robertogreco + geoffmanaugh   44

Gnamma #25 - Undoing Los Angeles
"I spent the weekend in Los Angeles, as a place to work a little bit but mostly see friends and re-center myself in my favorite city.

I find myself having to justify an affinity for LA nearly anywhere I go (but especially in the Bay). My parents were confused when I moved, but I think that their understandings were rooted in memories of what LA was portrayed to be through the 1992 race riots and before the Clean Air Act had really kicked into gear—slightly more apocalyptic.

The social world I lived in before the moving West was full of Northeast Ivy League bullshit and otherwise inherited from my parents (cerebral, university-centric). This sphere did not seem to think much of Los Angeles, probably because its cultural production is not seen as high-brow enough to be accepted by Brahmin standards. Or maybe because Los Angeles makes little sense, from an urban planning perspective if your reference points are Boston, New York, DC. Or maybe because LA's legendary vapidity is assumed to create an intellectual wasteland of vice and appearance.

I read Geoff Manaugh's post about Los Angeles [http://bldgblog.com/2007/10/greater-los-angeles/ ] just a couple days before I moved to the city (having never been before), and can't imagine a better tone-setting read. It celebrates how you can find anything in LA if you drive around the right block. In this vein, I've enjoyed collecting quips about what I call "LA Phenomenology" [https://www.are.na/lukas-w/la-phenomenology ]—how can a short paragraph speak to the deep plurality, dynamism, and strangeness of this place?

I found most critiques of LA to be both true and not true, which is one of the reasons I became intellectually attached to the place. LA is incredible at self-narratizing, which leads to a wonderful weave of narrative and reality in the city—where the line between the two becomes irrelevant. Lots of people have opinions about what LA "is" and how LA "feels," and these could seem true or false depending on how far you drive along the freeway. I don't mean to deny that every city has plurality within it; my particular experience of Los Angeles' forced me to reconsider my terms of engagement with a city. LA forced me to slow down to the pace that the freeways permit and meet it on its own terms, closely examining my assumptions about the place versus what was actually going on, in front of my eyes: a highly navigable city full of thoughtful people, deep roots, and fascinating ecology.

(I need to credit at least some people in furthering these thoughts. My friend Tristan has been my primary influence on theorizing Los Angeles. One of my first conversations on the subject was at a cafe in La Jolla with Sascha Pohflepp, who passed away recently. He welcomed me warmly to the bizarreness of Southern California and was the first to tell me about Reyner Banham—I am so thankful that our paths crossed.)

A discussion I've had a few times in the Bay revolves around Northern vs. Southern California water rights. In order to supply drinking water to their populations, San Diego and Los Angeles share an artificial watershed that is 1.5 times the area of the state of California [https://www.are.na/block/1912858 ]. ("Artificial Watershed" here being the combined natural watershed and area that delivers water via hydraulic infrastructure to the place.) They are sucking the Owens Valley and Colorado River dry. Northern California, just by being more rainy but also having more proximity to Sierran snowpack, has much smaller artificial watershed. Northern California views Southern California as parasitic as it pulls precious water down the Aqueduct that otherwise could have stayed where it was, upholding ecological or hydrological process rather than fulfilling urban uses.

Of course, we can't undo Los Angeles. Southern California is fully terraformed, home to millions, and a key cultural player—cutting the water supply would be an extreme human rights abuse. Sustainability in water and otherwise will be some difficult ongoing complex of cultural shifts, technology, policy, and luck. "Sustainable Cities" are both slippery to define and difficult to achieve—is a sustainable Los Angeles one that is affordable? That has enough water? That produces zero waste? That celebrates a diverse population? All of the above and more, of course, I hope, but hard triage decisions are upon us.

I found Los Angeles lovely not because it "works" in the sense of how Monocle magazine thinks a pleasant city should work, but because I reframed its demonstrated dysfunction (celebrity-centric culture, ignored public transit, punishingly walkable streets, landlord-as-investor model) as fertile symptoms of the difficulty of making a city address its own reality and be livable. Perhaps I love Los Angeles because I feel like if LA can make it, anywhere can.

Getting gas at the Arco on Figueroa where the 5 and 110, and Arroyo Seco and LA River, meet,
Lukas"
losangeles  lukaswinklerprins  geoffmanaugh  2019  cities  socal  california  norcal  saschaphflepp  place 
june 2019 by robertogreco
The Hit List – BLDGBLOG
"We might say with only slight exaggeration that the United States exists in its current state of economic and military well being due to a peripheral constellation of sites found all over the world. These far-flung locations—such as rare-earth mines, telecommunications hubs, and vaccine suppliers—are like geopolitical buttresses, as important for the internal operations of the United States as its own homeland security.

However, this overseas network is neither seamless nor even necessarily identifiable as such. Rather, it is aggressively and deliberately discontiguous, and rarely acknowledged in any detail. In a sense, it is a stealth geography, unaware of its own importance and too scattered ever to be interrupted at once.

That is what made the controversial release by Wikileaks, in December 2010, of a long list of key infrastructural sites deemed vital to the national security of the United States so interesting. The geographic constellation upon which the United States depends was suddenly laid bare, given names and locations, and exposed for all to see.

The particular diplomatic cable in question, originally sent by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to all overseas embassies in February 2009 and marked for eventual declassification only in January 2019, describes what it calls “critical foreign dependencies (critical infrastructure and key resources located abroad).” These “critical dependencies” are divided into eighteen sectors, including energy, agriculture, banking and finance, drinking water and water treatment systems, public health, nuclear reactors, and “critical manufacturing.” All of these locations, objects, or services, the cable explains, “if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States.” Indeed, there is no back up: several sites are highlighted as “irreplaceable.”

Specific locations range from the Straits of Malacca to a “battery-grade” manganese mine in Gabon, Africa, and from the Southern Cross undersea cable landing in Suva, Fiji, to a Danish manufacturer of smallpox vaccine. The list also singles out the Nadym Gas Pipeline Junction in Russia as “the most critical gas facility in the world.”

The list was first assembled as a way to extend the so-called National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)—which focuses on domestic locations—with what the State Department calls its Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative (CFDI). The CFDI, still in a nascent stage—i.e. it consists, for now, in making lists—could potentially grow to include direct funding for overseas protection of these sites, effectively absorbing them into the oblique landscape of the United States.

Of course, the fear that someone might actually use this as a check list of vulnerable targets, either for military elimination or terrorist sabotage, seemed to dominate news coverage at the time of the cable’s release. While it is obvious that the cable could be taken advantage of for nefarious purposes—and that even articles such as this one only increase the likelihood of this someday occurring—it should also be clear that its release offers the public an overdue opportunity to discuss the spatial vulnerabilities of U.S. power and the geometry of globalization.

The sites described by the cable—Israeli ordnance manufacturers, Australian pharmaceutical corporations, Canadian hydroelectric dams, German rabies vaccine suppliers—form a geometry whose operators and employees are perhaps unaware that they define the outer limits of U.S. national security. Put another way, the flipside of a recognizable U.S. border is this unwitting constellation: a defensive perimeter or outsourced inside, whereby the contiguous nation-state becomes fragmented into a discontiguous network-state, its points never in direct physical contact. It is thus not a constitutional entity in any recognized sense, but a coordinated infrastructural ensemble that spans whole continents at a time.

But what is the political fate of this landscape; how does it transform our accepted notions of what constitutes state territory; what forms of governance are most appropriate for its protection; and under whose jurisdictional sovereignty should these sites then be held?

In identifying these outlying chinks in its armor, the United States has inadvertently made clear a spatial realization that the concept of the nation-state has changed so rapidly that nations themselves are having trouble keeping track of their own appendages.

Seen this way, it matters less what specific sites appear in the Wikileaks cable, and simply that these sites can be listed at all. A globally operating, planetary sovereign requires a new kind of geography: discontinuous, contingent, and nontraditionally vulnerable, hidden from public view until rare leaks such as these."

[via: https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/933014185675513856 ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  geography  2011  wikileaks  bighere  geopolitics  military  2010  us  gabon  africa  middleast  israel  canada  germany  landscape 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Dumpster Honey – BLDGBLOG
"In a poem I clipped from The New Yorker a while back, Davis McCombs describes what he memorably calls “Dumpster Honey.” It remains a great illustration of altered natures—and the fate of food—in the Anthropocene.

McCombs shows us bees wandering through a rubbish heap “of candy wrappers and the sticky rims / of dented cans, entering, as they might / a blossom, the ketchup-smeared burger // boxes,” mistaking a stained world of “food-grade waxes / mingling with Band-Aids” for healthy flora.

Hapless bees slip their little bodies past “solvents / and fresheners,” picking up industrial food dyes and “the high-fructose / corn nectars” of artificially processed edible waste.

With this in mind, recall several recent examples of bees feasting on edible chemicals in urban hinterlands, in one case actually turning their honey bright red.

As Susan Dominus wrote for The New York Times back in 2010, a stunned Brooklyn beekeeper “sent samples of the red substance that the bees were producing to an apiculturalist who works for New York State, and that expert, acting as a kind of forensic foodie, found the samples riddled with Red Dye No. 40, the same dye used in the maraschino cherry juice” being mixed at a nearby factory.

This had the dismaying effect, Dominus writes, that “an entire season that should have been devoted to honey yielded instead a red concoction that tasted metallic and then overly sweet.” (Amusingly, Brooklyn’s cherry-red honey also inadvertently revealed an illegal marijuana-growing operation.)

Or, indeed, recall a group of French bees that fed on candy and thus produced vibrant honeys in unearthly shades of green and blue. This honey of the Anthropocene “could not be sold because it did not meet France’s standards of honey production,” perhaps a technicolor warning sign, as the very possibility of a nature independent of humanity comes into question.

In the post-natural microcosm of “Dumpster Honey,” meanwhile, McCombs depicts his polluted bees “returning, smudged with the dust / of industrial pollens, to, perhaps, some // rusted tailpipe hive where their queen / grew fat on the the froth of artificial sweeteners,” a vision at once apocalyptic and, I suppose, if one really wishes it to be, ruthlessly optimistic.

After all, perhaps, amidst the litter and ruin of a formerly teeming world, some new nature might yet spring forth, thriving on the sugared colors of factory sludge, beautifully adapting to a world remade in humanity’s chemical image.

It’s worth reading the poem in full. It stands on its own as a vivid encapsulation of these sorts of overlooked, peripheral transformations of the world as we forcibly transition an entire planet into a new geo- and biological era."
bees  environment  anthropocene  insects  multispecies  2017  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  davidmccombs 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Scratching the Surface — 24. Sara Hendren
"Sara Hendren is a designer, artist, writer, and professor whose work centers around adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, inclusive design, accessible architecture, and related ideas. She teaches inclusive design practices at Olin College in Massachusetts and writes and edits Abler, her site to collect and comment on art, adaptive technologies and prosthetics, and the future of human bodies in the built environment. In this episode, Sara and I talk about her own background and using design to manifest ideas in the world, the role of writing in her own design practice, and how teaches these ideas with her students."

[audio: https://soundcloud.com/scratchingthesurfacefm/24-sara-hendren ]
sarahendren  jarrettfuller  design  2017  interviews  johndewey  wendyjacob  nataliejeremijenko  remkoolhaas  timmaly  clairepentecost  alexandralange  alissawalker  michaelrock  alfredojaar  oliversacks  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  amateurs  amateurism  dabbling  art  artists  generalists  creativegeneralists  disability  engineering  criticaltheory  integatededucation  integratedcurriculum  identity  self  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  assistivetechnology  technology  olincollege  humanities  liberalarts  disabilities  scratchingthesurface 
april 2017 by robertogreco
“Today’s world has no equivalent” – BLDGBLOG
"Ted Nield’s book Supercontinent: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet—previously discussed back in 2012—is an exercise in what has long been referred to here as landscape futures.

In Nield’s case, this means literally imagining what the surface of the Earth might look like after hundreds of millions of years’ worth of tectonic transformations have deformed it beyond all recognition. Supercontinent could thus be read alongside Jan Zalasiewiez’s The Earth After Us as a useful guide for thinking about radical landscape change on a truly inhuman timescale.

Nield writes, for example, that, “even if some civilization of 200 million years ago had completely covered [the Earth] in cities and then wiped itself out in some gigantic global nuclear holocaust, nothing—not even the faintest trace of some unnatural radioisotope—would now remain on the surface.” Some of us might think that writing books, for example, is a way to achieve immortality—or winning an Oscar or becoming a national leader—yet covering the entire planet with roads and buildings is still not enough to guarantee a place in any sort of collective future memory. Everything will be erased.

The book goes from a speculative, but apparently realistic, scenario in which subduction zones might open in the Caribbean—thus dragging North America back toward a seemingly inexorable collision with Eurasia—to the future implications of past tectonic activity. Supercontinents have come and gone, Nield reminds us, and the cycle of these mega-islands is “the grandest of all the patterns in nature.” “750 million years before Pangaea formed,” he writes, “yet another [supercontinent] broke up; and before that another, and so on and on, back into the almost indecipherable past.”

At one point, Nield asks, “what of older supercontinents? What of the supercontinent that broke up to give us Pangaea? And the one before that? Compared with Pangaea, those lost worlds seem truly lost. As with all geological evidence, the older it is, the less of it survives, the more mangled it has become and the harder it is to interpret.”
It is all but impossible to picture them—to see oneself standing on them—as you can with Pangaea. They have their magical names, which lend them reality of a sort despite the fact that, for some, even their very existence remains controversial. About Rodinia, Pannotia, Columbia, Atlantica, Nena, Arctica or distant Ur, the mists of time gather ever more thickly.


The amazing thing is that this cycle will continue: long after North America is expected to reunite with Eurasia, which itself will have collided with North Africa, there will be yet another splintering, following more rifts, more bays and inland seas, in ever-more complicated rearrangements of the Earth’s surface, breeding mountain ranges and exotic island chains. And so on and so on, for billions of years. Bizarre new animals will evolve and bacteria will continue to inter-speciate—and humans will long since have disappeared from the world, unable to experience or see any of these future transformations.

While describing some of the potential ecosystems and landscapes that might result from these tectonic shifts, Nield writes that “our knowledge of what is normal behavior for the Earth is extremely limited.”

Indeed, he suggests, the present is not a key to the past: geologists have found “that there were things in the deepest places of Earth history for the unlocking of whose secrets the present no longer provided the key.” These are known as “no-analog” landscapes.

That is, what we’re experiencing right now on Earth potentially bears little or no resemblance to the planet’s deep past or far future. The Earth itself has been, and will be again, unearthly.

In any case, I mention all this because of a quick description found roughly two-fifths of the way through Nield’s book where he discusses lost ecosystems—landscapes that once existed here but that no longer have the conditions to survive.

Those included strange forests that, because of the inclination of the Earth’s axis, grew in almost permanent darkness at the south pole. “These forests of the polar night,” Nield explains, describing an ancient landscape in the present tense, “withstand two seasons: one of feeble light and one of unremitting dark. Today’s world has no equivalent of this eerie ecosystem. Their growth rings show that each summer these trees grow frenetically. Those nearer the coast are lashed by megamonsoon rains roaring in from [the lost continent] of Tethys, the thick cloud further weakening the feeble sunshine raking the latitudes at the bottom of the world.”

There is something so incredibly haunting in this image, of thick forests growing at the bottom of the world in a state of “unremitting” darkness, often lit only by the frozen light of stars, swaying now and again with hurricane-force winds that have blown in from an island-continent that, today, no longer exists.

Whatever “novel climates” and unimaginable geographies lie ahead for the Earth, it will be a shame not to see them."
blgblog  geoffmanaugh  naturalhistory  earth  tednield  immortality  humans  pangaea  ecosystems  change  forests  darkness  adaptation  geography  time  climate  climates  landscapes 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Rings – BLDGBLOG
"In the forests of northern Ontario, a “strange phenomenon” of large natural rings occurs, where thousands of circles, as large as two kilometers in diameter, appear in the remote landscape.

“From the air, these mysterious light-coloured rings of stunted tree growth are clearly visible,” the CBC explained back in 2008, “but on the ground, you could walk right through them without noticing them.”
Since they were discovered on aerial photos about 50 years ago, the rings have baffled biologists, geologists and foresters… Astronomers suggest the rings might be the result of meteor strikes. Prospectors wonder whether the formations signal diamond-bearing kimberlites, a type of igneous rock.

While it’s easy to get carried away with visions of supernatural tree rings growing of their own accord in the boreal forests, this is actually one of the more awesome examples of where the likely scientific explanation is also significantly more interesting than something more explicitly other-worldly.

Indeed, as geochemist Stew Hamilton suggested in 1998, the rings are most likely to be surface features caused by “reduced chimneys,” or “big centres of negative charge that frequently occur over metal deposits,” where a forest ring is simply “a special case of a reduced chimney.”

Reduced chimneys, meanwhile, are “giant electrochemical cells” in the ground that, as seen through the example of forest rings, can affect the way vegetation grows there.

One of many things worth highlighting here is this suggestion that the trees are being influenced from below by ambient electrochemical processes in the soil, set into motion by the region’s deep geology:
Hamilton was testing an analytical technique over a Matheson gold deposit to determine if there was any kind of geochemical surface signal. To his surprise, there were signals coming through 30 to 40 metres of glacial clay.

“We’re thinking there’s no way metals can move through clay 10,000 years after glaciation.”
After ruling out transport by ground water, diffusion and gas, he theorized it had to have been lifted to surface on electrical fields.

He applied the same theory to forest rings and discovered that they were also giant negatively charged cells.

Any source of negative charge will create a forest ring.

In landscape architecture terms, a forest ring—which Hamilton describes [PDF] as “a plant assemblage that is different from the surrounding forest making the features visible from the air”—could be seen as a kind of indirect electrochemical garden taking on a recognizably geometrical form without human intervention.

In effect, their shape is expressed from below. For ambitious future landscape designers, note that this implies a potential use of plantlife as a means for revealing naturally occurring electrical networks in the ground, where soil batteries and other forms of terrestrial electronics could articulate themselves through botanical side-effects.

That is, plant a forest; come back after twenty years; discover vast rings of negative electrochemical charge like smoke rings pushing upward from inside the earth.

Or, of course, you could reverse this: design for future landscape-architectural effects by formatting the deep soil of a given site, thus catalyzing subterranean electrochemical activity that, years if not generations later, would begin to have aesthetic effects.

But it gets weirder: as Hamilton’s fieldwork also revealed, there is a measurable “bulge in the water table that occurs over the entire length of the forest ring with a profound dip on the ring’s outer edge.” For Hamilton, this effect was “beyond science fiction,” he remarked to the trade journal Northern Ontario Business, “it’s unbelievable.”

What this means, he adds, is that “the water is being held up against gravity” by naturally occurring electrical fields.

Subsequent and still-ongoing research by other geologists and geochemists has shown that forest rings are also marked by the elevated presence of methane (which explains the “stunted tree growth”), caused by natural gas leaking up from geological structures beneath the forest.

Hamilton himself wrote, in a short report for the Ontario Geological Survey [PDF], that forest ring formation “may be due to upward methane seepage along geological structures from deeper sources,” and that this “may indicate deeper sources of natural gas in the James Bay Lowlands.”

These forest rings might also be surface indicators of diamond pipes and coal deposits, meaning that, given access to an aerial view, you can “read” the earth’s biosphere as a living tissue of signs or symptoms through which deeper, non-biological phenomena (coal, diamonds, metals) are revealed.

Even better, these electrochemical effects stop on a macro-scale where the subsurface geology changes; as Hamilton points out [PDF], the “eastward disappearance of rings in Quebec occurs at the north-south Haricanna Moraine, which coincides with a sudden drop in the carbonate content of soils.”

If you recall that there were once naturally-occurring nuclear reactors burning away in the rocks below Gabon, then the implication here would be that large-scale geological formations, given the right slurry of carbonates, metals, and clays, can also form naturally-occurring super-batteries during particular phases of their existence.

To put this another way, through an accident of geology, what we refer to as “ground” in northern Ontario could actually be thought of a vast circuitboard of electrochemically active geological deposits, where an ambient negative charge in the soil has given rise to geometric shapes in the forest.

In any case, there is something pretty incredible about the idea that you could be hiking through the forests of northern Ontario without ever knowing you’re surrounded by huge, invisible, negatively charged megastructures exhibiting geometric effects on the plantlife all around you.

Several years ago, I wrote a post about the future of the “sacred grove” for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, based on a paper called “The sacred groves of ancient Greece” by art historian Patrick Bowe. I mention this because it’s interesting to consider the forest rings of northern Ontario in the larger interpretive context of Bowe’s paper, not because there is any historical or empirical connection between the two, of course; but, rather, for the speculative value of questioning whether these types of anomalous forest-effects could, under certain cultural circumstances, carry symbolic weight. If they could, that is, become “sacred groves.”

Indeed, it is quite thrilling and strange to imagine some future cult of electrical activity whose spaces of worship and gathering are remote boreal rings, circular phenomena in the far north where water moves against gravity and chemical reactions crackle outward through the soil, forcing forests to take symmetrical forms only visible from high above."
plants  nature  geoffmanaugh  2016  forests  canada  ontario  forestrings  plantlife  trees  watertable  geology 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Why Rural Roads Sometimes Have Mysterious Detours | Travel + Leisure
"Photographer Gerco de Ruijter's new project explores the places where our highway system goes astray, thanks to the challenges of imposing a rectilinear grid onto the spherical surface of the planet."



"When the Dutch photographer Gerco de Ruijter arrived earlier this year for an artist’s residency at Wichita’s Ulrich Museum of Art, he noticed something strange while driving to a friend’s house outside of town. At several points, the rural road he was on came to an abrupt halt at a T intersection in the middle of nowhere, requiring a quick zigzag to continue on the same road. The detour could be anywhere from a few dozen yards to nearly half a mile, but, in every case, there was no visible reason why the road should shift at all. This wasn't the urban street grid of Wichita, throwing a few random twists and turns de Ruijter’s way. It was the large-scale grid of the country itself—those huge squares of agricultural land visible from airplanes—seemingly gone haywire.

De Ruijter soon learned that these kinks and deviations were more than local design quirks. They are grid corrections, as he refers to them in a new photographic project: places where North American roads deviate from their otherwise logical grid lines in order to account for the curvature of the Earth. You could drive out there your whole life, de Ruijter realized, and not realize that certain stop signs and intersections exist not because of eccentric real estate deals, but because they are mathematical devices used to help planners wrap a rectilinear planning scheme onto the surface of a spherical planet. In order to avoid large-scale distortion, the Jeffersonian grid—shorthand for the founding father's 18th-century geometric vision of six-square-mile township parcels, intended to guarantee equal and democratic land-distribution nationwide—is occasionally forced to go askew.

“It did not take long for legislators to understand that a township could not be exactly six miles on each side if the north-south lines were to follow the lines of longitude, which converged, or narrowed, to the north," explains landscape architect James Corner in Taking Measures Across the American Landscape. "The grid was, therefore, corrected every four townships to maintain equal allocations of land.” This added up to a detour every 24 miles, from sea to shining sea.

In his 2004 book Correction Lines, author Curt Meine explains that these are “places where theory and reality meet." His book uses them as a metaphor for the idea that, in the real world, a perfect plan must always be imperfectly implemented. As the writer Alexander Trevi once observed on his landscape blog Pruned, the results are “sites of displacement” where the road system appears to lose its way, “as if sheared by an ancient earthquake.” These particular doglegs are most clearly seen far from urban centers, in the agricultural countryside, where the regular, quilted appearance of rural land use makes them more visible.

De Ruijter's firsthand experience of these grid corrections came with an interesting artistic irony for de Ruijter. Since the early 1990s, his work has taken altered landscapes as a particular point of focus. Some of his more recent work has included photos of circular pivot-irrigation systems squeezed awkwardly into square property lines, while another project looked at the surreal geometric landscapes of Dutch tree farms.

As de Ruijter explained to me from his studio in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, when he first began producing work in the United States he was stunned by the sheer scale of the landscape here—a common reaction for anyone visiting the vast farmlands of the Midwest or the Great Plains for the first time. The scale inspired him not only to pursue the artistic possibilities of aerial photography even more intensely, but also to look into satellite photography as a means for orienting himself in the open landscape. It was while poring over satellite imagery from Google Earth that he had an epiphany: the Jeffersonian grid and the property lines it created were, in effect, a huge framing mechanism for the landscape. That is, they acted as a kind of photographic viewfinder imposed upon the land, he suggested. In a sense, it was less a technique of federal land management, and more a kind of continental-scale act of graphic design

All of these themes came together for “Grid Corrections,” de Ruijter’s newest project, produced during his residency and accessible on his website. (Selected photographs from “Grid Corrections” will be on display at the Van Kranendonk Gallery in The Hague from December 12 through February 6.) De Ruijter wanted to transform these small turns and detours where the grid seeks to correct itself into a photographic series about locations where abstract ideas collide with on-the-ground realities. He located more than a dozen of these places—including a few in Canada—and extracted aerial images of them using Google Earth. He then traveled to specific corrective intersections in the countryside near Wichita to produce spherical panoramas of the sites. Using a fish-eye lens, he stitched these together into scenes that can best be seen through a virtual reality interface such as Google Cardboard.

But even the traditional flat photographs that resulted from this are intriguing. De Ruijter’s catalog of geographic distortions were, he laughed, simply one way to make “a boring landscape” like the one outside Wichita more interesting, uncovering the embedded rules that govern every straightaway and unexpected turn."
us  gercoderuijter  photography  aerialphotography  earth  maps  mapping  grids  gridcorrections  curtmeine  geoffmanaugh  geography 
december 2015 by robertogreco
A New Installation Gamifies the Future of Los Angeles | GOOD
"Like any city, Los Angeles has taken on various forms throughout its history. What was once a small Mexican town now sprawls in every direction as the entertainment capital of the world, resembling from an aerial view a gigantic circuit board.

Building on archives of the city’s past at the University of Southern California (USC), the new exhibition LATBD imagines a future vision of Los Angeles. In a sense, LATBD gamifies the city. In a library on the USC campus, the installation features 3D models, interactive text, one-off game boards designed by David Mellen, and historical artifacts, all arranged so that viewers can construct their own visions of future Los Angeles.

Conceived and created by collaborators Geoff Manaugh, Mark Smout, and Laura Allen (the latter two of the architectural design firm Smout Allen), LATBD uses materials, artifacts, books, and ephemera “hidden way deep in USC libraries” as the building blocks of this imaginative future Los Angeles. Manaugh, a Los Angeles-based writer and futurist, tells GOOD that the trio began by asking themselves the following question: “if all these things preserved in the archives represent what L.A. used to be—where L.A. came from and what used to be here—then could we also use those same objects to talk about where L.A. might be going next or what sort of city it could still become?”

“The question of the future is particularly interesting in Los Angeles, and it always has been,” says Manaugh. “Thinking about the future is part of the very narrative of L.A. For example, how the city will survive into the future at all, given its chronic lack of a reliable large-scale water supply and the inevitability of earthquakes, both large and small, isn’t just idle speculation here.”

The notion of future transformation explored in LATBD is helped along, as Manaugh muses, because L.A. is a city, culturally speaking, that seems built on the premise of “becoming something else.”

“People move to L.A. specifically to change something about their lives or even explicitly for the purpose of reinventing themselves as stars,” he says. “That’s one of the clichés of the city: that everyone here is playacting at being someone else, essentially road-testing alternative future versions of themselves.”

Manaugh sees this concept of “becoming something else” as sort of the mutant DNA of Los Angeles. He and the Smout Allen principals wondered what this notion might mean on an architectural and narrative level. “The name of the exhibition, obviously, is also a reflection of this,” says Manaugh. “It’s a Los Angeles that is always yet to be determined.”

Manaugh says he has admired the work of Smout and Allen for a decade, and the idea of working with them on this was just too good to pass up. Because their work has always been focused on unstable landscapes or shifting ground conditions where designing architecture is very challenging, and, despite the fact that they live in London, Manaugh felt they were the perfect fit for a Los Angeles-based project.

“The overall idea with this was not for them to create one architectural model that we could then sort of take out around the city to try to convince someone to build, as if we had some vision of the future that we want to sell to City Hall or to a developer,” he says. “Instead, the idea was to give architectural shape to many different potential scenarios that we came up with for how Los Angeles might change in the future.”

The resulting 3D models demonstrate such things as how L.A. neighborhoods might try to fortify themselves against future earthquakes. In LATBD, the trio proposed building huge underground pendulums that would act as seismic counterweights for the city, while at the same time imagining that this seismic energy could be turned into a potential source of renewable energy.

“To make a long story short, we wanted to literalize the idea of a game about the future of Los Angeles,” Manaugh says. “This meant that, in addition to the narrative themes that you can see in Smout Allen’s models, I also got to work with a local designer named David Mellen to produce actual game boards, featuring old archival photos from the USC collection laid out like a dice game.”

Manaugh says the point of it all was to play with the idea that the future of Los Angeles is subject to competing interests.

“Different people and different groups often want very different outcomes for the city,” he adds. “In other words, this means that L.A., even on a regular day, is already a game, a landscape fought over by different strategies and intentions, and we thought that a series of L.A.-themed game boards made specifically for the exhibition would be a nice way to communicate this idea.”"
losangeles  games  futurism  2015  future  davidmellen  latbd  geoffmanaugh  marksmout  lauraallen  smoutallen  gaming  boardgames  play 
december 2015 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Ghost Streets of Los Angeles
"In a short story called "Reports of Certain Events in London" by China Miéville—a text often cited here on BLDGBLOG—we read about a spectral network of streets that appear and disappear around London like the static of a radio tuned between stations, old roadways that are neither here nor there, flickering on and off in the dead hours of the night.

For reasons mostly related to a bank heist described in my book, A Burglar's Guide to the City, I found myself looking at a lot of aerial shots of Los Angeles—specifically the area between West Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard—when I noticed this weird diagonal line cutting through the neighborhood.

[image]

It is not a street—although it obviously started off as a street. In fact, parts of it today are still called Marshfield Way.

At times, however, it's just an alleyway behind other buildings, or even just a narrow parking lot tucked in at the edge of someone else's property line.

[image]

Other times, it actually takes on solidity and mass in the form of oddly skewed, diagonal slashes of houses.

The buildings that fill it look more like scar tissue, bubbling up to cover a void left behind by something else's absence.

[image]

First of all, I love the idea that the buildings seen here take their form from a lost street—that an old throughway since scrubbed from the surface of Los Angeles has reappeared in the form of contemporary architectural space.

That is, someone's living room is actually shaped the way it is not because of something peculiar to architectural history, but because of a ghost street, or the wall of perhaps your very own bedroom takes its angle from a right of way that, for whatever reason, long ago disappeared.

[image]

If you follow this thing from roughly the intersection of Hollywood & La Brea to the strangely cleaved back of an apartment building on Ogden Drive—the void left by this lost street, incredibly, now takes the form of a private swimming pool—these buildings seem to plow through the neighborhood like train cars.

Which could also be quite appropriate, as this superficial wound on the skin of the city is most likely a former streetcar route.

But who knows: my own research went no deeper than an abandoned Google search, and I was actually more curious what other people thought this might be or what they've experienced here, assuming at least someone in the world reading this post someday might live or work in one of these buildings.

[image]

And perhaps this is just the exact same point, repeated, but the notion that every city has these deeper wounds and removals that nonetheless never disappear is just incredible to me. You cut something out—and it becomes a building a generation later. You remove an entire street—and it becomes someone's living room.

I remember first learning that one of the auditoriums at the Barbican Art Centre in London is shaped the way it is because it was built inside a former WWII bomb crater, and simply reeling at the notion that all of these negative spaces left scattered and invisible around the city could take on architectural form.

Like ghosts appearing out of nowhere—or like China Miéville's fluttering half-streets, conjured out of the urban injuries we all live within and too easily mistake for property lines and real estate, amidst architectural incisions that someday become swimming pools and parking lots.

*Update* Some further "ghost streets" have popped up in the comments here, and the images are worth posting.

[image]

The one seen above, for example, is "another ghost diagonal that begins on 8th St. at Hobart, and ends at Pico and Rimpau," an anonymous commenter explains.

Another example, seen below—

[image]

—is "a block in the Pico-Robertson area," a commenter writes:
I lived there as a teenager, but never noticed the two diagonals until I looked at it with google maps. There are some lots on the west side of the next two blocks north which also have diagonals. And if you continue north across Pico Blvd, you can see diagonal property lines around St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School and the church.

Thanks for all the tips, and by all means keep them coming, if you are aware of other sites like this, whether in Los Angeles or further afield; and be sure to read through the comments for more.

*Second Update* The examples keep coming. A commenter named Lance Morris explains that he did an MFA project "about this very thing, but in Long Beach. There's a long diagonal scar running from Long Beach Blvd and Willow all the way down to Belmont Shore. I tried walking as closely to the line as I could and GPS tracked the results. There are even 2 areas where you can still see tracks!"

This inspired me to look around the area a little bit on Google Maps, which led to another place nearby, as seen below.

[image]

Again, seeing how these local building forms have been generated by the outlines of a missing street or streetcar line is pretty astonishing.

Further, the tiniest indicators of these lost throughways remain visible from above, usually in the form of triangular building cuts or geometrically odd storage yards and parking lots. Because they all align—like some strange industrial ley line—you can deduce that an older piece of transportation infrastructure is now missing.

[image]

Indeed, if you zoom out from there in the map, you'll see that the subtle diagonal line cutting across the above image (from the lower left to the upper right) is, in fact, an old rail right of way that leads from the shore further inland.

To give a sense of how incredibly subtle some of these signs can be, the diagonal fence seen in the below screen grab—

[image]

—is actually shaped that way not because of some quirk of the local storage lot manager, but because it follows this lost right of way."
losangeles  urban  architecture  cities  chinamieville  streets  seams  scars  landscape  2015  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog 
december 2015 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: It Came From Below
"In a short book called Making Time: Essays on the Nature of Los Angeles, writer William L. Fox explores the remnant gas leaks and oil seeps of the city. At times, it reads as if he is describing the backdrop of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Such is the strange and permanent apocalypse of 21st-century L.A.

Fox writes, for example, that “a methane vent opened up in the middle of Fairfax Street” back in 1985, and that it “burned uncontrollably for days before it could be put out.” At night, it was a world lit by flames. Astonishingly, he adds, in 1962 “a Hawthorne woman had a fire under her house—a house with no basement. She located the source of the problem when she went outside and touched a match to a crack in the sidewalk: A flame ran down to it.”

This city where sidewalks burn and sewers fill with oily ooze is a city built here almost specifically for that very reason; Los Angeles, in many ways, is a settlement founded on petroleum byproducts, and the oil industry for which the city was once known never actually left. It just got better at hiding itself.

It is already well known that there are oilrigs disguised in plain sight all over the city. The odd-looking tower behind Beverly Hills High School, for example, is actually a camouflaged oilrig; an active oil field runs beneath the classrooms and athletic fields. Even stranger, the enormous synagogue at Pico and Doheny is not a synagogue at all, but a movable drilling tower designed to look like a house of worship, as if bizarre ceremonies for conjuring a literal black mass out of the bowels of the Earth take place here, hidden from view. If you zoom in on Google Maps, you can just make out the jumbles of industrial machinery tucked away inside.

However, amidst all of this still-functional oil infrastructure, there are ruins: abandoned wells, capped drill sites, and derelict pumping stations that have effectively been erased from public awareness. These, too, play a role in the city’s subterranean fires and its poisonous breakouts of black ooze. "



"It is worth considering, then, next time you step over a patch of tar on the sidewalk, that the black gloom still bubbling up into people’s yards and basements, still re-asphalting empty gravel parking lots, is actually an encounter with something undeniably old and elementally powerful.

In this sense, Los Angeles is more than just a city; it is a kind of interface between a petrochemical lifestyle of cars and freeways and the dark force that literally fuels it, a subterranean presence that predates us all by millions of years and that continues to wander freely beneath L.A.’s tangled streets and buildings."
losangeles  nature  oil  geography  geology  2015  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  centerforlanduseinterpretation  clui  petroleum  williamfox 
march 2015 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Procedural Forestry
"We looked at procedural Brutalism the other week—and, deep in the BLDGBLOG archives, we explored the moors of a procedurally generated British countryside—so why not procedural forestry?

Designer Florian Veltman tweeted two screen grabs the other week, along with the quick comment that he was "working on a procedural forest." The first image, which you can see in his tweet, is just a path or small clearing—almost a holloway—cutting forward through a forest of algorithmic leaves and branches.

But it's the picturesque errorscape seen in the opening image of this post, and in Veltman's second tweet, that really caught my eye. Captioned by Veltman as a "procedural forest gone wrong... or right?," it resembles a kind of upended tectonic plate overgrown with vegetation, pierced by the alien presence of a miscalculated substrate erupting from below.

Procedural forestry, procedural geology, procedural oceanography—the very idea of a procedural natural history is just incredible. Unstoppable worlds endlessly flowering from roots of code. Imagine landscape information modeling becoming weirdly sentient, self-generating, and aesthetically sublime, laced with errors, topographies gone wild—stuttering and mutated—in the infinite seams between digital worlds.

We watch in unearthly awe as coded terrains crack open or glitch apart just enough to reveal their mathematical interiors, buried operating systems indistinguishable from nature whirring away within the roots and leaves."
bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  procedural  forestry  geology  oceanography  naturalhistory  code  landscape  topography  math  mathematics  2014 
september 2014 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Through the Cracks Between Stars
"Paglen ended his lecture with an amazing anecdote worth repeating here. Expanding on this notion—that humanity's longest-lasting ruins will not be cities, cathedrals, or even mines, but rather geostationary satellites orbiting the Earth, surviving for literally billions of years beyond anything we might build on the planet's surface—Paglen tried to conjure up what this could look like for other species in the far future.

Billions of years from now, he began to narrate, long after city lights and the humans who made them have disappeared from the Earth, other intelligent species might eventually begin to see traces of humanity's long-since erased presence on the planet.

Consider deep-sea squid, Paglen suggested, who would have billions of years to continue developing and perfecting their incredible eyesight, a sensory skill perfect for peering through the otherwise impenetrable darkness of the oceans—yet also an eyesight that could let them gaze out at the stars in deep space.

Perhaps, Paglen speculated, these future deep-sea squid with their extraordinary powers of sight honed precisely for focusing on tiny points of light in the darkness might drift up to the surface of the ocean on calm nights to look upward at the stars, viewing a scene that will have rearranged into whole new constellations since the last time humans walked the Earth.

And, there, the squid might notice something.

High above, seeming to move against the tides of distant planets and stars, would be tiny reflective points that never stray from their locations. They are there every night; they are more eternal than even the largest and most impressive constellations in the sky sliding nightly around them.

Seeming to look back at the squid like the eyes of patient gods, permanent and unchanging in these places reserved for them there in the firmament, those points would be nothing other than the geostationary satellites Paglen made reference to.

This would be the only real evidence, he suggested, to any terrestrial lifeforms in the distant future that humans had ever existed: strange ruins stuck there in the night, passively reflecting the sun, never falling, angelic and undisturbed, peering back through the veil of stars.

Aside from the awesome, Lovecraftian poetry of this image—of tentacular creatures emerging from the benthic deep to gaze upward with eyes the size of automobiles at satellites far older than even continents and mountain ranges—the actual moment of seeing these machines for ourselves is equally shocking.

By now, for example, we have all seen so-called "star trail" photos, where the Earth's rotation stretches every point of starlight into long, perfect curves through the night sky. These are gorgeous, if somewhat clichéd, images, and they tend to evoke an almost psychedelic state of cosmic wonder, very nearly the opposite of anything sinister or disturbing.

Yet in Paglen's photo "PAN (Unknown; USA-207)"—part of another project of his called The Other Night Sky— something incredible and haunting occurs.

Amidst all those moving stars blurred across the sky like ribbons, tiny points of reflected light burn through—and they are not moving at all. There is something else up there, this image makes clear, something utterly, unnaturally still, something frozen there amidst the whirl of space, looking back down at us as if through cracks between the stars."



"In other words, we don't actually need Paglen's deep-sea squid of the far future with their extraordinary eyesight to make the point for us that there are now uncanny constellations around the earth, sinister patterns visible against the backdrop of natural motion that weaves the sky into such an inspiring sight.

These fixed points peer back at us through the cracks, an unnatural astronomy installed there in secret by someone or something capable of resisting the normal movements of the universe, never announcing themselves while watching anonymously from space."
satellites  astronomy  stars  ruins  2014  trevorpaglen  geoffmanaugh  theothernightsky  thelastpictures  constellations  bldgblog 
august 2014 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach
"Incredibly, a "new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii," Science reports.

This new rock type, referred to as a "plastiglomerate," requires a significant heat-source in order to form, as plastiglomerates are, in effect, nothing but molten lumps of plastic mixed-in with ambient detritus. Hawaii with its coastal and marine volcanoes, offers a near-perfect formational landscape for this artificially inflected geology to emerge—however, Patricia Corcoran, one of the discoverers of these uncanny rocks, thinks we'll likely find them "on coastlines across the world. Plastiglomerate is likely well distributed, it’s just never been noticed before now, she says."

We've been surrounded by artificial geologies all along.

But is it really geology? Or is it just melted plastic messily assembled with local minerals? Well, it's both, it seems, provided you look at it on different time-scales. After heavier chunks of plastiglomerate form, fusing with "denser materials, like rock and coral," Science writes, "it sinks to the sea floor, and the chances it will become buried and preserved in the geologic record increase." It can even form whole veins streaking through other rock deposits: "When the plastic melts, it cements rock fragments, sand, and shell debris together, or the plastic can flow into larger rocks and fill in cracks and bubbles," we read.

It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to suggest that our landfills are also acting like geologic ovens: baking huge deposits of plastiglomerate into existence, as the deep heat (and occasional fires) found inside landfills catalyzes the formation of this new rock type. Could deep excavations into the landfills of an earlier, pre-recycling era reveal whole boulders of this stuff? Perhaps.

The article goes on to refer to the work of geologist Jan Zalasiewicz, which is exactly where I would have taken this, as well. Zalasiewicz has written in great detail and very convincingly about the future possible fossilization of our industrial artifacts and the artificial materials that make them—including plastic itself, which, he suggests, might very well leave traces similar to those of fossilized leaves and skeletons.

In a great essay I had the pleasure of including in the recent book Landscape Futures, Zalasiewicz writes: "Plastics, which are made of long chains of subunits, might behave like some of the long-chain organic molecules in fossil plant twigs and branches, or the collagen in the fossilized skeletons of some marine invertebrates. These can be wonderfully well preserved, albeit blackened and carbonized as hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen are driven off under the effect of subterranean heat and pressure." Plastiglomerates could thus be seen as something like an intermediary stage in the long-term fossilization of plastic debris, a glimpse of the geology to come.

Ultimately, the idea that the stunning volcanic beaches of Hawaii are, in fact, more like an early version of tomorrow's semi-plastic continents and tropical archipelagoes is both awesome and ironic: that an island chain known for its spectacular natural beauty would actually reveal the deeply artificial future of our planet in the form of these strange, easily missed objects washing around in the sand and coral of a gorgeous beach."
bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  geology  plastics  plastic  2014  janzalasiewicz  hawaii  plastiglomerate 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The Handheld Mathematics of Geometer Ron Resch
"Visionary applied geometer Ron Resch, who passed away in 2012, is the subject of the incredible documentary embedded above, that, while by no means new (it was produced back in the grainy days of 1970) seemed worth posting here. Over the course of its more than 40 minutes of mind-altering geometry and material experimentation, we watch Resch unfold, stretch, expand, and play with a mind-boggling wizardry of handmade models that seem to be blink in and out of the ordinary world.

Less structures, in a sense, than experimental prototypes anticipating some of the advanced geometric models of today's most high-powered graphics packages, Resch's models were supremely functional, spatially bewildering, and totally, totally awesome.

In many ways it seems oddly short-sighted of the world that Resch's work would, in the end, be most remarkable for resembling children's toys—from folding snakes to Rubik's cubes—rather than kicking off a brave new world of weird, inter-dimensional furniture and shapeshifting buildings that Resch's work implied would be only a few years away.

A Reschian city of expanding arches and pinched, fractal canopies, where walls become structures and whole neighborhoods are just by-products of massive contraptions, would be a delirious thing to live within, and Resch himself always had his eye on the architectural implications of his work.

In the film embedded above, for example, he describes a waffled, geometrically complex surface that, when combined with sound-absorbing materials, would make an ideal acoustic wall for dampening sound and enhancing privacy. Resch himself was constantly working on new forms of self-supporting origami that might someday pass for buildings.

In any case, the whole film is worth watching—but get yourself a stack of paper before you begin, because you'll be itching to fold your own mathematical shapes and infinite surfaces in no time."

[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/36122966

[More: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:7715d08f716e ]
geometry  origami  ronresch  folds  folding  paper  structure  2013  geoffmanaugh  math  mathematics  design  architecture  triangles 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Lasers, Drones, and Future Tech on the Front Lines of Archaeology
"James Newhard is Director of Archaeology at the College of Charleston, where he works to bring 3D imaging, mobile technology and geographic information systems to a field more popularly associated with shovels and dusty brushes. Gizmodo got in touch with Dr. Newhard to learn how he uses emerging tech to dig deep into ancient societies."



"In another blog post you mention drones in archaeology. What's a good example of how you could use drones?

Drones—oh man, they are hot. In early 2000, I was a grad student working in Albania with a young PhD. We had the inglorious task of mapping the site. We’d start out every morning, and jot down a point every four to five steps to make a high-resolution topographic map. It took us about 12 weeks of field work to put that map together.

Now, you just put a couple sensors on a drone and fly that thing over the site, and you’ve got it in a day. It goes off at a low altitude and snaps everything up; the images are all geo-rectified; bada bing bada boom, there it is."
jamesnewhard  archaeology  3dimaging  mobiletechnology  mobile  gis  fieldwork  geoffmanaugh  drones  droneproject  maps  mapping 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Life Online: An Interview with Folkert Gorter and Jon-Kyle Mohr - Venue
"The scroll bar is a great device—I have always been most excited about it as my main user interface device. Way back, I started experimenting, along with a whole bunch of other people, with making scrolling interfaces. I would put up a ton of content, but you couldn’t see all of it. It was as if the browser was the viewfinder of a camera, and, instead of moving the viewfinder, you could just scroll the page."



"Gorter: I think the way we get around this is that we try to not make a specific interface. Instead, we always use the content as the interface. This is how we always design. In Cargo, there’s no design, there’s just content. You click on a thumbnail, but the thumbnail is just a smaller representation of the project.

Essentially the browser is the canvas—it is the design—whereas, with a lot of web design, you see people making designs inside the browser, like a box inside a box, and then shading here, adding a bar there.

But we don’t do that. We try to disappear.

Twilley: You’ve described Cargo as not social but rather collaborative. That difference between closed and open, complete and unfinished, is really interesting. There are actually not a lot of middle spaces on the Internet that manage to straddle that division, whereas Cargo is populated by user content but still feels aesthetically coherent.

Gorter: I think, again, that’s because the design is the way the interface works, rather than being some kind of overlay.

Even if you completely disassociate your personal site from the platform, the brand is the interface. We care so much about the feel and the behavior of the interface—when you click something, something happens to bridge the waiting time between the click and the response, and the typography is always properly in proportion—that it still feels like Cargo, at the end of the day, no matter what it looks like.

You’re in a structure, but the only things you see are content. "



"Manaugh: Our final question, just to bring it full circle, is about the process of working on the Venue website, and whether that allowed you to explore any new territory. Perhaps it did, perhaps it didn’t.

Mohr: The integration with Google Maps for Venue was really fun. I had never used their API. We’re actually starting to work on an API for Cargo, and working with Google Maps’ API for Venue really influenced how I’m approaching that.

It was also really fun to play with spatiality. Google Maps is already interesting in terms of its Z-space functionality—the way that you can zoom in and out in satellite view—and we spent a long time playing around to find a comfortable zoom level for Venue, and so on.

Gorter: It was a great project for us, I think, because we’re always looking for excuses to extend Cargo’s functionality. The only reason we make new stuff for Cargo is in response to a specific request. We never say, “Hypothetically, people would love such-and-such new feature—let’s make it!”

And, because we don’t design websites—we don’t make layouts, we just put content in—the Google Maps integration is not simply decoration. It’s actually integral to how the site works. What I really love about what we accomplished was that we put the Google Maps in there, but we imposed the Venue aesthetic over top of it.

We’ve done projects with Flash before where we work the same way. The problem with Flash is that it’s like an aquarium—all the content sits behind a thick layer of glass. You can’t touch it; you can only look at it. It’s imprisoned. What we've done is use Flash in a new kind of way, as a background environment, and then put a flat HTML layer over top of it so that you can interact with as if you were interacting with any website."

[See also: http://www.laimyours.com/7398/thinking-in-the-future-tense-an-interview-with-folkert-gorter/ ]
folkertgorter  jon-kylemohr  2013  design  cargo  butdoesitfloat  spacecollective  venue  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  scrollbars  web  internet  online  multimedia  ux  ix  interface  browsers  content  browser 
october 2013 by robertogreco
UNDER TOMORROWS SKY
"UNDER TOMORROWS SKY IS A FICTIONAL, FUTURE CITY. SPECULATIVE ARCHITECT LIAM YOUNG OF THE LONDON BASED TOMORROWS THOUGHTS TODAY HAS ASSEMBLED A THINK TANK OF SCIENTISTS, TECHNOLOGISTS, FUTURISTS, ILLUSTRATORS, SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS AND SPECIAL EFFECTS ARTISTS TO COLLECTIVELY DEVELOP THIS IMAGINARY PLACE, THE LANDSCAPES THAT SURROUND IT AND THE STORIES IT CONTAINS. ACROSS THE COURSE OF THE EXHIBITION INVITED GUESTS WILL WORK WITH THE CITY AS A STAGE SET TO DEVELOP A COLLECTION OF NARRATIVES, FILMS AND ILLUSTRATIONS. WANDER THROUGH THIS NEAR FUTURE WORLD AND EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES AND CONSEQUENCES OF TODAY’S EMERGING BIOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL RESEARCH. THE EXHIBITION OPENS FOR DUTCH DESIGN WEEK ON OCTOBER 20TH. THE UNDER TOMORROWS SKY PUBLIC THINK TANK WITH LIAM YOUNG, BRUCE STERLING, WARREN ELLIS, RACHEL ARMSTRONG, PAUL DUFFIELD, BLDGBLOG, EDIBLE GEOGRAPHY, NEXT NATURE, THE CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND IMAGINATION AND NEW SCIENTIST WAS HELD AT MU ON JUNE 16/17. YOU CAN WATCH THE VIDEOS OF THE EVENT HERE. IN COLLABORATION WITH MU ART SPACE, EINDHOVEN AND THE 2013 LISBON ARCHITECTURE TRIENNALE. GET IN CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION"
liamyound  architecture  art  designfiction  scifi  urbanism  sciencefiction  warrenellis  brucesterling  rachelarmstrong  paulduffield  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  ediblegeography  cities  2013  future  urban  technology  futurism  illustration  writing  thinking  thinktank  landscapes 
april 2013 by robertogreco
A Field Guide to Singing Sentinels
"The Field Guide is a catalogue of imaginary birds, bioengineered for the anthropocentric world. This speculative birdwatchers companion includes descriptions, behaviours and helpful tips for future sightings. Wander through the city, field guide in hand. These beautiful unnatural specimens will be there with us, after nature,. Spy, high above the rooftop vents, the Green Throated Coal Canary, bioengineered to be sensitive to increased levels of CO2. Track the Red Radars of the Archaeology Institute as they scan the ground for echoes of lost cities, see the luminescent plumage of the Roseshift Canaries as they fan their tails and sing sharply in the clouds of Nitrous Oxide. Explore the engineered ecology, watch these companion birds fly past and listen to their song, a requiem for a changing world. The Singing Sentinels are a vivid expression of life and technology."

[See also: "Silent Spring: A climate Change Acceleration Performance" https://vimeo.com/43378138 ]

"Coal miners once hammered rock with twittering canaries living beside them, their changing song a warning alarm for a dangerous gas leak. These living sensors watched over us and kept us safe.

‘Singing Sentinels’ by London-based architect Liam Young of Tomorrows Thoughts Today explores a future scenario where bio-engineered birds once again monitor the air for us. Eighty birds have been released into the New Order exhibition at the Mediamatic Gallery in Amsterdam as an ecological warning system, living in the space and providing audible feedback on the state of the atmosphere. Across the course of the exhibition Liam performed the climate change acceleration piece 'Silent Spring' seen in the film above. As a 'pollution DJ', he flooded the gallery with CO2, altereing the air mixture to replicated the predicted atmospheric changes of the next 100 years. We hear the canary song subtly shift, their rythmn change and eventually silence, as the birds sing a toxic sky- an elegy for a changing planet.

To accompany the exhibition Liam Young, Geoff Manuagh and Tim Maly have written a near future birdwatchers guide "A Field Guide to Singing Sentinels: A Birdwatchers Companion" with illustrations from comic illustrator Paul Duffield. You can see an excerpt and purchase your copy of the limited edition book online here products.liamyoung.org/ "
liamyoung  geoffmanaugh  timmaly  paulduffield  fieldguides  birds  anthropocene  technology  biotechnology  genetics  pollution  environment  droneproject  bioengineering  singingsentinals  climatechange  nature  animals  silentspring 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Lebbeus Woods 1940—2012: Tributes to a fearless creator of worlds - Architecture - Domus
Neil M. Denari: "To know Lebbeus was to know a real human. A person who did nothing more than live, which most of us do not. Essentially he lived for others, even as he perpetuated the myth of the singular figure. He worked to communicate, not to satisfy. He loved the fight, not out of righteousness, but out of principal. He loved pleasure, not out of hedonism, but as a shared experience. In his form of living, the world was a massive, inexhaustible cybernetic organism, and he described it through his drawings, his ideas, his writing, and in his love for humanity. He lived his work and his work lived him. He made you live deeper. While Lebbeus was always obsessed with the metrics of things, the way systems and phenomena could be measured, the one thing that could never be quantified was his own life. Lebbeus Woods lives on."

Christoph A. Kumpusch: "In one of our last conversations, Lebbeus said, "Christoph, the biggest problem you can have in life is not having a problem." …"

Geoff Manaug: "Lebbeus Woods was utterly unique and entirely irreplaceable, a full-scale terrestrial force for rethinking architecture's relationship not only with the earth and with gravity, but also with all of grounded philosophy, with any belief in stability, in calm. Lebbeus dove headlong into war, seismicity, urban collapse and even deep space, where perspective and horizon mean nothing, not to celebrate groundlessness but to help us all think through and discover new ways to belong, to build, to find a plane of reference worth trusting (if there can be such a thing). That is architecture at its very best and most urgent — and the relentless Lebbeus will be dearly and heroically missed."

Thom Mayne: "Lebbeus. A man of huge integrity and an insatiable inquisitiveness to explore what he saw as the potentialities of an architecture — works of his mind untethered, unwilling to succumb to the contingent, the compromises inherent in our discipline. There was an equally powerful and balancing commitment to the political/cultural critique that was essential to his project as an architect, teacher and writer. He was, above all, interested in values: what is architecture for? His ethical understanding of our work gave him a moral authority which affected generations of architects. His search was for an authenticity of the present — to build the unbuildable, characterised by the ambiguities of time, the ephemerality of the durable, weight (gravity), physicality and an emotional content embracing a critical optimism with a sense of melancholy. …"

Eric Owen Moss: ""I will forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. And I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use: silence, exile and cunning." So said Joyce's Stephen Dedalus. I don't know that Joyce's goal is attainable. But it's the most moving advocacy I know for Dedalus's heroic aspiration. That aspiration also resonates in Lebbeus Woods's voice. That is the Woods archetype. Silence. Exile. Cunning."

Michael Sorkin: "Lebbeus Woods was an authentic genius. His intelligence was radical and his work at once intense and effortless, filled with revolutionary joy. Such is the ineffability of genius: it works in the absence of will. … "

Hans Ulrich Obrist: "…Over almost half a century, Woods offered us portals to other always unexpected dimensions. Woods, for whom architecture was an open gate to possibility, envisioned new and alternative forms of utopian thinking. Ernst Bloch defined utopia as "something that's missing". Similar to the late Édouard Glissant, Woods's utopia was quivering, trembling, because it transcended established systems of thought and subjected itself to the unknown. Glissant has inspired generations of architects with a deep philosophical commitment to architecture. Once he told me that it must be said from the start that trembling is not uncertainty, and it is not fear; that every utopia passes through this kind of thought. Utopia is a reality where one can meet with the other without losing oneself. In a text on utopia, Lebbeus asked, "Have we reached the end of utopia as well as the end of history? Let us listen to, and watch, the more ambitious and idealistic of the coming generation. Only they have the answer."

Anthony Vidler: "…someone… whose ethical compass and staunch resistance to the consumerist spectacle was a guidepost to us all."

Kenneth Frampton: "Lebbeus Woods was an enigma who lived his life in defiance of the society into which he had been thrown and by which he was besieged. It was not an easy passage for someone of his rough ethical sense. "What are poets for in a destitute time?" could have been applied more aptly to him than to many others. Hence the unremitting dystopia of his vision, compulsively laid onto paper in one distressed stroke of his talented mind's eye after another. With him it was Blade Runner all the way; the prophetic mise en scène of a world reduced to meaningless rubble, the crashed spaceships and tubular rail bridges of a doomed escape. Hephaestus mocked by the repelling hubris of his own poetic astral technology that even Lebbeus could be seduced by. Yet through all this he remained the passionate advocate of the creative spirit, and it is this that made him into an inspired teacher and a passionate and articulate nurturer of the tyro architect. He was an anarchic romantic to the core, which made him intolerant of unreconstructed erstwhile "New Deal" critics like myself. As he put to me during a review of student work at the Cooper Union, "You are preaching in the wrong church here." This was about it: a rebel without a cause versus a socialist without a country."
lebbeuswoods  neildenari  architecture  2012  2013  domus  toaspireto  thommayne  geoffmanaugh  christophkumpusch  ericowenmoss  jamesjoyce  stephendedalus  utopia  michaelsorkin  hansulrichobrist  anthonyvidler  values  purpose  life  living  morality  ethics  teaching  kennethframpton  canon 
february 2013 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Spacesuit: An Interview with Nicholas de Monchaux
"I was looking for a way to discuss the essential lessons of complexity and emergence—which, even in 2003, were pretty unfamiliar words in the context of design—and I hit upon this research on the spacesuit as the one thing I’d done that could encapsulate the potential lessons of those ideas, both for scientists and for designers. The book really was a melding of these two things."

"But then the actual spacesuit—this 21-layered messy assemblage made by a bra company, using hand-stitched couture techniques—is kind of an anti-hero. It’s much more embarrassing, of course—it’s made by people who make women’s underwear—but, then, it’s also much more urbane. It’s a complex, multilayered assemblage that actually recapitulates the messy logic of our own bodies, rather than present us with the singular ideal of a cyborg or the hard, one-piece, military-industrial suits against which the Playtex suit was always competing.

The spacesuit, in the end, is an object that crystallizes a lot of ideas about who we are and what the nature of the human body may be—but, then, crucially, it’s also an object in which many centuries of ideas about the relationship of our bodies to technology are reflected."

"The same individuals and organizations who were presuming to engineer the internal climate of the body and create the figure of the cyborg were the same institutions who, in the same context of the 1960s, were proposing major efforts in climate-modification.

Embedded in both of those ideas is the notion that we can reduce a complex, emergent system—whether it’s the body or the planet or something closer to the scale of the city—to a series of cybernetically inflected inputs, outputs, and controls. As Edward Teller remarked in the context of his own climate-engineering proposals, “to give the earth a thermostat.”"

"most attempts to cybernetically optimize urban systems were spectacular failures, from which very few lessons seem to have been learned"

"architecture can be informed by technology and, at the same time, avoid what I view as the dead-end of an algorithmically inflected formalism from which many of the, to my mind, less convincing examples of contemporary practice have emerged"

"connections…between the early writing of Jane Jacobs…and the early research done in the 1950s and 60s on complexity and emergence under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation"

"Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt—who have gone a long way in showing that, not only should cities be viewed through the analogical lens of complex natural systems, but, in fact, some of the mathematics—in particular, to do with scaling laws, the consumption of resources, and the production of innovation by cities—proves itself far more susceptible to analyses that have come out of biology than, say, conventional economics."
militaryindustrialcomplex  tools  cad  gis  luisbettencourt  janejacobs  meatropolis  manhattan  meat  property  fakestates  alancolquhoun  lizdiller  cyberneticurbanism  glenswanson  parametricarchitecture  parametricurbanism  interstitialspaces  urbanism  urban  bernardshriever  simonramo  neilsheehan  jayforrester  housing  hud  huberthumphrey  vitruvius  naca  smartcities  nyc  joeflood  husseinchalayan  cushicle  michaelwebb  spacerace  buildings  scuba  diving  1960s  fantasticvoyage  adromedastrain  quarantine  systemsthinking  matta-clark  edwardteller  climatecontrol  earth  exploration  spacetravel  terraforming  humanbody  bodies  cyborgs  travel  mongolfier  wileypost  management  planning  robertmoses  cybernetics  materials  fabric  2003  stewartbrand  jamescrick  apollo  complexitytheory  complexity  studioone  geoffreywest  cities  research  clothing  glvo  wearables  christiandior  playtex  interviews  technology  history  design  science  fashion  nasa  books  spacesuits  architecture  space  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  2012  nicholasdemonchaux  wearable  elizabethdiller  interstitial  bod  from delicious
november 2012 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
BLDGBLOG: Lebbeus Woods, 1940-2012
"the genuine & endless difficulty of pursuing our own ideas and commitments, absurd goals no one else might share or even be interested in."

"Lebbeus Woods is the West…should be on the same sorts of lists as James Joyce or John Cage, a person as culturally relevant as he was scientifically suggestive, seething with ideas applicable to nearly every discipline."

"Lebbeus's work was constantly erasing the very surfaces we stood on…"

"Architecture, if you will, is a Wile E. Coyote moment where you look down and realize the universe is missing—that you are standing on empty air—so you construct for yourself a structure or space in which you might somehow attempt survival. Architecture is more than buildings. It is a spacesuit. It is a counter-planet—or maybe it is the only planet, always and ever a terraforming of this alien location we call the Earth."

"…architecture is poetry is literature is myth…is equal to them and it is one of them…"

"Architecture is about the void…"
audrelord  giordanobruno  williamblake  williamsburroughs  alberteinstein  jamesjoyce  johncage  thevoid  void  poetry  philosophy  nyc  lebbeuswoods  architecture  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  2012  canon  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Publishing to the power of two - Architecture - Domus
"The digital revolution has spawned a new generation of small, agile and hyperactive publishers who, over the last decade, have profoundly transformed how architecture and design are broadcast, both in print and online."
print  blogging  blogs  online  2012  myrdlecourtpress  notagateway  deepanaik  trentonoldfield  rubypress  juliendesmedt  beatrizcolomina  runpinderbhogal  marcusfair  eliasredstone  julianschubert  elenaschütz  leonardstreich  davidbasulto  archdaily  césarreyesnájera  dpr-barcelona  alexandertrevi  futureplural  massimomini  birgitlohmann  publishing  design  architecture  designboom  ediblegeography  nicolatwilly  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  dezeen  ethelbaraona  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
Death of the niche blog, rise of the lens blog
Anyway, someone more influential than me has probably already coined a better name for this phenomenon, but here’s what I mean by a lens blog: we all know what a niche blog is. It’s one that is about a single subject. But consider BLDGBLOG. You might say it’s an architecture niche blog, but is it really? There are practically no limits on what kinds of subjects might appear on the blog. Everything is open to Geoff Manaugh’s investigation. What binds it all together is this: every subject is analyzed through the lens of architecture. Likewise, its sister site, Edible Geography, examines everything through the lens of food. For Strange Maps, the lens is cartography.
But where these reductive books fail I think the lens blog, as exemplified by BLDGBLOG and Edible Geography, succeeds; because — I feel — these blogs don’t insist on reducing anything to anything else, they are simply showing us one perspective on things. These perspectives are often really interesting. They might even be what “interdisciplinary” research ought to look like.
internet  writing  blogging  blogs  2010  lensblogs  generalists  perspective  cv  blgblog  ediblegeography  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  strangemaps  interdisciplinary  widenet  interdisciplinarity  theviewfromhere  howwesee  howwewrite  howwenotice  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Venue
"Venue — a portable media rig, interview studio, multi-format event platform, and forward-operating landscape research base — will pop up at sites across North America from June 2012 through fall 2013.

Under the direction of Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG and Nicola Twilley of Edible Geography, Venue officially launches Friday, June 8, with a public event from 6-8pm at the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno, Nevada.

In collaboration with the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art and with Columbia University’s Studio-X Global Network Initiative, Venue will traverse North America in a series of routes, visiting such sites as New Mexico’s Very Large Array, Arches National Park, the world’s largest living organism in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, and the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival.

At these and many other locations, Venue will serve as a backdrop — or venue — for original interviews with people from an extraordinary range of disciplines, even as it records and surveys…"
2013  mediarig  gregorynanney  brendancallahan  thomjones  jon-kylemohr  folkertgorter  nomadic  2012  outpost  keithscharwath  architecture  design  atleykasky  joealterio  jeffreyinaba  centerforlanduseinterpretation  ediblegeography  futureplural  recording  thevenuebox  mattrichardson  descriptivecamera  surveying  tripods  us  westaf  nea  landscape  interviews  pop-upstudios  pop-ups  chriswoebken  venue  verylargearray  nevadamuseumofart  gloablnetworkinitiative  studio-xny  studio-x  nicolatwilly  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Object Cancers
"In any case, what seems more provocative here, on the level of design, would be to appropriate this protective stance and reuse it in the design of future objects, but emphasizing the other end: to allow for the scanning of any object designed or manufactured, but to to insert, in the form of watermarks, small glitches that would only become visible upon reprinting.

We might call these object cancers: bulbous, oddly textured, and other dramatically misshapen errors that only appear in 3D-reprinted objects. Chairs with tumors, mutant silverware, misbegotten watches—as if the offspring of industrial reproducibility is a molten world of Dalí-like surrealism.

Put another way, the inadvertent side-effect of the attempted corporate control over objects would be an artistic potlatch of object errors: object cancers deliberately reprinted, shared, and collected for their monstrous and unexpected originality."
2012  errors  mutations  brucesterling  objectcancers  3dprinting  objects  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
AA SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE - Lectures Online: Thrilling Wonder Stories 3 (3 of 3)
"We have always regaled ourselves with speculative stories of a day yet to come. In these polemic visions we furnish the fictional spaces of tomorrow with objects and ideas that at the same time chronicle the contradictions, inconsistencies, flaws and frailties of the everyday. Slipping suggestively between the real and the imagined these narratives offer a distanced view from which to survey the consequences of various social, environmental and technological scenarios.

Thrilling Wonder Stories chronicles such tales in a sci fi storytelling jam with musical interludes, live demonstrations and illustrious speakers from the fields of science, art and technology presenting their visions of the near future. Join our ensemble of mad scientists, literary astronauts, design mystics, graphic cowboys, mavericks, visionaries and luminaries for an evening of wondrous possibilities and dark cautionary tales."
mattjones  vincenzonatali  liamyoung  brucesterling  andylockley  philipbeesley  christianlorenzscheurer  charlietuesdaygates  roderichfross  naturalroboticslab  gavinrothery  gustavhoegen  radioscienceorchestra  spov  zeligsound  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  harikunzru  chriswoebken  davegracer  simoneferracina  jaceclayton  lindsaycuff  nettle  andrewblum  jamesfleming  davidbenjamin  thrillingwonderstories  scifi  sciencefiction  art  technology  julianbleecker  storytelling  designfiction  2011  kevinslavin  towatch  debchachra  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
05_Future | Abitare En [Read all five parts, links at the beginning of this one.]
"The future of architecture and design blogging should: 1) make pop culture more interesting by introducing fringe ideas to wider audiences, acting as a bridge between the periphery and the center; 2) synthesize ideas from apparently unrelated fields; and thus 3) unite writers, designers, architects, clients, the reading public, and other practitioners across geographic and professional backgrounds around shared themes of inquiry and concern. In the process, blogging’s future should pursue a larger political goal of changing what conversations take place in the context of architecture and design, who is able to participate in those discussions, and, finally, how widely – and in what form – the results of these exchanges can be disseminated. These are ambitious, even utopian, goals, but they are also part of what it will take to ensure that blogging will, indeed, have a future."

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/12215358947 ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  2011  blogging  writing  architecture  design  diversity  interdisciplinary  sciencefiction  geography  synthesis  periphery  ideas  inquiry  thinking  writingasthinking  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Quarterly Co.™
"…new way to connect w/ the people you follow & find interesting. We spend so much of our lives connecting w/ people online that we forget the value of tangible interactions that happen in the real world. Quarterly wants to bridge that gap by allowing anyone to subscribe to influential contributors and get physical items in the mail from them. It is like a magazine, but instead of receiving words on a page, our subscribers receive actual items that tell a compelling story crafted and narrated by the contributor.

What kind of stuff will I get? A blend of original, exclusive, & consumer items that are timeless, practical, exciting, & fly under the radar. We don’t want to fill up your house w/ clutter, & we’re mindful of the waste that each of us generate every day. But we also recognize that consumption isn’t inherently bad, it’s just a matter of making smarter choices about the things we surround ourselves with.

Each product should reflect on the person who selected it…"
design  quarterly  retail  subscriptions  geoffmanaugh  mariapopova  tinarotheisenberg  swissmiss  alexismadrigal  lizdanzico  shopping  gifts  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
A Brief History of Architecture Fiction: Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places: Places: Design Observer
"First, we identify a suitable building: Something that appears neglected, and seems to have no immediate prospects for a future use. In short, we choose an unpopular place. Next we devise a hypothetical future for that structure. Specifically, we strive to make this future blatantly implausible: maybe provocative, maybe funny; above all engaging. Then an artist creates a rendering based on the imaginary concept. This is printed onto a 3' x 5' sign, modeled on those used by real developers. That sign, finally, goes onto the building."

"Our neighborhood is the sort that people describe as "transitional," and some of the property…is vacant. On one nearby commercial structure…I noticed a sign…You've seen similar signs…It was a rendering of a development, a future, involving a small, empty building. It suddenly struck me that, given how long this sign has been here, what it depicted was, at best, a hypothetical future — and arguably a fictitious one."
design  architecture  writing  fiction  designfiction  robwalker  classideas  architecturefiction  archigram  creativity  jgballard  brucesterling  hypotheticdevelopmentorganization  writingprompts  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  carlzimmerman  brettsnyder  phantomcity  nyc  nola  neworleans  losangeles  cities  urban  urbapotential  foundfutures  honolulu  stuartcandy  packardjennings  stevelambert  genre  storytelling  benkatchor  detroit  dreams  seeing  noticing  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Unsolving the City: An Interview with China Miéville
"Over the course of the following long interview, China Miéville discusses the conceptual origins of the divided city featured in his recent, award-winning novel The City and The City; he points out the interpretive limitations of allegory, in a craft better served by metaphor; we take a look at the "squid cults" of Kraken (which arrives in paperback later this month) and maritime science fiction, more broadly; the seductive yet politically misleading appeal of psychogeography; J.G. Ballard and the clichés of suburban perversity; the invigorating necessities of urban travel; and much more."
chinamieville  thecityandthecity  design  art  architecture  books  cities  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  literature  fiction  jgballard  scifi  sciencefiction  borders  toread  jmwturner  gulliver'stravels  thomaspynchon  gravitysrainbow  tvtropes  via:preoccupations  seeing  unseeing  attention  2011  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Open Source Design 02: WikiLeaks Guide/Critical Infrastructure - Architecture - Domus
"Mapping the discontinuous spatiality of the contemporary nation-state through the publication of the secret government memo listing 259 facilities around the world considered crucial to everyday life in the US"
losangeles  geoffmanaugh  2011  wikileaks  us  sovereignty  government  policy  politics  geopolitics  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Urban Speculation in Los Angeles and Beyond
"In many ways, then, the book is astonishingly extroverted. It's a book by an architecture office about the city it works in, not a book documenting that firm's work; and, as such, it serves as an impressive attempt to understand and analyze the city through themed conversations with other people, in a continuous stream of partially overlapping dialogues, instead of through ex tempore essayistic reflections by the architects or dry academic essays."

Comment from Robert Farrell: "Perhaps the answer to the traditional architectural monograph lies in the above discussed book. How boring it is to see glossy image after glossy image of an architects portfolio put on bookshelf. It seems at a time when most architects are not building much, that investigation should take the lead."
losangeles  bldgblog  michaelmaltzan  architecture  urban  urbanism  cities  books  2011  monographs  portfolios  identity  infrastructure  landscape  resources  experience  density  polity  economics  community  institutions  nomoreplay  photography  meaning  hatjecantz  place  olebouman  iwanbaan  context  charlesjencks  qingyunma  edwardsoja  charleswaldheim  jamesflanigan  sarahwhiting  mirkozardini  catherineopie  geoffmanaugh  jessicavarner  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: No More Play: Conversations on Open Space and Urban Speculation in Los Angeles and Beyond (9783775728461): Michael Maltzan, Jessica Varner: Books
"In No More Play: Conversations on Urban Speculation in Los Angeles and Beyond, American architect Michael Maltzan traces the transformations that have taken place in the city of Los Angeles since the early 1990s. Through a series of conversations with the city's leading artists and intellectuals, Maltzan explores such issues as real-estate speculation and future urban development, infrastructure, resources, site density, urban experience, political structure, commerce and community, attempting to transform our understanding of how each affects present-day Los Angeles. Intended to facilitate further dialogue on how to define the "City of Angels" at a moment when its identity is in significant flux, No More Play includes contributions by Iwan Baan, Catherine Opie, Sarah Whiting, Charles Waldheim, Matthew Coolidge, Geoff Manaugh, Mirko Zardini, Edward Soja, James Flanigan, Charles Jencks and Qingyun Ma."
nomoreplay  geoffmanaugh  edwardsoja  charlesjencks  qingyunma  iwanbaan  catherineopie  sarahwhiting  charleswaldheim  matthewcoolidge  mirkozardini  losangeles  cities  urban  urbanism  2011  books  toread  jamesflanigan  art  design  architecture  identity  flux  change  adaptability  jessicavarner  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
DESIGNING GEOPOLITICS · Jun 2+3 2011 · La Jolla, CA > D:GP The Center for Design and Geopolitics
"How does a digital Earth govern itself? Through what jurisdictions, what rights of the citizen-user, what capacities of enforcement, and in the name of what sovereign geographies? In fact we simply do not know. But in the face of fast-evolving cyberinfrastructures that outpace our inherited legal forms on the one hand, and a multigenerational arc of ecological chaos on the other, we need to find out quickly: we need to design that geopolitics."
via:robinsloan  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  vernorvinge  caseyreas  levmanovich  mollywrightsteenson  teddycruz  ucsd  events  2011  togo  benjaminbratton  ricardodominguez  jamesfowler  hernándíaz-alonso  triciawang  peterkrapp  normanklein  sheldonbrown  joshuakauffman  metahaven  edkeller  elizabethlosh  kellygates  manueldelanda  renedaalder  jordancrandall  adambly  charliekennel  naomioreskes  larrysmarr  mckenziewark  joshuataron  danielrehn  tarazepel  calit2  geopolitics  design  architecture  computing  cyberinfrastructures  geography  emergentgovernance  governance  interdisciplinary  computationaljurisdictions  publicecologies  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Eight Successful People Doing Exactly What They Want - Business - GOOD
"“Someone once accused us of doing nothing but following our whims to their every logical & illogical conclusion,” Jim Coudal says. That is, more or less, exactly right…

Coudal makes physical products, internet tools, & other oddities, any number of which will suck up an entire afternoon if you stumble upon coudal.com. That is perhaps the best way to describe the 50-year-old: He’s a master of the type of ephemera you would probably be playing with if you didn’t have to do your own job…When Coudal Partners started to execute its own ideas, the firm became its own favorite client. “The way we describe what we are now is we are a creative-design and advertising firm with no clients.

“We’re of the school that if you have an idea that you think might work, the answer is not to talk about it for four weeks. The answer is to try it & see what happens,” he says. “If it goes down in flames, that’s fun too.” "

[Also profiles of Alexis Madrigal, Emily Pilloton, Geoff Manaugh, among others.]
jimcoudal  alexismadrigal  emilypilloton  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  projecth  projecthdesign  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Omnivoracious: Building The BLDGBLOG Book: Questions for Geoff Manaugh
"Manaugh: One way to look at this touches on why I like Los Angeles so much: the thing with L.A. is that almost literally no one thinks it actually works. Almost no one will tell you that L.A. is a well-designed city or that it can’t possibly be improved upon because it’s already so perfect.

But that’s why I love living there: every time someone with no connection at all to architecture gets stuck in a traffic jam, they’ll start thinking about alternatives: you know, “if there was a highway here, all of us wouldn’t be stuck at this intersection,” or “if these buildings could be moved over there then we could all just drive straight through and there’d be no more traffic”--and so on...everyday people tend to be almost constantly imagining alternatives: alternative ways of building the city, alternative ways of getting to work, alternative ways of designing houses, etc. L.A. all but requires you to imagine alternatives--and so everybody in L.A. is a kind of proto-urban designer."
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  interviews  losangeles  design  urban  urbanism  planning  scifi  architecture  sciencefiction  cities  books  buildings  fantasy  ideas 
august 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: On Publishing Student Work
"It is sadly the case that year-end school catalogs like these are the only times that many of these students' work will ever be published, and so it would be nice – if not emotionally important – even to see short, 50-word descriptions of each project.
architecture  education  publishing  narrative  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  tcsnmy 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Obama as an Experiment in Urban Form - Dwell Blog - dwell.com
"How ironic would it be, however, to find that, for all of our calls to pedestrianize parts of the city, it takes the security of a president to make such urban interventions finally happen? In other words, what if Obama's most immediate impact on urban policy in the United States is simply to make people realize that pedestrianization isn't such a bad idea, after all?"
geoffmanaugh  politics  barackobama  landscape  chicago  security  urbanism  urban  cities  change  pedestrians  streets  cars  parking  bldgblog 
january 2009 by robertogreco
geeKyoto » We were talking about tectonic warefare
"How started: Living in Philiy, taking free morning course on Archigram, reading lots of Ballard. Depressed & Claustrophobic. Started to write about interests/desires...Changed his life...blogger=free, like sunlight...no responsibility to write there, wri
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  future  sustainability  earth  terraforming  mars  climate  solastalgia  change  human  evolution  time  jgballard  landscape  architecture  presentations  climatechange  culture  forecasting  blogging  blogs 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Blackbeltjones/Work: » “The Earth is becoming unearthly” - Geoff Manaugh/BLDGBLOG at The Bartlett
"Archigram x Ballard x Philadelphia x depression x claustrophobia = start of bldgblog" "The interaction between architecture, weight and the earth’s surface could be further explored" "The new landscapes of the sublime are off-world"

[Now at: http://magicalnihilism.com/2008/01/23/geoff-manaughbldgblog-at-the-bartlett/ ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  future  sustainability  earth  terraforming  mars  climate  solastalgia  change  human  evolution  time  jgballard  landscape  architecture  presentations  climatechange  culture  forecasting  mattjones 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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