Toward a Social Infrastructure - e-flux Architecture - e-flux
This turn to global investors to borrow on international capital markets has had cities, indeed whole countries, exhibit a kind of “pawnshop mentality” as they hock some of their most valuable possessions, like public infrastructures, for a short-term monetary fix. After all, the borrowing from global investors (rather than funding infrastructures through a mix of state loans and taxes, for example), comes with a government-backed guarantee of returns that actually ends up increasing government debt. But the long run does not matter in a financialized economy that orbits around quick returns. Global investors can rely on states to make sure their returns are furnished by “end-users,” who pay ever increasing prices on vital resources like water. If they don’t, it is the water utility that shuts off the water supply, the police that repress protestors, and the courts that fine the indigent. Wealth created through the financialization of water infrastructures is thus generated and guaranteed through its “trickling up” from the household level to already wealthy global investors.
infrastructure  water 
15 hours ago
Celebrity PowerPoints Are The New Pop-Culture Trend
Within days, the exhaustive PowerPoint exploded on the Facebook group “Who Weekly” (an offshoot of a popular celebrity/comedy podcast) with over a thousand comments, migrated to Twitter with hundreds of retweets, and was eventually picked up by outlets like Mashable and The Daily Dot. It even made its way to the man who literally invented PowerPoint decades ago, Robert Gaskins. He confirmed to me that he did in fact see Benton's masterpiece, and that he thought it was "interesting to see the format used for such a purpose."

life update: i recently made a claim that lorde & jack antonoff are 2gether & it's taken me on a strange journey to the Truth, which i present to u in the way i best express myself - powerpoint:
— hillary dale ? (@buzzkillary) April 19, 2018

The key to this document's virality isn't just its gossipy content but Benton's brilliant, obsessive presentation style. The slideshow breaks down an overwhelming amount of information into easy-to-understand chunks, communicating intrigue, clues and, ahem, melodrama in a comically crazed tone throughout. Factoids she stumbled upon about Lorde — did you know she "recently participated in a birth"? — and a vendetta against Sonja Yelich (Lorde's mother, who Benton blames for enabling the entire sordid romance), combined with photos embellished by Benton’s own commentary keep it compelling. But it’s the use of PowerPoint itself that made this a memed phenomenon – and, somehow, even funnier.
tools  powerpoint  slide_art 
2 days ago
An Indigenous Feminist’s take on the Ontological Turn: ‘ontology’ is just another word for colonialism – Urbane Adventurer: Amiskwacî
how the Ontological Turn–with its breathless ‘realisations’ that animals, the climate, water, ‘atmospheres’ and non-human presences like ancestors and spirits are sentient and possess agency, that ‘nature’ and ‘culture’, ‘human’ and ‘animal’ may not be so separate after all—is itself perpetuating the exploitation of Indigenous peoples. To paraphrase a colleague I deeply admire, Caleb Behn: first they came for the land, the water, the wood, the furs, bodies, the gold. Now, they come armed with consent forms and feeble promises of collaboration and take our laws, our stories, our philosophies....

So, for every time you want to cite a Great Thinker who is on the public speaking circuit these days, consider digging around for others who are discussing the same topics in other ways. Decolonising the academy, both in europe and north america, means that we must consider our own prejudices, our own biases. Systems like peer-review and the subtle violence of european academies tend to privilege certain voices and silence others.
ontology  indigenous  academia  theory 
2 days ago
The Avery Review | The Architecture of Banal Bureaucracy: WeWork and Algorithmic Design
Merging their commercial design capabilities with their technology offshoot “Powered by We,” WeWork now offers “a full suite of design, construction, and operations solutions to a wide range of members including Enterprise companies,” leveraging its “vast experience, market penetration, and economies of scale to deliver exceptional custom designed spaces and services for clients of all shapes and sizes.” According to Bloomberg, this has led the company to scale back on the acquisition of offices and “instead help redesign and run spaces that customers already inhabit.” Powered by We now boasts thirty clients having designed eleven spaces.6 They have most recently been signed up to redesign UBS offices in New York, who in explaining the decision to go with WeWork rather than a typical commercial architecture practice, claimed “the more we talked to the team at WeWork, the more we felt they had something extra to add.”7

This “something extra” now includes a tendency to see the design and management of office space as an algorithmic process....

In the case of WeWork, the desk itself is governed by a centralized bureaucracy where it is used as the key metric to calculate occupancy and to predict growth (which they estimate to reach 1.9 million “units” globally over the next eighteen months). The wider bureaucratic tendencies of WeWork thus fall neatly into a Weberian lens of “rationalization.”...

WeWork’s space-laying algorithm is one tool in the now endless surge of automated BIM options that aims to make the bureaucratic processes of architecture more efficient, calculable, and less labor-intensive....

In this regard, wider developments in BIM, when positioned alongside the merging of data science with architectural production and management, mark a potentially unknowable rationalization of the profession’s banal bureaucracies. WeWork’s fascination with the rationalization of the desk may reveal it as less Weberian vanguard than rearguard, using twenty-first-century technologies to solve twentieth-century problems while laying claim to being epoch-defining innovators—and yet this much-publicized “innovation” is also what undergirds its position as an extractor of new profit horizons, stemming not from the square footage of office buildings so much as the labor of those who build offices.
we_work  coworking  media_architecture  data_space  algorithmic_design  algorithms  bureaucracy 
2 days ago
Critical Creative Corrective Cacophonous Comical: Closed Captions •Mousse Magazine
This essay highlights works of video art that critically and creatively engage the closed caption. These works toy with the caption’s limited capacity to translate, the importance of providing access, and present the caption as a generative site for poetic, humorous, and critical perspectives. The author presents video art as an important site for experimenting with new forms of so-called “audiovisual media” that do not presume sighted and hearing audiences and do not treat access as an afterthought that can be turned on and off.
tools  textual_form  disability  accessibility  closed_captioning  word_art 
2 days ago
Deconstructing The Fyre Festival Pitch Deck - By richard
By now most of us would have heard of the infamous Fyre Festival in 2017 where investors lost over $27.4 million dollars. The festival’s pitch deck has resurfaced online in 2019 and has been labeled as ‘beyond parody’.

Founder Billy McFarland had an idea to host a ‘luxury musical festival’ which would help in the launch of their music booking app. It was meant to be something exclusive and unique and help create massive buzz.

And it did…for the wrong reasons.

The whole thing ended up falling apart quickly and cost investors millions of dollars of investment money.

But did the pitch deck help secure that funding or was it just a warning sign of the impending doom to follow?
slide_art  tools  powerpoint 
2 days ago
Paleoacoustic Accommodation - e-flux Architecture - e-flux
Although proto-architectural interior spaces, caves were, for the most part, not inhabited as dwellings by semi-nomadic Paleolithic communities, likely due to the problem of lighting them by torch, and the concomitant risks of asphyxiation. Instead, rock shelters were, and caves became incubatory habitats for prehistoric image production; host environments with an almost museal temporality for participant-contributors with migratory modes of existence. Radiocarbon dating makes clear that these environments were shared in multigenerational spatial practice, as extant images were reworked, added to, or redacted in visual overdub, entangling mark-making across periods, sexes, and age groups. Were these living archives used as teaching aids for prenatural history?...

“Lascaux” serves as a placeholder not simply for the complex of caves formed some ten million years ago, but an orbiting assemblage of timescales, ecology (fragile, but resilient), mythology, economy, conservation frameworks, disciplinary expertises, and stakeholders ranging from citizen to State. It is a constellation networked across Lascaux I (the original’s codename), Lascaux II (the first replica), Lascaux III (a traveling model), and Lascaux IV (a complete digital facsimile within the International Center for Parietal Art, which is a little like the United Nations for prehistory)....

Lascaux IV’s goal to build a complete, data-driven facsimile with advanced digital technology, rather than an approximate replica, presented an interesting problem in contemporizing deep time: which cave would be reproduced? The cave as it had stood some 25,000 years ago, the cave as it was discovered in 1940, the suffering cave following its closing in 1963, or the cave at present? ...

The space, in call and response, talked back. Though rudimentary, the architects’ measurements produced a “rough image of response” that was adequately informative of the original cave in what were, notably, the first objective acoustic measurements to ever be made inside Lascaux I. Commins then produced a 3D acoustical computer model of the cave’s geometry, which he used to analyze reverberation time, speech intelligibility, and clarity—typical “physical acoustic parameters” used to evaluate concert halls and opera houses—while computational techniques of “auralization” enabled him to simulate any sound, vocal or other, from any point within the cave as it would morph, as if “from nowhere.” That speech intelligibility was “very good,” and reverberation time long, made evident that Lascaux I’s acoustics are similar to those of a symphony hall. Commins also determined that “mid-speech” was the frequency range best suited to the acoustic environment. These findings suggest that Paleolithic persons likely vocalized here, whether in spoken or sung modalities, and that they inhabited a similar “sensory reality” more broadly, being similarly physiologically wired, anatomically modern, and hence, neurologically on par with humans of today. Lascaux I is equipped, at the spatial and material level, for oral transmission....

That caves, when unlit, are not given easily to be seen, but instead more readily to be heard and felt with the “eyes of the skin” troubles the question of Paleolithic image production in the first place, rendered, as it is, out of conditions of improbable darkness. ...

That Lascaux I and other caves are tuned, concert hall-like, to the register of spoken word presents a kind of paleo-acoustic accommodation that anticipates the practice of architectural acoustics in subsequent built environments, often augmented to propagate voice. This antecedent, ancestral space of speculative languaging finds contemporary expression in the Lascaux IV facsimile, whose exacting digitality—in the etymological sense of “handed,” as well as data-numerically—joins with musicologist Gary Tomlinson’s conception of Neanderthal stone tool production at the proto-digital, rhythmic, and noise-making “body-stone interface” of compositionality, from which mind eventuates as “an outgrowth.” If stone tool production is correlate, then, with the deep time development of language and speech-sound, triangulating that interface into one spanning body-stone-speech might prove apposite.
media_space  scanning  3D_model  archaeology  archaeoacoustics 
3 days ago
In 1943, the Swedish government built a nuclear shelter, called Pionen, 100 feet below Stockholm in order to preserve the government from catastrophic attacks. Since 2008, the bunker has found itself turned on the government it was made to protect after being converted into a data center: housing servers for clients like WikiLeaks and PirateBay.

Though perhaps it’s disingenuous to say Pionen was built. The 12,000-square-foot underground lair wasn’t carved out by human action but by innumerable years of geologic movement and glacial shifts. Once a hollow, it is now home to fountains, plants, fish, servers, and computers. The architect of this new iteration, Albert France-Lanord, discusses the history of Cold War infrastructure, its impact on cinema and the renewed use of Pionen as a site for data storage.

So much of cinema’s visions of sci-fi futures have been shaped by real Cold War architecture and now, Pionen, a World War II-era base, has been shaped by cinema, with direct references to the 1972 ecological disaster film Silent Running. Part Bond villain lair, part retro-futuristic spaceship, with fish and lush greenery coexisting alongside the flashing lights of the data storage systems, Pionen is a palimpsest of preservation and paranoia carved into the earth.
data_center  preservation 
8 days ago
anthropology + design: laura forlano. | Savage Minds
One thing that I think anthropologists might learn from design is the idea of creating a more generative form of critique that makes the project better. In design, a critique is not a peer review, it is a collaboration. I recently got peer review comments back from a design journal and was surprised at the level of engagement with the work in a very deep, helpful, generative and productive manner. Often, in my experience, peer review in the social sciences is more about defining a field by policing insiders and outsiders. A more generative conversation, starting with “Yes, and” rather than “But” could help all of us do better work. Also, in the model of a design critique, it is possible to guide the conversation to focus only on certain aspects of the work such as the style or the content or the process. Adopting and/or developing a design critique model in anthropology might be a productive and interesting direction.

Another thing that I think anthropologists might draw from design is experimentation with more collaborative ways of working in teams, from graduate school though faculty positions and professional practice. In graduate school, I did very few team projects for courses and, at the time, there were not any opportunities to participate in collaborative research projects in my department. In addition, there is a lot of emphasis on doing your own project, collecting your own data and writing it up on your own. Since becoming a faculty member in a design school, I’ve seen the many ways in which student teams collaborate successfully and, sometimes, unsuccessfully. It is always exciting to see students working together to achieve a common goal.

Designers would benefit from a more rigorous incorporation of theories of culture as well as a more in-depth understanding of ethnographic research methods. Finally, while anthropologists are skilled storytellers through text, photography, and film, designers are trained in visual storytelling that includes images, charts, graphs, and artifacts. Greater collaboration across literary and visual traditions would result in better storytelling in both fields....

Human “needs” have been the focus of design work for far too long and we are beginning to see the planetary limits of our unevenly distributed needs. It is important to go beyond the human-centered focus and towards a perspective in which it is possible to empathize with and see the world through the lens of other kinds of entities (e.g., objects, artifacts, animals, nature, and the environment). While there are many design frameworks that break up the world into discrete categories for observation, it is time that we consider hybrid categories as new ways of seeing. For example, what of the human-object and the animal-technology?
anthrodesign  ethnography  methodology 
9 days ago
Video: pigs use tools to build a nest, a sign of animal intelligence - Vox
These were Visayan warty pigs, an endangered species native to the Philippines, which every six months build cozy nests in the soil to accommodate new piglets. Root-Bernstein, an ecologist and visiting researcher at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, had a hunch that the tool use she observed had to do with nest-building.

About six months later, a colleague of hers went to visit that same enclosure at the Jardin des Plantes. This time, they saw three of the pigs using tools to make their nest.
tools  morethanhuman  animals 
9 days ago
On Acknowledgments | The American Historical Review | Oxford Academic
They tell us that for those who do not fit the archetypal self-contained model scholar that our institutions are designed to serve, to survive and succeed requires much more invisible, uncompensated work.

The discipline of history is impoverished by these exclusions. I think this is the critical component that is missing from the ongoing conversations about how to make the discipline of history relevant in an era of declining humanities enrollments. Historians, we are told, must do more “public-facing” work; we must write books that are more accessible and less theoretical; write about “sexier” topics; be more entertaining; write more popular histories; be more entrepreneurial in selling our work to a mass audience. I think this focus on style and marketability misidentifies what ails us as a profession, blaming individual historians rather than looking to the political economy of our field. A critical reading of acknowledgments suggests to me a different root cause of our marginalization: the structural incentives to reproduce versions of ourselves, rather than to become more inclusive.

What will make our discipline more vital, relevant, and engaging is to turn over the resources of our profession to more kinds of people. People with different experiences, different social commitments, different backgrounds and communities will ask different kinds of questions. They will be accountable to different communities, and will write for different audiences. Historians will get only so far tweaking our writing style or diversifying the platforms we communicate on: to revitalize our discipline, we must make serious material investments in expanding our community to include more kinds of lives.
academia  acknowledgments  labor  inclusion 
10 days ago
Ethnographies of Future Infrastructures - EPIC
Sarah Pink and colleagues suggest using the lens of digital materiality as an important theoretical filter for the emerging field of design anthropology.4 For example, in a study of the use of Wi-Fi networks, I used spectrum analysis as a tool of digital ethnography to make visible the patterns and behaviors of users that were not possible to see with the naked eye.5 Since that time, a wide variety of approaches to digital anthropology and digital methods have been introduced,6 such as network ethnography7 and trace ethnography.8

Developing suitable approaches for studying the non-human will require a degree of technology engagement and literacy about data, networks and infrastructures that few ethnographers and design researchers possess. However, these literacies, knowledges and resources do exist within citizen science projects, open data meetups, civic technology groups and hackerspaces, which suggests that ethnographic and design research must be collaborative and participatory in order to leverage existing knowledge and invite new stakeholders into the conversation. In short, we must use ethnography and design research to turn citizens into sensemakers, equipped to both imagine and problematize the role of future infrastructures.
digital_ethnography  ethnography  anthrodesign 
10 days ago
Humanities | Free Full-Text | Mediating Climate, Mediating Scale
Climate communication is seemingly stuck in a double bind. The problem of global warming requires inherently trans-scalar modes of engagement, encompassing times and spaces that exceed local frames of experience and meaning. Climate media must therefore negotiate representational extremes that risk overwhelming their audience with the immensity of the problem or rendering it falsely manageable at a local scale. The task of visualizing climate is thus often torn between scales germane to the problem and scales germane to individuals. In this paper I examine how this scalar divide has been negotiated visually, focusing in particular on Ed Hawkins’ 2016 viral climate spiral. To many, the graphic represents a promising union of political and scientific communication in the public sphere. However, formal analysis of the gif’s reception suggest that the spiral was also a site of anxiety and negative emotion for many viewers. I take these conflicting interpretations as cause to rethink current assumptions about best practices and desirable outcomes for scalar mediations of climate and their capacities to mobilize a wide range of reactions and interpretations—some more legibly political and some more complicatedly affective, yet all nevertheless integral to the work of building a holistic response to the climate crisis.
representation  scale  rhetoric  climate_change 
10 days ago
‘Toronto Tomorrow’ — Story — Pentagram
Proposal documents are by their nature bureaucratic and somewhat provisional, given the iterative process of development. Pentagram and Sidewalk Toronto wanted to create something with lasting value––a planning and architecture book not just for officials, but for the greater public. For inspiration, the team looked at past architectural planning books and documents that have become design artifacts in their own right. ...

The Pentagram and Sidewalk designers envisioned the book as a kind of urban toolkit for the digital age. At the same time, they wanted to develop a cohesive visual narrative that would envelop readers in the process....

The flexible layout accommodates hundreds of diverse images––technical drawings, infographics, maps, floor plans, photography and illustrations––and makes them cohesive in the larger context. Gatefolds inserts are used for landscapes and wider perspectives, some with an accordion fold for extra panels, preserving the horizontal orientation of some of the existing documents. As a plan for consideration, the MIDP is essentially a work-in-progress, and the design kit of parts is infinitely expandable as the project evolves....

A simple but intricate color system was developed that distinguishes each book with its own color concept while still working with the other volumes. The bold palette evokes the vibrancy of the city. The colors are integrated into the illustrations and used to highlight areas in maps, charts and other infographics. A custom graphic pattern inspired by water was also created for each book, featured on the end papers....

The designers wanted a typographic tone of voice somewhere between sharp and technological and warm and human. They looked at the expressive differences between serif and sans serif font, ultimately selecting both, but in unconventional choices. The final suite of typefaces includes Neue Droschke (designed by David Einwaller of The Designers Foundry), an attenuated geometric Grotesk with unusual offcuts, seen in the book titles; the quirky sans serif Beatrice Display (designed by Sharp Type), used for the distinctive numbers on the covers; the standard Beatrice, a highly readable Grotesk, used for text and body copy, and Gliko Modern (designed by R-Typography), an elegant serif, used for headers and pull quotes....

The Dutch illustrator Hedof was commissioned to create a system of illustrations, built around the motif of figures in activity, to be used for the covers, section dividers and other elements of the organizational framework, as well as for applications like totes, brochures and exhibition graphics. This kit of parts allows sections of the drawings to be used together in endlessly reconfigurable patterns. The illustrations start as pictograms and line drawings in the first volume, then are gradually filled in in subsequent books....

A suite of infographics were designed by the firm mgmt. using a kit of parts developed by Pentagram. ...

The book opens with a series of black-and-white portraits of Torontonians with their eyes closed, envisioning the future, created by photographer Rich Gilligan and Mission Photo Production.
sidewalk_labs  graphic_design  urban_planning 
11 days ago
Atmospheric Commons | anthro{dendum}
Air is inherently multiple. Mingling and mixing, air carries particulate matter, allergens, pollution, viruses, messages and signals. Connecting bodies, places and things at interscalar levels, air couples humans and other-than-humans to geospace....

visiting the EISCAT radar facility, we attuned to the technological sensing of the upper atmosphere, while deep sensing experiments during the walks gave us the possibility to practice the unlearning of conventional ways of tasting and sensing the immediate environment....

Because of its vastness and invisibility, our knowledge of the atmosphere is contingent on and mediated through techno-scientific apparatus, epistemologies, and infrastructures enmeshed in contingent histories of capitalism and corporate and military expenditures. This poses a conundrum: how to engage, think with and care about a medium and element which structures our very existence, but which is predominantly imperceptible to human senses?...

the cards are presented as fragments of an imaginative toolkit for fostering fruitful debates, strategies, and practices that can contribute towards an equitable common atmosphere.
air  atmosphere  commons  methodology 
11 days ago
Scented Cybercartography: Exploring Possibilities | Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization
Olfactory cartography is part of the emerging discipline of cybercartography (Taylor 2003), a transdisciplinary endeavour that investigates, among other things, the integration of multimedia, multi-sensory, and multimodal data into digital atlases and maps. The physiology and psychology of the olfactory system, its special characteristics, its influence on performance and memory, and some of the issues that make the study of olfaction difficult are addressed. Characterizing, classifying, and labelling scents is problematic, and it is recommended that methods from other communities of practice be adopted and adapted by cartographers. Literature from a wide range of disciplines, including olfactory geography, is reviewed, and a number of innovative ideas are provided. In addition, olfactory applications in different areas such as marketing, art installations, film, and virtual environments are described, as are a range of currently available olfactory diffusion devices. These, however, have not been explored in a cartographic context, nor have they undergone usability testing. We conclude that it is too early to provide cartographic guidelines and methods but that scented applications, odour diffusion technologies, and olfactory data collection methods provide knowledge that can be applied toward developing a scented cartography.
cartography  mapping  smell  sensation  olfactory 
12 days ago
Why Is the World So Loud? - The Atlantic
According to CyrusOne’s website, the company’s Chandler campus offers Fortune 500 companies robust infrastructure for mission-critical applications. In other words, it’s a data center—a columbarium for thousands of servers that store data for access and processing from virtually anywhere in the world. When you check your bank balance or research a used car or book a hotel room, chances are decent that the information comes to you via one of the more than 40 CyrusOne data centers spread around the globe. CyrusOne houses servers belonging to nearly 1,000 companies, including Microsoft, Country Financial, Brink’s, Carfax, and nearly half of the Fortune 20....

A vibrating extractor fan, he realized. He published a paper on his ghost-busting, which concluded that the machine was emitting low-frequency sound waves: pulses of energy too low in frequency to be heard by humans, yet powerful enough to affect our bodies—comparable, he found, to the inaudible vibrations in a supposedly haunted cellar and in the long, windy hallways that appear in scary stories. In addition to causing shivering, sweating, difficulty breathing, and blurry vision as a result of vibrating eyeballs, low-frequency sounds can also, apparently, produce ghosts...

We were silent again and listened to the data center moaning. Which was also, in a sense, the sound of us living: the sound of furniture being purchased, of insurance policies compared, of shipments dispatched and deliveries confirmed, of security systems activated, of cable bills paid.
noise  data_centers  noise_abatement 
12 days ago
The Transformation Laboratory of the Social-Ecological System of Xochimilco, Mexico City: Description of the Process and Methodological Guide - STEPS Centre
The activities described in this guide are designed to support participatory research in the search for transformative pathways to social-ecological system sustainability. The guide offers activities with practical examples to help researchers creatively explore new ways for participants to relate to each other and to their environment.

This publication draws on the experiences of implementing the project ‘Transformation Laboratory of the Xochimilco Social-Ecological System, Mexico City’. It describes the process and methodology developed during the life of the project (between 2016 and 2019), and provides practical resources associated with its main activities, to help facilitate similar processes in different contexts. This guide is aimed at groups who are genuinely committed to the sustainability of the social-ecological systems they inhabit.
design_methods  participatory_design 
12 days ago
The New York Review of Architecture
The New York Review of Architecture reviews architecture, in New York. It publishes as a monthly broadsheet.
architecture  events 
13 days ago
city != computer
Daniel Engelberg presents us with a social and legal history
of land use and transportation interaction models, arguing
that we can look to their presence in the legal record for evidence
that boundary objects provide usefully shifting ground
for conflict and contestation.
• Adrianna Boghozian examines citizen sensing and mobile
alert systems, engaging with questions of attention and
efficacy to articulate a vision for dispersed alert systems that
meaningfully shift individual action in response to environmental
• Jay Dev seeks to distill a framework for meaningful participation
into parts of the data life cycle that often go untouched
by discourses of democratization–namely, analysis–teasing
out wisdom from case studies and aligned disciplinary experiments
in participatory methods.
• Maia Woluchem asks after the alternative ontologies enabled
by legislative and policy change, subsequently asking
the more difficult question: even when categories change our
political imagination, how are these imaginations constrained
by the power to make information actionable?
• Arianna Salazar Miranda creates a graphic representation
of the professional networks growing up around cybernetic
expertise, particularly as its influence began to infiltrate the
design disciplines in the postwar era.
• Agnes Cameron issues something of an ethical manifesto for
computational care, arguing that the internet could be more
like a garden - something to tend, maintain, and attend to by
cultivating its idiosyncratic places as objects of care.
• Dylan Halpern constructs an index of contemporary motifs
for our pervasively mediated and monitored present, producing
a suggestive diagram of our discourse that rearticulates
common and uncommon language in an effort to make it
slightly stranger and more hyperactive in its associations.
smart_cities  algorithms  my_work  care 
13 days ago
Welcome to the Study Center for Group Work, an open access library of collaborative methods.

We focus on collaborative methods recommended by artists. These methods often embrace the unknown, encouraging people to listen deeply enough to be transformed. We invite you to learn about collaborative methods, to access teaching resources, and to see the schedule for upcoming events and jobs related to collaboration.

Collaborative groups often want to work on:
group functioning (Asset Mapping) (Diagram Hacking), decision-making (Voting and Ranking), role clarification (Threeing) (Questions for Schematic Theater), healing and care (Support), shared leadership (Leadership Compass), communication (Hand Signals) (Intergroup Dialog) (A Field Guide to Spatial Intimacy), conflict resolution (Shark, Owl, Turtle, Teddy Bear, Fox), reflection (Three-Line Matrix) (Group Self-Assessment), analysis of images and systems (Project 404) (Mirror/Echo/Tilt), and speculative futures (Objects as Fictions, The Alternative Unknowns).
collaboration  tools  methodology 
15 days ago
Plantón Móvil | Queens Museum
“Plantón” is the word in Spanish for a sapling. It is also the word for a sit-in. This project takes on both: the green to be planted and the peaceful protest. People of all ages, abilities and backgrounds are invited to lend their mobility to a group of trees and plants so they can walk down the streets, like a small forest reclaiming its place and respect in the city. At the end of the walk, the trees and plants contribute to a new or existing public space.

Plantón Móvil is a project by Lucia Monge that has been realized on an annual basis internationally since 2010. This iteration, produced in collaboration with local communities and co-facilitated by Lucia Monge, Ana-Maria Quispe and Claudia Urdanivia, will explore migration and plant-human relationships, specifically from the perspective of immigrant communities and how they connect to their heritage as well as the green spaces of the city. The Plantón Móvil will migrate from Queens Museum through Flushing Meadows Corona Park, culminating in a planting and a plant-human community gathering. Join us in a collective plant-human migration!
plants  movement  walking  protest  botanical_art 
17 days ago
Emergency Urbanism in Sabra, Beirut in: Public Anthropologist Volume 1 Issue 2 ( 2019)
Since the mid-1980s, generations of displaced people have sought refuge in the ramshackle buildings that were once the Gaza-Ramallah Hospital, a multi-story hospital complex built by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (plo). Damaged during the civil war, today the buildings blend in with the run-down Sabra-Shatila neighbourhood in Beirut’s “misery belt.” This paper charts the buildings’ history and main characters: the lodgers, landlords, and gatekeepers who respectively lease, rent, and control the dilapidated buildings’ dark corridors, cramped flats, and garbage-strewn stairways. The multi-story buildings are examples of emergency urbanism whereby displaced people seek refuge in cities, and their story can be read as a vertical migration history of people escaping conflict, displacement, and destitution. Examining the buildings as archives of spatial and political histories provides a genealogy of displacement and emplacement that can inform the study of emergency urbanism and point to solutions in cities for refugees lacking access to affordable housing.
architecture  migration  refugees  emergency  archives  housing 
18 days ago
Computational Landscapes and the New Sublime — Strelka Mag
A logistics network is not like Archizoom’s No-Stop City; it is not a generator of equality and opportunity. It is, instead, the spatialization of private interests. It is a fragmented system made of servers, undersea fiber optic cables, and fulfillment centers that forms desolate landscapes and human-exclusion zones.

The Amazon fulfillment center’s main actor is Kiva—a small robot that drives around in a seemingly chaotic way, dodging its fellow robots and packages as it goes. It follows a gridded path. The path’s contours are traced by markers dotting the floor. Using arrays of sensors, clusters of autonomous Kivas follow algorithmic rules and react to the world around them. In that sense, they behave like super-organisms—groups of synergistically-interactive organisms of the same species. An ant colony is a super-organism made of eusocial insects. They behave like a single organism, with different roles and different functions performed by each individual. They have a common purpose—survival and reproduction—but they act without leadership.
logistics  data_space  media_space  landscape 
19 days ago
The Sacred Fire of a Data Center — Strelka Mag
On the face of it, the Amazon Tallaght data center recycling its waste heat into the community would appear a sensible Idea. And, if implemented correctly, it would act as a model to be used to make data centers the glowing hearth of communities across the globe. As communities gather around and plug-in to these new mega-hearths, are we witnessing the latest morphology of society shaped by fire? For the Romans, the vestal fire represented the health of civic society. These neo-hearths represent the interests of private capital. Is the Smart City’s most radical manifestation occurring in our hot water pipes?

As we outpace the Jevons paradox, producing and consuming exponentially more data, we are exhausting more and more heat; contemporary global society has become a data furnace, spewing heat into an atmosphere already burning up. To media theorist Nicole Starosielski, “the language of thermodynamics can help to describe the extensive transformations of technological modernity—one that is heating up, increasing in entropy, and ultimately moving toward a ‘heat death.’”
data_centers  infrastructure  heat  thermodynamics  energy 
19 days ago
About - I SEE YOU
The See project aims to bring social, cultural and representational equity to the built landscapes and public iconography of the city. It looks to contribute to global and local discourse by documenting and disseminating representative narratives of the lives of the people of Cape Town.
urban_studies  palimpsest  mapping  multimodal_scholarship 
19 days ago
Irritated… Deep in the Mix: How to Use a Mud Muse - e-flux Architecture - e-flux
Theory attuned to disorderly entwinements is now catching up to Rauschenberg’s provocation, such as Shannon Mattern’s recent history of five thousand years of urban media, in which she dives into civilizations’ material substrate of mud and its analogs clay, stone, brick, and concrete that “have supplied the foundations for our human settlements and forms of symbolic communication,” and thus bind together “our media, urban, architectural, and environmental histories.”
mud  materiality  urban_history  my_work 
20 days ago
Notes for the Waiting Room — Carolyn Lazard
[A spread of the newspaper-print publication. The left page is titled "Being Your Own Advocate: Doctor's Appointment Prep Questions," with three columns of questions categorized "before appointment," "questions/concerns about treatment," "after appointment," leaving room for writing beneath each question. The right page is titled "Pain Addendum," with panels of text, hand-drawn graphics of blank speech bubbles, and blank boxes — the latter two leaving space left for the reader to fill in.]

Carolyn Lazard and Jesse Cohen

Notes for the Waiting Room, 2017

installation with accompanying publication (Canaries and Taraneh Fazeli), and images of its distribution, dimensions variable

Photo credit: Matthew Vicari
waiting  installation  temporality  health 
22 days ago
In the Land of Drought, 2015/2017 | Julian Rosefeldt
A condensed version of Rosefeldt's filmic interpretation of Joseph Haydn's The Creation and conceived for the Ruhrtriennale 2015, In the Land of Drought (2015/2017) confronts the relationship between man and his impact on the world. Set to atmospheric sounds and a pulsating hum, the 43-minute piece looks back from an imagined future upon the post-Anthropocene: the aftermath of significant human influence on Earth. An army of scientists appear to investigate archeologically at the remnants of civilisation after humanity has made itself extinct. Shot entirely using a drone, Rosefeldt's images hover meditatively over the desolate landscape and ruins. Connoting surveillance, the drone's bird's eye view removes human perspective with us onlookers kept at a distance throughout.

Increasingly, more figures dressed in white lab suits emerge to inspect the ruins of civilisation – which are in fact abandoned film sets close to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. The overall-clad bodies appear in stark contrast to the dull landscape, like alien visitors who were perhaps once familiar with this ruined wasteland.

Halfway through, the audience is transported to the comparably bleak Ruhr area of Germany where the remains of industrialisation lie. The same 'scientists' prowl the abandoned mining region, amidst the headframes and coal-pits, wandering across lonely land before finally descending upon an amphitheatre. As seen from the audience's heavenly outlook, the amphitheatre resembles an eye, and its all-seeing ability is reflective of the panoptic aerial viewpoint. Thus, a dialogue unfolds between the two perspectives of control: the eye on the ground and the drone's eye overhead. As the steady hum livens to a climatic rhythm, the figures draw close only to disperse again. Reminiscent of cell division, the unifying aesthetics hint at a prospective optimism amidst a dislocated world man has created.
anthropocene  extraction  archaeology  video 
22 days ago
Exhibitions — Julian Rosefeldt Manifesto - - Hauser & Wirth
Hauser & Wirth is proud to announce the West Coast premiere of ‘Manifesto’ (2015), the 13-channel film installation by visual artist Julian Rosefeldt.

‘Manifesto’ pays homage to the moving tradition and literary beauty of artist manifestos, ultimately questioning the role of the artist in society today. ‘Manifesto’ draws on the writings of Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Suprematists, Situationists, Dogme 95 and other artist groups, and the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers. Passing the ideas of Claes Oldenburg, Yvonne Rainer, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Sturtevant, Sol LeWitt, Jim Jarmusch, and other influencers through his lens, Rosefeldt has edited and reassembled thirteen collages of artists’ manifestos.

Performing this ‘manifesto of manifestos’ as a contemporary call to action, while inhabiting thirteen different personas – among them a school teacher, a puppeteer, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless man – Australian actress Cate Blanchett imbues new dramatic life into both famous and lesser known words in unexpected contexts.
manifesto  video_art 
22 days ago
(18) (PDF) Technopolitics: Materiality, Power, Theory | Gabrielle Hecht -
How do technologies and material assemblages perform power? How are their designs and uses shaped by social, cultural, and political dynamics? How do they shape those dynamics? The course draws on an interdisciplinary body of literature in humanities and social science, mixing theoretical material with more empirically oriented studies, and including a mix of classics and new scholarship.
STS  syllabus  my_work 
22 days ago
Light Industry
In 1972, Boston’s PBS affiliate WGBH became the first television outlet in the world to include captions for the hearing-impaired as part of its programming, doing so initially with Julia Childs’s popular cooking series The French Chef. Closed-captioning, which can be turned off and on, had yet to be invented, so Childs’s show was broadcast with its monologue in open captions, visible to anyone sighted who tuned in. For those who were deaf or hard of hearing, the event offered a new level of access to mass media, yet it also signalled to others the barriers, theretofore unacknowledged, that many of their fellow viewers had faced.

For their video A Recipe for Disaster, Carolyn Lazard created a continuous loop made from one of the earliest captioned episodes of The French Chef—a half-hour lesson on how to prepare an omelet, presented in its entirety. Augmenting this source material, Lazard has included their own voice as audio captioning, providing verbal descriptions of on-screen actions for low-vision audiences. They have further added a kind of manifesto, rendered in crawling, yellow, all-caps lettering, that is simultaneously read by a second voice. Like Child and her omelettes, Lazard combines three simple ingredients—image, sound, text—yielding a work that is variously legible, or illegible, depending on who encounters it.

And like Marcel Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema, whose ribald puns and spiralling designs so thoroughly toyed with the intertitles of the silent era, A Recipe for Disaster expands the graphic possibilities for language on screen by repurposing its conventional functions. Allowing the familiar form of the caption—often understood as supplementary, tucked neatly below the picture or between bits of dialogue—to completely dominate the field of perception, Lazard doesn't simply call attention to this vital tool of accessibility, but instead hints at an entirely new paradigm, one in which access is not an accommodating afterthought but rather a fundamental principle of social organization.
textual_form  disability  captions 
23 days ago
Design Research is Anthropology Applied with Amy Santee by This Anthro Life • A podcast on Anchor
At long last we are back! In this episode host Adam Gamwell talks with Design Researcher and Strategist Amy Santee.

This is one of these conversations that's a few years in the making. Adam has been following Amy's work for a while now both on her blog where she writes about anthropology in industry, design and business, on LinkedIn and other social media sites as well as at conferences sharing the good work of doing anthropology in industry. Adam and Amy discuss what Design Research is and how it works, how it aligns and differs from traditional anthropology and ethnography, and how tactics and methods can be applied both in industry or academia.
anthrodesign  user_research  design_research 
25 days ago
Le Corbuffet: Conceptual Cookbook Presents Art-Inspired Recipes as Contemporary Sculptures | Colossal
From the mind of Esther Choi comes a new cookbook titled Le Corbuffet: Edible Art and Design Classics. The writer, photographer, and artist has compiled a list of recipes inspired by artists, designers, and their creations, all staged in contemporary arrangements. Recipes seek to distill the practices of figures such as Frida Kahlo and Barbara Kruger into their best and most delicious aspects—like the crisp and bright Frida Kale-o Salad, or the crimson-colored and acerbic Rhubarbara Kruger Compote.

The idea was first launched during a series of participatory dinner parties Choi hosted in 2015 after discovering a 1937 menu designed by artist László Moholy-Nagy for Bauhaus founder and architect Walter Gropius. After creating her own set of detailed dishes, she decided to compile them into a book that would be a playful spin on the artists she admired.

“I hosted the first in a series of ‘Le Corbuffets’ in my Brooklyn apartment, a project which carried on until 2017,” she explains on her website. “Offering meals to an assortment of guests, these social gatherings revolved around the consumption of absurd, pun-inspired dishes that referred to canonical artists and designers. As a commentary on the status of art, food, and design as commodities to be ‘gobbled up’ by the market, the project deliberately twisted idioms to explore the notion of ‘aesthetic consumption’ though taste and perception.”
design  food  speculative_design  cookbook  lists  textual_form 
25 days ago
View of Guerrilla Cartography: Promoting Diverse Perspectives and the Expansion of the Cartographic Arts | Cartographic Perspectives
Guerrilla Cartography is an organization that seeks to popularize thematic maps with a variety of styles and perspectives in an accessible and engaging format. Through our projects, we provide examples of diverse narrative viewpoints in map form, allowing readers to expand their ideas of what kinds of stories maps can tell and imagine the stylistic possibilities for visual expression in this medium. Among other activities, we publish crowdsourced atlases with the aim to widely promote the cartographic arts, and have thus far published Food: An Atlas (2013) and Water: An Atlas (2017). Because the maps are collected in published volumes, the atlases build legitimacy for marginal or atypical cartographic voices. We promote accessibility by publishing the atlases both as physical books and as free, downloadable PDF documents on our website: Each map, created by a different group on a different topic, is placed in relationship to other maps and information, inviting the reader to think critically about each map’s authorship, style, and content.
cartography  mapping  atlas 
25 days ago
View of “Mapping-with”: The Politics of (Counter-)classification in OpenStreetMap | Cartographic Perspectives
By unpacking the theoretical work of Donna Haraway, I also argue for a return to the critical potential of feminist science and technology studies within cartography, signposted by the ongoing work of feminist and queer geographers such as Pavlovskaya (2018), Giesking (2018), Leszczynski and Elwood (2015), and Kwan (2007)—not simply as a tool for a feminist critique, but a way of remaking worlds, rather than just remaking maps. That mapping has troubles is not a new argument: significant empirical research has been undertaken documenting and advancing our understanding of the technopositional (Wilson 2017), tacit (McHaffie 2002), institutionalised (Gekker 2016), and politicised (Thatcher and Imaoka 2018) practices undertaken by cartographers, educators, and geographic information scientists. Furthermore, that the politics of mappings are based in situated knowledges (Wilmott 2016), embodied (Lin 2006), vernacular (Gerlach 2015), and taken up in the everyday (Del Casino and Hanna 2005) is also well documented within cartographic research.
mapping  cartography  ontology  haraway  classification 
26 days ago
Understand customers' lifestyle choices, what they buy, and how they spend their free time. Tapestry gives you insights to help you identify your best customers, optimal sites, and underserved markets. As a result, you will get higher response rates, avoid less profitable areas, and invest your resources more wisely.
mapping  marketing  population 
26 days ago
Porto_Paper - Google Docs
I want to work towards, to use a term that Arturo Escobar has recently brought to the attention of designers, a pluriverse: a world, as the Zapatistas so beautifully articulate, where many worlds fit. But what does it truly mean to design towards a world where many worlds fit?...

The field of cultural anthropology, for example, despite its long history of reducing non-Anglo-European peoples through explaining them from Anglo-Eurocentric perspectives, has nevertheless had decades of internal discourse and critique of its own ontological and epistemological foundations, especially regarding its assumptions about cultural Others, and decades of documentation on systems of knowledge and meaning that defy any neat categorization or explanation along Western or modern world-views.
Certainly, after the ‘ontological turn’ in the anthropology, represented in the work of Marilyn Strathern, Vivieros de Castros, Philippe Descolla and Martin Holbraad... Thus, the very ontological categories through which we think about the world, including our definitions of what ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ are, as well as the very categories of difference that are prefigurative of our politics, i.e., ‘gender’, ‘race’, ‘class’, and so on, are categories that are unstable, specific and local to certain communities, sites, and time periods - they are always cosmo-ontologies.

I mention this history of critical discourse in anthropology particularly because we find little of it actually filtering into how design research is taught in design schools, or for that matter, how it is practiced in the field. As scholars, we must be very careful in not (re)producing the kinds of reductive and universalizing observations and conclusions that dominate many historical accounts produced by designers of people and their contexts, lacking any nuanced understanding of cosmologically situated ontological difference, or reflection on the kinds of ontologies that are being employed in order to make sense of design’s others and their lifeworlds....

And yet, if we are to truly ‘design’ our way towards a world of worlds, if at all design is the appropriate term to use for this given that the pluriverse should not emerge solely through the materializations of designers, we must ask what decolonisation means if we take it to be the practice of decentering our most deeply held notions about reality and other beings to make space for other conceptions of reality and life to emerge, take root, and materialize in the world. We cannot, I argue, practice decolonisation and advocating for designs that are ‘local’, to use another word that has become popular in design discourse, without changing the way we think about how ontological difference is itself cosmologically contingent and local to people and their communities.
decolonization  anthrodesign 
26 days ago
Dovetail Labs
Dovetail Labs is a mission-driven, independent research & consulting firm founded by academic anthropologists dedicated to shaping technology for the human good.

We apply cutting-edge social science insights to help policy makers, human rights activists, foundations, technology companies, and other stakeholders make technology ethical, fair, accountable, transparent, and inclusive.

We offer advising, research, and impact assessment for every stage of technology design, development, implementation, and monitoring. ...

Ethnography entails detailed, on-the-ground study of social systems. Our expert advisors and researchers draw on a critical social science toolkit of qualitative and quantitative methods.

By investigating contexts, processes, and webs of meaning, we generate real-world insights about how technology affects people’s everyday lives and impacts society at large. Ethics cannot be merely a philosophical exercise. We must understand how technology impacts people’s lives.
anthrodesign  consulting 
26 days ago
Podcast, Nick Seaver: “What Do People Do All Day?” - MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing
The algorithmic infrastructures of the internet are made by a weird cast of characters: rock stars, gurus, ninjas, wizards, alchemists, park rangers, gardeners, plumbers, and janitors can all be found sitting at computers in otherwise unremarkable offices, typing. These job titles, sometimes official, sometimes informal, are a striking feature of internet industries. They mark jobs as novel or hip, contrasting starkly with the sedentary screenwork of programming. But is that all they do? In this talk, drawing on several years of fieldwork with the developers of algorithmic music recommenders, Seaver describes how these terms help people make sense of new kinds of jobs and their positions within new infrastructures. They draw analogies that fit into existing prestige hierarchies (rockstars and janitors) or relationships to craft and technique (gardeners and alchemists). They aspire to particular imaginations of mastery (gurus and ninjas). Critics of big data have drawn attention to the importance of metaphors in framing public and commercial understandings of data, its biases and origins. The metaphorical borrowings of role terms serve a similar function, highlighting some features at the expense of others and shaping emerging professions in their image. If we want to make sense of new algorithmic industries, we’ll need to understand how they make sense of themselves.
maintenance  algorithms  labor  ethnography  anthrodesign 
27 days ago
Library, a Social Condenser
Library, a Social Condenser in Queens, NY traces the history of the Hunter's Point Community Library’s development and the uncompromising fight to keep the realized structure true to its original conception—that of a social catalyst in the midst of dense, high-rise structures.

Through the collective commentary of individuals involved in or influenced by the project, this hybrid film and book project provide insight into an individual and collective fight for the common good; at the same time demonstrating for multiple audiences what can be accomplished when excellence in design and the persistence of government officials and community leaders combine to protect and enhance public space.

Noted architecture publisher Lars Muller and Spirit of Space Films, architecture-focused filmmakers, are working cooperatively to develop a book and a 60-minute documentary film that chronicle the planning, design and construction of the library. Released at the same time in the fall of 2018, both tools will be distributed through their respective channels—specialized publications in architecture and urbanism, and outlets for independent film.
libraries  design_process 
28 days ago
Urban Democracy Lab
The Urban Democracy Lab promotes critical, creative, just, and sustainable forms of urbanism primarily through novel forms of practice-based research. Our work focuses on new forms of urban democracy, whether in governance, activism, self-management, or creative production, and is fueled by a core set of beliefs:

As a university-based initiative, we believe that universities can play a critical civic role in promoting social justice scholarship, curricular innovation, public engagement, and programming.
Inspired by the idea of a social lab, we believe in experimentation, collaboration, and in reaching in the direction of systemic solutions.
While we are based in New York City, we are globally engaged, as we believe each urban context offers a unique opportunity for research, learning, and collaboration.

In keeping with these values, we sponsor several fellowships for students each year, and maintain an active roster of visiting scholars from around the globe. We have a dedicated student advisory board and sponsor a number of working groups and ongoing projects. Central to our work are our community partners, and we maintain several active partnerships with groups and organizations that help give our work direction and to whom we remain accountable.
urban_studies  ethnography  anthrodesign 
29 days ago
About — Samba rhino
Dr Ramon Amaro (@SambaRhino) is a Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Previously he was Research Fellow in Digital Culture at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and visiting tutor in Media Theory at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL (KABK). Ramon completed his PhD in Philosophy at Goldsmiths, while holding a Masters degree in Sociological Research from the University of Essex and a BSe in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has worked as Assistant Editor for the SAGE open access journal Big Data & Society; quality design engineer for General Motors; and programmes manager for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). His research interests include machine learning, design / engineering, black ontology, and philosophies of being.
artificial_intelligence  blackness  race 
29 days ago
Science, Technology, and Society Syllabus – Danya Glabau
Assignment 1: Interview a scientist

For this assignment, you will interview a scientist (or an engineer, designer, or doctor who does research regularly as part of their practice) and write up a 5 page essay summarizing and analyzing your conversation. You should refer to course materials covered so far for ideas about what to ask, how to listen, and how to interpret what you hear. 15% of your grade.
Assignment 2: Infrastructure walk

Pick a partner and a neighborhood in New York or nearby. Plan a ½ mile walk (use Google Maps or equivalent to pick a route of appropriate distance) and take a walk together. Take notes, pictures, sketches, screenshots, etc, of the infrastructures and maintenance work that you observe along the way. Together, write up a 5-6 page description of what you find, citing at least 2 essays from the class to help you analyze what you see. 15% of your grade.
Assignment 3: Ethics guide for a future technology

Following our in-class technology speculation exercise, you will write up an ethics guide governing the design, use, and/or distribution of the technology you designed. Each member of your group should come up with their own guide. The guide should be written for the appropriate future audience and should be 2-3 pages long. You should include some statement explaining why the guide was written, in addition to your recommendations. You can format it however you like (manifesto, statement of principles, guidelines, bulleted list of rules) as long as it makes sense for your technology and intended audience. 15% of your grade.
STS  assignments  syllabus 
4 weeks ago
Gabi Schaffzin
“Pen To Paper” (2019) asks subjects to submit anthropometric data via photographic capture, thus are being implicated in the deconstruction and recontextualization of the human body.

Using a combination of computer vision and machine learning, along with the relatively antiquated pen plotter, this work argues that projects such as Henry Dreyfuss’s Measure of Man or IA Collaborative’s Humanscale Reissued fetishize an aesthetic governed and proliferated by a small group of standards-making organizations.

By diagramming the body with visual elements understood to be standards, the power held by those with the expertise in the standardized visual language of drafting and engineering is reified. Practitioners establish themselves as the definitive authorities on how a body should interact with the built world. From phrenology to Taylorism, the dimensioned human body has played a central part in efforts to effect the organization and construction of both the social and physical worlds.

With the specific implementation of engineering standards onto the drawn body, however, Henry Dreyfuss’s The Measure of Man and its descendants are critical progenitors of a discourse that frames the body as another object that can be adjusted to the whim of the designer.
disability  tools  standards  anthrodesign 
4 weeks ago
FAR FROM HOME - Artforum International
Across its ninety—seven pages, Directions to My House includes diaristic fragments, poems, family photographs, and reproductions of artworks. These scattered components, alternately deadpan and personal, add up to a provisional portrait of their elusive author: the “Indian” artist Zarina (surname: Hashmi—though she prefers to be known by her given name).

Zarina’s book contains information the intensely private artist has never revealed before: It tells us about her childhood in Aligarh (in Uttar Pradesh in northern India), where she was born in 1937; it records her marriage, at twenty-one, to an Indian diplomat, with whom she traveled the world (Bangkok, Tokyo, Paris, Bonn); it tells of her move to New York in 1976 (where she read Lucy Lippard, joined the Heresies collective, and co-organized an exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery with Ana Mendieta). We learn about her fascination with flying and her childhood love for her father’s house on the Aligarh Muslim University campus. The book might be construed as a manifesto for her practice: The ideas of displacement, memory, mobility, and loss that weave throughout its pages are the leitmotifs of Zarina’s oeuvre....

Zarina is best-known for her prints, especially woodblock, lithography, intaglio, and silk screen. But she also handcrafts sculptures in papier-mâché, metal, wood, and terra-cotta. Throughout her work, the subject of home is key, often dominating her titles. (Think of Father’s House 1898–1994, 1994, a print depicting the floor plan of her childhood home, or Homes I Made/A Life in Nine Lines, 1997, a set of nine spare, shadowy prints that represent the homes Zarina occupied during her adult life.) But this home is never fixed—it is always on the move. Home retreats into memory; it changes with the cities she inhabits. Homes I Made, 1984–92, is a suite of tiny houses placed on a triangular white ledge. Either molded from terra-cotta or cast in aluminum and fitted with wheels, these objects are crudely fashioned—like a child’s idea of “home”—and yet so fragile that they feel precious. Their minuscule, pointy forms recall both uninhabited houses and toy carts. Perhaps these mobile objects refer to migration, Zarina’s own as well as the continual transit that iterates that condition we too glibly call the “global.” The closer we look at the sculptures, the sadder they seem. Their aluminum bodies are not shiny, but dark. Their shapes recall tombstones. Is migration a living death? Is home forever lost to those who leave?...

The print Dividing Line, 2001, also reads as a reference to partition. A sinister, spidery black line bifurcating a cream page, it suggests the so-called Radcliffe Line, the geopolitical boundary—named after the British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe—that divides the subcontinent’s 175,000 square miles.

The Radcliffe Line recurs in Zarina’s woodcut Atlas of My World IV, 2001. Here, the map of South Asia is split by a thick black route that runs beyond the borders of the map, extending onto the edges of the page like a gash. (India and Pakistan are labeled in Urdu, the artist’s mother tongue.) Such lines in Zarina’s prints are often blurry, like damaged arteries that continue to leak blood. There is violence to her method; she hacks the lines out of the wood she uses for printing. These gouges give startling clarity to the continuing anguish of division....

The exhibition could not have been more appropriately situated. Dubai is now home to many South Asians, who will never obtain citizenship there—that status is reserved for Arab Emiratis—and the South Asian experience of the UAE embodies the conditions Zarina repeatedly explores in her work: of ephemeral abodes, of diaspora, of home being “foreign.”....

The series comprises thirty-six semiabstract forms that Zarina calls “idea images.” These include a tiny floor plan of her Aligarh home, a vertical line or a horizontal one, black triangles, cream squares, crosses. Their subtle simplicity recalls the inky pictography of ancient Japanese and Chinese calligraphy; this impression that is extended thanks to the words in Urdu—“journey,” “border,” “road,” and “time”—that accompany each picture. And so, while the images appear to be abstract, they also embody the concepts to which they are tied. The threshold permeates all of them. It is the line that divides, but also one that invites visitors into one’s home. It makes home a foreign place, and a foreign place home.
architecture  home  map_art  borders  diaspora  lines 
4 weeks ago
GAMING THE SYSTEM - Artforum International
New Zealand artist Simon Denny used Crawford and Joler’s forensic analysis of the Echo ecosystem as the intellectual framework for his exhibition “Mine,” which opened in June at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Australia. Since 2013, Denny’s work has explored how twenty-first-century data-based capitalism is finally undoing any remaining balance between labor and capital, undermining the nation-state model, threatening the viability of fiat currencies, and accelerating the arrival of sentient machines likely to supplant us as the world’s dominant form of intelligence. Whereas the artist’s previous projects sprang from specific contemporary instances of the handling and exploitation of information—Edward Snowden’s leaks, the US Department of Justice’s shutdown of Kim Dotcom’s site Megaupload—this time he took his cues from Crawford and Joler’s argument that both our relentless obsession with new technologies and the greed of the megacompanies that build them are not only enabling those companies to harvest huge swaths of data from us but also doing untold damage to the planet. Consequently, at MONA, Denny has created a three-part waking nightmare, addressing the exploitative practices of Amazon in one room, targeting the increasing automation of Australia’s massive mining industry in a second, and, in the final space, inviting the museum’s curators to assemble an exhibition of figurative sculpture (including two of his own works) on the theme of labor and automation.

The first of Denny’s horrors was built according to designs presented in Amazon’s US Patent No. 9,280,157, for a worker’s cage that, according to Crawford and Joler, “can be moved through a warehouse by the same motorized system that shifts shelves filled with merchandise. Here, the worker becomes a part of a machinic ballet, held upright in a cage which dictates and constrains their movement.”2 The cage—both Amazon’s designs and Denny’s pristine white sculpture, complete with the patent drawings’ original reference numbers—is a monstrous manifestation of how data capitalism exploits the human labor at the bottom of the food chain. Inside Denny’s cage is one of the many augmented-reality (AR) “triggers” placed throughout the show, an evolved version of the scannable QR codes that have become ubiquitous digital shortcuts for everything from boarding passes to advertising promotions. Denny’s AR triggers are scannable with one of MONA’s proudest achievements: its “O” visitor guides, which resemble smartphones and geolocate users within the museum to provide them with information about nearby artworks. (Guests can also choose to download the O app to their iPhones.) Just like the Echo, the O devices are data-harvesting tools, providing MONA with enormous amounts of information about its visitors, including how long they spend in each part of the museum and how they interact with O’s “love or hate” artwork-rating system....

If the first room is stark, the second is Candy Crush chromatic—dominated by large cardboard cutouts of automated machines manufactured by the corporate giants of the global mining industry, including Rio Tinto, Komatsu, and CAT. On the gallery floor is a blown-up image of the 1960s Australian board game Squatter, a kind of outback version of Monopoly in which the main assets are sheep stations.
data_art  data_privacy  surveillance  patents  mining  extraction 
4 weeks ago
Why Can’t New York City Build More Gems Like This Queens Library? - The New York Times
Compact, at 22,000 square feet and 82 feet high, the library is among the finest and most uplifting public buildings New York has produced so far this century.

It also cost something north of $40 million and took forever to complete. So it raises the question: Why can’t New York build more things like this, faster and cheaper?...

On dark days and evenings, its enormous, eccentric windows will act like inviting beacons of light, attracting eyes and feet. They carve whimsical jigsaw puzzle pieces out of a cool, silvered-concrete facade.

That facade is a load-bearing structure, allowing the library’s liberated interior to spiral some 60 feet upward and outward from a shallow canyon-like lobby, unfolding in elevation as a sequence of tiered desks, book stacks and social spaces. The inside is mostly warm bamboo, with spectacular views. ...

Over the years, it became a poster child for the perils of public architecture in New York, as if the ambition of its design and not the city’s broken bureaucracy was to blame for the library’s extended timetable and escalating budget.

From the start, pea counters in the city’s Office of Management and Budget didn’t see why Hunters Point needed a big fancy library, notwithstanding all the new apartment towers going up, bringing in droves of young families. The pea counters held the project up. Delays raised costs...

It’s not hard to find architects, clients, builders, public officials and others familiar with the city’s capital construction program ready to unleash symphonic tirades about New York’s crazy procurement rules, about the petty, internecine squabbles among city agencies, about the city-required shotgun marriages between architects and contractors, the costly and onerous liability regulations, notoriously late payments and a vast, sclerotic bureaucracy that squanders millions of tax dollars by causing needless, yearslong delays in the name of value engineering, then scapegoats architects.
architecture  procurement  contracts  infrastructure  libraries 
4 weeks ago
Mapa Wiya Your Maps Not Needed Australian Aboriginal Art From The Fondation Opale - The Menil Collection
This fall, the Menil will present Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale. Meaning “no map” in the Pitjantjatjara language of the Central Australian desert region, the exhibition title is drawn from a recent drawing by artist Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams (1952–2019), the first showing of his work in an American art museum. His recuperation of official government maps and postal bags is a pointed response to the foreign cartographies of the country that Australian Aboriginal peoples embody.

Country is the foundation for the autonomous ways of the Aboriginal peoples. Vast deserts and rainforests with their distinctive rock formations and water holes, and other meaningful spaces, including the land on which cities have been built—these are the diverse terrains of their lives. They are places in which the laws and primordial creations of ancestors are always present, where painfully violent colonial histories are memorialized, and potential futures are reclaimed in song and dance. Knowing the land, moving through it, and living with its deeply embedded song lines animate the rich visual expression of Aboriginal artists.

Reflecting on the long history of art making and different ways of Aboriginal peoples, Mapa Wiya highlights work created after the 1950s and includes more than 100 contemporary paintings, shields, hollow log coffins (larrakitj or lorrkkon), and engraved mother of pearl (lonka lonka or riji) held by the Fondation Opale in Lens, Switzerland, one of the most significant collections of Aboriginal art. The exhibition showcases large, vibrant, and at times collaboratively-painted works by internationally-recognized artists such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1932–2002), Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford (1922–2007), Emily Kame Kngwarreye (ca. 1910–1996), Gulumbu Yunupingu (1945–2012), John Mawurndjul (b. 1952), and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri (b. 1950).
mapping  cartography  indigenous 
4 weeks ago
Architecture Beyond Sight on Vimeo
[With English Subtitles] Architecture Beyond Sight (Andersen, 2019) follows Zoe Legg and Clarke Reynolds partaking on a study week for blind and visually impaired people at The Bartlett UCL, coordinated by The DisOrdinary Architecture Project. Investigating the two participant’s process of making, the film explores the non-visual aspects of architecture shot on 16mm film with sound recorded separately. By highlighting different ways that bringing visually impaired people into architecture and design could benefit the profession, the project is based on the assertion that to have a vision does not require sight.
architecture  design  disability 
4 weeks ago
Book Repair Lab: The Jefferson Market Library and the Women's House of Detention 2019-Ongoing : SJK
Book Repair Lab: The Jefferson Market Library and the Women's House of Detention, 2019

Did you ever find a book in the public library that was missing pages or falling apart at the binding? Books in high circulation often get damaged, and with their damage, information disappears. Book Repair Lab recovers books from the New York Public Library’s Hudson Park and Jefferson Market branches, repairs them at its workstation in the Kellen gallery at The New School, and returns them to circulation at the Rose M. Singer Center (jail) library on Rikers Island. Through this quiet performance of material care, books migrate from a public library to a private university. Although they are different institutions, The New School and the New York Public Library’s local branches have entwined histories in relation to the NYC correctional services. In the 1970s The New School sought to lease the lot at 10 Greenwich Avenue, the site of the Women’s House of Detention, with a plan to raze the prison and to build a new home for their Center for New York City Affairs in its place. The ground floor of this building was to house an extension of the Jefferson Market Library.

This plan never came to pass. While the arrangement would have been mutually beneficial since The New School’s library is modest (its students often depend upon the larger network of libraries available in New York City) the removal of the prison has complex implications for the history of incarceration and queerness in The West Village. Extending this history into the life of books, the libraries that house them, and the people who read them, Book Repair Lab actively works to fulfill the wishlist of books for the library at Rikers Correctional Center compiled individuals incarcerated there.

-Written by Macushla Robinson and Anna Harsanyi, Curators of In the Historical Present
repair  maintenance  books  book_art  libraries  library_art 
4 weeks ago
A/D/O by MINI | Dori Tunstall: decolonizing design
Decolonizing Design is the powerful directive of Dr Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and her colleagues. Their work sets out to untangle systems of oppression, silencing, and othering that are embedded in many design practices, objects, and structures, and to create a space that honors and enables indigenous practitioners and excluded voices. Under the design faculty ethos of “respectful design”, Tunstall said: “We want to engage respectfully with each other in terms of using our creative methodologies, to value different cultures, different ways of being, and different approaches to making.” This is not just an academic provocation but a requisite tenet of the institution....

Tunstall also spoke about the Iroquois Seven generation protocol, which uses the conditions of seven generations into the future to reflect on and steer the behaviors of today. In design it is a warning to be mindful of the materials, values, and systems that exist and the ones we are perpetuating into the future; the ones as designers you are equipped to create. She instills in her students that “the superpower of design is that it's actually one of the tools that you have to change your world and the world of people around you,” which is both a strength and responsibility....

There are a growing body of institutions and individuals creating and demanding change. One former student of OCAD, Pupul Bischt, has continued these lessons on into her own practice to found the Decolonizing Futures Initiative, which aims for inclusive innovation through engaging marginalized communities to discuss their preferred futures. Among the practitioners Tunstall mentioned was Ramon Tajeda – a professor at RISD and whose research interest lies, as he stated: “in the areas of disruption of the Design Canon, inclusivity, diversity, collaboration and the expansion and openings of design narratives and languages beyond the ‘traditional’ Westernized paradigm of design.” He has created an open access Decolonizing Design Reader to share sources with a wider public.

Another practitioner Tunstall listed was Sadie Red Wing, a Lakhota-Dakota graphic designer whose work discusses indigenous sovereignty. Through research and design, her project Learning the Traditional Lakhota Visual Language Through Shape Play, translates indigenous visual language into an updated version that can be used on a tablet. This conversation is part of a larger discussion of inclusivity in design taking place in institutions such as the AIGA, Parsons, and individual design practices predicated on practicing in a way that is accessible and mindful of differences.
decolonization  anthrodesign 
4 weeks ago
Bjarke Ingels designs an Astoria film production campus for Robert De Niro -
It’s no secret that New York’s film and television industry is booming, or that there’s been a recent real estate push for investment in spaces for the creation of shows, movies, and more.

Robert De Niro has thus enlisted the help of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design a “vertical village” for film in Astoria, Queens. Initial renderings were released this week, unveiling a 650,000-square-foot facility dedicated to film, television, and AR/VR atop the former home of a Steinway & Sons Piano Storage Facility.

The $400 million project was first announced in July when a group of investors, including the actor and his son, purchased the five-acre plot along Steinway Creek in the northwestern edge of Queens. Promising to bolster the city’s fast-growing production economy and provide over 1,000 daily union jobs, Wildflower Studios will be a “true destination film campus,” said Adam Gordon, president of the company, in an interview with The New York Times.
media_architecture  augmented_reality  film  media_production  media_space 
4 weeks ago
How We See Stewardship | Queens Museum
12:30-1:30pm: Curator Walk-through
Location: Community Partnership Gallery, 2nd floor
Lindsay K. Campbell, Research Social Scientist with the Forest Service will lead a tour of the exhibition Who Takes Care of New York? Artist, Julia Oldham will join to discuss her project Undiscovered City, featured in the show.
Julia Oldham’s work expresses moments of hope in a world on the edge of environmental collapse. Working in a range of media including video, animation and photography, she explores potential in places where human civilization and nature have collided uneasily. Selected exhibitions include Art in General in New York, NY; the Northwest Film Center at the Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; Disjecta, Portland, OR; and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA; and she was recently included in the Ecofutures Festival in London, UK. She received her MFA from the University of Chicago in 2005.
See Lindsay K. Campbell’s bio below.
RSVP here!

2-4pm: Panel: How We See Stewardship
Location: Queens Museum Auditorium, 2nd floor
Moderated by Lindsay Campbell (USDA Forest Service), Panelists Magali Duzant, Pamela Pettyjohn, Can Sucuoğlu, Erika Svendsen
Artists, scientists, and designers alike have brought Who Takes Care of New York to life by using the power of visualization to allow us to see stewardship and celebrate those who take care of our city. From the technical to the tactical, we will explore the various strategies employed by these practitioners. Join us for a discussion on the power of images, data visualization, and storytelling to communicate the important role that stewards play in caring for and shaping our city. RSVP here!


Dr. Lindsay K. Campbell is a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station – NYC Urban Field Station. Her research explores the dynamics of urban politics, natural resource stewardship, and sustainability policymaking. She is joint PI of STEW-MAP, which maps the social networks and spatial turf of environmental stewardship groups. Lindsay also helps lead the Science of the Living City program for the Urban Field Station, including the artists in residence program. Dr. Campbell holds a BA in Public Policy from Princeton University, a Masters in City Planning from MIT, and a PhD in Geography from Rutgers University...

Dr. Erika Svendsen is a social scientist with the USDA Forest Service. Erika is a leader in the field of environmental stewardship as it relates to community development, governance, and human well-being. She is the co-Director of the New York City urban field station, a special partnership between the Forest Service, NYC Parks and several NGOs and academic institutions. The field station is part of a growing network of cities and agencies working to advance research, cultivate ideas, and foster collaboration among scientists and practitioners. Erika is co-author of the book, How Planting Trees Strengthens the Roots of Democracy. She has received the USFS Chief’s Award for engaging urban America and an Early Career Scientist Award recognizing her co-development of STEW-MAP, a sustainability tool for assessing and visualizing the contributions of civic stewardship groups. Erika is also the former director of NYC Parks’ GreenThumb program from 1997-2001.
stewardship  multimodal_scholarship  care  trees 
4 weeks ago
CCTV cameras, robots and urban animals. An interview with Teresa Dillon – We Make Money Not Art
Thanks Régine. I agree that dialogues relating to surveillance, technology and cities have largely been human-centered. My motivation to explore the area is rooted across multiple vectors. In my human-ness, I’ve always felt very animal and that our human-ness emerges from an entanglement with other species and our environs. So this base sits within my work and is expressed in different manners through performances, sound works, writing, research and installations, I’ve made in relation to survival, encountering and the techno-civic.

The specific turn towards the effect of technology on other species emerged from work during the mid-2000s projects like OFFLOAD, Systems for Survival (2007), Come Outside (2005), The Listening Chair all took urban space as the carrier so to speak, through which relationships between nature, ecology, systems thinking and cybernetics were explored. These projects were collaborative works, which I created under the name polarproduce and involved many others, such as the artist Kathy Hinde. Back then we were operating from a post-apocalyptic, post-tipping point feeling and so the work embodied these ideas, that is the earthly, physical, bodily and material relations of consumption and its effects on the environs.

For example for Come Outside we took 25 people on a 2km bike ride in the city. Each bike was augmented with a battery, when the ride was completed, we joined the batteries together and attempted to boil the water for one cup of tea, while delivering a performative lecture on energy transfer under a tree. The Listening Chair simply used a mic to pick up surrounding urban sound at the level of a bat for example, and then transduced this into a range that humans could ‘hear’ like a bat.

I’ve also been interested in the effect of what is defined as noise pollution on animal life and this got extended through research I was carrying out in Berlin between 2014-2016, on how artists (such as Mario De Vega, Martin Howse, Christina Kubisch) are making the human made electromagnetic spectrum (EM) in cities audible. This work led specifically to exploring the effect of EM increase on animal and wildlife.
surveillance  noise  more_than_human  animals 
4 weeks ago
UNRENOT Intervention v1.0 - e-flux Architecture - e-flux
The framework for certification materializes as the UNRENOT Intervention seal. The certification system and its methodology is open to the public through the n´UNDO Projects Innovation Institute, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower citizens and municipalities and bring about an urban re-evolution.

The Institute administers the publicly available n´UNDO Certified™ Project Standard with the UNRENOT Intervention seal, which provides architects, designers, planners and engineerers, as well as governmental officials, regulators, municipalities, institutions, the private sector and citizens with clear, visible, and tangible criteria to certify a project’s quality of continuous urban improvement as well as commitment to sustainability and local communities.

The UNRENOT Intervention seal is granted to interventions that either UNDO, REDO, or NOT DO. Each area is detailed below, and are complemented by a series of projects that demonstrate best practice.
architecture  urban_planning  degrowth 
4 weeks ago
accessoires for the paranoid
The "Accessories for the Paranoid" explore an alternative approach to data security. As our physical environment reads, collects and stores an increasing amount of user information, this series of parasitic objects are designed to produce fake data. Through blurring our digital profiles, our true data identities get to hide behind a veil of fictive information.
data_privacy  speculative_design  privacy 
4 weeks ago
Climate Change Could Erase Human History. These Archivists Are Trying to Save It - VICE
the Repository Data Project isn’t just about archivists taking cultural stock. The project, at its core, forces us to ask difficult questions. In a changing world, one where climate change will change the way coastlines look and likely the way governments function in upcoming decades, who and what will we choose to remember?

Some archivists are organizing teach-ins for people to learn about how to protect their histories. Archivists are taking millions of records, and one by one, putting them in folders and vaults designed to withstand the worst conditions a warming world will bring. Archivists are starting to realize that we need to adapt to a changing world, because our cultural memory is at stake....

Tansey and Goldman also collaborated with Penn State University geographer Tara Mazurczyk and PSU librarian Nathan Piekielek to assess how these archives would be impacted by climate change. Their paper, which was published in the journal Climate Risk Management in 2018, found that climate change posts a severe risk to archives.

According to the study, 98.8 percent of archives are likely to be affected by at least one climate risk factor, such as sea level rise, storm surge, flooding, increased rain, warmer temperatures, or humidity. The researchers assessed conditions in a “business as usual” scenario, assuming that we collectively do little to nothing to mitigate climate change.
archives  climate_change 
4 weeks ago
The Decolonial Turn 2.0: the reckoning | anthro{dendum}
Anthropology, I was told again and again by British and European and other non-Indigenous interlocutors, was not the bad old discipline of yore because it had really spent introspective time wrangling with its paradoxes and violences. (Alternate discourse that frequently circulated: it wasn’t really that bad before, either, because those old anthropologists were simply products of their time!) I could almost feel a great white patriarchal arm reaching out to me from the depths of the discipline’s lair: ‘there, there poppet. We’re not the monster all your Indigenous colleagues claim us to be! We’ve published books on our past harms! We’ve held colloquia on our colonial past! We’re absolutely one hundred percent not the bad guys!’
anthropology  decolonization 
5 weeks ago
New Metaphors | Imaginaries Lab | Carnegie Mellon University
Through a series of workshops in 2017–18, we’ve been exploring a process for generating new kinds of metaphors, and then using those metaphors to inspire concepts for new kinds of interface design which could potentially help people understand things in different ways.

The intention of the workshops is that the process might be something designers can use or adapt for idea generation, or to provoke new kinds of thinking about interface design. The extent to which the metaphors merely provide initial ‘seed’ inspiration, or actually form the basis of the resulting design, varies.
design_process  metaphors  interfaces  interface_aesthetics 
5 weeks ago
Making Slides
There is more than one way to give a good talk, and there is more than one way to make “good slides” or—better—make good use of slides and other material you might want to show people. So the things I’ll talk about and especially the specific techniques I’ll discuss are selected from many good ways to present yourself and your work. Presenting is a two-sided process, where you should be comfortable with what you are saying (and how you’re saying it), on one side, and where your audience should be able to follow along and understand your message, on the other.
presentation  slides 
5 weeks ago
H-Net Reviews: Keith M. Murphy. Swedish Design: An Ethnography. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014
Throughout the book, the author refers to design in a general sense and presents excerpts of dialogues with himself and industrial/furniture designers within design studios in Stockholm. Design processes and practices are not the same across all design fields, and there is a tendency for the author to overlook this when making claims regarding the nature of the political in Swedish design and the influence different design methodologies and methods have upon form giving. There was also a tendency to present an anthropological point of view as providing understandings of Swedish design, which until Murphy’s ethnographic study have been limited. In this respect, reference to literature on cooperative design, participatory design, co-design, sustainable design, and design activism to name but a few approaches might have been helpful. As it is, I was not entirely convinced that the empirical materials of designers practices presented to support the claims of the particularities of Swedish design are in fact any different from more general understandings of industrial design processes and practices....

Design is presented at points throughout the book in generalist terms. As such, it is difficult for the reader to know what kind of design the author is referring to, what kind of designers he is working with, and therefore what particularities of different kinds of design practices are specific to each design field. Design can be concerned with the design of objects, but it can also be concerned with non-object-oriented processes—for example the design of strategy, policy, engineering systems, and infrastructure. I was also struck by the focus on the Stockholm design world as being the center of world design and Swedish design. I wonder how designers and design educators working and/or being educated in Umeå, Gothenburg, and Malmo would respond to that. What appears absent from the Stockholm design world that Murphy refers to is designers working either as independents or within larger companies who are focusing on more user-oriented approaches to designing. Here, there is an extensive history that references and acknowledges the social, political, and collaborative aspects of designing computer systems, artifacts, and industrial products in Sweden....

While impressive in the way he utilizes these concepts to trace the lines of enunciation and visibility, traces of his own critical reflexivity as a researcher concerning the limits of semiotic analysis for understanding what happens between designers during collaborative design practices in the generation and reproduction of form are for the most part unarticulated.
anthrodesign  design_methods  methodology 
5 weeks ago
(Dis)location/Black Exodus and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project – The Abusable Past
The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project emerged in 2013 during the dawn of the current tech boom in San Francisco, largely in order to provide data and tools useful to on-the-ground anti-displacement organizing. While initially the volunteer-run collective imagined that it would only provide one or two maps of evictions so that direct action and policy groups could organize with better eviction data, the AEMP has since expanded in scope, method, and geography. For one, it launched an oral history and narrative chapter in 2014, attentive to the fact that eviction markers and choropleths (shaded geographical areas) on cartesian maps, as anti-eviction as they might be, still reduce complex life stories and neighborhood histories to “dots on a map” (Maharawal and McElroy 2018).
We also became aware of the implicit violence produced by only producing maps of loss. We began producing oral histories and video pieces, rendering not only experiences of loss, but also resistance. These grew multiple life forms and iterations, finding their way into mural work, our first zine, light projection work, community storytelling events, presentations, reports, and more. We also soon began working in Alameda County, mostly in Oakland, in collaboration with an array of community partners and accomplices, much as we had already been doing in San Francisco (Graziani and Shi forthcoming). Over the last year, we opened chapters in New York City and Los Angeles, also tethered to other grassroots networks and groups. 

We realized, however, that there was still more to tell beyond our current work. In particular, we became aware of the temporal myopia we were accidentally participating in by dehistoricizing the current moment of dispossession. We found this to be particularly true when thinking through the roles of race and coloniality in dispossession. For this reason, over the last couple of years, the Bay Area AEMP chapter has been underway in producing new work that contextualizes the history undergirding the present moment. Although we recognize the importance of maintaining a critique of the Tech Boom 2.0 and the dispossession it incites, it is important for us not to deracinate displacement from its historic roots (McElroy and Werth 2019; Ramírez 2019)....

In 2015 and 2016, we launched into the creation of two new narrative/textual works. The latter of these has transformed into an atlas, entitled Counterpoints: A San Francisco Bay Area of Displacement and Resistance, which will come out with PM Press in 2020. With multiple AEMP editors and nearly 100 new visual pieces, maps, and narratives, the atlas is divided into seven interlinked chapters. The titles of these alone speak to how we have begun to theorize the thematics and temporalities of our mapping work: Evictions and Root Shock, Indigenous Geographies, Environmental Racism and Health, Gentrification and State Violence, Transportation and Infrastructure, Migration and Relocation, and Speculation and Speculative Futures...

The project takes the form of a print/online zine and public workshop series that uses arts-based methods to amplify the narratives and resistance of Bay Area communities facing displacement. Much like the origin story of our oral history project, (Dis)location was born out of an interest in humanizing data made visible by our quantitative maps. Committed to challenging traditional notions of where knowledge resides, the project collectivizes the archival process by foregrounding the voices of those often left out of the “official” historical record....

The zine begins with a question posed to the reader about relationships between (anti)Blackness and place, that we hope will shape readers’ engagement with topics of segregation, redevelopment and erasure, Black childhood, places of Black enjoyment and culture, and contestations over education, public housing, health, and environmental justice as they played out in the now ‘historically’ Black neighborhoods of San Francisco. Throughout the zine we use a thread motif to symbolize the interwoven nature of the individual stories and our work to thread them together and amplify the themes that emerged with historical research, photos, visual artwork, physical maps and creative cartographies.
mapping  cartography  eviction  multimodal_scholarship 
5 weeks ago
Toward Polymorphous Radio - Tactical Media Files
just as traditional forms of radio are in decline, its possibilities as an art form are reaching extreme potentials... Political activists for alternative culture in Japan had been involved traditionally with underground newspapers and magazines rather than electronic media. When youth subcultures started to develop mini-FM there was no immediate concern among political radicals...

free radio would not impose programs on a mass audience, whose numbers have been forecast, but would come across freely to a molecular public, in a way that would change the nature of communication between those who speak and those who listen...

Still now, there is a general feeling that the airwaves belong to the government. In fact, Japanese mass media always use the term national resource to describe the airwaves. However, we had a different idea about airwaves-that they should be public resources, not monopolized by the state....

I stumbled upon Article 4 in the Radio Regulations Book. It permits transmitting without a license if the power is very weak and is intended to accommodate wireless microphones and remote-control toys...

Even major advertising agencies tried to open mini-FM stations. The exact number is unknown, but it can be estimated from the number of small transmitters sold that, in a year, over one thousand stations appeared in Japan. People on college campuses, in housing complexes, coffee shops and bars, stalls at street fairs and even local offices started mini-FM stations. More than ten companies, including Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Hitachi and Sony, sold a transmitter labelled" For mini-FM use"....

We had intended to establish a free radio station, not to transmit a one-way performance that disregarded listeners as most stations did. ...

Theoretically, I had argued that mini-FM stations might be linked together to extend the transmission/reception area. Since the cost of each unit is cheap, one could have a number of radio sets and transmitters to relay to each other quite inexpensively. Radio Home Run was not so eager to do this but some stations succeeded in establishing a very sophisticated network to link together and extend their service areas. Through a number of experiments to remodel the transmitting system, create programs and pursue a new way of getting together, we came to the conclusion at Radio Home Run that we must work within a half-mile service area. Tokyo is densely populated so even a half-mile area has at least ten thousand inhabitants. This meant that mini-FM could function as community radio. Moreover, we realized that in the process of transmitting we were more conscious of our members than(possible)listeners. The action of transmitting together changed our relationships and feelings in a way that seemed distinct from the effects of other collective actions that did not involve transmitting. Further, we surmised that relationships differed because we were narrowcasting rather than broadcasting....

If you had the same number of transmitters as receivers, your radio sets could have completely different functions. Thus radio transmission technology could be available for individuals to take control of their transmission and reception. This block radio could reactivate diverse cultures and politics, "micro-politics"...

mini-FM has a powerful therapeutic function:an isolated person who sought companionship through radio happened to hear us and visited the mini-FM station;a shy person started to speak into the microphone;people who never used to be able to share ideas and values found a place for dialogue;an intimate couple discovered otherwise unknown fundamental misunderstandings. ...

In an Australian city like Canberra, the size of an idiosyncratic unit would be relatively large. Even if you wanted to narrowcast, you would need at least a ten-kilometre radius for the service area. On the other hand, in Manhattan, even one block would constitute a mini-FM unit....

My experiences have led me to imagine therefore what ends with radio:we are now in the process of surpassing radio as a communication means and as form of self-expression for artists....

How can you define radio that reaches a small audience in a very limited area? It could be possible to define it as a kind of performance art. Perhaps radio art might be a more appropriate term for mini-FM. But it is not quite adequate because mini-FM is still radio....

When Marconi, the "father of wireless communication," succeeded in establishing transatlantic wireless communication in 1901, radiowaves were already reserved by the British Navy:he was engaging in pirate communication. After numerous pirate broadcasting attempts since then, "free radio law" was established in Italy finally in the 1970s, allowing anybody to become a transmitter, for all practical purposes(actually, the supreme court merely acknowledged that radio waves comprised a medium for expression permitted to everybody)....

In the seventies in the United States, a new movement, demanding "public access" to television began, led by George Stoney and video activists like Dee Dee Halleck, one of the founders of Paper Tiger Television. This led to the creation of public access channels within cable television...

Paper Tiger Television is a "station" that only exists every Wednesday night for thirty minutes. When this station's programming ends, another station's begins. In this case, there is no collaboration;the different stations merely share space and tools. Among those who broadcast in this way, some hope to own their exclusive channel in the future. In contrast, the Gulf Crisis TV Project emphasized the communal aspect of public access channels. It provided an opportunity for media to be recognized, not as remote and inaccessible platforms, but as sites for the continuous exchange of polymorphous elements. The importance of Deep Dish TV is that it put an end to the ideas of centralization and concentration which have been associated with "broadcast "(to cast broadly...

Polymedia are not intended simply to link smaller units into a larger whole:instead they involve the recovery of electronic technology so that individuals can communicate, share idiosyncrasies and be convivial. The satellite presents possibilities for polymedia but it does not create it. Polymedia must be based on self-controlled tools, otherwise, advanced technologies like satellites will remain as tools for the manipulation of power.
conviviality  tools  radio  sound  media_space  geography  broadcast 
6 weeks ago
Aims & Objectives — Learning From Small Cities
Strengthening existing foundations between UK and Indian academics and societal partners, the project will learn from three small cities which are all undergoing city-wide retrofitting and area-based improvements in smart technologies and infrastructures as part of India's national 100 Smart Cities programme. Using interdisciplinary approaches from urban studies, social and cultural geography, sociology and geoinformatics, it will contribute to evidence based policy ...

1. To produce original, innovative scholarship in urban geography, smart urbanism and postcolonial urban theory by (a) extending research to the much neglected but dynamic context of 'small cities', and (b) enhancing and developing the fields of smart urbanism and urban futures by learning from small cities as they experience far reaching transformations in India.

2. To critically learn from how State, urban authorities and citizens of small cities living through rapid and radical urban transformations imagine and realise new urban futures. Taking an asset-based approach to infrastructure access and provision we will examine how small cities learn to translate state imaginations of urban futures into 'actually existing' smart cities, how ordinary citizens in these cities live with the dynamics of these changes, how they value assets (tangible and intangible) and how this combined knowledge might be mobilised towards more sustainable smart cities policies and projects.
smart_cities  global_south  colonialism 
6 weeks ago
Simla 'below Cart Road': Biographies of houses in the margins of an Imperial urban age — Learning From Small Cities
What emerges from these house biographies is a cosmopolitan history of Simla’s slopes that has been obscured by the imperial stories of grandeur at the top of the hill, by colonial and post-colonial historians alike. Biographies of houses from below Cart road right down to the graveyard near the sewers at the bottom, tell us how ordinary Simla was built laboriously, slowly and incrementally by working-class Muslims and lower castes. This is clear from the applications which are signed with fingerprints (indicating illiteracy) or with rudimentary handwriting in Urdu, and because last names are invariably given as owners’ occupation...

Each house can only be found if you know where their neighbour’s house is located, and in so doing each house is tied to others through an intricate thread of correlation and co-dependence. This is an analogue format of networked connectivity in Simla’s early days.

As we turn the pages, we often see a gap in house biographies for 10-15 years between 1940s and 50s. When we see accounts again, the names have changed. The Muslim names are replaced by Hindu names reflecting the wider geopolitics of partition of British India along religious lines in 1947. The Muslim owners either left in a hurry or sold off their properties to migrate to Pakistan; incoming Hindu refugees either bought these houses or were allocated these by the state in compensation for losing their property in Pakistan....

As we continue to delve into the accounts of house building, a bigger picture begins to emerge – a contentious politics of municipal regulation, planning and governance in the face of rapid urbanization – a story that extends from colonial to postcolonial contexts. The desire to reorder Krishna Nagar continues to be part of a wider imagination of this place as a ‘slum’– one that should ‘be bombed out of the face of earth’as one of our elite respondents said to us. Yet the house biographies also reveal that the taxonomies of il/legality and un/authorized constructions are far more complicated that its denotation as a ‘slum’ below Cart road. The biographies suggest that each house has been through cycles of authorization, building, encroachments, subdivision, rebuilding, demolition, regularization, and so on since the 19thcentury. Krishna Nagar may have poor or absent infrastructure, but the messiness of property rights and regularization certificates make clear determination of il/legality impossible and its label as a ‘slum’ deeply problematic. ...

Unlike the way that our navigation of the city is now ordered by Google maps, house biographies present us with a very different order of relational and temporal maps that visualise a critical cartography from below. They do not provide us with the geolocated pins of Google, rather with stories of poverty, affluence, neighbourly politics and family life that are part of locating these houses using landmarks. These biographies are maps of time that are rich with navigational insights – they urge us to look deeper into Simla’s reliance as an imperial Capital above on the labouring classes who were literally building its foundations in the hill slopes below. These biographies visualise the continuous struggles for space and legitimacy amongst the working classes, and thus also provide a historiography of postcolonial planning.
illegality  urban_history  archives  urban_archaeology  palimpsest 
6 weeks ago
Alphabet Dips Its Toe Into Infrastructure Investing - WSJ
The white-hot world of infrastructure investing has attracted a notable new entrant: Alphabet Inc. GOOG 2.54%

The technology giant is teaming up with its subsidiary, Sidewalk Labs LLC, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to launch an infrastructure holding company that is being spun out of Sidewalk. Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, as the new firm will be known, will focus on investing in what the group calls technology-enabled infrastructure, the partners said.

The firm, which will be funded initially through financial commitments from each of the three partners, will aim to invest in advanced mobility, energy, water and waste, digital infrastructure, and social infrastructure. It will typically be investing in projects that require more than $100 million of equity, according to people familiar with the matter.

SIP, which will be structured as a company rather than a fund, will back large-scale infrastructure projects and purchase or take stakes in fast-growing technology companies whose products are being used in these projects. For example, the firm might fund a new urban roadway project while also taking a stake in a company whose technology improves vehicle safety and performance by allowing cars to communicate with their surrounding infrastructure.

There is a “growing unmet need to modernize aging urban systems,”
sidewalk_labs  infrastructure 
6 weeks ago
Are African Artifacts Safer in Europe? Museum Conditions Revive Debate - The New York Times
That debate has been given new life in recent months after an investigation by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper found that many of the artifacts that will be on display in the Humboldt Forum, a huge new museum under construction in a rebuilt Berlin palace, had for years been stored in less-than-ideal conditions. The report featured searing depictions of flooded storage rooms and depots choked with toxic dust.

“They complain that they do not have enough money to do research on these objects to take proper care of them,” said Tahir Della, a postcolonial activist based in Berlin, “but they had enough money to build a castle in the middle of Berlin.” ....

Berlin’s state museums returned nine artifacts to indigenous groups in Alaska last year, and Professor Koch and others pointed to an agreement signed by Germany’s culture authorities in March that established guidelines for returning objects taken from former colonies. “There are international standards for storage facilities and we know that in some museums in Africa and Asia, you don’t have these standards,” Professor Koch said. “That’s why some of our colleagues are asking us from these countries to get some way of capacity-building over there.”

Sindika Dokolo, a Congolese art collector who runs a foundation that has organized the return of artifacts to Congo and Angola, said it was true that “a whole generation” of museum professionals, like curators and conservationists, needed to be trained “in most of the African countries.” But while that new generation was being trained, he said, it is European museums’ responsibility to make sure African audiences had access to the artifacts in their possession...

While the Ethnological Museum is funded by the federal government, most museums in Germany are funded by local governments that prefer to invest in exhibitions over the unseen labor of preservation, Mr. Schlothauer said. ...

That dynamic has led many of them to overlook innovations, like digital inventories, that museums in other countries embraced years ago, he said. In interviews, curators at the Ethnological Museum said some collections still use card catalogs from the 1960s, or even handwritten 19th-century ledgers.

“They have enough money to hold the status quo, to keep it,” Mr. Schlothauer said, “but not to make an effort like the U.S. did in the 1990s with a process of digitalization and inventory and photographing every object.” ...

German museums have been slow to embrace technology in other ways too, he said. As an anthropologist who studies South American feather works, Mr. Schlothauer said it was not unusual to stumble across moths or larvae mixed in with objects in the wooden storage cases of German depots.

“I have worked in Gothenburg and Stockholm and Amsterdam, and they have a storage room for feathers that are frozen,” he said. “That is the best condition.”

Officials at the Ethnological Museum blamed aging buildings for many of their problems. The ceilings sometimes leak and researchers wear protective gear because of toxic dust caused by chemical treatments used on artifacts in decades past.
museums  storage  climate_control  temperature  preservation  repatriation 
6 weeks ago
My God, It's Full of Stars by Tracy K. Smith | Poetry Foundation
Sometimes, what I see is a library in a rural community.
All the tall shelves in the big open room. And the pencils
In a cup at Circulation, gnawed on by the entire population.

The books have lived here all along, belonging
For weeks at a time to one or another in the brief sequence
Of family names, speaking (at night mostly) to a face,
6 weeks ago
Hong Kong Protests
This is amazing! Residents of the Hoi Lai estate in Kowloon scream “Reclaim Hong Kong! Revolution of our Times!” (光復香港!
時代革命!) from INSIDE their flats. Whole city is uprising.
media_city  media_space  acoustics  sound_space  resonance  voice  protest 
8 weeks ago
raining Humans, conceived by Kate Crawford, AI researcher, artist and professor, and Trevor Paglen, artist and researcher, is the first major photography exhibition devoted to training images: the collections of photos used to train artificial intelligence (AI) systems in how to “see” and categorize the world.

In this exhibition, Crawford and Paglen reveal the evolution of training image sets from the 1960s to today. As stated by the artists, “when we first started conceptualizing this exhibition over two years ago, we wanted to tell a story about the history of images used to ‘recognize’ humans in computer vision and AI systems. We weren’t interested in either the hyped, marketing version of AI nor the tales of dystopian robot futures. Rather, we wanted to engage with the materiality of AI, and to take those everyday images seriously as a part of a rapidly evolving machinic visual culture. That required us to open up the black boxes and look at how these engines of seeing currently operate”.
AI  photography  machine_vision 
8 weeks ago
Beyond the Map: How we build the maps that power your apps and business
At Google, Street View gave us the foundation for the future of our mapping process. Advances in our machine learning technology, combined with the more than 170 billion Street View images across 87 countries, enable us to automate the extraction of information from those images and keep data like street names, addresses, and business names up to date for our customers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a high-res, panoramic image is worth a billion. So we’re committed to developing our own hardware, like our newest trekker equipped with higher-resolution sensors and an increased aperture, to deliver the highest quality imagery and insights to our customers.

Partnering with authoritative sources
Providing reliable and up-to-date information is essential for enterprises looking to build mission critical applications on our platform. So we also use data from more than 1,000 authoritative data sources around the world like the United States Geological Survey, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) in Mexico, local municipalities, and even housing developers.

Combining our imagery analysis with third-party data gives customers the most accurate and reliable data to power their businesses. For instance, we’re able to provide ridesharing companies such as Lyft, and mytaxi with convenient pickup/dropoff locations for their passengers and traffic-aware routing so their drivers can take the fastest route possible. ...

Data and imagery are key components of mapmaking. But they’re static and don’t always give us the context we want about a specific place. If you think of Street View as helping you contextualize where you are on a street, you can think about user contributed content as helping you contextualize a specific place like a restaurant or coffee shop. With the help of a passionate community of Local Guides, active Google users, and business owners via Google My Business, we receive more than 20 million contributions from users every day–from road closures, to details about a place’s atmosphere, to new businesses, and more. To ensure this contributed info is helpful, we publish it only if we have a high degree of confidence in its accuracy.

This has enabled us to build a data set of more than 150 million places around the world, which we make available to developers through our Places API. ....

But not everyone actually has an address. This is why Google Maps and Google Maps Platform support plus codes, which enables everyone in the world to have an address they can share with friends, delivery services, use to send/receive mail, and more. Plus codes is open source, available for any developer to use, and also incorporated into our Places and Geocoding APIs.

By helping to map these regions, giving everyone an address, and providing access to our API products, businesses and local authorities can better serve their communities and there’s increased opportunity for new location-based ecosystems to grow. Parties interested in using plus codes can contact us here.
maps  google  addresses  machine_vision 
8 weeks ago
A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires | The New Yorker
Brown and the rest of the Sagehen planning team decided to pursue a strategy that had recently been developed by a Forest Service scientist at its Rocky Mountain Research Station. Affectionately known as SPLAT, for Strategically Placed Landscape Area Treatment, the technique involves clearing rectangular chunks of forest in a herringbone pattern.This compels any wildfire to follow a zigzag path in search of fuel, travelling against the wind at least half the time. The SPLATs function as speed bumps, slowing the fire enough that it can be contained, while allowing the Forest Service to get away with treating only twenty to thirty per cent of any given landscape.
forestry  indexical_landscapes  logistics  climate_change 
8 weeks ago
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