paper archives for magnetic ones, but no less pleasing for it... That is the rub, though. These equivalences, while illuminating, rarely move us forward. The necessity of forcing state changes on the intangible, of making the invisible visible and coming up with new metaphors for the essentially and materially ungraspable system of flesh, wire and emanations we inhabit is going to remain. The systems literacy which makes such visualisations and articulations possible is the pedagogical imperative of the 21st century and I fully intend to keep banging on about it....

Here’s a thing: the visible and the invisible are products of the same belief system, and that is that all things are ultimately knowable. Wikileaks and the NSA believe the same thing: that if we can just bring all the secrets of the world to light, everything will be made good and right with the world. The museum and the software programme have the same essential ontology, that ordering things and structuring them in the right way will produce a representation so perfect we can build a whole culture atop it. But much is not knowable, and while the internet is perhaps here to reveal to us the vastness of what we do not and cannot know, the social and political philosophy with which it is mostly closely associated asserts not merely that everything is knowable, but that all things are knowable at once, and structures the world around this assumption, whether through surveillance, big data, the veneration of the market or the supremacy of the nation state. The curse of omniscience, once attributed to God, is now more tragically invested in the machine.

There is a deep and limitless unknowability at the heart of the world. This is the post-Enlightenment realisation engendered by our new technologically-mediated viewpoint (“post-” understood not as “the successor to” but “the crisis of”). Its immanence in the network cannot be rationally denied for much longer: as artists it is what we have been scratching at forever. The challenge is to implement and operationalise this understanding, to historicise and politicise it, to not be content merely with visualising and materialising what we cannot see, but to radically rethink our understanding of what we, as actors and agents, artists and citizens, states and systems, can ever see at all.
archives  exhibition  intelligence  surveillance  infrastructure  epistemology  visualization 
17 days ago
AIA Names 6 US Libraries as 2015′s Best | ArchDaily
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has revealed six libraries they believe to be the year’s best. In collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the AIA/ALA Library Building Awards are intended to promote and honor exceptional designs in library architecture. Taking into account the evolving role of the library, the AIA believes these six award recipients elevate the institution to one of congregation and community-specific programs.
libraries  architecture  awards 
17 days ago
Look & Listen: A New Sound Responsive Exhibition In London
Look & Listen, a new sound responsive exhibition at the recently opened Sto Werkstatt gallery in London, explores “the often unnoticed, yet vital role acoustics play in our experience of place.” Designed by The Klassnik Corporation, the exhibition offers a variety of “sonic experiences” which encourage the visitor to focus on the audible aspects of architecture. It creates a unique set of environments built using Sto’s range of acoustic systems, “utilising the perfect balance of design flexibility and technical leadership the acoustic materials offer.” The installation also demonstrates the materials‘ capabilities in reducing reverberation and promoting clearer sound.
architecture  sound_space  acoustics  noise  exhibition_design 
18 days ago
How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked—and Played | History | Smithsonian
For centuries, if you weren’t going to the trouble of publishing an entire book, copying a single document was a slow, arduous process, done mostly by hand. Inventors had long sought a device to automate the process, with limited success. Thomas Jefferson used a pantograph: As he wrote, a wooden device connected to his pen manipulated another pen in precisely the same movements, creating a mechanical copy. Steam-engine pioneer James Watt created an even cruder device that would take a freshly written page and mash another sheet against it, transferring some of the ink in reverse. By the early 20th century, the state of the art was the mimeograph machine, which used ink to produce a small set of copies that got weaker with each duplication. It was imperfect.

Then in 1959, Xerox released the “914”—the first easy-to-use photocopier. The culmination of more than 20 years of experimentation, it was a much cleaner, “dry” process. The copier created an electrostatic image of a document on a rotating metal drum, and used it to transfer toner—ink in a powdered format—to a piece of paper, which would then be sealed in place by heat...

In essence, the photocopier was not merely a vehicle for copying. It became a mechanism for sub-rosa publishing—a way of seizing the means of production, circulating ideas that would previously have been difficult to get past censors and editors. “Xerography is bringing a reign of terror into the world of publishing, because it means that every reader can become both author and publisher,” Marshall McLuhan wrote in 1966.

This had powerful political effects. Secrets were harder to keep, documents easier to leak.... “They’d go in to do the paste-up for all these magazines, and then they would make thousands of posters and fliers that were so integral to what ACT-UP was doing,” notes Kate Eichhorn, an assistant professor at the New School who is writing a book about copiers. “These huge corporations were underwriting this radical activism.” This same force catalyzed the world of alternative culture: Fans of TV shows, sci-fi or movies began to produce zines, small publications devoted to their enthusiasms. The Riot Grrrl movement of young feminist musicians in the ’90s, appalled by mainstream media’s treatment of women, essentially created their own mediasphere partly via photocopiers. “Beyond its function as an ‘office tool,’ the copier has, for many people, become a means of self-expression,” said the authors of Copyart, a 1978 guide to DIY creativity....

one can imagine hitting the Xerox 914 moment—when everyday people suddenly discover the pleasures of replicating objects. We might start scanning everyday objects that we often misplace—the battery-access covers on remote controls, crucial hinges or pieces of electronics—so that when things go missing, we can run off another copy
copying  xerox  media_archaeology  copyright  zines  3D_printing 
18 days ago
About | archivefutures
We are building an international network to generate imaginative and transformative research exchange around the new questions that are shaping archives and archiving into the future, a future intimately connected to – and likely to be increasingly defined by – digital media. We are specifically concerned with exploring the status of the material in the era of digitization, thus productively joining emerging debates across the humanities regarding the character of materiality and matter to debates in the digital humanities concerning emergent modes of research.
The archivefutures research network is specifically configured to enhance exchange of knowledge across national domains and – most importantly – to promote partnerships across the professional boundaries that frequently separate scholars and archivists.
The questions we want to ask about the theoretical, methodological, epistemological and ontological shifts we are witnessing are not incidental: they are field-defining ones in that they promise to extend our understanding of what happens when our archived cultural heritage is brought together with the promise of the digital. In this respect, our questions are not a supplement to current scholarship and/or archival practice but are key to the production and transfer of new knowledges being generated in this moment of ‘rethinking the archive’....

Among the questions that necessarily arise are:
How are we to understand the material in the realm of digitized and born-digital collections of personal papers and other literary and cultural artefacts?
How does this differ from pre-digital collections?
What happens to paper documents – and our engagements with them – once digital surrogates are available? How does the availability of the latter transform the conditions of scholarly engagement?
For example, how do relations of matter and meaning shift as a given text shifts from one medium to another? Do different modes of material embodiment produce different objects of study? And do these objects demand different (and possibly new) methods?
Can we think of paper objects as doing things the digitized or born-digital can’t and vice versa?
How does the new materiality of the digital environment trouble familiar distinctions between fragile and enduring records and the once taken for granted relations between access and preservation?
What can the digital offer to the complex material states associated with difficult manuscripts and damaged or altered physical documents?
And can such documents in turn help us to uncover and examine our assumptions about digital archives and the affordances of new processes of digitization?
If material literacy has remained largely under-developed in terms of engagements with analogue sources, can the complexities of materiality and matter in the digital environment now help to refine and strengthen these approaches?
What is the future ontological status of fonds for which there are no funds and no plans for digitization? How does this speak to a new political economy of archives and archiving?
How will the affordances of “socially amplified” digital archival spaces that explicitly provide for social reading, social writing and annotation challenge more static understandings of the archive and of the document? Will such affordances begin to blur existing (hierarchical) distinctions between categories of users? Will users through their contributions become part of what formally constitutes an archive or a document?
How does the digital archival environment challenge what we have known about the space and time of the archive? How can we talk about new and emerging spatio-temporal coordinates of archival accumulation?
archives  paper  feminism  materiality  documents 
18 days ago
It's Nice That : Celebrating the posters designers have made for their Typo Circle talks
Each speaker is invited to design the poster for their own event and this has led to a terrific archive created by top designers to promote, well, themselves. We had a root through them and selected some of our favourites but you too can rifle through the archive over here.
graphic_design  typography  presentation_images 
18 days ago
What Library Are You Dreaming? Provost Katherine Rowe Talks About the Future of Neilson - Smith College Grécourt Gate
“The next step is to spend a year in a programming phase with members of the community partnering with the architects. After that would come the design phase. For the programming phase, the architects will bring a deep understanding of libraries. They will help us grapple with what parts of the collection should stay here and what parts might be kept elsewhere. We are committed to growing our library collection at the same level of excellence, which means we can’t build one building big enough to house what it will become. We’re also in a period where we have an unprecedented number of choices for ways to store knowledge—more than we’ve had in centuries. The library is more than just a box for books. Humanists sometimes make the analogy of the library as a lab because of the way it brings resources together. We need to be thinking about that while we are working to meet the needs of multiple library users.”
libraries  planning  design_process  smith 
19 days ago
Video: A Fascinating Tour Through Brasilia with Reggie Watts | ArchDaily
An alternately factual documentary presented by nameless hosts Reggie Watts and Carolina Ravassa, Brasilia takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of the famed capital of Brazil. In topics ranging from architecture, religious ceremonial practices, and spiritual conscious alignment, Reggie and Carolina traverse some of the world’s most impossibly futuristic human landscapes, extolling earnest advice about the culture, practices, and habits of the Brasilienese people. With a synthesizer soundtrack from the late 60/early 70s, Brasilia exposes the unknown truths of this exotic utopian city nestled in the cradle of South America.
banham  brasilia  video  comedy 
19 days ago
THE SMART LANDSCAPE: INTELLIGENT ARCHITECTURE by Rem Koolhaas - artforum.com / in print
While our initial focus was on revealing the breadth and knowledge of architecture as it evolved in various cultures across history—in most cases now long lost and seemingly irretrievable—we became increasingly sensitive to the constant acceleration of architecture’s “smartness” in the form of embedded devices, sensors, and systems. Looking at the traditional elements of architecture through a microscope, we saw the extent to which they had been penetrated, if not completely transformed, by new kinds of “intelligence.”

For thousands of years, the elements of architecture were deaf and mute—they could be trusted. Now, many of them are listening, thinking, and talking back, collecting information and performing accordingly. The door has become automated, transformed into an extension of the smartphone, with each opening and closure logged; elevators predict your intended destination by listening to your conversations and tracking your routines; toilets diagnose potential illness, building a catalogue of the user’s most intimate medical data; windows tell you when they should be opened and closed for maximum environmental efficiency. Your house may soon insist on an early bedtime to stop irresponsible consumption of energy. A Faraday cage will be a necessary component of any home—an electromagnetic shield offering a retreat from digital surveillance and preemption....

By calling their city smart, they condemn our city to being stupid....

The smart-city movement is an increasingly crowded field, and its protagonists strive to prove their worth by identifying a multiplicity of disasters that can now be averted by the application of digital technology. The effects of climate change, an aging population, decaying infrastructure, the provision of water and energy—all are problems for which smart cities promise answers. These solutions are marketed through cute icons of urban life, cohering into perfect diagrams in which citizens and businesses are surrounded by multiplying bubbles of control. Apocalyptic scenarios will be managed and mitigated by sensor-based responses; mundane issues, hidden from view, will be brought to our attention and redressed automatically—fix leaky pipes, save millions. Every problem solved, no matter how negligible, will save millions. Yet the commercial motivation behind the relentless pursuit of efficiency and optimization has the perverse effect of impoverishing the very entity it is supposed to serve. With safety and security as selling points, the city is becoming vastly less adventurous and more predictable. To save the city, it may have to be destroyed...

As a substitute for the French Revolution’s liberté, égalité, fraternité, a new universal trinity has been adopted: comfort, security, sustainability. This new trinity will impose an inescapable and irreversible diktat on every domain, and architecture will embrace it with masochistic enthusiasm. It is not hard to predict how radically this trinity will affect our discipline in a wave of faux conscience, sweeping away all anterior practices of architecture, and with them the evidence that generations of smart artists, architects, clients, rulers, and craftsmen had already understood the inherent intelligence of buildings and cities for millennia. There seems to be little possibility of merging the knowledge accumulated over centuries with the narrow range of practices considered “smart” today....

What is most insidious about the digital regime—and where it differs from earlier social and political paradigms that relied on labor—is how essentially automatic, and therefore effortless, it is, once programmed and wired. There is no limit to quantity, duration, multiplication, connecting, cross-referencing....

These relations can only turn in on themselves: the world as an endless, tautological repetition of cause and effect.
smart_cities  data  methodology  solutionism  positivism  epistemology 
19 days ago
Library Juice » Call for Papers: Why is the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies needed today?
The Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies is a peer-reviewed open access journal which addresses the need for critical discourse in library and information science and associated domains such as communication and media studies. It critically engages the cultural forms, social practices, the political economy, and the history of information and information institutions. It also seeks to broaden the methodological commitments of the field and to broaden the scope of library and information studies by applying diverse critical, trans-disciplinary, and global perspectives. The journal engages issues of social and cognitive justice and the historical and contemporary roles of documentary, information, and computational technologies in creating, mediating, surveilling, and challenging personal and social identities in cultural and political economies of power and expression.
libraries  publishing  information  library_theory 
19 days ago
Rep Diary: Len Lye | Film Comment
The New Zealand–born filmmaker Len Lye knots these tidy historical strands, being both “a filmmaker’s filmmaker”—since the animation techniques he created exploit the unique qualities of film—and “an artist’s artist,” a kind way of saying that his drawings and sculptures remained relatively unknown for his 50-year career. But to describe Lye either as a filmmaker or as an artist only partially accounts for his wide and varied output. As a corrective, then, “Len Lye: Motion Sketch,” currently on view at The Drawing Center and the Lab, attempts to bridge the divide between the artist’s works on paper, many of which have never before been exhibited in the United States, and his body of experimental films, for which he is better known.
film  illustration  film_history 
20 days ago
Inside Laser Printer Toner: Wax, Static, Lots of Plastic | WIRED
TONER IS ONE of those everyday products we all take for granted. When the printer runs low you pop a new cartridge in—out of sight, out of mind. Well, we got to wondering what’s actually in that cartridge … so we busted one open. Bad idea! (More on that later.) But we’re all cleaned up now and back with answers.

Turns out toner is mostly powdered plastic—and that’s key to the whole technology. Plastic has two handy properties: You can move it around like magic with static electricity, and then you can melt it onto the paper for crisp, smudge-proof images. This tech­nique of printing with powder instead of ink is called xerography (xeros is Greek for “dry”), and it works the same whether you’re printing or copying.
materiality  process  printing  objects  things  chemistry 
21 days ago
The 4 Properties of Powerful Teachers - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education
So what makes those teachers so great?

Personality.... Great teachers tend to be good-natured and approachable, as opposed to sour or foreboding; professional without being aloof; funny (even if they’re not stand-up comedians), perhaps because they don’t take themselves or their subject matter too seriously; demanding without being unkind; comfortable in their own skin (without being in love with the sound of their own voices); natural (they make teaching look easy even though we all know it isn’t); and tremendously creative, and always willing to entertain new ideas or try new things, sometimes even on the fly.

Presence. What I mean by that, in part, is the unmistakable capacity some people have to "own" any room. We might call it charisma, but it’s more than that. It’s the ability to appear completely at ease, even in command, despite being the focal point of dozens (or even hundreds) of people. ... In his recent essay, "Waiting for Us to Notice Them," James Lang talked about what he called "a pedagogy of presence." He argued that, just as we are sometimes disengaged in our interpersonal relationships, so, too, can we become disengaged in the classroom — simply going through the motions and barely acknowledging students at all.

Preparation. Speaking of determination, something else all teachers can do, regardless of their natural gifts, is prepare meticulously. Knowing what you’re talking about can compensate for a number of other deficiencies, such as wearing mismatched socks, telling lame jokes, or not having an Instagram account. Preparation occurs on three levels: long-term, medium-term, and short-term....

In between, you must continue your education on a regular basis — by reading extensively in your field, attending conferences and seminars, conducting and presenting your own research, and remaining a practitioner of your art or science. You must also continue to learn and grow as a teacher by exploring new advances in pedagogy and technology that can help you in the classroom....

Passion. Passion, or love, manifests itself in the classroom in two ways: love for students and love for your subject matter.
teaching  pedagogy 
21 days ago
Ubiquitous Commons: The Struggle to Control Our Data | David Bollier
seeks to find new technological, legal and social protocols for managing the sheer ubiquity of networked information, and for assuring us some control over our digital identities.  Their basic idea is “to promote the adoption of a new type of public space in which knowledge is a common," which they describe as "ubiquitous commons."

Iaconesi and Persico believe that vital public and personal information should not be controlled by large proprietary enterprises whose profit-driven activities are largely hidden from public view and accountability.  Rather, we should be able to use our own data to make our own choices and develop “ubiquitous commons” to meet our needs. 

Why should Facebook and its social networking peers be able to control the authentication of our digital identities? Why should they decide what visual and textual works shall be publicly available and archived for posterity? Why should their business models control the types of insights that can be gleaned from “their” (proprietary) Big Data based on our information -- while government, academic researchers and the general public are left in the dark? ....

Iaconesi, Persico and their partners aim to make data streams far more accessible and intelligible by (among other things) mapping them onto physical spaces. The results of this process are often striking. Iaconesi once prepared a series of heat maps of Turin, Italy, generated by marking the location that various social networking posts originated from. Two animated maps showed the intensity of posts in Italian versus those in Arabic over a period of time, plotting the movement of the two communities. “They are two different cities..."

dedicated to “creating tools and practices” that can help bring about “new institutional and organizational models that are based on peer-to-peer, ecosystemic governance.”
data  privacy  google  commons 
22 days ago
Harvard Graduate School of Design - Material Ecologies Workshop /Spring 2015
Landscapes are shaped by continuous flows of materials and energy driven by anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic forces. Designers participate in this reorganization of materials around the globe, the great majority of which is bound for varying periods of time as urban parks, buildings, and highways. In landscape architecture, these materials range from abiotic to biotic composition, from simple to complex manufacturing processes, and from local to distance sources. While materials are selected for ecological, structural, and aesthetic performance characteristics desired for a particular designed site, their production is linked to a network of distant forests, quarries, and factories. Through material specification designers inadvertently transform remote landscapes, concealed and abstracted through the commodification of natural resources. Typically outside of the designer’s purview, these relationships are critical to re-conceptualize the present and future of landscape construction. This seminar aims to expand the consideration of materials in design beyond a single-state, incorporating multi-scalar, socio-metabolic lenses to better grasp the scope of material practice for design. The course simultaneously examines theories and metrics associated with material practice, including urban metabolism, materialism, and labor history, through spatial and temporal frameworks.
geology  landscape  infrastructure  flows  materiality  extraction  labor  ecology 
23 days ago
MoMA | What Does a Media Conservator Do?
By their nature, media-based works rely on technology for creation and exhibition. Today we are all too aware of its rapid changes that make these works inherently fragile or at least unstable, and their long-term preservation problematic. The core role of media conservation is to help manage these changes over time while respecting the artist’s intent. Although no artwork is ever the same and an artist’s opinion can differ from one work to another, conservators working with these complex objects have over the last two decades devised broad strategies to tackle the challenges of these works.
Today, when a newly acquired media-based work arrives at the Museum, most commonly what we receive in the “box” is some type of media carrier (external hard drive, tape, optical disc), a certificate, and a set of installation instructions. In the case of Ten Thousand Waves (2010) by Isaac Julien, an epic nine-channel video work, we simply received two 8-terabyte hard drives at acquisition. In short we receive the essence of the work.

Broadly speaking there are three main strands to our approach. Starting with the tangible media element we gather as much contextual information as possible, such as how it was created, recorded, produced, or programmed. Then we carefully watch and listen to the entire duration of each media element. Once these have been assessed and documented, like any collection work, appropriate storage conditions are required.
Second, we review the installation guidelines, which outline how the media and the artist’s intent should be translated and realized through display equipment in the gallery space.
The display equipment is no less important than the media, and for some works the equipment also functions as sculpture, as in Berlin Startup Case Mod: Rocket Internet (2014) by Simon Denny. Here the artist incorporates a 40” LED flat screen monitor, specifically the UE40F6500 model manufactured by Samsung.
Older and contemporary works often employ “vintage” technology such as Sorry (2005–12) by Luther Price consisting of 80 handmade transparencies displayed with a 35mm slide projector....

Art historical research and scientific analysis had helped to unlock clues regarding the sculptures’ original state, materials, and construction. But one question remained: Which bronze-casting foundry had produced them? Lynda exclaimed, “If only the artist was still alive I could just ask him!” Since the majority of media-based works in MoMA’s collection are contemporary, we in Media Conservation are in the fortunate position of being able to do exactly that most of the time, and a significant part of the job involves communicating with artists and their representatives. In this sense, we work in reverse and attempt to anticipate such questions by de-constructing, researching, and documenting as much as we can now in order to save future colleagues from the frustration that Lynda described. This is our third angle. It is of course futile to imagine that every aspect of every work can be fully documented, but records of e-mail correspondence, telephone calls, and conservation-based interviews with the artists themselves play a central role in our efforts to maintain the integrity of their art. Media works are complex and multifaceted and it is the sum of these different strands, together with the voice of the artist, which enable us to maintain their authenticity now and into the future.
media_archaeology  media_art  preservation  conservation 
24 days ago
Is 'Design Thinking' the New Liberal Arts? - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
What is design thinking? It’s an approach to problem solving based on a few easy-to-grasp principles that sound obvious: "Show Don’t Tell," "Focus on Human Values," "Craft Clarity," "Embrace Experimentation," "Mindful of Process," "Bias Toward Action," and "Radical Collaboration." These seven points reduce to five modes — empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test — and three headings: hear, create, deliver....

Design at Stanford began in the engineering school and grew out of the product-design program, itself born of the union of art and mechanical engineering. Launched in the mid-1960s, the master’s-degree program was open to students in art and engineering, and included what were then new types of courses like "How to Ask a Question" and new materials-based projects like constructing a wooden ship and racing it on the campus lake.

A second crucial influence came from outside Palo Alto, from Esalen. Founded by two Stanford graduates in 1962, Esalen had became an "antihumanities" institute, with lectures, seminars, retreats (and Eastern philosophy, music, and more), but no grades or credits. Bernie Roth, a young Stanford faculty member in the design division, attended a faculty retreat at Esalen in the mid-1960s and brought what he had learned there into courses and programs that focused on creativity and empathy. Today Roth is the academic director of the d.school.

A third important influence came from the world of commerce. Kelley, who was a master’s-degree student in mechanical engineering in 1977, and who taught at Stanford off and on afterward, brought the emphases on creativity and empathy to a company he helped found in 1978, which eventually became IDEO — and created Apple’s first mouse. At IDEO, empathy became "human-centered design," shifting the focus from designing products to designing the experience of using the products. IDEO brought in psychologists, behavioral economists, and anthropologists to work alongside product designers, and together they tried to think their way into the mind of the consumer.

Self-conscious reflection on the design process put thinking about how to design on the same level as the thing designed. The success of the approach is reflected in the way IDEO the design company became, little by little, IDEO the design-thinking company, and its subsequent move into areas increasingly remote from traditional product design. IDEO showed how the process of designing, say, a car could be abstracted from the specific product and used to develop "toolkits" to tackle more complex design problems, like building clean-water systems in Africa, a neighborhood association, or a school...

Human-centered design redescribes the classical aim of education as the care and tending of the soul; its focus on empathy follows directly from Rousseau’s stress on compassion as a social virtue....

That’s why Hennessy’s discussions with Kelley aren’t just about Stanford’s future, but about all of ours. Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education, elaborated on Hennessy’s thinking: "The d.school is not unlike a center for teaching and learning on steroids: Pedagogy and design thinking inform how to portray content and learning goals." In other words, Stanford’s administration put two and two together: If the d.school already represented a kind of insurgent consultancy, why not focus that consulting work on Stanford itself? If collaborative project-based learning, real-world challenges, and multidisciplinary research architectures were already being taught in the d.school, why not leverage that experience for Stanford as a whole?

Asked whether the administration was aware that the d.school was furnishing the university with nothing less than a new educational model, Elam answers, "Yes. The simple answer is yes." One vision of what that might mean is the Stanford2025 exhibition project, an attempt to reimagine undergraduate experience. Instead of a four-year-and-out program with a progressive narrowing of focus, students have a "mission" instead of a major, and "loop" in and out of the university throughout their work careers, with punctuated periods of different kinds of learning, and with fact-based expertise giving way to skills-based expertise....

Universities and their academic disciplines, he says, provide "context-independent knowledge." The world and its problems are not, however, organized by discipline. Even if humanists still tend to look down on "applied" learning, Leifer argues, knowledge has to fit the shape of the problem, not the other way around. The d.school’s learning is all "context-dependent," pulling whatever it needs from any discipline in order to solve specific problems. The "d in d.school," he says, refers "not to design but to demilitarized." ...

The challenge is how to not be too departmental, but also not too cut off from department life. The answer may turn on rethinking the separation between "research" and "teaching." IDEO’s many design-thinking tool kits always include an extended treatment of research. One of the d.school’s basic courses, "Research as Design: Redesign Your Research Process," aims to improve "the research process to make us more innovative scholars or scientists."

Sounds good, right? But research in the d.school and research in the surrounding university’s humanities departments is very different. In the latter, research is about finding answers to the discipline’s questions. In the d.school, it is a process not of finding answers but of discovering questions, the questions that the subsequent design phase — in IDEO terms, "ideation" and "prototyping" — is supposed to answer.....

On the other hand, as university-based readers of the IDEO tool kits would immediately see, research in the design world is very closely linked to action-oriented solutions, i.e. to client needs. In fact, close attention to the way "research" is described in IDEO’s own publications shows that it is all conducted in the present tense, with no sense that the past matters to the present. Everything is ethnography. Libraries, archives, museums, the great repositories of the human past are rarely called upon for help.... A truly human-centered design, if it takes culture at all seriously, would have to take pastness seriously. As my colleague Michael Shanks, one of the very few tenured professors of humanities teaching regularly in the d.school, points out, design thinking needs to be seen as "necessarily archaeological and represents what prior generations called ‘the liberal arts’ — the belief that knowledge from and about the past is important for living well in the future."...

But without taking the measure of the way the past lives on in the present, and without acknowledging the educational value of defamiliarizing the familiar, if those courses were to replace the classical liberal arts, we would lose precisely the practical value of classical education: seeing ourselves as existing in time and managing a range of imperfect complexities.

Design thinking that took the past more seriously could provide a framework in which humanists and scientists could work together on problems that need to be understood and even solved, such as climate, food, poverty, health, transportation, or built environments.
design_thinking  pedagogy  design_process  curriculum  methodology  history 
25 days ago
C21 Spring 2015: Matthew Kirschenbaum
This talk explores the medial history and speculative grain of the sand table, a purpose-built furnishing supporting a bounded, malleable, scalable space sculpted in sand and historically used for modeling military or civic operations in three dimensions.

Though sand tables have their origins in the ancient world, they had achieved prominence by the late seventeenth century, more or less coterminous with the rise of relief maps, the science of military fortification as pioneered by Vauban, and the close order drills of “clockwork” field formations formulated by Maurice of Nassau. Georg Leopold von Reisswitz, inventor of the modern wargame or “Kriegsspiel,” built the first implementation of his game on a sand table in Prussia in the early nineteenth century. An early twentieth century American military textbook assumes the sand table as a given in instructing cadets, and enumerates its virtues: that it affords an aerial, “birds-eye” perspective; that it is easily made from common materials; that it is malleable and reconfigurable, capable of reproducing any desired terrain at any scale with greater flexibility and fidelity than static relief maps; and that the resolution of the representations may be as coarse or as “real” as desired.
furniture  media_archaeology  materiality  mapping  military  strategy 
26 days ago
The Artist Project | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ever since it was founded in 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been a place where artists come to gain inspiration from works of art from their own time and place, and also from across time and cultures.

The Artist Project is an online series in which we give artists an opportunity to respond to our encyclopedic collection.

Beginning March 2015, for one year, we will invite 100 artists—local, national, and global—to choose individual works of art or galleries that spark their imaginations. In this online series, artists reflect on what art is, what inspires them from across 5,000 years of art, and in so doing, they reveal the power of a museum and The Met. Their unique and passionate ways of seeing and experiencing art encourage all museum visitors to look in a personal way.

Over the course of five seasons, The Artist Project will share the perspectives of one hundred artists with the public, telling us what they see when they look at The Met.
artists  art  museums  influence  inspiration  method  process  videos 
27 days ago
2d Cut Out People Textures and Silhouettes for visualization
Our goal here at Easy 3d Source is to provide the easiest way for you to shop for the highest quality cut out people textures and alpha masks (which also double as silhouettes). Our products are high resolution, with low prices, and can be purchased individually, or you can save an average of 50% when you purchase our full collections.
media_architecture  renderings  drawings  typology  classification  subjectivity 
27 days ago
The Secret Lives of the Tiny People In Architectural Renderings
The "scalies" themselves reveal much about prevailing social norms. Many of the images in Designing People are from the midcentury modern era and it's not just the fashion that reveals current trends. You'll find that starkly divided gender roles are prevalent: Men are in the living room, women in the kitchen. Golfers are a running theme, especially if the project was hoping to look high-class.

The drawings were illustrating the architecture, says Lowell, but it was the people who were marketing an aspirational lifestyle. "They were selling the idea to the client."
media_architecture  drawing  people  subjectivity  marketing  renderings  typology  classification 
27 days ago
New York Public Library to Break Ground on Expansion of Underground Storage for Research Materials at Iconic Building | The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library breaks ground this week on a significant expansion of modern underground storage at its iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

The project – approved by the Library’s Board of Trustees in September 2012 – will transform 55,700 square feet of raw space underneath Bryant Park into state-of-the-art storage that can hold about 2.5 million research materials.

With the additional storage space, the Library will hold as many or more research volumes on-site as it ever has: approximately 4 million research items. This will allow the Library to accommodate approximately 95 percent of all research requests with materials on-site. 

The project – expected to be completed by spring 2016 – will also dramatically improve the preservation environment at the more than 100-year-old Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, allowing the Library to better preserve materials for future generations of researchers.

“With this expanded storage capacity, we can provide on-site access to the researchers and writers who rely on our research collections while preserving these treasured materials for future generations,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “Decades ago, prior Library leaders made this ingenious investment – creating acres of underground book storage in the heart of Midtown – and we are elated that the world’s research community will soon be able to be enjoy its benefits.”
NYPL  libraries  storage  bookstacks 
27 days ago
Awards | Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA)
ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Awards
The ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Awards are co-sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). The biennial competition honors excellence in library interior design and promotes examples of extraordinary design reflected through innovative concepts. The program is managed by the LLAMA Buildings and Equipment Section's Interior Design Awards Committee.

ALA/AIA Library Building Awards
The ALA/AIA Library Building Awards are co-sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The biennial competition recognizes excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries.  Awards for distinguished accomplishment in library architecture by an architect licensed in the United States will be made for any library in the United States or abroad.  The program is managed by the LLAMA Buildings and Equipment Section's Library Buildings Awards Committee.
libraries  architecture  interior_design  awards 
27 days ago
Making Room for Informal Learning | American Libraries Magazine
Each of your libraries has a unique brand for its maker­space. How did you develop the space’s identity, and how has it been received by your users?

DANAK: Our main library building has a façade made of recycled pipes in the shape of a hexagon. In our planning process, we made jokes about being worker bees and hav­ing a hive mind. It’s really easy to use the Hive name in an engaging way—we want it to create a buzz, and it’s a hive of activity. We’ve had a really positive response to it.

WINCHOWKY: “Jawn” is a context-dependent substi­tute noun that comes from the Philadelphia hip-hop scene and can replace basically any noun. The library wanted something up to date but specific to Philadelphia. We wanted people to come and tinker and not have rigidity to the space. It was difficult at first because many of our school-age users had always been told what to do. Now they love it—there’s an unbounded energy that comes out of the Maker Jawn.
libraries  makerspaces 
28 days ago
The Future, Today | American Libraries Magazine
The library is in a constant state of evolution, not only in what it offers to patrons but also in its physical presence. Eight winners of the 2014 International Interior Design Association/American Library Association Interior Design Award, which honors excellence in library interior design, spoke with American Libraries about the future of library design and how their award-winning work reflects that vision.
libraries  architecture 
28 days ago
Graphic Means Documentary Recalls the Days When Design was Made by Hand | AIGA Eye on Design
the new documentary, Graphic Means, promises to take you back to the days before desktop publishing and the digital revolution of the late ’80s (if it can get funded via Kickstarter this week).

A curiosity for the profession’s diverse set of hand tools, machines, and traditional processes that have since been replaced by the computer led graphic designer and educator Briar Levit to start collecting old-school design production manuals from the ’70s and ’80s.
graphic_design  labor  tools 
28 days ago
Barbara Fister, Helping students develop skills + disposition to engage in inquiry
Research papers should not be part of the first-year experience. We should stop teaching students how to find sources. Very rarely are citations needed. We should stop implying that 'scholarly' means 'good.' Librarians should spend as much time working w/ faculty as with students
libraries  teaching  pedagogy  writing  research 
28 days ago
Decolonizing Libraries (extended abstract) · Brian Rosenblum
Open access (6) is a powerful and much-needed intervention that can help increase access to scholarship and break apart librarianship’s close and often exploitative relationship with for-profit commercial publishers and vendors. Yet the main goal of OA is not decolonization, and a one-size-fits-all approach to OA may in some respects work against efforts to decolonize scholarly communication. OA focuses largely on issues of access, reuse rights, metrics and research impact, but does little to address, for example, the technical and logistical problems of getting educational materials to communities lacking adequate Internet access (an issue tacked by initiatives such as WiderNet , or the development of publishing infrastructures that can support the production and management of scholarly research in the developing world. Such infrastructures would allow research communities to attain control of their own research output and encourage greater internal and region-to-region research communication, rather than increasing dependency on the infrastructures—and interests—of the global north and supporting a largely north-to-south research flow. Efforts to make cultural materials “open” can also be at odds with the interests of indigenous or marginalized groups, opening up their heritage for appropriation and profit by those with access to the means of knowledge production. Traditional Knowledge (TK) licenses are one attempt to address some of the inadequacies of Creative Commons licenses in this regard (Christen 2012; Greenberg 2014; Mann 2012)....

Another significant development is (7) the emergence of massive digital collections like Hathi Trust, Jstor, Internet Archive, Google Books, Europeana and DPLA, and their increasingly central role in information discovery and as providers of research data. What economic and institutional forces are driving these initiatives, and how well do these kinds of collections enable or limit alternative voices or ways of knowing? .....

ssues of infrastructure, material production, and political-economic control (9) provide another lens for looking at issues of decolonization. Our seemingly “virtual” information infrastructure is dependent upon real power plants, data centers, a network of satellites orbiting the planet and cables on the ocean floor, and generates landfills of toxic e-waste shipped out of site and out of mind, but with real environmental and human consequences (Mattern 2014, 2016; Munoz 2014). What implications does this have for how we think about and practice information sharing and distribution? What does it mean to decolonize knowledge in an age in which the infrastructure for the production and distribution of information is controlled by a network of little understood corporate and governmental entities?
archives  colonialism  epistemology  open_access  privacy  infrastructure 
29 days ago
Rome Reborn: Take a Virtual Tour Through Ancient Rome, 320 C.E. | Open Culture
A few years ago, we featured Rome Reborn, which is essentially “a 3D digital model of the Eternal City at a time when Ancient Rome’s population had reached its peak (about one million) and the first Christian churches were being built.” Rome Reborn offers, declared Matthias Rascher, “a truly stunning bird’s-eye view of ancient Rome that makes you feel as if you were actually there.” You may also remember our posts on video analyses of great works of art by Khan Academy’s Smarthistory. Today, the two come together in the video above, “A Tour Through Ancient Rome in 320 C.E.”
history  Rome  archaeology  urban_history 
4 weeks ago
Why I Am Not a Maker — The Atlantic
Walk through a museum. Look around a city. Almost all the artifacts that we value as a society were made by or at the order of men. But behind every one is an invisible infrastructure of labor—primarily caregiving, in its various aspects—that is mostly performed by women.... The cultural primacy of making, especially in tech culture—that it is intrinsically superior to not-making, to repair, analysis, and especially caregiving—is informed by the gendered history of who made things, and in particular, who made things that were shared with the world, not merely for hearth and home....

It’s not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with making (although it’s not all that clear that the world needs more stuff). The problem is the idea that the alternative to making is usually not doing nothing—it’s almost always doing things for and with other people, from the barista to the Facebook community moderator to the social worker to the surgeon. Describing oneself as a maker—regardless of what one actually or mostly does—is a way of accruing to oneself the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products....

When new products are made, we hear about exciting technological innovation, which are widely seen as worth paying (more) for. In contrast, policy and public discourse around caregiving—besides education, healthcare comes immediately to mind—are rarely about paying more to do better, and are instead mostly about figuring out ways to lower the cost....

I am not a maker. In a framing and value system is about creating artifacts, specifically ones you can sell, I am a less valuable human. As an educator, the work I do is superficially the same, year on year. That’s because all of the actual change, the actual effects, are at the interface between me as an educator, my students, and the learning experiences I design for them. People have happily informed me that I am a maker because I use phrases like "design learning experiences," which is mistaking what I do (teaching) for what I’m actually trying to help elicit (learning). To characterize what I do as "making" is to mistake the methods—courses, workshops, editorials—for the effects.
making  gender  ideology 
4 weeks ago
“The Cloud” Fosters University Collaboration in New Exhibition on the Infrastructure of IT
“Furnishing the Cloud,” curated by Kimberly Ackert, Orit Halpern, Shannon Mattern, and Brian McGrath, is currently on view at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries until March 22. A joint effort between students in Halpern’s Making Sense: Methods in the Study of Media, Attention, and Infrastructure and Ackert’s Furniture, Detail and Space courses, the exhibition attempts to conceptualize and give form to the space that makes up The Cloud.  Drawing from the available research on information technology and the architecture of “knowledge and power,” the show links virtual spaces with a specific, built environment. It conceives of The Cloud as something more than a shapeless and immeasurable entity that exists only beyond or above us.
furniture  exhibition  my_work 
4 weeks ago
Mapping the Sneakernet – The New Inquiry
The most commonly-discussed of these is shared access. Just as a family in the rich world might share a television, families in the developing world often share devices and telecom accounts. In rural Luzon, the largest island of the Philippines, I’ve seen groups of people access the internet via Facebook. One person—the one who is formally connected and counted–has the account, but many others are able to see their feed, access web sites, hear and tell stories from abroad and around the country. Shared access is often overlooked in connectivity studies but has been documented in India, Peru and many other countries.

Beyond shared usage, there are other, more informal methods of accessing what the web has to offer, extending through urban areas in developed countries through rural areas in the global south....

Tubes, of course, are not the only way data travels on the Internet: The electromagnetic waves of mobile and wi-fi networks pass invisibly through us, broadcast by towers powered by electric wires or diesel. Tubes highlights how much of the Internet consists of very physical data handoffs, storage and routing, all powered by human decisions and relationships....

In the dry season of 2013, I visited Aber and Atura, small villages tucked away between Gulu and Lira, the two largest cities in Northern Uganda, each with a population of a few hundred thousand. I conducted this visit as part of my graduate research at Art Center College of Design, with support from UNICEF Uganda’s Innovation Lab and Intel Labs’s Interaction and Experience Research Group. I am grateful to Aber Youth Center and research associate Daniel Nanghaka. Accessible via an hour-long bike ride from the nearest paved highway, Aber and Atura have a few hundred people each and, like much of the region, they have no running electricity or water (electric wires are strung along some roads but are not connected to the grid).... Satellite photos of the region show darkness, but satellites can’t capture the soft glow of a mobile phone. Many residents use their phones to text their friends and keep in touch. Mobile-phone towers dot the landscape, providing 3G Internet access to those who can afford it (a small minority) and SMS/voice access for the others (a larger minority). They power their phones at mobile charging stations set up by enterprising families who invest about $100 to $200 for a solar panel manufactured in India or China.

Nor can satellites hear the music. At night, residents turn on their radios, and those who can afford Chinese feature phones play mp3s.... They were physically transferred, phone to phone, Bluetooth to Bluetooth, USB stick to USB stick, over hundreds of miles by an informal sneakernet of entertainment media downloaded from the Internet or burned from DVDs, bringing media that’s popular in video halls—basically, small theaters for watching DVDs—to their own villages and huts....

Indeed, the practice of sneakernets is global, with political consequences in countries that try to curtail Internet access. In China, I saw many activists trading media files via USB sticks to avoid stringent censorship and surveillance.... Sneakernets also apparently extend into North Korea, where strict government policy means only a small elite have access to any sort of connectivity.....

Packets of information can be distributed via SMS and mobile 3G but also pieces of paper, USB sticks and Bluetooth. Solar-powered computer kiosks in rural areas can have simple capabilities for connecting to mobile phones’ SD cards for upload and download. Technology training courses can start with a more nuanced base level of understanding, rather than assuming zero knowledge of the basics of computing and network transfer. These are broad strokes, of course; the specifics of motivation and methods are complex and need to be studied carefully in any given instance. But the very channels that ferry entertainment media can also ferry health care information, educational material and anything else in compact enough form.
access  connectivity  Internet  infrastructure  cell_phones  Africa  storage  distribution 
4 weeks ago
a game nonetheless « Bethany Nowviskie
“What do we do,” Kevin productively asks, “when the sociotechnical system we hope to study is obscured from view?” You’ve heard from him about a range of experimental approaches, all tending toward the conclusion—which resonates strongly with my own experience in digital project and platform design—that the most fruitful research paths may lie beyond or alongside the impulse to “reveal” the contents of a so-called algorithmic black box: even to include making a kind of peace with our platforms and our growing awareness of own situated positions within them....

algorithmic methods are productive not only of new texts, but of new readings. My old friend and colleague Steve Ramsay has argued, in a book called Reading Machines, that all “critical reading practices already contain elements of the algorithmic.” And the reverse is true: the design of an algorithm—the composition of code—is inherently subjective and, at its best, critical. Even the most clinically perfect and formally unambiguous algorithmic processes embed their designers’ aesthetic judgments and theoretical stances toward problems, conditions, contexts, and solutions....

There’s a certain strain in scholarship and the arts (arts “useful,” in the sense that Siva Vaidhyanathan so helpfully brought into play today, and decidedly otherwise) that never met a black box without seeing it as a kind of a game: a dark game, in many cases, a rigged game, maybe, but a game nonetheless, in which we are invited to interpret, inform, perform, respond, and even compose a kind of countering ludic algorithm.

Repositioning closed, mechanical or computational operations as participatory or playful algorithms requires what economist and formal game theorist Martin Shubik called “an explicit consideration of the role of the rules.” This algorithmic literacy, this consciousness of the existence and the agency of the governing ruleset itself...

C. S. Peirce interpreted algorithmic specifications not as thwarting, confounding black boxes, but as creative prompts, “in the sense in which we speak of the ‘rules’ of algebra; that is, as a permission under strictly defined conditions.” Algorithmic and combinatoric art forms, such as the work of Sol Lewitt or the OuLiPo group, show us how this functions.
algorithms  black_box  rules  play 
4 weeks ago
Metafoundry 15: Scribbled Leatherjackets
It's not, of course, that there's anything wrong with making (although it’s not all that clear that the world needs more stuff). It's that the alternative to making is usually not doing nothing—it's nearly always doing things for and with other people, from the barista to the Facebook community moderator to the social worker to the surgeon. Describing oneself as a maker—regardless of what one actually  or mostly does—is a way of accruing to oneself the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products. 

I am not a maker. In a framing and value system that is about creating artifacts, specifically ones you can sell, I am a less valuable human. As an educator, the work I do is, at least superficially, the same year after year. That's because all of the actual change is at the interface between me, my students, and the learning experiences I design for them. People have happily informed me that I am a maker because I use phrases like 'design learning experiences', which is mistaking what I do for what I’m actually trying to elicit and support. The appropriate metaphor for education, as Ursula Franklin has pointed out, is a garden, not the production line....

Dan Hon wrote, "But even when there's this shift to Makers (and with all due deference to Getting Excited and Making Things), even when "making things" includes intangibles now like shipped-code, there's still this stigma that feels like it attaches to those-who-don't-make. Well, bullshit. I make stuff." I understand this response, but I'm not going to call myself a maker. Instead, I call bullshit on the stigma, and the culture and values behind it that reward making above everything else. Instead of calling myself a maker, I'm proud to stand with the caregivers, the educators, those that analyse and characterize and critique, everyone who fixes things and all the other people who do valuable work with and for others, that doesn't result in something you can put in a box and sell.
making  critical_design  critical_engineering  gender  ideology 
4 weeks ago
The Library as Art Project: The Clandestine Reading Room | GW Libraries
Here at GW, the Libraries proudly house the National Security Archive, an independent non-profit organization that for decades has blazed trails by getting government documents declassified and into the public domain, allowing crucial parts of Cold-War history to be told.

With these commitments in mind, my brother – Kant Smith, a visual artist based in New York – and I developed a project we have dubbed the Clandestine Reading Room: a pop-up library devoted to exhibits and programming about government secrecy and surveillance. To our pleasant surprise, our project was selected for inclusion in the “Monument to Cold War Victory” show, which opened in October of 2014 at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in downtown Manhattan. Combining our skills as artist and librarian, my brother and I transformed a wing of the gallery at Cooper Union into an interactive exhibit: a visual timeline showing the history of the U.S. government’s use of surveillance and subterfuge to control and suppress political dissent.
exhibition  libraries  library_art  censorship  freedom_of_information 
4 weeks ago
About the Mnemosyne Atlas | Mnemosyne
Begun in 1924 and left unfinished at the time of his death in 1929, the Mnemosyne Atlas is Aby Warburg’s attempt to map the “afterlife of antiquity,” or how images of great symbolic, intellectual, and emotional power emerge in Western antiquity and then reappear and are reanimated in the art and cosmology of later times and places, from Alexandrian Greece to Weimar Germany. Focusing especially on the Renaissance, the historical period where he found the struggle between the forces of reason and unreason to be most palpable, Warburg hoped that the Mnemosyne Atlas would allow its spectators to experience for themselves the “polarities” that riddle culture and thought....

This website presents ten of these photographed panels, selected to exemplify both the cosmographical and art-historical content of the Mnemosyne Atlas. Though offering but fragments of a fragment, it is designed to show some of the Wanderstrassen that Warburg pursued in the Atlas. The Warburg Institute has provided new, better scans of the surviving photographs – better, that is, than the images seen in the Gesammelte Schriften volume and other publications (to say nothing of other venues on the Web).
Furthermore, the ability to zoom in and out on the panels and on individual images permits a closer inspection of the material aspects of the Atlas. Alternately, if you click on individual images, a window providing identifying information will appear; frequently links to further iterations and permutations on the same image are also provided. Finally, under the tab “Guided Panels,” the user will find interpretations of individual panels by myself and other scholars. Such meanderings, of course, are meant to be at best exemplary, but never exhaustive.
mnemosyne_atlas  digital_humanities  archives  warburg 
4 weeks ago
K. Verlag | Press / Books / EX LIBRIS Series
EX LIBRIS departs from investigating the inside of the book as a potential curatorial space. Initiated in six specific libraries, EX LIBRIS comprises a series of book displays developed within these collections, each of which creates a separate constellation of meanings through the careful organization of selected books.
Situated between the exhibition and the editorial process, and using the library both as a resource for curatorial connections “from book to book” and as a direct platform, EX LIBRIS expands the curator Anna-Sophie Springer’s original research interest in the book-as-exhibition to include the relationship between the book and its context. If the book traditionally is seen as the strategy for private consumption and research, and the gallery as the space for public exhibition and performance, the library—as the public place of reading—thus becomes the hybrid site for performing the book.  
The selected libraries range from personal and nonaccessible libraries such as those of artist Nina Canell and book designer Robin Watkins, a private art collector, through the bookshop of gallerists/publishers Barbara Wien and Wilma Lukatsch to the state-funded, public collections of the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig and the Art Library of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Pointing to contemporary transformations in print culture, the digital pirate archive AAAAARG.ORG will also be probed, engaging the particularity of seeking unrestricted accessibility through private efforts. Together, these collections reflect an exemplary public–private spectrum. 
Assembled by appropriating a variety of display means found on-site, a temporary set of constellations, clusters, and visual narratives play with the book in its multidimensional role as aesthetic object and medium for the representation of information. Through ephemeral connections of image, text, and materiality, the arrangements reflect the character, history, and function of these collections while relating to the surrounding architectures that house each of them.
exhibition  book_art  library_art 
4 weeks ago
The Total Archive: Dreams of Universal Knowledge from the Encyclopaedia to Big Data – CRASSH
The complete system of knowledge is a standard trope of science fiction, a techno-utopian dream and an aesthetic ideal. It is Solomon’s House, the Encyclopaedia and the Museum. It is also an ideology – of Enlightenment, High Modernism and absolute governance.

Far from ending the dream of a total archive, twentieth-century positivist rationality brought it ever closer. From Paul Otlet’s Mundaneum to Mass-Observation, from the Unity of Science movement to Isaac Asimov’s Encyclopedia Galactica, from the Whole Earth Catalog to Wikipedia, the dream of universal knowledge dies hard. These projects triumphantly burst their own bounds, generating more archival material, more information, than can ever be processed. When it encounters well defined areas – the sportsfield or the model organism – the total archive tracks every movement of every player, of recording every gene and mutation. Increasingly this approach is inverted: databases are linked; quantities are demanded where only qualities existed before. The Human Genome Project is the most famous, but now there are countless databases demanding ever more varied input. Here the question of what is excluded becomes central.

The total archive is a political tool. It encompasses population statistics, GDP, indices of the Standard of Living and the international ideology of UNESCO, the WHO, the free market and, most recently, Big Data. The information-gathering practices of statecraft are the total archive par excellence, carrying the potential to transfer power into the open fields of economics and law – or divest it into the hands of criminals, researchers and activists.

Questions of the total archive engage key issues in the philosophy of classification, the poetics of the universal, the ideology of surveillance and the technologies of information retrieval. What are the social structures and political dynamics required to sustain total archives, and what are the temporalities implied by such projects?

In order to confront the ideology and increasing reality of interconnected data-sets and communication technologies we need a robust conceptual framework – one that does not sacrifice historical nuance for the ability to speculate. This conference brings together scholars from a wide range of fields to discuss the aesthetics and political reality of the total archive.
archives  information_overload  big_data  otlet  universal_library 
4 weeks ago
Sound & Materials | The Sound and Materials Research Group is actively engaged in the practice, history and critical theory of sound works that employ sound with and through materials.
In recent years there has been a perceivable shift from media practices housed within the architecture of the computer and the screen, to a media art based in materials. From Auduino to Raspberry Pi, from creative coding to modular synths, handmade electronics to cracked media, sound and materials is emerging as a critical focus within media arts and cross-media practices. The area is differentiated from audio/visual paradigms as sound is here approached as a material and through materials.

The Sound and Materials Research Group is actively engaged in the practice, history and critical theory in the area. It is based within the National Institute for Experimental Arts at UNSW | Art & Design. The group seeks active engagement from academics, postgraduates, artists and musicians.
sound_studies  sound_space  PhD  materiality  sound_art 
4 weeks ago
K. Verlag | Press / Books / . 1 Fantasies of the Library
Fantasies of the Library inaugurates the intercalations: paginated exhibition series. Virtually stacked alongside Anna-Sophie Springer’s feature essay "Melancholies of the Paginated Mind" about unorthodox responses to the institutional ordering principles of book collections, the volume includes an interview with Rick Prelinger and Megan Shaw Prelinger of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco; reflections on the role of cultural memory and the archive by Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes at the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; a conversation with media theorist Joanna Zylinska about experiments on the intersections of curatorial practice and open source e-books; and a discussion between K’s co-director Charles Stankievech and platform developer Adam Hyde on new approaches to open source publishing in science and academia. The photo essay, “Reading Rooms Reading Machines,” presents views of unusual historical libraries next to works by artists such as Kader Attia, Andrew Beccone, Mark Dion, Rodney Graham, Katie Paterson, Veronika Spierenburg, Andrew Norman Wilson, and others.
libraries  library_art  classification  book_art 
4 weeks ago
On The Blower: London's Lost Pneumatic Messaging Tubes
Pneumatic tubes (or telegraph tubes as they were also known) saved cost because they did not require skilled, well-paid telegraph operators, and they eliminated mistakes that often occurred in re-transmission. Pushing a carrier into a pipe requires much less skill. There was also no error in transcription, which was a frequent occurrence, and cash, documents and other small objects could be conveyed securely. As telegrams could be sent in a pneumatic tube carrier faster than post and cheaper than telegrams, as well as being faster and cheaper than a messenger, it is perhaps no surprise they soon became a popular method of communication.
media_history  media_archaeology  pneumatic_tubes 
4 weeks ago
pneumatic post
Pneumatic post is a place to file notes about the life of pneumatic tube systems (particularly in hospitals) alongside other postal, medical and museum related discoveries.
media_archaeology  pneumatic_tubes 
4 weeks ago
A map of all the underwater cables that connect the internet - Vox
Cables lying on the seafloor bring the internet to the world. They transmit 99 percent of international data, make transoceanic communication possible in an instant, and serve as a loose proxy for the international trade that connects advanced economies.

Their importance and proliferation inspired Telegeography to make this vintage-inspired map of the cables that connect the internet. It depicts the 299 cables that are active, under construction, or will be funded by the end of this year.

In addition to seeing the cables, you'll find information about "latency" at the bottom of the map (how long it takes for information to transmit) and "lit capacity" in the corners (which shows how much traffic a system can send, usually measured in terabytes). You can browse a full zoomable version here.
cables  infrastructure  mapping 
5 weeks ago
The World’s Weirdest Library - The New Yorker
Beside each elevator bank, a chart displaying, in capital letters, the library’s curious organization helps guide the bewildered student: “FIRST FLOOR: IMAGE,” “SECOND FLOOR: WORD,” up to “FOURTH FLOOR: ACTION-ORIENTATION,” with “ACTION” comprising “Cultural and Political History,” and “ORIENTATION” “Magic and Science.” Mounted in the stairwells are uncanny black-and-white photographic collages of a single female type—a woman dancing in flowing drapery—that is seen in many forms, from classical friezes to Renaissance painting....

Begun at the start of the last century, in Hamburg, by Aby Warburg, a wealthy banker’s son, the Warburg Library has been often expanded, but the original vision has never really been altered. It is a vast and expensive institution, devoted to a system of ideas that, however fascinating, are also in some dated ways faddish, and in some small ways foolish. Warburg, who died in 1929, spent part of his adult life in and out of mental hospitals—at one point, he lived in fear that he was being daily served human flesh. Yet he was the spirit behind the “iconographic studies” that dominated art history for most of the second half of the twentieth century...

“I started the petition on Change.org last July,” she said recently, in that special lilting drawl of East Coast Americans long resident in London. “And within a couple of months it was just shy of twenty-five thousand signatures. It was an astonishing number for a library. But the Warburg has an amazingly vibrant intellectual history. I think what’s probably most interesting to me is that it runs on what they call ‘the law of the good neighbor’—it’s not based on what librarians alphabetically catalogue. Instead, it’s catalogued according to themes. The methodology of serendipity is what it’s all about, and the methodology of serendipity is responsible for most great ideas.”...

In 1912, he dubbed this new “science” of art history “iconology.” Half anthropology, half aestheticism, it took the material of art to be a parade of symbolic images, proliferating, crossbreeding, evolving. Botticelli’s mythologies, including “The Birth of Venus,” weren’t a humanist rejection of the medieval for the affirmation of lived experience; they were dark philosophical codes, which needed to be broken in order to be enjoyed....

Warburg’s essential insight—that imagery is viral, communicable, contagious, and crossbreeding—was, I realized, right. Reproductions, like the black-and-white photographs that Warburg himself used, don’t serve as stoppers to meaning; they serve as carriers of the force of symbols from imagination to imagination. This process, already accelerated in the Renaissance, goes still faster in our time, and is not just the primary dynamic of our visual experience but also the primary matter of our art. We live now on Mnemosyne screens. For good or ill, the methodology of visual serendipity is our own.
libraries  warburg  classification  art_history 
5 weeks ago
What the Web Said Yesterday - The New Yorker
No one believes any longer, if anyone ever did, that “if it’s on the Web it must be true,” but a lot of people do believe that if it’s on the Web it will stay on the Web. Chances are, though, that it actually won’t. In 2006, David Cameron gave a speech in which he said that Google was democratizing the world, because “making more information available to more people” was providing “the power for anyone to hold to account those who in the past might have had a monopoly of power.” Seven years later, Britain’s Conservative Party scrubbed from its Web site ten years’ worth of Tory speeches, including that one. Last year, BuzzFeed deleted more than four thousand of its staff writers’ early posts, apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider. Social media, public records, junk: in the end, everything goes....

The Web dwells in a never-ending present. It is—elementally—ethereal, ephemeral, unstable, and unreliable. Sometimes when you try to visit a Web page what you see is an error message: “Page Not Found.” This is known as “link rot,” and it’s a drag, but it’s better than the alternative. More often, you see an updated Web page; most likely the original has been overwritten. (To overwrite, in computing, means to destroy old data by storing new data in their place; overwriting is an artifact of an era when computer storage was very expensive.) Or maybe the page has been moved and something else is where it used to be. This is known as “content drift,” and it’s more pernicious than an error message, because it’s impossible to tell that what you’re seeing isn’t what you went to look for: the overwriting, erasure, or moving of the original is invisible. For the law and for the courts, link rot and content drift, which are collectively known as “reference rot,” have been disastrous. In providing evidence, legal scholars, lawyers, and judges often cite Web pages in their footnotes; they expect that evidence to remain where they found it as their proof, the way that evidence on paper—in court records and books and law journals—remains where they found it, in libraries and courthouses. But a 2013 survey of law- and policy-related publications found that, at the end of six years, nearly fifty per cent of the URLs cited in those publications no longer worked....

When Kahle started the Internet Archive, in 1996, in his attic, he gave everyone working with him a book called “The Vanished Library,” about the burning of the Library of Alexandria. “The idea is to build the Library of Alexandria Two,” he told me. (The Hellenism goes further: there’s a partial backup of the Internet Archive in Alexandria, Egypt.) Kahle’s plan is to one-up the Greeks. The motto of the Internet Archive is “Universal Access to All Knowledge.” The Library of Alexandria was open only to the learned; the Internet Archive is open to everyone. In 2009, when the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to sell its building, Kahle went to Funston Avenue to see it, and said, “That’s our logo!”...

When Kahle was growing up, some of the very same people who were building what would one day become the Internet were thinking about libraries. In 1961, in Cambridge, J. C. R. Licklider, a scientist at the technology firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman, began a two-year study on the future of the library, funded by the Ford Foundation and aided by a team of researchers that included Marvin Minsky, at M.I.T. As Licklider saw it, books were good at displaying information but bad at storing, organizing, and retrieving it. “We should be prepared to reject the schema of the physical book itself,” he argued, and to reject “the printed page as a long-term storage device.” The goal of the project was to imagine what libraries would be like in the year 2000. Licklider envisioned a library in which computers would replace books and form a “network in which every element of the fund of knowledge is connected to every other element.”...

Berners-Lee toyed with the idea of a time axis for his protocol, too. One reason it was never developed was the preference for the most up-to-date information: a bias against obsolescence. But the chief reason was the premium placed on ease of use. “We were so young then, and the Web was so young,” Berners-Lee told me. “I was trying to get it to go. Preservation was not a priority. But we’re getting older now.” Other scientists involved in building the infrastructure of the Internet are getting older and more concerned, too. Vint Cerf, who worked on ARPANET in the seventies, and now holds the title of Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, has started talking about what he sees as a need for “digital vellum”: long-term storage. “I worry that the twenty-first century will become an informational black hole,” Cerf e-mailed me. But Kahle has been worried about this problem all along....

The Wayback Machine is a robot. It crawls across the Internet, in the manner of Eric Carle’s very hungry caterpillar, attempting to make a copy of every Web page it can find every two months, though that rate varies. (It first crawled over this magazine’s home page, newyorker.com, in November, 1998, and since then has crawled the site nearly seven thousand times, lately at a rate of about six times a day.) The Internet Archive is also stocked with Web pages that are chosen by librarians, specialists like Anatol Shmelev, collecting in subject areas, through a service called Archive It, at archive-it.org, which also allows individuals and institutions to build their own archives. (A copy of everything they save goes into the Wayback Machine, too.) And anyone who wants to can preserve a Web page, at any time, by going to archive.org/web, typing in a URL, and clicking “Save Page Now.” ...

The Wayback Machine has archived more than four hundred and thirty billion Web pages. The Web is global, but, aside from the Internet Archive, a handful of fledgling commercial enterprises, and a growing number of university Web archives, most Web archives are run by national libraries. They collect chiefly what’s in their own domains (the Web Archive of the National Library of Sweden, for instance, includes every Web page that ends in “.se”). The Library of Congress has archived nine billion pages, the British Library six billion. Those collections, like the collections of most national libraries, are in one way or another dependent on the Wayback Machine; the majority also use Heritrix, the Internet Archive’s open-source code. The British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France backfilled the early years of their collections by using the Internet Archive’s crawls of the .uk and .fr domains. The Library of Congress doesn’t actually do its own Web crawling; it contracts with the Internet Archive to do it instead....

Copyright is the elephant in the archive. One reason the Library of Congress has a very small Web-page collection, compared with the Internet Archive, is that the Library of Congress generally does not collect a Web page without asking, or, at least, giving notice. “The Internet Archive hoovers,” Abbie Grotke, who runs the Library of Congress’s Web-archive team, says. “We can’t hoover, because we have to notify site owners and get permissions.”...

The Internet Archive is an invaluable public institution, but it’s not a national library, either, and, because the law of copyright has not kept up with technological change, Kahle has been collecting Web sites and making them freely available to the public without the full and explicit protection of the law. “It’s extremely audacious,” Illien says. “In Europe, no organization, or very few, would take that risk.”...

In 2002, Kahle proposed an initiative in which the Internet Archive, in collaboration with national libraries, would become the head of a worldwide consortium of Web archives. (The Internet Archive collects from around the world, and is available in most of the world. Currently, the biggest exception is China—“I guess because we have materials on the archive that the Chinese government would rather not have its citizens see,” Kahle says.) This plan didn’t work out, but from that failure came the International Internet Preservation Consortium, founded in 2003 and chartered at the BnF....

The plan to found a global Internet archive proved unworkable, partly because national laws relating to legal deposit, copyright, and privacy are impossible to reconcile, but also because Europeans tend to be suspicious of American organizations based in Silicon Valley ingesting their cultural inheritance. Illien told me that, when faced with Kahle’s proposal, “national libraries decided they could not rely on a third party,” even a nonprofit, “for such a fundamental heritage and preservation mission.”...

The Wayback Machine is humongous, and getting humongouser. You can’t search it the way you can search the Web, because it’s too big and what’s in there isn’t sorted, or indexed, or catalogued in any of the many ways in which a paper archive is organized; it’s not ordered in any way at all, except by URL and by date. To use it, all you can do is type in a URL, and choose the date for it that you’d like to look at. It’s more like a phone book than like an archive. Also, it’s riddled with errors. One kind is created when the dead Web grabs content from the live Web, sometimes because Web archives often crawl different parts of the same page at different times...

Last year, the Internet Archive made an archive of its .gov domain, tidied up and compressed the data, and made it available to a group of scholars, who tried very hard to make something of the material. It was so difficult to recruit scholars to use the data that the project was mostly a wash. Kahle says, “I give it a B.” Stanford’s Web archivist, Nicholas Taylor, thinks it’s a chicken-and-egg problem. “We don’t … [more]
internet  archive  digital_archives  preservation  data  media_space  copyright  nation_state  citation  storage  data_centers 
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