Mark Dion: The Science of Art | by Jillian Steinhauer | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
Dion is a dedicated artist and environmentalist who repurposes older methods of museological and scientific inquiry, which are mired in colonialism and anthropocentric belief systems, in an effort to expose them....

He had no formal training in such scientific processes, “eschewing the mantle of the expert” for “the openness and curiosity of the amateur,” writes Ruth Erickson, the lead curator of the ICA Boston show, in its catalogue. Both artworks, then, remind viewers that the methods of science—and the arts, for that matter—aren’t natural; they have always been shaped by the choices of humans.

This is the message that sounds the loudest throughout the exhibition, and it is stated explicitly in Dion’s insightful “Some Notes Toward a Manifesto for Artists Working With or About the Living World,” reproduced in the catalogue:

Just as humanity cannot be separated from nature, so our conception of nature cannot be said to stand outside of culture and society. We construct and are constructed by nature.
epistemology  methodology  mark_dion  archive_art 
11 hours ago
Audubon's 'Birds of America': The Book So Big It Needed Its Own Furniture | Mental Floss
It might look like a typical Victorian-era ottoman, but the brocaded piece that sits in a glass case in the Mary W. Runnells Rare Book Room at the Field Museum is not the kind of furniture you’d want to prop your feet on.

Measuring nearly 2 feet high, 2.5 feet wide, and 4 feet long, the ottoman houses a copy of the Birds of America once owned by British zoologist and physician Benjamin Phillips. The piece has four drawers, each of which slides out and opens into a table supported by four legs to better view the volume within....

When the four drawers open and convert into tables, with one table open on each side, the furniture resembles a bird with its wings extended. “It’s beautiful, and I think it captures the ceremony [of showing Birds of America],” Olsen says.
book_history  intellectual_furnishings  furniture 
Emotions go to Work
An installation that investigates how technology is used to turn our feelings into valuable assets. One might call it the transformation of emotion into capital. It is an exploration of the ‘dream life of technology’ our imaginative relationship with machines - how we create them in our image, shape them to serve our desires and how they in turn reshape us.
media_archaeology  beloff  imagination 
3 days ago
Mapping the Many Languages of Beirut - CityLab
Beirut, Lebanon’s cosmopolitan capital, is famous for the chaotic jumble of languages it contains. Arabic, French, and English mix and mingle in writing and in conversation. For visitors and locals alike, it can be hard to pin down just how they interact, and the unwritten rules for how they’re used.

To try and sort out Beirut’s complex linguistic landscape, a team of more than 40 undergraduates from the American University of Beirut wandered through the city with their smartphone cameras trained on writing in public spaces. Over the course of two years, they snapped photos of everything from street signs and shop awnings to billboards and graffiti. Their photos were tagged with various characteristics: their location, the languages and scripts used, the meaning of the words, whether anything was misspelled. For Mario Hawat, one of the researchers, the exercise changed the way he looked at the city. “It ruined walking in the street for me,” said Hawat. “It used to be such a peaceful exercise.”

The result is a collection of maps that reveals the contours of the polyglot city’s famed linguistic diversity. In most cities, one or two languages dominate the landscape, except for in small patches, like immigrant neighborhoods. But in Beirut,...

Code-switching is built into spoken Lebanese Arabic, which is studded with French and English—a product of the country’s colonial history and its close ties with the West. It's more than just the occasional word, thrown in the way an American English speaker might unthinkingly toss off a Spanish word here and there. Instead, whole phrases and sentences in English or French crop up in the middle of Arabic conversations.
mapping  language  signs 
4 days ago
Microscopic Colonialism - e-flux Architecture - e-flux
In the 1920s, sanitary discourses entered urban planning in a more radical form, as the principle of spatial segregation took hold. In European cities this was manifested in the zoning legislations that sought to keep apart the different urban functions (housing, industry, leisure) on sanitary grounds. At the same time, in the colonies, the separation of Europeans and non-Europeans was justified with the need to shield the former from diseases (such as malaria) supposedly harbored by the latter.27 Using medical knowledge to grant racial theories a new level of pseudoscientific legitimacy, colonial administrators formalized and enforced residential segregation. In Douala, the larger city of the German Kamerun, the chief physician went even further, arguing that the African part of the city had to be separated from the European one by a “neutral zone”—a strip of vacant land one kilometer wide that would minimize the possibilities of contagion. The concept of the neutral zone was subsequently taken up by colonial planners all around Africa, and by architects too.28
In October 1928 Auguste Tilkens, governor general of the Belgian Congo, wrote to the Ministre des colonies in Brussels, relating his visit to Léopoldville which he had undertaken to study the implementation of a zone neutre. In the lette
urban_planning  public_health 
4 days ago
“Cut/Copy/Paste” on Manifold
Cut/Copy/Paste explores the relations between fragments, history, books, and media. It does so by scouting out fringe maker cultures of the seventeenth century, where archives were cut up, “hacked,” and reassembled into new media machines: the Concordance Room at Little Gidding in the 1630s and 1640s, where Mary Collett Ferrar and her family sliced apart printed Bibles and pasted the pieces back together into elaborate collages known as “Harmonies”; the domestic printing atelier of Edward Benlowes, a gentleman poet and Royalist who rode out the Civil Wars by assembling boutique books of poetry; and the nomadic collections of John Bagford, a shoemaker-turned-bookseller who foraged fragments of old manuscripts and title pages from used bookshops to assemble a material history of the book. Working across a century of upheaval, when England was reconsidering its religion and governance, each of these individuals saved the frail, fragile, frangible bits of the past and made from them new constellations of meaning. These fragmented assemblages resist familiar bibliographic and literary categories, slipping between the cracks of disciplines; later institutions like the British Library did not know how to collate or catalogue them, shuffling them between departments of print and manuscript. Yet, brought back together in this hybrid histor
book_history  material_texts  textual_form 
5 days ago
Inside Herman Miller's Vast Archives | Architectural Digest
“I know of no other furniture company that has a collection like this, that is a great storytelling tool but then also it works for the company still,” Auscherman says...

Auscherman, who arrived at Herman Miller’s Zeeland, Michigan, headquarters in 2014 after working in the archives of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, speaks of the company’s history as if she’s been studying it for far longer than three years. She explains that she’s a "straight-up knowledge worker," doing a lot of research for other people in the company. ("I’d say to people that I’m the de facto corporate historian, as well,” she explains.) She also defies the traditional notion of what an archivist might embody—for one, she does a little bit of everything around the company....

Herman Miller’s archive is interestingly situated at the intersection of business, art and design, and history. "The collection is so unique for a corporate archive from an art history/design history perspective, but then it also does have those elements of business history," Auscherman explains. For this reason, it’s an active archive that can be used beyond scholarly work to, say, inform reissuing a piece of furniture, illuminate a particular past business decision in regard to the company’s unique view of workers, or educate designers working with the company on a new product....

create awareness around the need for archiving across teams. “So much of what is generated now is digital,” Auscherman says, when in the past there were paper records of correspondence, design specs, and advertising, and physical photographs or drawings. She encourages designers and project managers across Herman Miller to save things they think are important, or that produce "aha" moments, because while it might not seem important to save now, it will be several years down the road.
archives  furniture 
6 days ago
Why does Alphabet want to build a city? To get more data, of course | WIRED UK
But let's not write this off as another example of Silicon Valley hype. After all, these companies aren't coming to this cold. Most of them now have vast property portfolios, which they are managing with their own software systems. Now they are taking the next steps. In July 2017, Facebook announced plans for a 1,500-unit social housing scheme at Menlo Park in Silicon Valley. Billionaire Xavier Niel's Paris startup hub Station F is set to launch a 100-apartment co-living space in 2018 to house 600 entrepreneurs.

On the office side, WeWork announced it had raised $760 million (£562m) to focus on designing and developing its own buildings. And with Norman Foster, the architect behind Apple's new $5 billion California HQ, saying he would prefer to work with entrepreneurs rather than developers – "as a rule developers just follow the market while entrepreneurs and enlightened individuals lead it" – it is clear we could be looking at a restructuring of the property industry value chain....

Brandon Weber, chief product officer of software-based leasing platform VTS, believes this could be just the start. "It is not far-fetched to imagine a Google or Facebook saying, 'The real-estate sector is a massive aggregation of data, let's commercialise it. Let's go and build ten million square feet of property and see what happens,'" he says.

"From there, they could easily become slick, efficient developers in their own right and they could dominate the market the way Apple did with cell phones. We could be looking back on where we are today saying, 'Remember when there were all these old-school companies developing buildings? How weird was that?'"

It is now up to the bricks-and-mortar developers to step up to the plate and reclaim their role by accepting technological advances and embracing change.
smart_cities  real_estate 
6 days ago
Ianis Lallemand
A tactile atlas of cloud computing's physical infrastructures. About 3000 data center GPS coordinates have been collected online and merged into a continuous surface. This new relief allows identifying most of the main geopolitical actors—at the exception of Russia. The project thus provides a physical index of both network infrastructure and geopolitical tensions.
cartography  mapping  data_centers  infrastructure  tactility 
7 days ago
Kon Wajiro’s Archaeology of Present Times – SOCKS
Japanese architect, sociologist, and educator Kon Wajiro was living in Tokyo when the violent 1923 earthquake occurred. With his students, he visited the areas where people gathered after the natural disaster. Through simple yet refined drawings he began to register the temporary shelters and the sparse belongings of the refugees in order to testify their state of living, a condition reduced to the bare minimum.

During his life, Kon Wajiro kept on documenting the memories of Japanese civilization in an attempt to keep their testimony in the event of their sudden disappearance or of their possible fading due to modernization. He meticulously traced houses and tyopes of furniture, ways of dressing and commodities, ordinary objects and people’s habit, generating a complex visual taxonomy of the transition of a culture toward modernity.

His studies gave birth to a branch of sociology, called “modernology” which aimed at documenting the evolution of places and cultures as a consequence of modernization.
archaeology  drawing  things  diagrams 
7 days ago
Privatized immigrant detention threatens rights on the U.S.-Mexico border -
It is highly likely that the new federal detention capacity will be met in partnership with private prison companies. Currently, 65 percent of detainees in the U.S. migrant detention system stay in private facilities run by companies (commonly for-profit) that contract with the federal government. Both commercial contractors and government vendors contributed to the search for detention spaces outlined in the April memo.

The same criticisms that apply to the private prison industry, and which led the Department of Justice (DOJ) to mandate an end to its use in August of 2016, apply to the burgeoning private detention industry. A 2009 report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) noted that a majority of migrant detention facilities were initially built for use as prisons, and that these structures impose more restrictions than necessary for the detainees. The shared typological features between prisons and detention centers flatten the important differences between criminal sentencing and migrant detention. Where the two intermingle, the distinction between legal and extralegal, private and federal, detention and incarceration is dangerously elusive....

The architecture of the OCPC clouds important distinctions between immigrant detainee and convicted prisoner to preemptively deny justice and erode the humanity of migrants.

When we visited the OCPC in June 2016, MTC employees emphasized that the center’s architecture is designed to maximize processing efficiency and prevent escape, not unlike a prison. In their language, spaces of intake manage “bodies”—not people. Walls that once ended in drop ceilings have been extended to seal completely to the roof, after speculation that a detainee could access the ceiling cavity....

The boundary between incarceration and detention on-site is fluid. The prison next door is used as a failsafe overflow center during overcrowding and operational malfunctions. When beds fill at OCPC, or the kitchen power fails, detainees are sent for up to 72 hours to the federal prison....

Other flattening abstractions permeate the space. Detainees wear color-coded uniforms, which provide a glimpse into their histories with the detention complex. Blue suits are for first-time non-violent immigration law offenders, mostly those picked up after walking across the U.S.-Mexico land border. Repeat offenders wear orange; those with violent or extensive criminal histories wear red. ...

Sites like Otero continue to contort themselves under changing directives, becoming autonomous islands, one-stop-shops for migrant processing and deportation. A DOJ directive began temporarily relocating federal judges to borderland detention facilities in March in an effort to speed deportation, further exacerbating questions of whether due process is respected in such off-grid locales with limited oversight. ... The wholesale restructuring of the space of migrant justice is just beginning. The construction of pop-up “port courts” is now proposed at ports of entry.
migration  code_space  surveillance  data_space  detention  incarceration  logistics 
8 days ago
The Impossible Bloomberg Makeover | UX Magazine
As a matter of pride, some users prefer a UI to be obtuse an ugly.

Redesigning the Bloomberg Terminal would be any interface designer's dream. There's obviously much room for improvement since the interface hasn't changed for a long time, and the personas using it are quite easy to define.

But the complexity and richness of the displayed data, the necessity to fully understand how traders use the tool, and the immediate impact on the work efficiency of more than 156,000 users around the world make it tremendously challenging to make any changes...

IDEO has submitted a redesign proposal back in 2007 after a 3-week study. Here's how it looks:...

A widget allows you to zoom in on some detailed part of IDEO's design and have some explanation on the choices they've made. You can also read a short description of the project on their website.

But as a article clearly puts it: "Bloomberg isn't looking to do a major overhaul of its terminals' graphic design anytime soon. In fact, company executives see the Bloomberg terminal's unique presentation as a status symbol and a selling point. 'We have to be religiously consistent' to satisfy users who become attached to terminal's look and feel, says Bloomberg chief executive Lex Fenwick. 'You can see a Bloomberg from a mile away.'"

The Bloomberg terminal is the perfect example of a lock-in effect reinforced by the powerful conservative tendencies of the financial ecosystem and its permanent need to fake complexity.

Simplifying the interface of the terminal would not be accepted by most users because, as ethnographic studies show, they take pride on manipulating Bloomberg's current "complex" interface. The pain inflicted by blatant UI flaws such as black background color and yellow and orange text is strangely transformed into the rewarding experience of feeling and looking like a hard-core professional.

The more painful the UI is, the more satisfied these users are.
path_dependence  interfaces  interface_aesthetics  bloomberg  finance 
8 days ago
Support the Stories / An Archival Calling | The Kitchen Sisters
In 2018, we will be spending many hours with people like Brenda, as we embark on a new series for NPR called The Keepers — stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, collectors, curators and historians — keepers of the culture and the culture and collections they keep.
archives  oral_history  libraries 
9 days ago
Artist in the Archive
In this episode, Jer speaks with Kate Zwaard, Chief of National Digital Initiatives, to find out more about the history of the Library’s digital records and the future of the institution as a cultural hub and digital steward. We also find out about Rhoda Metreax’s 1957 work to understand the public reaction to the Sputnik launch, and we dig deep into a strange sheep-related census document from 1787. 
libraries  library_art  podcasts 
10 days ago
Future Historians Probably Won't Understand Our Internet - The Atlantic
Across the board, the reality began to sink in that these proprietary services hold volumes of data that no public institution can process. And that’s just the data itself....

In a new paper, “Stewardship in the ‘Age of Algorithms,’” Clifford Lynch, the director of the Coalition for Networked Information, argues that the paradigm for preserving digital artifacts is not up to the challenge of preserving what happens on social networks.

Over the last 40 years, archivists have begun to gather more digital objects—web pages, PDFs, databases, kinds of software. There is more data about more people than ever before, however, the cultural institutions dedicated to preserving the memory of what it was to be alive in our time, including our hours on the internet, may actually be capturing less usable information than in previous eras....

“We always used to think for historians working 100 years from now: We need to preserve the bits (the files) and emulate the computing environment to show what people saw a hundred years ago,” said Dan Cohen, a professor at Northeastern University and the former head of the Digital Public Library of America. “Save the HTML and save what a browser was and what Windows 98 was and what an Intel chip was. That was the model for preservation for a decade or more.”...

If we do want our era to be legible to future generations, our “memory organizations” as Lynch calls them, must take radical steps to probe and document social networks like Facebook. Lynch suggests creating persistent, socially embedded bots that exist to capture a realistic and demographically broad set of experiences on these platforms. Or, alternatively, archivists could go out and recruit actual humans to opt in to having their experiences recorded, as ProPublica has done with political advertising on Facebook.

Lynch’s suggestion is radical for the archival community. Archivists generally allow other people to document the world, and then they preserve, index, and make these records available. Lynch contends that when it comes to the current social media, that just doesn’t work. If they want to accurately capture what it was like to live online today, archivists, and other memory organizations, will have to actively build technical tools and cultural infrastructure to understand the “performances” of these algorithmic systems. But, at least right now, this is not going to happen....

maybe our times are not so different from previous eras. Lynch himself points out that “the rise of the telephone meant that there were a vast number of person-to-person calls that were never part of the record and that nobody expected to be.” Perhaps Facebook communications should fall into a similar bucket. For a while it seemed exciting and smart to archive everything that happened online because it seemed possible. But now that it might not actually be possible, maybe that’s okay.

“Is it terrible that not everything that happens right now will be remembered forever?” Seaver said. “Yeah, that’s crappy, but it’s historically quite the norm.”
preservation  digital_archives  web_archives  archives 
11 days ago
An inquiry on how, why, and where our energy is made and how it is conveyed. How do understand better, this ubiquitous life giving system which is so prevalent in our public realm? Can we build appreciation for these systems which sustain us?  Is there a way designers can be advocates for policies around energy?  

Join me in my graduate thesis project which takes us through electric origins, the New England power system, New York State independent system and it's ties to New York City where we encounter an old system which boggles and awes: The New York Steam System.  At the end of an energetic journey we land on a simple intervention which sheds light on an underground powerhouse and it's need to be heard.  
energy  logistics  networks  infrastructure 
11 days ago
Academic Conference Panels Are Boring - The Chronicle of Higher Education
we have the tools at our disposal to transform the panel from a dreary snooze-fest into an energizing encounter — if only we would use them. Here, then, are seven ideas to get the ball rolling.

Ban presenters from reading papers aloud. ...

Flip the presentation. A panel might still be organized around 10-to-12-page written essays, but they could be made available in advance. The important innovation — the flip — is to replace the typical read-through with a discussion of the presenters’ arguments....

Distribute handouts. Whether or not the full text of a panel paper is available in a "flipped" format, presenters should prepare and distribute a written document that summarizes or outlines the argument of the presentation. Having something in writing makes it easier for people to follow the complexities of a presenter’s line of reasoning....

Rethink the moderator's role. Moderators, however, are in a unique position to foster dialogue. They’re usually experts in the panelists’ field and familiar with their work. Moderators could set the stage by offering their own insights into the shared themes, connections, and concerns that make the proceedings a panel instead of a cluster of random presentations.

A good moderator should feel comfortable editorializing on the presenters’ work, invite them to address one another about common threads that connect their scholarship, and conclude the session with remarks that provide a sense of overview and closure...

Introduce the audience.
academia  conferences 
12 days ago
Teaching Decolonizing Methodologies | Savage Minds
n the course, in terms of methods, we always focus on ‘participant observation,’ ‘interviews,’ ‘mapping’, ‘oral history’, and various visual projects like ‘filmmaking’ and ‘photography’ since these are generally the methods that the students in the course imagine that they will use during their doctorial field research. In terms of “theory” over the years we have take on “the production of space,” “ontology”, and “bare life”, among others. In the methods part of the course we tend to take a traditional text describing how to do a method and a traditional ethnographic text written from evidence gathered with that method and ‘read’ them through Smith’s arguments about the kinds of colonial artifacts (dispossession, occlusion, erasure, violence) that are smuggled into traditional social-science epistemic practices. Through this process we get to what should really be the beginning, but rarely is with students who are expected to “have a project” when they apply to Ph.D. programs, where the students start to ask themselves about, in Kim TallBear’s phrasing, “the ethics of accountability in research (whose lives, lands, and bodies are inquired into and what do they get out of it?)” (TallBear 2014:1) and how the methods that they have been imagining may not allow them to approach accountability in ways that they find ethical. The students thus begin to think about the binary that has underpinned most of their research-thinking to date. Again, following TallBear, they begin to see, “the binary between researcher and researched—between knowing inquirer and who or what are considered to be the resources or grounds for knowledge production” (TallBear 2014:1) and they begin to understand that truly decolonial work tries to do away with this binary in various ways.

In the theory part of the course we take the most canonical text for any given social-scientific body of thought, read it, and then read it through texts about the same topic written by non-Euro-American-Australian scholars. For example for “space” we might read Henri Lefebvre’s The production of Space (Lefebvre 1991) paired with work by Okusitino Mãhina, a Tongan philosopher of time-space articulations (Mãhina 1992, 1993, 2002, 2010). In the best of worlds what happens next is a similar self-awaking where the students realize that most of the conceptual frames they are using to think with about their proposed projects come not from in situ relations, conversations, ontological propositions, epistemic processes, or exchanges about what needs to be known and what can’t be known, but rather from their own intellectual genealogy and what texts, arguments, and faculty compelled them during their course work or even their undergraduate training.
decolonization  colonialism  methodology 
12 days ago
Introducing INFRA – Ingrid Burrington and Surya Mattu – Eyebeam
Right now, we’re exploring different ways that large tech platforms can be understood as acting outside the law or never really answer to law through various approaches of sidestepping law–primarily settlement agreements, legal technicalities, and subcontracting. We’re still pretty early in this work but we’re interested in identifying these different legal loopholes and demonstrating the ways they might perpetuate systemic societal harms as a way to strengthen regulation proposals or find other loopholes that might make it easier to file legal claims against platforms.


What are you most excited about?

Creating actionable research for investigative reporting and making work that is useful to the range of communities that sit between journalism and other forms of investigation (such as but not limited to labor organizing, policy advocacy, and art).
platforms  methodology  extrastatecraft 
15 days ago
How the Index Card Cataloged the World - The Atlantic
The index card was a product of the Enlightenment, conceived by one of its towering figures: Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and the father of modern taxonomy. But like all information systems, the index card had unexpected political implications, too: It helped set the stage for categorizing people, and for the prejudice and violence that comes along with such classification....

In 1767, near the end of his career, Linnaeus began to use “little paper slips of a standard size” to record information about plants and animals. According to the historians Isabelle Charmantier and Staffan Müller-Wille, these paper slips offered “an expedient solution to an information-overload crisis” for the Swedish scientist. More than 1,000 of them, measuring five by three inches, are housed at London’s Linnean Society. Each contains notes about plants and material culled from books and other publications. While flimsier than heavy stock and cut by hand, they’re virtually indistinguishable from modern index cards....

Thomas Harrison, a 17th-century English inventor, devised the “ark of studies,” a small cabinet that allowed scholars to excerpt books and file their notes in a specific order. Readers would attach pieces of paper to metal hooks labeled by subject heading. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the German polymath and coinventor of calculus (with Isaac Newton), relied on Harrison’s cumbersome contraption in at least some of his research....

Until the mid-19th century, the backs of playing cards were left blank by manufacturers, offering “a practical writing surface,” where scholars scribbled notes, says Blair. Playing cards “were frequently used as lottery tickets, marriage and death announcements, notepads, or business cards,” explains Markus Krajewski, the author of Paper Machines: About Cards and Catalogs. In 1791, France’s revolutionary government issued the world’s first national cataloging code, calling for playing cards to be used for bibliographical records. And according to Charmantier and Müller-Wille, playing cards were found under the floorboards of the Uppsala home Linnaeus shared with his wife Sara Lisa.
index_cards  media_archaeology 
16 days ago
The Big Picture: Trump’s Attack on Knowledge | Public Books
Trump is resolutely against knowledge. It’s not just that he doesn’t have much, or that too much of what he thinks is true is really false. The very idea of knowledge seems to make him uncomfortable. He takes the notion that he can’t make up whatever truth he wants as a personal affront, a limit to his autonomy, and an insult to his narcissistic ego. He believes in being smart—and brags frequently about his IQ. I’m sure he believes in information, preferably insider information about stock trades, real estate opportunities, or what his enemies are up to. He just doesn’t believe in knowledge.
Correct information is a first step in knowledge. But whether it is embodied in theories or practical reason, knowledge is more than just discrete and isolated facts. It is the ability to judge alleged statements of fact, the ability to put these together in meaningful ways—to “connect the dots,” and to understand the implications....

Trump mocks experts and panders to poorly supported opinions. He favors ad hoc policy-making over careful analysis and preparation. If Donald Trump baked, he would yell at cakes to rise instead of looking at a recipe.
Trump’s contempt for knowledge shapes his approach to appointing government officials, the gathering of official data, funding education and science, and relating to the news media. It extends to contempt for citizens’ right to know what their government is doing and for the government’s need for knowledge to do its work. This amounts to an attack that threatens to undermine both good governance and one of the foundations of democracy....

Trump avoids knowledge. He makes policy watching Fox News at 3 a.m. rather than on careful analyses of evidence and arguments. He accepts reports from his aides that cite no data, evidence, or sources, but merely summarize opinions. He disdains the work of intelligence agencies and analysts. He makes no effort to build an administration that brings expertise and honest evidence to its handling of major issues. These all reveal a remarkable conviction that his uninformed opinions are better than actual knowledge. This is the hubris.
Trump has left the presidential Council of Scientific Advisors empty. Indeed, he has so little respect for scientific knowledge that he didn’t invite America’s Nobel Prize winners to the White House. He’s ignored the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, failing to appoint a director. He has cut funding to the US Census, a primary source of honest information about what’s happening in America, linked to the effective administration of a wide range of US government programs and even the establishment of fair electoral districts. In the name of reducing regulation, he backs efforts to limit research and data collection to identify risks and inform policy on issues from pharmaceuticals and health care to toxic chemicals in the environment....

The State Department is a glaring example. Evidently Trump does not think US relations with other countries or participation in organizations like the International Monetary Fund should be based on knowledge. He and his secretary of state have left empty many of the positions required to understand foreign countries, what they might do, and how US actions will be perceived and with what consequences. Trump tries to substitute bluster and bluff for knowledge in dealing with North Korea and China. He does not make a serious effort to know what is going on. ...

To make knowledge open to checking, challenge, and reconsideration, it ideally should be public. This is especially important in a democracy, where one of the key rights of citizens, one of the central ways in which they may be said to have power, is to reexamine government decisions on the basis of the same knowledge available to legislators. One of the important roles of regulatory agencies is to make sure adequate information is available for this—for, say, consumer protection. But even where knowledge is necessarily restricted—by privacy concerns or security classification, for example—it is important that it be subject to scrutiny and correction by competent specialists. Inside the CIA and other US government agencies there are capacities for such review—though they are now threatened when their findings are politically unpopular.
epistemology  knowledge_structures 
17 days ago
People-Mapping Through Google Street View
Google Street View offers vast amounts of qualitative urban information that is both spatially referenced and temporally revisited, and I hope this investigation shows that it can be mined for creative place-based metrics. I encourage computational researchers, particularly those who work at Google, to devise automated methods to enumerate and display distributions of phenomena such as pedestrians, bikes, and cars — sufficiently filtered and anonymized, of course, to respect privacy and ethical concerns. Though they contain artifacts and imprecisions, such data can help us understand everything from street design to street crime in new ways. Where people occupy the public realm is one of the most important dimensions of urban life, and it should inform the plans we make and the landscapes we design.
mapping  google  methodology 
17 days ago
Anni Albers | Introduction | Guggenheim Bilbao Museum
This exhibition offers a focused survey of the work of Anni Albers (b. 1899, Berlin; d. 1994, Orange, CT, USA), an artist distinguished by the originality of her practice, pictorial and textile, and by her profound knowledge of the materials and techniques of weaving—a craft that is nearly as old as humanity. Paying special attention to the connections between different periods and series, and emphasizing recurrent motifs and ideas in contrast with experimental creations, Anni Albers: Touching Vision aims to reflect the strength of an artist whose thinking, humane and essential, had a direct influence on her time as well as on future generations of artists.  

Organized in collaboration with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, this exhibition underscores Albers’s pioneering contribution to the modern rebirth of Fiber Art. The artist drew her inspiration from both pre-Columbian cultures and the modern industry, but she far transcended the notions of craftsmanship and gender-specific labor. Alongside her innovations in the treatment of weaves, and her constant quest for textile motifs and functions, Albers managed to offset the dominant role of painting by means of weaving and engraving, both practices having been relegated to the condition of ‘minor genres’ despite their deep significance in human his
weaving  bauhaus  anni_albers 
17 days ago
Generate Medieval City Maps with This Online Tool
With the Medieval Fantasy City Generator, you can generate endless maps of walled cities, complete with castles and winding waterways. The free online generator, developed by Oleg Dolya, allows for layouts like “citadel” and “plaza,” with options for city size, whether small, medium, or large.

The Medieval Fantasy City Generator, recently shared by Boing Boing, has been available in for a few months. It continues to be updated with new features, such as rivers, house shapes, shanty towns, outskirts, wall-less layouts, and coastal cities. Users can hover their mouse over different sections of the cities to see labels pop up for farms, gates, wards, and slums. The newest addition — Toy Town — is a 3D visualizer that involves a street-level view of the cities.

It’s similar to projects like Uncharted Atlas, a Twitter bot that generates fantasy maps, or the Fantasy World Generator. Dolya notes on the generator’s site that it was created for a monthly challenge on the procedural generation subreddit. The developer adds that “the goal is to produce a nice looking map, not an accurate model of a city.”
mapping  cartography  fantasy 
18 days ago
Russia Secretly Mapped the Whole World in the Cold War - CityLab
Davies happened upon a shop that held bundles of Cold War-era maps of British cities, created by the Soviet military. The maps were so detailed that they included such elements as the products factories made and bridges’ load-bearing capacity. “I was just amazed,” Davies said. ...

Davies and Kent pored over the maps, especially of British and U.S. cities, and compared them with local maps. “The closer we studied them, the more we could decrypt,” Davies said. They noticed, for instance, an altitude marker on one Russian map that also appeared on a local map—but not on other local maps that came before or after it. As a result, Davies and Kent knew they’d found the exact map the Russians used to create their own. “It’s like a fingerprint,” Davies said. “This was what gave us so much joy—the thrill of the chase.”

Errors in the Soviet maps also revealed their sources of information. On a map of Doncaster, England, the cartographers had labeled some housing estates “Roman Pottery Kilns,” which Davies said “made no sense.” But then Davies and Kent discovered a British survey from the early 20th century that showed archaeological sites in the area—with Roman pottery kilns.
mapping  cartography  map_history  forensics 
18 days ago
The Future Of Mapping, According To The Creators Of Google Earth
According to them–two people who have redefined what it means to make a map–the next generation of maps are semantic. That’s a fancy way of saying that maps will have a complex, dynamic understanding of the world around them. Why is this important? Self-driving cars and augmented reality....

Self-driving cars are going to need really, really good maps. But the kinds of maps we have today–like Google maps–aren’t accurate enough. While autonomous vehicles will rely on their cameras and sensors to create a picture of the world, they also need to know how to make sense of that information. That’s where a semantic map comes in–a map that continues to learn about the physical world and refine its predictions of what objects are and how they will act through huge amounts of data. ...

Today, to build a map that dynamically reflects and understands the world, you need countless sensors recording it so you can constantly update the digital cartography–and so machine learning algorithms can look for patterns in all the data that’s generated. That requires capturing and storing lots of data–a estimated gigabyte per second for a self-driving car. Then, you need to have ubiquitous and powerful enough mobile computing to capture that data, make sense of it on the spot, and render it in a way that’s intelligible and useful. “You need that data to create the maps that are needed for AVs–that will make all the work we’ve done in mapping to date look small in comparison,” Hanke says....

Companies like TomTom, Here, and Carmera are already working on this problem. It will require machine learning algorithms, processing and storing vast amounts of data, and a network of sensors that can frequently update the map and power the AI models–a network that self-driving cars will readily supply. In essence, it’s the problem of creating a three-dimensional, live, super-accurate map of our constantly changing messy world. No biggie....

Hanke is interested in what he calls “human-scale mapping of the pedestrian world”–all the indoor, private spaces you can’t see on Google Earth right now. These are the maps that are going to be necessary to support a future dominated by augmented reality–one Hanke believes will be dominated by augmented reality glasses.... But the idea of mapping our indoor spaces is rife with problems. First up: Who owns the data? Perhaps you own the mapping data of your home, but what about in commercial or institutional spaces? As McClendon noted, that’s dangerously close to a surveillance state. He proposed that as a rule, only certain data is uploaded to the cloud, and most of the mapping data stays on your device.
mapping  cartography  artificial_intelligence  machine_learning 
19 days ago
Symposium—Conserving Active Matter - Bard Graduate Center
Conservators have long known that matter moved, that colors changed, that solids melted into air. But now that it is precisely these features that are being adapted for aesthetic, technical, and structural purposes, will conservation as a theory and as a practice have to change? And if so, how?
“Conserving Active Matter” will explore the meaning of active matter for the field of conservation through the lenses of materials science, history, philosophy, and Indigenous ontologies that never made the assumption that matter was inactive. This symposium lays out the landscape of questions that will be the focus of subsequent seminars, conferences, courses, and fellowships, leading up to an exhibition in spring 2022.
archives  preservation  vibrant_matter  things  performance  ephemerality 
20 days ago
Dealing in the Obsolete: A Conversation with Conservator Jonathan Furmanski | The Getty Iris
In the depths of the Getty Research Institute, just above the vaults and below the library, a wall of outdated tube televisions sits tucked into the corner of an imaging lab. Stacked as high as the ceiling, they are the domain of conservator Jonathan Furmanski.

There are many archives in this country, but ones of the kind Furmanski oversees are rare. While many archivists are scrambling to learn the newest collection management software, Furmanski is romancing the obsolete: stuff like the portable turntable you finally convinced your father-in-law to sell on eBay, or the yellowing tape recorder that still smells like Camel cigarettes in your grandpa’s garage.

Furmanski collects and organizes gadgets like these in the Getty Research Institute for one simple reason: the items in modern collections, such as tapes from The Kitchen Archive or recordings from the Long Beach Museum of Art Video Archive, need the right machines to be heard, watched, or read. It’s Furmanski’s job to find the right technology to match a piece of ephemera or artwork, restore that artwork as much as possible using analog machines, and then digitize it so contemporary viewers can watch, listen, analyze, and write about it.
archives  preservation  audio_visual  media_archaeology 
20 days ago
I FEEL YOU by Alyssa K. Loh - / in print
In VR, your environment may seem to change, but your mind remains your own. Your will and command over your person, your freedom of control over the direction of your gaze—these are what the medium protects and extends. Compared to other means of storytelling, it thus affords much less access to the inner lives of strangers. Only a profound, even dangerous misconception of empathy could produce the claim that VR is uniquely suited to fostering it. ...

What is this “empathy,” so efficiently “generated”? It is little more than an index of emotional arousal, a reflexive concern for an endangered body. Real empathy is also the labor of comprehension: mind-work, not gut-work alone. The empathy that guarantees our mutuality, grounds our politics, and conditions our intimacies consists in the imaginative animation of someone else’s heart and mind, powered by everything you have learned with your own heart and mind about what it feels like to be a person. It is not “seeing yourself in others,” but using yourself to see others clearly. It takes both attention and imagination—careful attention to a life that is different than yours, and the imagination to think your way toward it. And it takes time. We must be trained for it. Works of narrative art have been a key locus of that training since the first stories were told. Among other things, our hyped sense that VR can provide some sort of 5G empathy download is evidence of a profound and perilous failure of confidence in the work of storytelling....

STORYTELLING, really, is the issue. One of the more surprising arguments made for VR’s moral utility is that it can help you empathize not only with the characters in scenes you witness, but with someone you inhabit, as you would a game avatar.Not a character you encounter, but one you try on, like a skin. In a second TED talk, Milk playfully hypothesizes that storytelling began with cavemen relaying the tale of a hunt. As a spirited animation of a caveman fit with VR headgear plays behind him, Milk triumphantly declares that now we don’t have to listen to the caveman—we can be the caveman.

However, the first-person point of view and the ability to control someone’s (notional) “body”—for this is what an avatar affords—are hardly the tools of intimate access storytellers might hope for.After all, in video games, the creative challenge posed by a user and character sharing a body often requires game designers to leave underdeveloped the ostensible main character, precisely to accommodate the variety of user personalities. The irony is sharp when VR works whose stated mission is to “give voice” to certain populations start to resemble a medium famous for silent protagonists....

Event and location are VR’s best tools for portraying a life, but not many experiences can be captured exclusively this way. The more completely a person’s circumstances shape his or her emotional reality, the more likely it is that VR can convey something of his or her experience. (Interestingly, VR’s most salient features—its visceral, bodily presence; its immersive, participatory nature—align it closely with art historian Michael Fried’s concept of “theatricality,” which he famously set in contrast with true aesthetic experience, a transcendent state of “absorption.”) One wonders whether the insistence that VR create empathetic identification, combined with VR’s clumsiness at capturing the inner life of a specific person, is one reason that VR filmmakers have gravitated toward extreme, traumatic experiences, situations where our individuality plays the smallest role in how the event is received....

All of which is to say, attention autonomy—the interactive freedom to observe whatever we choose—is a hallmark of VR, one of its most charismatic features, but it shuts us out of other minds and strands us in our own.The neoliberal paradigm of individual choice here reaches its narratological climax: solipsism.
virtual_reality  empathy  narrative  affect 
20 days ago
Mapping the Future: Cartography Stages a Comeback | WIRED
CARTOGRAPHY IS THE new code. Increasingly, everything from your takeout delivery to your UberPool route is orchestrated not just by engineers but by cartographers. Between 2007 and 2015, the number of grads earning master’s degrees in cartography increased annually by more than 40 percent on average. And as advanced satellites, digital mapping tools, and open-source geographical software progress, the demand for cartographers is projected to grow nearly 30 percent by 2024.

Modern cartographers are as much data analysts as they are map producers. Flagship GIS systems by software companies like Esri have been democratized by an explosion of open-source alternatives like Carto and MapBox. “We are absolutely inundated with volumes of geospatial data,” says Mike Tischler, director of the US Geological Survey’s National Geospatial Program, “but with no means to effectively use it all.”
cartography  mapping 
20 days ago
Amy Kulper: Architecture’s Digital Turn and the Advent of Photoshop - YouTube
In this lecture, Amy Kulper locates architecture’s “digital turn” in 1988, when Thomas Knoll invented Photoshop. Originally developed as an image-editing software, Photoshop fit neatly within the long history of optical correction in the discipline. Yet its ubiquity today also prompts new questions. Does Photoshop simply introduce logics of adjustment, correction, and contingency to architecture, or does it possess the capacity to creatively generate form? Did Photoshop’s cut-and-paste collage aesthetic align itself with the predominant operations of postmodern pastiche, or does its propensity for photorealism advance a tautological representational agenda in architecture? What impact did the advent of Photoshop have on the processes of architectural archiving, and does its seamless aesthetic problematize the sourcing and identification of original images? What can the advent of Photoshop tell us about architecture’s shift from analog to digital design?
media_archaeology  software  photoshop 
24 days ago
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
Humans have been delving below Earth’s surface for tens of thousands of years. From the earliest maps of the spiritual underworld made by ancient man, to digital maps of the seabed produced today, the human need to explore and envision the world beneath our feet is age-old. In this exhibition, you will see how ancient Romans carved vast underground catacombs, how minerals and natural resources have been studied, engineered and transported since the 19th century, how today’s scientific and cartographic advancements have enabled us to picture the entire ocean floor, and what lies below the streets of Boston. As you explore nearly 400 years of maps and images of the world below, you can compare the historical viewpoint with the modern, and see how we have advanced our perception and depiction of what lies beneath.
mapping  cartography  underground 
24 days ago
Anni Albers: Picking Up the Thread | by Andrew Dickson | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
In On Weaving, Albers was insistent that what she called “Tactile Sensibility” was crucial to our understanding of art, and of textiles in particular. While our visual sense had grown increasingly sophisticated, she argued, we were losing contact with our sense of touch: “Unless we are specialized producers, our contact with materials is rarely more than a contact with the finished product. We remove a cellophane wrapping, and there it is—the bacon, or the razor blade, or the pair of nylons.” Alas, the Guggenheim curators don’t permit you to stroke the lustrous creations on the walls, but they have placed a perspex box near the entrance containing samples of jute, linen, and wool, as well as polymers such as rayon and cellophane. To rummage in that box is to feel what Albers felt. It was a kind of aesthetic synesthesia: “We learn to listen to voices,” she wrote in the mid-1940s, “to the yes or no of our material, our tools, our time.”

By the time Albers was forming these thoughts, she and Josef had been forced to flee Germany by the Nazis. They relocated to the United States in 1933, at first teaching at the newly established Black Mountain College in North Carolina, then moving to Connecticut when Josef joined the faculty at Yale in 1949. By that time, they had begun to make regular trips to Mexico in search of traditional textiles and objects, and later to Cuba, Chile, and Peru. Some of their spoils feature in the Guggenheim show. Anni, in particular, was deeply affected by her travels to the historical fountainheads of weaving, and by her contact with South-American artists using ancient techniques; her own weavings acquired the energy of discovery. One of her best-known creations, Red Meander (1954), later reworked as a series of screenprints, resembles the ground plan for an ancient labyrinth, with hints of the blocky Peruvian patterns she knew intimately. ...

The liminal status of her artform is somewhat responsible for her partial disappearance. Of course, this is a case of gender as well as genre—or a malign combination of the two, whereby a female artist who works in a “domestic” artform with links to indigenous communities is easily sidelined. Albers may be the star of the Guggenheim’s anniversary season, but she cuts a lonely figure in Bilbao...

A nod to the deceptive simplicity of Albers’s practice, it is also, surely, a quiet tribute to her teacher Paul Klee’s suggestion that drawing is “taking a line for a walk.” In On Weaving, Albers settled on a more sonorous phrase, just as resonant: “the event of a thread.”
weaving  anni_albers  textiles  texture 
24 days ago
IN-TOUCH Q&A with David Parisi | IN-TOUCH: Digital touch communication
Especially in the last fifteen years or so, there has been a growing body of scholarly work focused on touch, emerging from a range of disciplines and subfields. Some of this work was situated explicitly in Sensory Studies and Sensory Anthropology—a field that has many tributaries—while other research on the cultural life of touch emerged from Literary Criticism, Film Theory, and Gender Studies. Many of these works will no doubt be familiar to visitors to this blog, but perhaps others will be a bit more obscure. Laura Mark’s Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media (2002), Elizabeth Harvey’s edited volume Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture (2003), Laura Gowing’s Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in Seventeenth-Century England (2003), Constance Classen’s edited collection The Book of Touch (2005), Mark Paterson’s Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies (2007), and Classen’s monograph The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch (2012) complemented earlier works like Ashley Montagu’s Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (1986). But while they contain valuable insights on touch’s flexibility and multiplicity, other than Marks’s Touch and Paterson’s Senses of Touch, they don’t directly take up questions pertinent to the mediation of touch by communication technologies. Abbie Garrington’s Haptic Modernism: Touch and the Tactile in Modernist Writing (2013) and Anne Cranny-Francis’s Technology and Touch: The Biopolitics of Emerging Technologies (2013) strike closer to that target, as do some of the chapters in Margaret Linley and Collette Colligan’s collection Media, Technology, and Literature in the Nineteenth Century: Image, Sound, and Touch (2011; see especially the contributions from Warne, Raykoff, Keep, Colligan, and myself). The literature on touch has developed so substantially from a decade and a half ago that it seemed to make sense to me to carve out a distinct tradition of scholarship specifically devoted to touch and communication media.

The shift from touch studies to haptic media studies also throws emphasis of the research program onto that messy category of the haptic. For me, this is an important move, because the tradition around haptics that I emphasize in my work is one where it is linked intractably to scientific and technical research on touch—the attempt to provide touch with a doctrine akin to the doctrines for seeing and hearing. So this is a way of putting emphasis on the way that touch has been an ‘object-target’ of biopolitics, with touch expressed through a set of psychological instruments and apparatuses, all designed with the intent of abstracting and quantifying touch.

...the emergence of Computer Haptics in the later decades of the twentieth century gave this lab work a practical applicability it had previously lacked. So the alteration of the collective sensorium through technologies of touch, in my view, consists in part of touch’s redefinition as something quantifiable, measurable, and ultimately transmissible—a redefinition that informed the investigations of haptic human-computer interface pioneers in the 1970s and 1980s.

...Immersion Corporation has been incorporating tactile signification systems into mobile phones since at least 2005 (with the launch of their VibeTonz system). Frank Geldard and Carl Sherrick founded the Cutaneous Communication Lab at Princeton in 1962. Louis Braille modified existing forms of raised-dot fingertip reading to form what we know understand as Braille almost a century ago.
touch  sensory_history 
24 days ago
Desperately Seeking Cities | Online Only | n+1
The value of the Amazon contest is that it has laid bare a fundamental contradiction of contemporary urban life. Amazon appealed to cities—cannily, it must be said—to narrate themselves: what makes them unique, such that Amazon should locate there? The result was that all cities ended up putting forward the same, boring virtues and “legacy assets”: some parks, some universities, some available land, some tax breaks, some restaurants. Each city, it turned out, was indistinguishable from every other city: “thirty-six hours . . . in the same beer garden, museum, music venue, and ‘High Line’-type urban park.” By the same token, all cities were forced to realize their basic inadequacy: that ultimately, all their tireless work to cultivate their urbanity amounted to nothing if they did not have Amazon....

The most serious academic riposte to the urbanist ideology has been Michael Storper’s Keys to the City (2013), which demonstrates comprehensively what one might always have guessed, and what the Amazon contest has proven: the location of businesses, rather than the walkability, density, and diversity of a city, determines its economic health. A statistically insignificant portion of the country will up and move to Dallas because they are fiending for breakfast tacos that they can sort of walk to, near a private-public partnership-funded park that caps a freeway where they can sort of enjoy them. Most people, however, move to a place in search of jobs, not “urbanism.” ...

Among the calls most prominent—a takeover of the local party structure, an end to mass incarceration, a guarantee of healthcare, reinvestment in schools—there is still the unfinished work of planning. Left untouched, cities will rely on Amazon to do it for them.
media_city  amazon  placemaking  branding  urban_planning  smart_cities 
26 days ago
Does Your Washing Machine Understand You? How to Talk to Appliances - WSJ
Voice-recognition capabilities are gaining ground in the kitchen as multi-tasking cooks appreciate the hands-free convenience of barking orders. GE Appliances last year was the first major appliance manufacturer to launch its own platform, also known as a skill, called Geneva, which is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, among others.

Geneva is accessed via Amazon’s Echo devices or Google Home devices. These devices interact with Wi-Fi communication cards built into the appliances. Users can say “Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat the oven to 350” or “OK Google, ask Geneva Home if my icemaker is full,” and Geneva will complete the job. Other tasks include setting timers, checking how far along the wash or dry cycle is and determining if dishwasher or laundry detergent is running low.

Other major kitchen appliance makers are building their own voice-recognition capabilities, often in collaboration with Amazon and Google, they say.

The intimate, everyday habits of cooking and laundry breed a rich diversity of language across generations, regions and even individual households. “Since these kinds of tasks are usually transferred inside families, there can be pockets that develop where they just have their own terms%2
sound_design  language  voice  voice_activation  appliances  things 
26 days ago
LORINC: In search of clarity on Sidewalk Labs (plus correction) - Spacing Toronto
“[O]ur Model Lab…is a very different approach than what is typically done with the regional models, which are very slow, unresponsive. Fundamentally, it involves the creation of synthetic populations. In the U.S., we’re beginning to work with our first metropolitan area with that approach.”
Doctoroff declined to name the city, except to note that it is in the mid-west. He added: “There’s incredible enthusiasm among transportation and planning agencies around North America about this approach, because it’s very different.”
sidewalk_labs  smart_cities 
27 days ago
imagined forms
As testimony, test, or proposal, models of all sorts record, revise, and reinvent the world.  From toy miniatures to computer simulations, modeling is a primary means by which we make sense of and act upon our material lives, the lives of others and the culture at large.  Everyone models: from artists and designers to prototype machinists and engineers to children.  Models may be provisional or idealized—rehearsals of things yet to be or representations of those that already exist—professional or slapdash, sustained or ephemeral.  In particular, models, whether prospective or mimetic, have long animated disciplines and discourses that center on knowledge formation and innovation.  Models can represent existing conventions or visionary inventions; in both cases models are scalar constructions with the potential for affective, aesthetic, conceptual, and technological effects. Inspired by the Hagley Museum’s extensive collection of patent models—nearly 900 items made between 1809 and 1899—this interdisciplinary conference will highlight modeling as both a fundamental human activity and an inevitably material practice.

“Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture” inaugurates a biennial conference series sponsored by the Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware. We look forward to presentations from a wide range of disciplines, in
models  measurement  standards  epistemology  tools 
28 days ago
Sounds | Work With Sounds
WWS is recording the endangered or disappearing sounds of industrial society – including sounds people try/tried to protect themselves from. During 1st September 2013 and 31st September 2015 we will record at least 600 sounds in their original settings. Every sound will also be documented: What and where is it? And how did we record it?

WWS will be creating a soundscape of industrial Europe.
sound_design  labor  industrialism  sound_history 
28 days ago
Data 4 Black Lives | About Us
Data for Black Lives is a group of activists, organizers, and mathematicians committed to the mission of using data science to create concrete and measurable change in the lives of Black people.

Since the advent of computing, big data and algorithms have penetrated virtually every aspect of our social and economic lives. These new data systems have tremendous potential to empower communities of color. Tools like statistical modeling, data visualization, and crowd-sourcing, in the right hands, are powerful instruments for fighting bias, building progressive movements, and promoting civic engagement.

But history tells a different story, one in which data is too often wielded as an instrument of oppression, reinforcing inequality and perpetuating injustice. Redlining was a data-driven enterprise that resulted in the systematic exclusion of Black communities from key financial services. More recent trends like predictive policing, risk-based sentencing, and predatory lending are troubling variations on the same theme. Today, discrimination is a high-tech enterprise.
Data for Black Lives seeks to mobilize scientists around racial justice issues. At our conference in November, we will convene over two hundred data scientists, computer programmers, racial justice activists, and elected officials to discuss the role that data can and should play in Black communities.
data  race  algorithms  social_justice 
28 days ago
JF Ptak Science Books: Burroughs, Batman, and Bullets in the History of Holes and Punched Card Computation
There is a continuing thread on this blog on The History of Holes--it is a series about, well,  holes and what isn't in them/what used to be in them/what you can see through them, and so on. This particular section of holes relates to the control and distribution of data and the great efficacy of utilizing holes punched into cards which would be arranged and tabulated in such a way as to order and manipulate mountains of data.  That said I don't recall seeing anything in print from the heyday of keypunching that actually mentioned the holes, as it does here--nor have I seen a non-William-Burroughs connection made between handguns, bullets, holes, and tabulation. Oddly enough, there is a connection with a crime fighter who didn't use a gun and whose sidekick used the exclamation "Holy ______ (computer, etc., and no expletives). And so we get to unite punched cards, computers, W.S. Burroughs, Batman, and The Time Tunnel.  (The Time Tunnel?--yes indeed, the tv show from the 60's can be brought into this as well..)
textual_form  index_cards  punch_cards  aesthetics_of_administration  office_culture 
28 days ago
A map of language charted by Navajo philosophy (A map of language) — High Country News
Her new book, Of Cartography, is framed by the four cardinal directions and their symbolism in Navajo history. It digs into the cultural and physical representation of Navajo language, how landscape shapes identity and what it means to be Indian.

Her poems try to capture the rhythm and storytelling intrinsic to the Diné language. “I wanted to investigate whether there was a Navajo meter or diction, and how that voice could come out,” she says. “It’s not just a collection of poems squeezed together. This was about pairing identity politics with Navajo philosophy, which is all very orderly, and then telling my story through the structure.”
cartography  textual_form  concrete_writing  indigenous 
28 days ago
Ann Hamilton — Making, and the Spaces We Share - | On Being
The philosopher Simone Weil defined prayer as “absolutely unmixed attention.” The artist Ann Hamilton embodies this notion in her sweeping works of art that bring all the senses together. She uses her hands to create installations that are both visually astounding and surprisingly intimate, and meet a longing many of us share, as she puts it, to be alone together.
ann_hamilton  archive_art  archives  installation  sensation 
29 days ago
A Close-Up on Mysteries Made of Stone in Saudi Arabia’s Desert - The New York Times
For nearly a decade, David Kennedy marveled from behind his computer screen at thousands of mysterious stone structures scattered across Saudi Arabia’s desert. With Google Earth’s satellite imagery at his fingertips, the archaeologist peeked at burial sites and other so-called Works of the Old Men, created by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago.

But he was unable to secure permission to visit the country to observe up close the ancient designs that he and amateur archaeologists had studied from their desktops.

Last month, after announcing he had identified nearly 400 stone “gates,” Dr. Kennedy received the invitation of a lifetime from Saudi officials to investigate the hidden structures from a helicopter.

“They are absolutely astonishing,” said Dr. Kennedy, who recently retired from the University of Western Australia. “From 500 feet, you can see the vital details of structures that are invisible in the fuzzy image on Google Earth.”...

In Saudi Arabia, he explored 200 sites from the air across the regions of Harrat Khaybar and Harrat Uwayrid. The structures he observed ranged in shapes and sizes, which he describes as gates, kites, triangles, bull’s eyes and keyholes.

Of the 400 structures he describes as “gates” that he had identified on Google Earth, Dr. Kennedy studied about 40 from the helicopter and found that the structures were not randomly put together....

each long bar was actually made up of two parallel lines of flat slabs placed on their edges facing each other with small stones filling the space in between.

“They are much more sophisticated than I was prepared for,” he said.

Some gates were larger than 1,000 feet long and 250 feet wide. He suspected the oldest may be about 9,000 years old. Though he is not sure of their purpose, he speculated they may have been used for farming purposes....

There were also several keyhole structures, sometimes lined up together. The heads of the keyholes were almost always near-perfect circles, and the walls were about three feet high.

These structures may have served some funerary or symbolic purpose. Dr. Kennedy did not date any of the structures he visited with radiocarbon testing, but he said that future groups should perform more thorough analysis.
media_space  writing  geoglyphs  archaeology 
29 days ago
Digital Social Memory and the Case of the Online Archive of Internet Art | New Criticals
Rhizome has recognised the significance of performativity in relation to the archive of internet art, since aesthetic form and meaning production in internet artworks are often directly dependent on user interaction. One of Rhizome’s most significant preservation projects over the past few years has been the development of Webrecorder, a web archiving tool. Its core functionality is based on the two-way exchange taking place between client and server when we are browsing the web. Webrecorder records the dynamic traffic between the user’s browser requests and the responses from the online hosting environment, thereby facilitating the archiving of online artifacts as they are encountered by the user. Webrecorder’s browser-based app also provides the infrastructure to replay, or reperform, the archived artifacts within the browser. Through these two capabilities – record and replay – Webrecorder enables the archiving and reperformance of complex and dynamic internet artworks, such as Amalia Ulman’s Instagram piece Excellences and Perfections (2014), which explores the interactions between an Instagram user and their followers. Without a tool such as Webrecorder, preserving this artwork in its original environment and presenting it via a performative archi
archives  digital_archives  net_art  performance 
4 weeks ago
Ice and the Sky / La Glace et le ciel (2015) - Trailer (Eng Subs) - YouTube
Ice and The Sky tells the story of a man who encountered his destiny, aged 23, in the Antarctic. The film will retrace his life‟s journey, from his first steps as a young glaciologist to the crowning moment of his glittering career - winning the Blue Planet Prize, the Nobel of environmental sciences. Ice and The Sky is an epic tale, in which science and adventure meet. “I have loved the great rivers of ice, the lagoons, the villages at the edge of the desert. I have loved the primordial forests of the Americas. But I believe what I have loved most is man and his ability to surpass himself in extreme climates. My name is Claude Lorius and I am 82 years old. I have devoted my life to the search for knowledge. It has been an extraordinary story of science and devoted men who have changed the course of the history of Mankind.”
geology  geoarchives  ice_cores  antarctica 
4 weeks ago
How to write the most effective cover letter (essay)
One of the main points reiterated during the two days was the importance of making a clear case in both your cover letter and your CV for how you -- wonderful candidate that you are -- match the expectations for the position. Otherwise, no matter how well you can describe your achievements, the search committee will still question why you are the right person for this job. The best source for understanding the expectations for the position and who might make the best candidate is found in the leadership profile.

Using the Leadership Profile as a Guide
The leadership profile, sometimes called a search prospectus, is quite different from the job posting. It provides much more information about the institution and its mission, goals and needs. ...

The leadership profile (or a comparable document) is usually found on the website of the institution or the search consultant. It may be linked to search information from electronic sources. The leadership profile will generally end with the required qualifications, experience and the personal/leadership characteristics that the search committee is seeking in a candidate. That is typically included in the job posting, as well. What is added is a sense of how the group doing the search understands those qualifications and characteristics and why they have chosen those as most important.
The top three topics you will generally find outlined are the institution’s priorities, the position’s challenges and opportunities, and the agenda for the next person to occupy the position. Also very important are the key phrases they select for describing current activities or new initiatives that are important to the campus. The language used for each of these will give you signals about what the search committee will be seeking from a successful candidate.
job_search  cover_letter 
4 weeks ago
Time in Space: Representing Time in Maps | Stanford Humanities
Session 1: Mapping Time 
Half-hour papers, plus 15 minutes Q&A each

1:30 pm-2:15 pm: Lifting the Veil of Time: Maps, Metaphor, and Antiquarianism (17th-18th c.) 
Veronica Della Dora, Royal Holloway, University of London

2:15 pm-3 pm: The Art and Science of Deep Time, 1800-1900
Caroline Winterer, Stanford University

3 pm-3:45 pm: Mapping Time in the 20th (and 21st) Century
Bill Rankin, Yale University

3:45 pm-4:30 pm: Audience discussion

4:45: Public reception at Stanford Humanities Center

Saturday, November 11:  Closed Session 
Session 2: Narrative 

9 am-9:45 am: History in Maps from the Aztec Empire
Barbara Mundy, Fordham University

9:45 am-10:30 am: Parallel Process? Historical Mapping Evolves in Early Modern Japan
Kären Wigen, Stanford University

10:30 am-11:15 am    Coffee Break

Session 3: Unfoldings 

11:15 am-noon: From From To To: A Map of Language
Daniel Rosenberg, University of Oregon

noon-12:45 pm: The Legacy of Matteo Ricci in East Asian World Maps of the Nineteenth Century
Richard Pegg, The MacLean Collection

1 pm-2 pm: Lunch at Stanford Humanities Center 

Session 4: Journeys

2:15 pm-3 pm Time Traveling: Representing and Retracing the Past in American Travelers’ Maps and Guidebooks
James R.
cartography  mapping  temporality  time  history 
4 weeks ago
Mapping Access Project — Mapping Access
What is the architecture of inclusion?

How do buildings, pathways, and design elements create inclusive spaces? 

What can mapping reveal about the overlaps and intersections of inclusive campus spaces? 

Mapping Access is a participatory mapping and data visualization project documenting the features of the campus built environment that facilitate inclusion. Through digital maps, Map-a-thon events, community conversations, photography, and film, the project explores mapping as a process of social transformation.

The project draws on methods and theories from Disability Justice, the environmental humanities, intersectionality, and critical GIS.

Mapping Access engages users as experts in the design process to generate surveys, collect data, create new mapping methods, and build a commitment toward broad accessibility. Typical approaches to accessibility focus on issues of code compliance and checklists of standards. Instead, this project draws upon the analytic frameworks of intersectionality and disability justice, as well as Universal Design methodology, to craft alternative standards for meaningful access.
mapping  cartography  inclusion  disability  tactility  accessibility 
4 weeks ago
4th Istanbul Design Biennial A School of Schools Announces Concept and Open Call - Biennial Foundation
Titled A School of Schools, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial will stretch both the space and time of the traditional design event, manifesting as a flexible year-long programme within which to respond to global acceleration, generating alternative methodologies, outputs and forms of design and education. A School of Schools manifests as a set of dynamic learning formats encouraging creative production, sustainable collaboration, and social connection. Exploring eight themes, the learning environment is a context of empowerment, reflection, sharing and engagement, providing reflexive responses to specific situations.

Can the biennial use, question and reframe previously tried-and-tested education models – from the museum-as-encyclopedia to the laboratory, the studio and the academy – to create a setting for meaningful dialogue and design? Can design itself be a brave space for people to share their knowledge and ignorance, their experience and curiosity?
pedagogy  learning  exhibition 
4 weeks ago
Art Meets Cartography: The 15,000-Year History of a River in Oregon Rendered in Data | Colossal
When considering the historical path of a river, it’s easy to imagine a torrential flood that causes a stream to overflow its banks, or a drought that brings a body of water to a trickle. The reality of a river’s history is vastly more complex, as the artery of water gradually changes directions over thousands of years, shifting its boundaries imperceptibly inch by inch.

Geologists and cartographers have grappled with helpful ways to visually depict a river’s flow over time. In 1941, the Mississippi River Commission appointed Harold Fisk to undertake a groundbreaking effort to map the entire Lower Mississippi Valley. Three years later he produced a stunning series of 15 maps that combine over 20 different river paths obtained through historical charts and aerial photography.
cartography  mapping  borders 
4 weeks ago
The One-Room Apartment by Cornelius Meyer (1689) – SOCKS
Cornelis Meijer (Cornelius Meyer) (1629-1701) was a Dutch hydraulics engineer that came to Rome in 1680 to assist in the design of the banks of the Tiber river, the diverting of the water and the draining of the Pontine marshes. His two-volumes book Nuovi ritrovamenti (1689), (available in pdf online from the ETH Rara page) is a collection of engineering proposals related to his activity in Rome as well as to other heterogeneous designs for eyeglasses, bridges, carts, even automobiles and observations on the movement of the comets.

The book also includes a design for a one-room apartment (Del Fabricar Comodo). No complimentary text is provided, apart from a note on how fully satisfied the Vitruvian criteria of stabilità, fermezza and commoda may be within a restricted space. Four etchings and relative annotations about the project are present in the book.
architecture  intellectual_furnishings  furniture 
5 weeks ago
How one data-driven art and technology company is understanding cities with AI - Storybench
Should New York have more than five boroughs? Are zip codes too large? As part of the Northeastern University Visualization Consortium‘s Fall 2017 speaker series, Mahir Yavuz spoke about Topos, the data-driven art and technology company he co-founded that is applying different methods and techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to reveal fresh insights about cities.

The problem with city data

Policymakers, governments, the postal service and companies are relying on city data that is out-of-date, Yavuz stressed. Using census data, for example, doesn’t allow one to capture quickly enough the flux of neighborhoods and people. Zip codes, he said, are too large to capture granular data about neighborhoods.

“Companies are using very old-school data and demographics,” said Yavuz. “We believe there’s a lot of opportunity there to fix the problems and find solutions… we realized that it’s not an easy problem to solve. You need to change the way you collect data asa government.”

That’s why Topos – which publishes blogposts here on its findings – is leveraging multiple data sources to understand the modern makeup of cities, he said. Using methodologies like hierarchical clustering,...

Topos has also tried to break down New York’s five boroughs into regions that might make more sense than that outdated method of partitioning the city. Using principal component analysis, which split the city’s neighborhoods into vectors and organized them as dimensions, Topos found that the city could be organized along concentric circles – which break down by household income, late night pizza spots, and visual presence of nature. The outskirts of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island belong, in a sense, to the same borough – a borough for commuters.
urban_data  mapping 
5 weeks ago
It’s a “speaking clock,” an automated electronic announcement which provides the current time. The distinct accent belongs to Pat Simmons, a former London telephone exchange employee who spoke the time from 1963 until 1985. Simmons followed Jane Cain, the “golden voice” of the first British telephone time system starting in 1936. That first setup was a room-sized electric mechanism which produced an automated announcement from glass disc recordings of Ms. Cain’s voice, reading numbers and sentence fragments. (Dialing “T-I-M” from any UK telephone at the time set this elaborate machine running.) Before this, speaking clocks were delivered live by an operator sitting in front of a clock face, answering phone calls and reading out the time.

Of course what you hear *live* when you call the number above depends on exactly when you call. The voice, well that’s not so live; Simmons spoke the clock only from 1963 until 1985 and this service is a software simulation run by enthusiasts at A speaking clock is clearly an anachronism, but, it also provides a crisp model for thinking around something quite contemporary — the interface.

Whatever “lies between” is called interface, whatever allows us to link two different elements, to reconcile them, to put them into%2
interfaces  syllabus 
5 weeks ago / Blog – Towards A Library Without Walls
In “As We May Think,” Bush’s argument comes in the wake of two World Wars and is largely concerned with science as the cornerstone of knowledge as it relates to power and elevating the spirit of man. This kind of universalism ignores the aforementioned alternate value systems, as well as other significant forms of knowledge (i.e. ethical, theological, philosophical, cultural, musical, or artistic), and historical narratives that might call into question his progressive vision of modernity. By limiting his conception of associative indexing to the production of scientific knowledge, Bush misses the potential that these other forms of non-empirical knowledge—where definitive truth is elusive or potentially even undesirable—could find even greater benefit from hypertextual models. With, the content in many of its user-generated channels evades the noble purposes Bush envisioned for his Memex. Instead, the mundane, the mimetic, the frivolous, the artistic, the irreverent, the visual, and the ephemeral come to the fore. Here we can recognize associative coalescing as a form of non-result-oriented knowledge production, where the fuzzy boundaries of a subject are collectively defined through free association and family resemblances as connections between channels and blocks are improvised over time...

By acknowledging other forms of knowledge beyond the scientific and better understanding the role sociality plays in our contemporary experience of information, we can better define what constitutes information and how best to describe, classify, organize, and make it accessible as librarians. Rather than prioritizing static information, fixed organization, and solitary experiences as the conventional library environment is known to do, those of us who work in LIS can adopt the more boundless strategies that we encounter in hypertextual tools such as for the benefit of the communities that we serve, essentially working towards becoming a library without the brick walls that Lampland and Star refer to in regards to infrastructure that fails to serve user needs. Parallel to thinking about what might mean for librarianship, we can look to extant projects such as the Prelinger Library and the Sitterwerk’s Kunstbibliothek, whose methods for organizing their material also exist as an alternative to more traditionally-organized libraries.
archives  epistemology 
5 weeks ago
Who Needs Hard Drives? Scientists Store Film Clip in DNA - The New York Times
The advance, reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature by researchers at Harvard Medical School, is the latest and perhaps most astonishing example of the genome’s potential as a vast storage device.

Scientists already have managed to translate all of Shakespeare’s sonnets into DNA. ....

With the new research, he and other scientists have begun to wonder if it may be possible one day to do something even stranger: to program bacteria to snuggle up to cells in the human body and to record what they are doing, in essence making a “movie” of each cell’s life....

Dr. Church and Seth Shipman, a geneticist, and their colleagues began by assigning each pixel in the black-and-white film a DNA code based on its shade of gray. The vast chains of DNA in each cell are made of just four molecules — adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine — arranged in enormously varied configurations.

The geneticists ended up with a sequence of DNA molecules that represented the entirety of the film. Then they used a powerful new gene editing technique, Crispr, to slip this sequence into the genome of a common gut bacteria, E. coli....

In 1994, Dr. Adleman reported that he had stored data in DNA and used it as a computer to solve a math problem. He determined that DNA can store a million million times more data than a compact disc in the same space....

DNA is never going out of fashion. “Organisms have been storing information in DNA for billions of years, and it is still readable,” Dr. Adleman said. He noted that modern bacteria can read genes recovered from insects trapped in amber for millions of years.
archives  data  storage  DNA 
5 weeks ago
A museum’s cabinet of curiosities is also a chamber of secrets | Aeon Essays
I’m interested to note the ways in which collectable objects weave shadows and ambiguities around themselves. The light-skinned hands holding the tupilaq in the photo manifest some degree of control over the carvings, but of a kind that can never be total. Objects arrive webbed in connections, and hoard their most intimate gestures and relations in unreachable treasure-houses. A collected object is a kind of vessel, freighted with an irredeemable record of acts and things, inaccessible worlds of sense and event, a tissue of phenomenal dark matter caught up in time’s obliterative machinery....

any straightforward dichotomy between the natural and the cultural, the material and the symbolic, is complicated at every instance by qualities that refuse neat abstraction. Toothed whales use their teeth for communication; a porpoise’s charismatic smile tells a story; dolphins deploy the acoustic properties of their teeth to issue warnings and threats. Rooted in the jaw, the tooth likely aids a whale’s perceptual work, its capturing and filtering of sound in the marine environment. Forged in an organismic manufactory, tooled by genes (it’s symbols all the way down), a tooth takes its place for a time in a network of perception and action: catching the piercing resonance of whale song bounding in the deep canyons — testing and metering the shifting temperatures of Arctic air — tearing and gripping the trauma-tautened flesh of smolt salmon....

I want to understand how things come to take their place — especially in museums and collections — as embodiments of knowledge, artefacts out of time and nature, provoking curiosity and wonder. How they become objectified. The French philosopher Michel Foucault understood the natural history museum as a kind of republic of objects fixed and ordered in their relations. Of course, those relations change with changing science; yesterday’s taxonomic specimens become today’s harbingers of climate change. This is not to say that the specimens are not friendly to science, that they cannot help us to tell stories about the world. But I want a museum with the modesty to realise that the objects of its interest do not take their sole, true, or final form beneath its gaze. As seen by science, objects withdraw their auras — burning coronas that connect sense and experience to the deep past — and when the galleries and museums are in ruins, they will expose new banners to time’s unfolding. The tupilaq are players in a luminous, long-durée ecology — one in which paintings and pelts, sculptures and scarab beetles, clay pots and crania change states and meanings; negotiate mingled dimensions of nature and culture; and become consumed, even as they consume our attention....

There were distinctive furnishings as well: in particular, the maceration tank, a giant stainless-steel pot on a pedestal, a huge pressure cooker used to boil large specimens down to bones. And, behind an airlock-like set of self-sealing doors, the dermestid room — named for the swarms of beetle grubs that seethed over small skeletons, picking them clean. Outfitted with variously sized glass tanks full of grubs, this room was a secure space, with blowers supplying negative air pressure, and seals around the doors, to ensure no beetles or larvae could escape. Upon leaving the dermestid room, you had to stand in the airlock and brush down your clothes. There was an aroma of putrefaction in the room, but it was faint — you got used to it. The sound, however, was oppressive. The place hummed with a static song of tens of thousands of beetle grubs, hairy and grey, all chewing at sinew and dried muscle...

Our task in the specimen-prep lab was to transform dead animals into data. The products of our work were not the taxidermied simulacra that posed behind glass in the galleries, but study skins and skeletons for the research collection. These were stored out of public view in open-topped archival boxes, which fitted closely together into broad, shallow trays that rested in rank upon rank of shelving, forming a library of the dead. Although to call the specimens dead does not sound quite right. For the specimens had transcended or exceeded death, had passed beyond its dominion by means of a process that arrested, ostensibly in perpetuity, their participation in the carbon cycle, the wheel of disarticulation and recombination, that is life on earth....

The collection was not comprised of equals. Enjoying pride of place among the trays were the holotypes, singled out as exemplars of their species. Set off by their yellow tags, type specimens are often much older than their preserved confreres. In most cases, they document the discovery of a species — although of course they’re rarely discoveries in the strict sense of the term. Instead, they’re symbols of a species’ scientific acknowledgement, of the moment when a local variant achieves a Latin binomial and a place in a refereed journal. The holotype is a heady, almost absurd designation: an animal sacrificed to represent a life form in its entirety... Other specimens lying nestled together in a case, by contrast, might never have run across one another in life. Now pristine, beyond birth and death, predation and putrefaction, they offer themselves up as information, an apposition of time and place with diameter of nostril, length of genital vent, and body weight in grammes. ...

After first making a series of measurements — length of body, tail, and foot, weight in grammes — I would write out a tiny tag with the relevant geographical coordinates, date of collection, and all-important accession number, all inscribed with an indelible rapidograph pen. Before arriving in the museum, specimens collected by scientists in the field had already been subjected to a great deal of informational dissection: external parasites identified and censused, blood and perhaps other tissue samples collected, and finally, the subject itself euthanised and frozen.....

In its ordered cabinets, the specimen collection superimposed and coordinated two different kinds of space. On the one hand there was the hierarchical logic of the classification scheme: specimens disposed throughout in boxes, sliding shelves, and jars according to the taxonomy, from kingdom to class to specific epithet. Intersecting this paradigmatic plane was a geographical dimension evoked virtually, via metadata, with each specimen’s place of collection tagged and noted. Ideally, these two planes interacted in the museum like a multidimensional slide rule for natural history — one calibrated and operated by teams of expert operators, from lab techs to curators to field scientists....

The objects disposed in the cabinets of natural history are varied in their qualities and their uses: not only study skins and skeletons, but whole creatures preserved in jars of alcohol, germ plasm samples in cryogenic tubes, and sundry other accessions. For purposes of natural science, specimens represent ‘raw’ data. Indeed, the term ‘preparation’ serves to ‘re-raw’, so to speak — for, like the tupilaq, the dead animals are already thoroughly ‘cooked’. And like the tupilaq, they are doubly mysterious....

The moth that blundered into the uncanny machinery of the Mark II, following who knows what tracery of heat and light, was of no particular natural-historical significance. Furtive in its shabby grey fluttering, it would have roused no more than a raised eyebrow from Hopper and her busy colleagues servicing the Mark II — a momentary pause, a dropping of cigarette ash on the console. Only later, upon its post-mortem discovery, was this dead creature turned into data. Now roughly preserved and enshrined in the Smithsonian, the dead insect serves as holotype for the computer bug.
objects  collection  metadata  archives 
5 weeks ago
Atlas of Transformation
Atlas of Transformation is a book with almost 900 pages. It is a sort of global guidebook of transformation processes. With structured entries, its goal is to create a tool for the intellectual grasping of the processes of social and political change in countries that call themselves "countries of transformation" or are described by this term. The Atlas of Transformation was first published in Czech and it contains more than 200 "entries" and key terms of transformation. Several dozen authors (more than 100) from the whole world contributed to this book and also some influential period texts were republished here.
diagrams  epistemology  books  material_texts  book_design 
5 weeks ago
How Do You See the Disappeared? A Warm Database | Net Art Anthology
How Do You See the Disappeared? A Warm Database (2004), commissioned by the digital art organization Turbulence, responded to data-gathering and surveillance in the wake of 9/11, and its role in rendition, deportation, detention, and other forms of political disappearance. In opposition to state-sponsored processes of surveillance and erasure, the project proposed a concept of “warm data”–deeply personal but non-identifying information that spoke to the lived experience of being subjected to political invisibility of various kinds.

The web-based project featured a hypertext essay, watercolor portraits of the Disappeared, a questionnaire, and visualizations of the answers, as well as accounts of activist efforts and links to political resources. Through warmth and subtlety, it sought to destabilize the cold, calculating logic of the archive, while including concrete calls to action on behalf of vulnerable communities.....

After researching the kinds of questions people were asked as part of the special registration process and spending time with people in detention centers, Ghani began to develop the concept of “warm data.” The opposite of cold facts such as country of origin, warm data would explore the experiences of the disappeared, without revealing the identities or making them vulnerable in any way....

databases  archives  archive_art 
5 weeks ago
Mapping Sound - Natural Sounds (U.S. National Park Service)
Why is the National Park Service concerned about noise?
Park visitors and wildlife interact with each other and park resources through their senses, including the sense of hearing. So, protection of natural sounds is good for both ecosystems and the quality of visitor experience. Additionally, there are laws and policies that require the agency to conserve acoustic environments "unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

How does the sound map work?
Scientists made long term measurements of sound in parks as well as urban and rural areas across the country. This information helped predict current sound levels for the entire United States. A model was developed to understand relationships between measured sound levels and variables such as climate, topography, human activity, time of day, and day of year. The resulting geospatial sound model can also estimate how places would sound naturally, without human influence.
sound_map  cartography  mapping  sound_space 
5 weeks ago
Flipping through the Card Catalog | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos
The Library of Congress both catalogs newly published books as well as shares that descriptive information with other libraries. For many decades, starting in 1901, the format the Library used to share that information was the catalog card. The process of creating, printing, organizing, storing and distributing those millions of cards took hundreds of staff at the Library of Congress and vast spaces, such as the ones shown below. (See all of those thousands of boxes on the shelves and tables? Full of catalog cards printed at the Library.)
libraries  card_catalogue 
5 weeks ago
Theory of forms | Creative Combinatorics
In connection with his color theory Ostwald was also engaged in the “harmony of forms”. Using the rules he developed Ostwald created ornaments and new forms “according the laws of combinatorics” which were “all beautiful, without any exception”!
media_architecture  intellectual_furnishings  die_brucke 
5 weeks ago
Durationator Copyright System
The Durationator is a software and research system that provides legal information regarding the copyright status of any work in any jurisidiction in the world.
copyright  image_rights  advising 
5 weeks ago
How Is Digital Mapping Changing The Way We Visualize Racism and Segregation?
In order to explore the impact of the field of GIS and spatial humanities on social justice issues, I spoke to GIS specialist Dr. Rob Shepard at the University of Iowa's Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio. He is the creator of the new 'Placing Segregation' project, which combines the geolocation of hundreds of written records with historical maps in order to visualize segregation in mid-19th century American cities such as Washington, D.C., Omaha and Nashville.

While this may seem like a novel approach, people of color have been using maps to visualize racism for a long time. As Shepard notes, "W.E.B. Du Bois famously geolocated and documented basic socioeconomic information about individual households in The Philadelphia Negro, as part of a sociological study in the 1890s. Consequently, the granular GIS-style approach I’ve been using in mapping residents for Placing Segregation – and my work with the project Civil War Washington before it – is not completely unique or special to digital humanities. And I don't claim that."..

Today there are dozens of digital projects focused on the African-American experience. Recently, The Colored Conventions Project housed at the University of Delaware brought together an epic list of over a hundred such projects. The list of digital initiatives include Mapping the Stacks, which visualizes Chicago's black community archives from the 1930s to the 1970s. As I have previously noted, the Equal Justice Initiative has also launched the Lynching in America project, which provides access to interactive maps, archival documents and oral histories of lynching in the U.S.
mapping  cartography  race 
5 weeks ago
Tianjin Binhai Library / MVRDV + Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute | ArchDaily
The building’s mass extrudes upwards from the site and is ‘punctured’ by a spherical auditorium in the centre. Bookshelves are arrayed on either side of the sphere and act as everything from stairs to seating, even continuing along the ceiling to create an illuminated topography. These contours also continue along the two full glass facades that connect the library to the park outside and the public corridor inside, serving as louvres to protect the interior against excessive sunlight whilst also creating a bright and evenly lit interior.
library  china 
6 weeks ago
The Finite State Fantasia - Tobias Revell
On the left-most side, the simulation is run as normal in Unity. Random objects are generated each time the simulation runs to act as obstacles for the machine. The second, central screen shows the point cloud generated by the interaction the machine has with the simulated space. The final wall shows the machine live remeshing the space and so shows its impression of what the space is.

By watching the three versions of the simulated space in parallel, a direct comparison is drawn between the simulation and the output to show how space is represented and interpreted by the different cognitive systems of humans and machines.
machine_vision  mapping 
6 weeks ago
Dust-to-Digital » Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980-1980
Using modern technology, Patrick Feaster is on a mission to resurrect long-vanished voices and sounds—many of which were never intended to be revived.

Over the past thousand years, countless images have been created to depict sound in forms that theoretically could be “played” just as though they were modern sound recordings. Now, for the first time in history, this compilation uses innovative digital techniques to convert historic “pictures of sound” dating back as far as the Middle Ages directly into meaningful audio. It contains the world’s oldest known “sound recordings” in the sense of sound vibrations automatically recorded out of the air—the groundbreaking phonautograms recorded in Paris by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in the 1850s and 1860s—as well as the oldest gramophone records available anywhere for listening today, including inventor Emile Berliner’s recitation of “Der Handschuh,” played back from an illustration in a magazine, which international news media recently proclaimed to be the oldest audible “record” in the tradition of 78s and vintage vinyl. Other highlights include the oldest known recording of identifiable words spoken in the English language (1878) and the world’s oldest surviving “trick recordin
media_archaeology  sound  sound_history 
6 weeks ago
Saudi Arabia Just Announced Plans to Build a Mega City That Will Cost $500 Billion - Bloomberg
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to build a new city on the Red Sea coast, promising a lifestyle not available in today’s Saudi Arabia as he seeks to remake the kingdom in a time of dwindling resources....

The ambitious plan includes a bridge spanning the Red Sea, connecting the proposed city to Egypt and the rest of Africa. Some 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometers) have been allocated for the development of the urban area that will stretch into Jordan and Egypt.

The prince said the city project, to be called “NEOM,” will operate independently from the “existing governmental framework” with investors consulted at every step during development. The project will be backed by more than $500 billion from the Saudi government, its sovereign wealth fund and local and international investors, according to a statement released on Tuesday at an international business conference in Riyadh....

The project “seems to be broadly modeled on the ‘free zone’ concept pioneered in Dubai, where such zones are not only exempt from tariffs but also have their own regulations and laws, hence operating separately from the rest of government,” said Steffen Hertog, a professor at the London School of Economics and longtime Saudi-watcher. “In Dubai, this has worked well, but attempts to copy it have done less well in the region.”...

A promotional video released on Tuesday features a lifestyle so far unavailable in Saudi cities. It showed women free to jog in leotards in public spaces, working alongside men and playing instruments in a musical ensemble. The one woman wearing a hijab had her head covered with a patterned pink scarf.
SEZ  zones  smart_cities  middle_east 
6 weeks ago
The emotional context of information privacy: The Information Society: Vol 32, No 1
Why are ongoing legal, design, and policy debates around information privacy often divorced from the lived experience of everyday digital media use? This article argues that human emotion is a critical but undertheorized element in users' subjective sense of information privacy. The piece advocates for a greater attention to the phenomenology of feeling and to the concept of “visceral” design in information privacy scholarship, policy, and design practice.
privacy  sensation  embodiment  data 
7 weeks ago
What is a File? - Microsoft Research
For over 40 years the notion of the file, as devised by pioneers in the field of computing, has proved robust and has remained unchallenged. Yet this concept is not a given, but serves as a boundary object between users and engineers. In the current landscape, this boundary is showing signs of slippage, and we propose the boundary object be reconstituted. New abstractions of file are needed, which reflect what users seek to do with their digital data, and which allow engineers to solve the networking, storage and data management problems that ensue when files move from the PC on to the networked world of today. We suggest that one aspect of this adaptation is to encompass metadata within a file abstraction; another has to do what such a shift would mean for enduring user actions such as ‘copy’ and ‘delete’ applicable to the deriving file types. We finish by arguing that there is an especial need to support the notion of ‘ownership’ that adequately serves both users and engineers as they engage with the world of networked sociality.
computing_history  files 
7 weeks ago
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