robertogreco + cityofsound   46

cityofsound: Essay: 'Designing Finnishness', for 'Out Of The Blue: The Essence and Ambition of Finnish Design' (Gestalten)
"Knowing what to do when there is nothing to do
"The press conference is over, and in comes Jari Litmanen, from behind the door. And I looked at his face and I looked at his eyes, and I recognised something in those eyes. And I thought, this is a man with a great willpower. Because he was not shy, not timid, but he was modest. He is not a man who will raise his voice, or bang with his fist on the table and say, ‘We do it this way.’ No, he was more of a diplomat, not wanting to be a leader, but being a leader." [Former AFC Ajax team manager David Endt, on legendary Finnish footballer Jari Litmanen]

Finland has proven that it can take care of itself locally and globally. At home, its sheer existence is a tribute to fortitude, guile and determination, never mind the extent to which it has lately thrived. Globally, through Nokia, Kone, Rovio and others, through its diplomatic and political leadership, and through its design scene in general, it has punched well above its weight. Having been a reluctant leader, like Litmanen, will Finland once again step up to help define a new age, a post-industrial or re-industrial age? Unlike 1917, there are few obvious external drivers to force Finns to define Finnishness. So where will the desire for change come from?

Finland, and Finnishness, is not immune to the problems facing other European countries; the Eurocrisis, domestic xenophobia, industrial strife. Challenging these is difficult for an engineering culture not yet used to working with uncertainty, and in collaboration.

That requires this sense of openness to ambiguity, to non-planning, which is quite unlike the traditional mode of Finnishness. And yet there are also valuable cues in Finnishness, such as in the design—or undesign, as Leonard Koren would have it—of Finnish sauna culture.
"Making nature really means letting nature happen, since nature, the ultimate master of interactive complexity, is organized along principles too inscrutable for us to make from scratch. … Extraordinary baths … are created by natural geologic processes or by composers of sensory stimulation working in an intuitive, poetic, open-minded—undesign—manner." (Koren, ibid.)

Equally, the päiväkoti day-care system demonstrates a learning environment built with an agile structure that can follow where children wish to lead. The role of expertise—and every teacher in Finnish education is a highly-qualified expert—is not to control or enforce a national curriculum, but to react, shape, nurture and inspire. As such it could be a blueprint not only for education generally, but also for developing a culture comfortable with divergent learning, with exploration and experiment, with a broader social and emotional range, and with ambiguity.

Chess grandmaster Savielly Tartakower once said “Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do, strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.” Indeed, Finland's early development was driven by tactics—survival, consolidation and then growth in the face of a clear set of "things to do"; defeat the conditions, resist the neighbours, rebuild after war.

With that, came success, comfort and then perhaps the inevitable lack of drive. The country is relatively well off and stable, and perhaps a little complacent given the recent accolades.

Design in recent years has seen a shift towards the ephemeral and social—interaction design, service design, user experience design, strategic design and so on. Conversely, there has been a return to the physical, albeit altered and transformed by that new modernity, with that possibility of newly hybrid “things”: digital/physical hybrids possessing a familiar materiality yet allied with responsiveness, awareness, and character by virtue of having the internet embedded within. With its strong technical research sector, and expertise in both materials and software, Finland is well-placed. Connect the power of its nascent nanotech research sector—interestingly, derived from its expertise with wood—to a richer Finnish design culture capable of sketching social objects, social services and social spaces and its potential becomes tangible, just as with the 1930s modernism that fused the science and engineering of the day with design in order to produce Artek.

Finnish design could be stretched to encompass these new directions, the aforementioned reversals towards openness, ambiguity, sociality, flexibility and softness. Given that unique DNA of Finnishness — both designed and undesigned, both old and young—Finland is at an interesting juncture.

The next phase, then, is knowing what to do, despite the appearance of not having anything to do.

Buckminster Fuller, a guest at Sitra's first design-led event at Helsinki’s Suomenlinna island fortress in 1968, once said “the best way to predict the future is to design it.” Finland has done this once before; it may be that now is exactly the right time to do it again."
finland  2014  design  danhill  cityofsound  sitra  buckminsterfuller  education  strategy  culture  exploration  experimentation  ambiguity  emergentcurriculumeurope  undesign  leonardkoren  nature  complexity  simplicity  davidendt  jarilitmanen  unproduct  efficiency  inefficiency  clarity  purity  small  slow  sisu  solitude  silence  barnraising  helsinki 
may 2014 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: HyperCard RIP
"I think those of us playing with HyperCard at that point (and using the internet in the background, without really realising we were) where actually beginning to reach out for the web. That "branching path towards all kinds of unrelated and esoteric knowledge"? What else could it be? But how could we know then?

Here's how the 21-year old me put it in 1991, in my final year BSc Computer Science dissertation (full excerpt below):
"So the underlying metaphor is of a huge chunk of cross-referenced, multi-media information which can be viewed from a number of angles which could be pre-defined or created depending on the eventual sophistication of the software."

Akin to Vannevar Bush's 'trails' notion, which I hadn't encountered then (never mind Nelson, Berners-Lee and beyond), I was driving at something which I could only conceive would sit on CD-ROM (hey, they were big then, OK? Besides, few personal computers were usefully networked.)

In other words, some kind of informational object which people could pursue their own routes through, depending on their preference, with multiple entry points—instead of Phil's tea, I had Death Of A Salesman, or McCarthyism, or hemlines, or trumpets. CD-ROMs seemed to promise such limitless space that we didn't even think about scalability. And we weren't quite ready for the infinitely 'dispersed editorial' and mass amateurisation of everything we find online now. It was perfectly conceivable, to most of us, that knowledge would be produced and structured just as it had been thought to for years i.e. by a single well-informed author, or commissioned team of same. There were technical barriers too, despite its innovative architecture.

Essentially, HyperCard wasn't structured to enable us to make the conceptual leap to conceiving of this informational object to be networked and open, with increasingly low barriers to entry as per the web. But it certainly began to lead those of a certain persuasion in that direction. We owe it a lot."
danhill  cityofsound  hypercard  internet  web  2004 
april 2014 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Announcing Sandbox, a collaboration between BERG and Fabrica
"It's an extensive pallette of materials to which we're adding both wireless and data, and with which we can really test what it's like to work with these new materials in real spaces. We also have around 60 people, of all kinds and doing real projects, and so we can begin to explore what it's like to really live, work and play amidst and betwixt connected and disconnected objects and spaces. This will change the way we communicate with each other, and our environment, and it's Fabrica's job to be on top of that."
2013  berg  fabrica  danhill  cityofsound  sandbox  wireless  internetofthings  smartcities  bergcloud  projectideas  iot 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Fabrica 2013 Informal Annual Review: Fabricanti Handbook
"Notes on the Fabricanti Handbook project

When new researchers arrive at Fabrica, there's a lot to take in. They arrive from all over the world for a start. For many it's their first time in Italy. There are language questions, cultural questions. We are also based in the country, outside Treviso, so without the distractions of a big city but equally without its inherent support networks. They also have to quickly get their head around a unique organisation, with a particular mission, in a very special space.

There is a lot of tacit information which sometimes takes a while to uncover and understand before they feel like "Fabricanti", the word we use for Fabrica's researchers.

Interested in enabling Fabricanti to hit the ground running, we've made the first Fabricanti Handbook in Fabrica's history - it describes how to live here, how to work here, how to play here. We asked two of our Fabricanti to lead the project: Anna Kulachek from Ukraine and Samantha Ziino from Australia, both graphic designers. (This was also an experiment in self-directed projects by Fabricanti.) They conducted interviews with their fellow Fabricanti, and decided all the content themselves, from text to photography to illustration. It draws on stories from Fabricanti alumni, sharing their knowledge of local tricks and quirks, and most importantly, how to get your personal projects done. We were inspired by the Valve employee handbook, by Tom Sach's "10 Bullets!" videos, Ove Arup's key speech and more, but this is a bespoke tool for Fabricanti only.

It describes place, people, processes and projects - and all the basics in terms of living locally, from ordering pasta and visiting the Biennale to why a fur coat and a little dog makes you a Treviso resident - but does so in a way that is playful, enriching and inspirational. It is full of in-jokes and secrets - though, importantly, we felt it should not have everything in it. Not everything should be so easy to find. Knowing the web is full of iconic shots of the architecture bereft of people—as architectural photographs tend to be—Anna and Sam commissioned Fabrica's photographers to take shots of the building as it is, with people in it. Knowing the institution could get a bit hierarchical, they contrasted the official view with a Fabricanti view, using different sizes of paper (there might be an idea of an official daily schedule, but the day is really only "before lunch" and "after lunch"; there is the official floor-plan, and then the way it actually works, and so on).

It should feel like a beautiful gift for your first day at Fabrica, an invaluable guide throughout the year, and a souvenir of your time there when you leave. The cover is a delicate all white on purpose, such that the scuffs, bruises and scribbles tell their own story at the end of the year. (There is a "FabricApp" developing alongside the book, starting with a Google Map version of the maps in the book, and developing into real-time installations around the Fabrica campus, as part of Fabrica's Sandbox project with BERG.) Different paper stock defines the different sections.

So this book is by Fabricanti for Fabricanti. But it also describes Fabrica. In making the book, we had to commit to print a few key ideas, notions, patterns about Fabrica, which hadn't happened much. So as Fabrica enters a new phase of its history, the Fabricanti Handbook is an excuse to form a few ideas about what it is. It is a functional document— how do you not just survive Fabrica, but thrive?—but also an inspirational one, a sketch of what Fabrica is now.

As Fabrica is an evolving project (and as bus routes change and bars open and close) it will be redesigned each year, by new Fabricanti; but with this version 1.0, Anna, Sam and their friends have made a huge contribution to Fabrica's present and future.

Insights

• Make something tangible as an excuse to force us to write something down
• Use a new project to try out different non-hierarchical organisation
• Use a Handbook project to bring organisations together
• Focus on the researchers' environment
• A side-effect of making a great Handbook is that you get great promotional material"
fabrica  print  books  2013  danhill  treviso  italy  projectideas  tangibility  commitment  valve  tomsachs  handbooks  howto  annakulachek  samanthaziino  storytelling  openstudioproject  cityofsound 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Fabrica 2013 Informal Annual Review: from departments to studios
The studio model I had in mind was drawn from long experience—the multidisciplinary teams I had created, or tried to create, at the BBC and Arup—and recent experience, in Helsinki, with the Strategic Design Unit model pursued with my ertswhile colleages, Bryan Boyer, Justin Cook and Marco Steinberg, and documented well here. And of course, the studio as the forum for design practice generally.

I had also drawn a lot from Alex Coles' useful book The Transdisciplinary Studio—not necessarily in any direct sense (I haven't implemented any details of the various studio practices described therein: Jorge Pardo Sculpture, Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design, Studio Olafur Eliasson & Åbäke) but more in terms of concept, of not simply mixing disciplines, but going beyond them. Given the sense that Fabrica could be a new kind of factory, helping invent and construct the future ("Fabrica" is drawn from faber, to make, and also suggests the Italian word for factory, fabbrica), I was particularly interested in the hybrid products that much emerge from the synthesis of disciplines into something new. As Piaget has it, going beyond the displines.
"Transdisciplinary: between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond each individual discipline." [Jean Piaget, referenced in Coles]

Fabrica was essentially organised into discipline-based departments—film, music, product design, graphic design and so on. Although some areas, like Design, or Interactive, had the beginnings of a multidisciplinary mix, the structure was something I wanted to address. (I suggested this in something I wrote called "The New Vision", which was an internal discussion document/book—more soon—to gauge peoples' opinions.)

Fabrica, in terms of the structure of its "engine" was not a million miles from many other studios and schools. elsewhere.

Given the rest of our world—institutional or otherwise—is largely organised into such disciplinary structures, which organisations turn into silos (disciplines need not be silos; it's organisations that do that) then what would be the point of Fabrica doing that too?

Following my colleague Marco Steinberg's thought that "we have 18th century institutions facing 21st century problems", can we create a 21st century organisation? Something that faces the 21st century, in all its hybridity and complexity, on its own terms? Something that might address 21st century issues with a more appropriate, flexible and complex creative toolkit?

If we look at a city council organisational structure, you see that it is largely in a 19th century mode, and so ill-equipped to deal with a complex, interdependent challenge like climate change? All of the following departments—and more—are implicated in solving the problem. In my experience, even getting a meeting to discuss a citizen-centred project like Brickstarter can be an issue with this form of organisation.

If you look at the departments and divisions of Oxford University, say, can we really say it has moved far from the organisation of the medieval university?

So why, for instance, should Fabrica have a music department? There are a million places to go and study or practice music. Probably many better. Juillard, for instance. Yet there are few places that sit a musician or sound designer next to a coder, next to a filmmaker, next to an industrial designer. (The same applies to other departments, obviously.)

Given our size, agility, mission and the fact that we are not interested in formal academic certification (that is another "trap" that reinforces silos) this environment is something that Fabrica can uniquely forge. This is the possibilty behind the idea of Fabrica.

Ten months in we have moved to a new studio-based model of organisation, addressing thematic areas via a transdisciplinary mode.

• Each studio has a mix of disciplines; for example, code, graphic design, film making, writing, industrial design, sound, art, and so on.
• Each studio has a range of projects addressing the theme, from big to small, slow to quick, client-led to self-directed.
• Each is led by a studio lead, or leads.
• Each has a dedicated studio space at Fabrica.
• These are the studios we have now (overlapping to indicate the possibility of fluid movement between them, and shared projects.) …

[Read on.]
[Rest saved here too: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:7b2f1be990dc ]
transdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  studioclassroom  danhill  fabrica  cityofsound  2013  organization  disciplines  crossdisciplinary  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  schooldesign  education  projectbasedlearning  innovation  creativity  thematiclearning  fluidity  projectorientedorganizations  pbl 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Fabrica 2013 Informal Annual Review: Exhibitions
"So Sam's team devised some modular furniture elements, a modular graphic system, and a modular web service, each of which related to the other but could be taken apart by incoming teams subsequently. Then, working with local students, a series of furniture elements emerged—benches, shelves, chairs, crates and so on—with customised graphic identities alongside.

This of course ticks several boxes for me, such as modular, adaptive components, collaborative design processes, open platforms and so on. But better was to see the buzz of activity when I visited on the closing Saturday and Sunday, with highly imaginative adaptations created in collaboration."



"What's Sam's studio does very well is use exhibitions to drive the rhythm of the studio. By giving themselves these immovable deadline of showing in public, they get stuff done. It's hard work, but productive, and the researchers really appreciate that. As do I.

We're increasingly using exhibitions to get Fabrica out and about, and watch out for more on that front, big and small. For instance, we're currently working hard on a very big, very top secret, quite design fiction-esque exhibition, for next February. More when I have it, but that is also using an exhibition to develop particular new skills and new perspectives inside Fabrica, through partnering with great design firms, and homing in on new thematic areas.

Another post along shortly.

Insights
Use exhibitions to turn Fabrica inside-out.
Use exhibitions to drive the rhythm of the studio.
Use exhibitions to acquire new skills, new perspectives."
exhibitions  2013  danhill  cityofsound  fabrica  sambaron  modular  modularity  adaptability  collaboration  design  openplatforms  open  studioclassroom  studios  tcsnmy  presentationsoflearning  rhythm  howwework  deadlines  productivity  openstudioproject  lcproject  learning  howwelearn  public  workinginpublic  projectorientedorganizations 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Notes on "Ambient Commons", by Malcolm McCullough
"As explained in Lisa Reichelt’s Twitter-friendly coinage of “ambient intimacy,” social media use countless trivial messages to build a detailed portrait, even an imagined presence, of a friend. At least to some degree, this restores a lost kind of awareness found in traditional life. The upstairs shutters are opened, the bicycle is gone from its usual spot at the usual time, deliveries are being made, and the neighbors are gossiping. To their enthusiasts, social media re-create some of this environmental sense, albeit across the necessary distances and at the accelerated paces of the metropolis."



"The world has been filling with many new kinds of ambient interfaces. Nothing may be designed on the assumption that it will be noticed. Many more things must be designed and used with the ambient in mind. Under these circumstances, you might want to rethink attention."



"Embodiment makes the difference. Walking provides more embodiment, more opportunity for effortless fascination, and better engagement than looking or sitting. Depending on the balance of fascinating and annoying stimuli, a walk around town may well do some good. That balance is now in play, under the rise of the ambient."



""Does having more ambient information make you notice the world more, or less? Can mediation help you tune in to where you are? Or does it just lower the resolution of life?"

"(T)he Internet shakes the university to its core; presumably, the two are now breeding a new heir."

(((The first statement is true. The second? Not without a little help, at least not with purpose and foresight. And no, it's not massive open online courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are the mp3 of education - they radically disrupt the distribution of information, but that's only one slice of the wider pie. mp3s have not radically changed music; largely only distribution. Likewise, MOOCs are the low-hanging fruit of learning: the easiest bit to translate and transmit, and the lowest value component. It is learning at its simplest, its most mundane. This is still useful as it frees up education - say, the university - to spend its time and resources doing something higher value instead - focusing on moments of intense, engaged collaboration, together in physical space. The rest can be displaced: with a hand; it is no great loss. No more than compact discs, and their absurdly-named "jewel boxes". Anyway.)))"

"The role of architecture seems central to future inquiries into attention. The cognitive role of architecture is to serve as banks for the rivers of data and communications, to create sites, objects, and physical resource interfaces for those electronic flows to be about. At the same time, architecture provides habitual and specialized contexts by which to make sense of activities. And, where possible, architecture furnishes rich, persistent, attention-restoring detail in which to take occasional refuge from the rivers of data."
(((Very good. Again, you won't see architects getting this pointed out at architecture school much currently - with a few honourable exceptions - but there's a good role for architecture in future (alongside many other things of course.))))
danhill  ambient  ambientintimacy  architecture  design  information  technology  2013  cityofsound  lisareichelt  malcolmmccullough  experience  embodiment  urban  urbanism  softcity  visibility  communication  sensing  attention  cognition  softcities  ubicomp  internetofthings  iot 
july 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Donovan Hill / Peddle Thorpe, plus some notes on libraries in general
"The model also indicates what a sharply intelligent piece of work Donovan Hill’s intervention is, managing to keep the essence of the Gibson library’s mass, low terraced form, orientation and a good deal of the exterior finish, thus retaining its civic grandeur and connection to its family of buildings, but also radically reworking most of it, creating a new diversity of spaces - intimate, approachable and exciting."
via:tealtan  libraries  2008  danhill  cityofsound  queensland  library2.0 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Venture Ethnography 1: a bi(bli)ography « Justin Pickard
"Project Cascadia is the test-case for a cluster of ideas I’ve been playing with for the best part of five years. A chance to break out my signature obsessions …

Hauntings, world expos, gonzo journalism, science fiction, systems, geopolitics, utopianism, virtuality, globalisation, the sublime, resilience, collapsonomics, aesthetics, architecture, environmentalism, infrastructure, design, futures studies, sovereignty, atemporality, risk, the nation-state, the uncanny, Americana, technoscience, cyberpunk, multispecies ethnography, fiction, capitalism, the human senses, counterfactual history, media and cyborgs (and media cyborgs)

… and nail them to the mast of a weird and interstitial sort of boat; a soupy, hybrid writing practice that would combine the best of ethnography, journalism and science fiction.

In lieu of a biography, then, I’m offering a bibliography. Five years of my brain, in books, articles, essays, and blog posts…"
urbanism  jgballard  richardbarbrook  marcaugé  warrenellis  jenniferegan  bradleygarrett  donnaharaway  naomiklein  brunolatour  ursulaleguin  ianmacdonald  suketumehta  chinamieville  jimrossignol  michaeltaussig  huntersthompson  adamgreenfield  brucesterling  thomaspynchon  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  cityofsound  danhill  davidgraeber  matthewgandy  williamgibson  corydoctorow  douglascoupland  michaelchabon  jamaiscascio  laurenbeukes  journalism  mediacyborgs  cyborgs  geopolitics  aesthetics  utopianism  risk  atemporality  sovereignty  sciencefiction  cyberpunk  technoscience  ethnography  capitalism  globalization  collapsonomics  resilience  writing  projectcascadia  bibliographies  2011  justinpickard  bibliography  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Fabrica
"a type of school, or studio, or commercial practice, or research centre. Fabrica, hovering between all these things yet resisting the urge to fall into becoming any one of them, is perhaps genuinely without parallel. This makes it a little tricky to explain, but this ability to avoid pigeonholes is also to its credit."

"hybrid organisation—part communications research centre…but also part arts and design school, part think-thank, part studio. My kind of place."

"While I might occasionally characterise Fabrica as the pugnacious upstart, or startup, whose agility might challenge the established institutions, it’s clear we also have a lot to learn from the likes of the exemplary creative centres like the RCA, and from Paul in particular. His experience across the Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt and the RCA will be invaluable, and he’s beginning to draw together a great advisory board. Watch that space. I’m also exploring various newer models for learning environments, from Strelka and CIID to MIT Media Lab and School of Everything, alongside the centres of excellence like the RCA and others. My father and mother, more of an influence on me than perhaps even they realise, were both educators and learning environments and cultures may well be in my DNA, to some degree."

"…the other idea that I’m incredibly interested in pursuing at Fabrica is that of the trandisciplinary studio."

"With this stew of perspectives at hand, we might find project teams that contain graphic designers, industrial designers, neuroscientists, coders, filmmakers, for instance. Or product design, data viz, sociology, photography, economics, architecture and interaction design, for instance. These small project teams are then extremely well-equipped to tackle the kind of complex, interdependent challenges we face today, and tomorrow. We know that new knowledge and new practice—new ideas and new solutions—emerges through the collision of disciplines, at the edges of things, when we’re out of our comfort zone. Joi Ito, at the MIT Media Lab, calls this approach “anti-disciplinary”."

"And living in Treviso, a medieval walled Middle European city, our new home gives me another urban form to explore, after living in the Modern-era Social Democratic Nordic City of Helsinki, the Post-Colonial proto-Austral-Asian Sprawl of Sydney, the contemporary globalised city-state of London, and the revolutionary industrial, and then post-industrial, cities of the north of England."
1994  australia  uk  finland  venice  helsinki  london  sydney  domus  josephgrima  danielhirschmann  bethanykoby  technologywillsaveus  tadaoando  alessandrobenetton  rca  schoolofeverything  strelkainstitute  joiito  medialab  mitmedialab  ciid  paulthompson  nontechnology  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  marcosteinberg  jocelynebourgon  culturalconsumption  culturalproduction  code  darkmatter  fabricafeatures  livewindows  colors  andycameron  richardbarbrook  californianideology  discourse  sitra  italy  treviso  helsinkidesignlab  benetton  culture  culturaldiversity  socialdiversity  diversity  decisionmaking  sharedvalue  economics  obesity  healthcare  demographics  climatechange  research  art  design  studios  lcproject  learning  education  2012  antidisciplinary  transdisciplinary  cityofsound  danhill  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Print-on-demand work-in-progress
"The fact that things could be emailed, which is a prerequisite, also meant they were too easy to ignore. By making something easy to disseminate via email, you were also placing it in a fast-flowing stream of other objects… 

We wanted to exploit the fertile middle ground of “work in progress” with something that was a little more engaging, that would pull focus onto the discussions at hand, yet not so over-produced that the thing couldn’t iterate or evolve. Something that could be thrown around in a workshop—literally!—accessed in linear or non-linear fashion, carry visual and textual information, carried on the person, or remain guiltily within sight on someone’s desk. Something physical and digital' which might have an allure over simply digital, at least at the form of artifacts.

In other words, a small book. So a simple InDesign template later, and a not-quite-so-simple PDF upload a little later, a bunch of A5 books emerged via Lulu’s print-on-demand (POD) service."

[See also: http://www.helsinkidesignlab.org/blog/helsinki-street-eats-and-hacking-lulu ]
workinprogress  communication  email  oma  documentation  process  craigmod  printondemand  low2no  amazon  layout  jamesgoggiin  magcloud  dearlulu  helsinkidesignlab  sitra  newspaperclub  blurb  lulu  projectideas  glvo  books  indesign  pdf  printing  2012  selfpublishing  self-publishing  cityofsound  danhill  unbook  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Essay: Happy Feelings at the Awakening of Finnish Spring*, Summer, Autumn / Helsinki, Spirit Level Cities, and Opaque Cities
"But what I try to get at in this longer version is the idea of the tacit city, or opaque city. There is a strong element of this to Helsinki. It's possible to visit, and miss the point entirely. It doesn't offer itself up easily at all. The peculiarly distinct language exacerbates this, of course, but there are other ways in which the city remains opaque—cultural, social, environmental. But I argue that that makes the city more interesting as a result, just as it is at a different scale with London. You have to work harder at it, but it's more rewarding.

Although Helsinki has been a constant delight in our few months here, it's not immediately obvious to the visitor with preconceptions about what a city is, or some other prejudice to resolve."
helsinki  finland  cityofsound  danhill  cities  urban  urbanism  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Snowfall, Helsinki
"There is a very distinct urban process going on here: clearing snow from Helsinki's roofs before it falls unpredictably or loads roofs with too much weight. According to Helsinki Times, these men are often Estonians, & known as 'snowdroppers', & carefully crawl over the roofs of Helsinki's elegant city-centre buildings, creating miniature controlled avalanches onto the cordoned-off street below.<br />
<br />
Outside of the centre this is sometimes done with amateurs, which sounds unbelievably dangerous. I like the Helsingen Sanomat's pithy note of caution:<br />
<br />
"It is dangerous enough when the snow comes down unexpectedly on people's heads - please do not add to the danger by coming down with it."<br />
<br />
As a kind of impromptu urban performance, it's strangely compelling to watch. It's a great sound too—the clatter-and-scrape of hammers and shovels loosening the ice & snow, and the gentle whump as the snowfall hits the street below some seconds later. But again, it wasn't a day for hanging around."
helsinki  finland  snowdropping  snowdroppers  urban  cityofsound  danhill  snow  winter  cities  customs  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
The taxonomy of the invisible - Bobulate
"Peter del Tredici, a senior research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and lecturer in landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, argues the wildlife that surrounds us every day often has an “image problem:” it goes unnoticed, unattended, and unvalued. “There is no denying the fact that many — if not most — of the plants … suffer from image problems associated with the label ‘weeds,’ or, to use a more recent term, ‘invasive species.’ From the plant’s perspective, ‘invasiveness’ is just another word for successful reproduction — the ultimate goal of all organisms, including humans…. The term is a value judgment that humans apply to plants we do not like, not a biological characteristic.”"
iphone  applications  location  lizdanzico  weeds  plants  invasivespecies  nature  naturedeficitdisorder  urban  urbanism  childhood  chores  memories  nostalgia  noticing  danhill  cityofsound  trees  treesny  nyc  life  systems  biology  glvo  srg  edg  humans  perspective  language  words  taxonomy  wildlife  cities  value  organisms  shrequest1  ios  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Of Cognition and Memory, Technology and Cities, Learning and Schools. Part I
"what would it look like if we're enabling next instead of present?…What happens to cognition & collective memory, when every student at every age has phone in hand linking them universally & able to connect intimately & via projection?…augmented reality. To ask any question of anyone? These are present, not yet ubiquitous, technologies. As they appear & cognition changes…what do we educators do? What happens to teaching? spaces? curriculum?…Forget "no teaching wall," is there even "teaching floor"—& what does that mean?…age-based grades vanish…subjects…very notions of "student" & "teacher" altered. As info becomes more free, expertise becomes more distributed & controls of grade-level-expectations, standardized tests & textbooks become irrelevant. Does fixed time schedule survive? Is it possible to imagine school which prepares students for their future? Which operates w/, & builds skills for flexibility which humans require if they are to succeed when world changes?"
irasocol  ubicomp  education  future  futures  learning  explodingschool  adamgreenfield  cityofsound  urbancomputing  urban  urbanism  connectivity  handhelds  connectivism  cognition  collectivememory  cities  memory  technology  comments  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  distributed  everyware 
july 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Method designing
"like many designers, I have to immerse myself in cultural context of my work in order to get results. I’ve come to think of this as ‘method designing’, after method acting; way of ‘getting into character’ that consciously & subconsciously informs design process. ...approach might come from fact that, as a designer, I’ve actually spent a lot of time writing, curating & doing strategic work. All...require ability to process vast amounts of data (often media) fairly rapidly & synthesise into some new form—as does designing, or at least the kind done by designers like me. I find it difficult to have a discussion around form & function w/out trying to get at ineffable, intangible aspects of project’s context, for which I’m yet to discover a good word. Raymond Williams’ ‘structure of feeling’ partly does it, & mise-en-scène does to a limited extent, but ‘context’ isn’t quite enough, & doesn’t get at the lived experience & cultural aspects as well as the socio-economic & form-based."
mise-en-scène  structureoffeeling  danhill  cityofsound  design  methoddesigning  methodacting  immersion  cities  helsinki  literature  understanding  howwework  howwelearn  experience  culture  process  tcsnmy  classideas  writing  curating  media  strategy  data  synthesis  context  toshare  topost 
july 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Friday 21st May, Turin to Milan [Nice trip summary from Dan Hill. Just a clip here.]
"Italy is a complex place. Even the construction of the country itself is complex. Joseph had earlier related the recent ban on journalists reporting on court cases in progress, a law that many allege is created by Berlusconi to protect Berlusconi. This may be the least of it, however, as the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy seems likely to be marked not just with a half-hearted whimper instead of a joyous bang, but with serious doubts being expressed as to its long term viability. There is a chance that the north may split from the south. Currently slim, but growing. And then, what of Italy?
danhill  cityofsound  milan  turin  2010  trains  rail  transportation  design  domus  cities 
july 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sunday May 16th, Helsinki and London
"The return to London had actually been via Helsinki, due to two projects there. Helsinki Vantaa is a wonderful airport, all soft sunlight, wooden floors, warm stone and steel, with free wifi and a civilized unhurried air, a near-perfect first impression of Europe...
greatrecession  london  uk  danhill  finland  helsinki  airports  cityofsound 
july 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: 14 Cities
"In the previous entry I wrote about an unsuccessful submission for the Venice Architecture Biennale Australian pavilion. As I noted, it grew out of an earlier internal ideas competition at Arup Sydney, in which I produced a set of 14 super-short stories, each pertaining to describe a particular Australian city of the future. In reality, each is a facet of almost any contemporary Australian city, extrapolated to bring into sharp relief, as per Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities (albeit with a lot less craft). Regular readers will recognise many of my prejudices and predilections surfacing here, which is perhaps why I found it so enjoyable to put together."
danhill  cityofsound  fiction  stories  shortstories  italocalvino  australia  future 
april 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Emergent Urbanism, or ‘bottom-up planning’
"Cities are constantly in tension, and inherently unbalanced systems. That is how they enable change. For successful cities to emerge unscathed from the wheels of creative destruction, an informed, engaged and enabled urbanism needs to inhabit both professional circles and everyday people. While we might be drawn to emergent systems as the other ones are filed in the too-hard basket, it’s in the interlocking totality of this top-down/bottom-up system, suffuse with a positive sense of what a city is, that the answer lies. We have to do nothing less than redesign our culture in order to successfully redesign our cities."
cityofsound  cities  danhill  emergent  bottom-up  planning  urban  urbanism  infrastructure  reclamation  non-plan  urbanplanning  lowcost  bureaucracy  scale  possibility  australia  newcastle  sydney  stevenjohnson  development  renewal 
february 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: For the life between buildings - some notes on the iPad
"If it’s technically possible to develop a Processing environment, a sawn-off Photoshop or Illustrator, Sketchup, Omnigraffle for iPad, then I see no reason why Apple wouldn’t move those apps to the front of the shop, & thus the iPad becomes productive...in a traditional sense.
design  technology  urban  urbanism  apple  cityofsound  interface  ipad  computing  danhill  interaction  architecture  cities  environment  interactiondesign  postarchitectural  digitalmedia  trends  culture  context  ui  ux 
february 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Cars b/w Are Friends Electric
"The opportunity to genuinely explore the sound of the city without this blanket of private cars is compelling, whether through sculpting sound through active intervention or simply through enjoying a level aural playing field for the everyday sounds that already conjure the city.
danhill  cars  bikes  cities  noise  sound  safety  change  adaptation  streets  design  cityofsound  urban  urbanism 
may 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Benjamin H. Bratton (Postopolis! LA)
"now we have...no choice but to focus attention on the conception of the Pre-. We are now...Pre-other things & some of the things we do now will scale into epochal institutions... Stamen will make maps for Olympic committees but their real interest is in how informationally-enabled modes of a cognitive urbanism can make space more permanently adventurous not just more transparent. They are card carrying Situationists...Their project is a new city. Their mandate is of the Pre, not so much the Post...Because design was a symbol of the bubble it is also a symbol of the bubble’s collapse. ... many ways of doing things, of designing things, of consuming things, of consuming design are ... zombie ideas. ... the opportunity is potentially at hand to redesign many of the fundamental social, cultural, economic institutions that govern our lives, and not just design the content that would fill these forms ... design model to which we should pay more attention is not productive, but subtractive."
benjaminbratton  danhill  cityofsound  sustainability  postopolis  cities  urban  politics  architecture  design  urbanism  stamendesign  situationist  postarchitectural  crisis  2009  theory  oma  remkoolhaas  collapse  economics  gamechanging  ucsd  losangeles 
april 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Postopolis! LA, day two / Los Angeles
"By the time we’re back in Downtown, the traffic is building up and Broadway is a chaotic, honking mess of slow-moving steel. By this time, though, the city has won me over. Its constant contradictions - the very contradiction of it being here in the first place - have little negative effect now, only continually beguiling. Despite everything, this city continues to grow. As the Carey McWilliams poem from 1946 says:
losangeles  cities  us  urbanism  cars  density  reynerbanham  danhill  cityofsound  bencerveny 
april 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Postopolis! LA, day one / Los Angeles
"It still shocks...so radically different for the European. The flight descending over the city, through the yellowy haze and over endless brown and grey grids of low-rise - so different to landing amidst Sydney’s greenery & deep blue harbour - and then the slow drive from the airport - was it a 10- or 12-lane highway? One loses track - through flat plains of housing w/ downtown impossibly distant on the hazy horizon. It looks like the Emerald City, which is hardly surprising when you think about it. You can immediately see why it appealed to Reyner Banham, as it’s so radically different to England. Progressive through constant reinvention, in a particular way that cannot occur in the UK. Yet I often find it appalling too. You’re disarmed & charmed, then despairing and confused, often within seconds of each other. There’s no reason for this city to be here at all & yet it’s this constantly growing & transformed mass of humanity. The constant contradiction of LA is almost overwhelming."
losangeles  reynerbanham  cityofsound  cities  future  progressivism  contradiction  reinvention 
april 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007)
"Partly thanks to the breadth of Taleb’s erudition, the more interesting passages here concern our psychological makeup, with advantages and disadvantages endowed by the process of evolution as much as anything. You’ll find much here to aid understanding of how people think - and how people act on instinct, for that matter. Beyond that, our almost subconscious attraction to finding confirmation of one’s notions through active construction of data to support that notion is particularly interesting, and worrying."
blackswans  nassimtaleb  economics  history  danhill  cityofsound  psychology  books  reviews 
january 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Wi-fi structures and people shapes
"Sensing the wi-fi like this is almost akin to dowsing - detecting the presence of unseen forces - and mimics the sensation of users attempting to discern where the wi-fi signal is strong."
cityofsound  wireless  wifi  3d  visualization  architecture  internet  infographics  data  mapping  design  technology  australia  drawing  libraries  body  posture  bodies 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Who Stole My Volcano? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dematerialisation of Supervillain Architecture. « Magical Nihilism
"But then in an almost throw-away aside to Adam, he reflected that the modern Bond villain (and he might have added, villains in pop culture in general) is placeless, ubiquitous, mobile. His hidden fortress is in the network, represented only by a briefcase, or perhaps even just a mobile phone. Where’s the fun in that for a production designer? Maybe it’s in the objects. It’s not the pictures that got small, but the places our villains draw they powers from." ... "So - for a “4th generation warfare” supervillain there aren’t even objects for the production designer to create and imbue with personality. The effects and the consequences can be illustrated by the storytelling, but the network and the intent can’t be foreshadowed by environments and objects in the impressionist way that Adam employed to support character and storytelling. But - what about materialising, visualising these invisible networks in order to do so?"

[see also: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2008/11/where_is_my_white_cat_and_my_e.html ]
mattjones  design  culture  infrastructure  nomads  neo-nomads  capitalism  mobility  comics  production  villains  jamesbond  coldwar  movies  architecture  film  network  2008  cityofsound  visualization  storytelling  ubiquitous  ubicomp  mobile  supervillains  dematerialization  unproduct 
november 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The Adaptive City
"Sadly, the history of technology and the city is not actually one of smooth implementation, shared standards, and open access. It progresses awkwardly, in fits and starts, rather than smoothly and equitably. Yet the history of urban development itself is also awkward. Nonetheless, here is the hint of a promise that a city could heal itself, as if the adaptive membrane of earlier cities is present at the scale of later cities.
urban  adaptive  urbancomputing  danhill  cityofsound  cities  urbanism  informatics  urbanplanning  history  everyware  ubicomp 
september 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: A simulated Baltimore
"A constant theme here has been how the cultural aspects of a city inform the sense of what a city is, and can be. Hence my interest in films about cities, songs about cities, writing about cities, games about cities, music scenes in cities, and so on. These all seem to be useful - or at least evocative - in terms of understanding a city, and are usually lacking in any analytical models of cities, and certainly from most urban planning and governance processes. Something we're trying to change. But it's fascinating to hear Simon describing his particular art as "constructing an American city.""
cities  davidsimon  baltimore  thewire  television  tv  identity  culture  music  cityofsound  danhill  crime  drugs  urban  urbanism  government  film  media  architecture 
september 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Donovan Hill / Peddle Thorpe, plus some notes on libraries in general
[broken link, try: http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2008/08/state-library-o-1.html ]

"Both the State Library of Queensland and the Seattle Public Library indicate how successful contemporary libraries can be, incorporating new informational function and reinvigorating public space without disregarding their traditional role. And most recent data suggests that libraries are indeed doing well worldwide now...This relationship between internet users and library users suggests possibilities in binding these activities together."
cityofsound  libraries  librarydesign  design  library2.0  seattle  brisbane  canada  us  australia  architecture  oma  seattlepubliclibrary 
august 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Aerial music over Beijing
"I'm interested in how those aesthetics of 'organic multiplicity' apply to the ancient practices of the Terracotta army, scripting, documentation and art, the patterns of China's ancient cities, and then evolve into these contemporary practices of digital design. Codes, arrays, patterns, complexity."
design  complexity  olympics  china  patterns  cities  beijing  art  cityofsound  2008 
august 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Lyons House, Sydney
"indicated value of client who knew what he wanted in terms of function...good fortune in meeting sympathetic architect at top of his craft...house faces inwards, with pool a form of courtyard - one side left open with view through trees to blue of bay beyond...more interested in...way building would perform....functional element to architecture. "As a machine"...As well as the Japanese influence, it’s also easy to correlate this space with promise of modernism...great open spaces w/out visible means of support...Peter Blake commented that Boyd’s houses were often “almost invisible from outside...isolationist suburban plot has done more harm than good. However...even with its back turned on audience like Miles Davis, this house still gives more back to this street than any of the houses surrounding it....examples of those everyday craftsmen of earlier age, when ability to design, build & repair physical material seemed widespread, useful & valued"
danhill  cityofsound  modernism  architects  architecture  design  homes  australia  sydney  melbourne  robinboyd 
august 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: “I come from Brisbane, I’m quite plain”* Cities have music scenes and that’s why ICT doesn't enable decentralisation
"the scene is usually a relatively short-lived concentration of artistic activity, but one that kick-starts or exemplifies some wider creative, and usually economic, actvity...numerous examples of transformative scenes from last few hundred years."
cities  music  ict  technology  richardflorida  cityofsound  creativity  creativeclass  neo-nomads  nomads  pervasive  internet  urban  urbanism  scenius 
june 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Transport informatics
"quick survey of new informational approaches to transport, hinging on individual behaviour and engagement via public data. We'll travel from wifi on buses to designs for timetables embedded in the fabric of stations, stopping off at trams in Google Maps
cities  transportation  bikes  cars  rail  trains  helsinki  data  information  public  visualization  cityofsound  mapping  maps  design  carsharing  zipcar  walking  buses  transport  transit  urban  urbanism  urbancomputing 
april 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The Personal Well-Tempered Environment
"real-time dashboard for buildings/neighbourhoods/city focused on conveying energy flow in/out of spaces, centred around behaviour of individuals/groups within buildings...real-time & longitudinal info needed to change behaviour"
architecture  behavior  cityofsound  danhill  datavisualization  sustainability  socialnetworking  environment  green  information  design  computing  cities  energy  homes  buildings  analysis  lastfm  flickr  buglabs  electricity  postoccupancy  wattson  water  usage  ubicomp  spimes  everyware  ubiquitous  gamechanging  visualization  monitoring  efficiency  community  consumption  conservation  games  statistics  surveillance  dashboard  interaction  last.fm 
january 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Postopolis!: Tobias Frere-Jones
"He says that the "shapes of our letters are just as important as the shapes of our buildings, or the accent in our voices ... (They're) just as important, in terms of recognising the city."
postopolis  typography  tobiasfrere-jones  cityofsound  cities  lettering  character  urban  identity  design 
may 2007 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Postopolis!: Robert Krulwich
"Much of his talk concerned 'framing', and the way the media handles inclusion and exclusion, and how it creates spaces of framing."
media  politics  journalism  architecture  space  framing  cityofsound  postopolis  robertkrulwich  perception  vision  staging 
may 2007 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Why Lost is genuinely new media
"I've been as impressed with the way that the creators of Lost have enabled interaction around the show as with the show itself. Perhaps 'enabled' could be replaced with 'coordinated' or even 'manipulated', but strategically, the call-and-response relatio
media  tv  lost  creative  culture  future  interactive  internet  television  marketing  wikipedia  art  visualization  web  connectivity  stevenjohnson  social  interaction  newmedia  transmedia  arg  cityofsound  storytelling  gamedesign  games  immersive  danhill 
march 2006 by robertogreco

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