shannon_mattern + urban_media   257

Stumbling Through Pixel Blizzards: Recent Books on Post-Cinema - Los Angeles Review of Books
These public urban displays with bespoke visualizations are becoming increasingly prevalent, underscoring the shifting nature not only of images, but of architecture, too, as the walls around us become homes to yet another permutation of the cinematic, one that abandons mimesis in favor of transcoding.

These three projects take their place among many in demonstrating a shift within image culture, from the cinematic to the informational, from representation to computation, from pictures to data. Rather than using a camera to photograph images produced by light, these projects are created through new image production techniques — from the scanners used in the first, the imagery collected by drones in the second, and the visualization tools that transcode data into imagery in the third. As such, they constitute a very different act of representation, distinct from that of the photographic or the cinematic.

Other transformative shifts in how we understand contemporary cinema include the migration of movies from theaters to the diverse screens where we now encounter them, from cell phones pulled from pockets to clunky Virtual Reality headsets and fashion-backward Augmented Reality visors, from video installations in museums and galleries to those in outdoor public spaces. Similarly various technologies, such as drones, point not only to new ways to capture images, but also emerging cultures of movement and imagery, of information gathering and data tracking. In short, a collection of new image-making practices, technologies, and conditions of viewing embody a new era of the cinematic. ...

“Post-cinema” has become the catch-all term to designate these changes and refers not just to new filmmaking techniques but also to a sense that our world and its flows of money and power have become too abstract to represent visually. Instead, we feel this kind of cinema: it feels disembodied, precarious, virtual, violent, and, on occasion, thrilling, provocative, and beautiful....

In Drone Age Cinema: Action Film and Sensory Assault, Steen Ledet Christiansen investigates the ways in which contemporary action films epitomize a non-human perception, arguing that rather than simply creating fast-paced and spectacular entertainment, action films, such as the Iron Manfranchise, instead create a culture attuned to fear and war, with the world understood to be a target....

The desire to name that new mode of sensing the world continues in Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media, in which editors Pepita Hesselberth and Maria Poulaki propose that it’s time to examine the full range of moving-image experiences that we encounter in a media-saturated culture, regardless of their specific origin (as television show, music video, YouTube short, or feature-length movie, for example). Hesselberth and Poulaki are interested in “new modes of engagement and forms of spectatorship, whether they be solitary, contingent, accelerated, fragmented, procrastinating, and/or productive.”
film  screens  urban_media 
august 2017 by shannon_mattern
Visualizing Cities
Visualization as a tool for analysis, exploration and communication has become a driving force in the task of unravelling the complex urban fabrics that form our cities. This platform tries to bring together urban visualization projects from around the globe.
data_visualization  mapping  urban_media  urban_studies 
october 2016 by shannon_mattern
Police surveillance: The US city that beat Big Brother - BBC News
"We saw some things that raised questions. Why are they running fibre optic cables out there? That kind of thing," says BondGraham. Winston recognised the name of a security company on a council agenda and knew immediately what they were dealing with - a Domain Awareness Centre.

Most cities, including Oakland, have cameras monitoring traffic intersections and public areas. But a Domain Awareness Centre, or DAC, is far more sophisticated. It is still based around a bank of screens, but the camera feeds are augmented by data from weather reports, shipping movements, social media chatter, email records, emergency calls and other data sources. The port of Oakland had been given federal funds in 2008 to build a DAC as part of a post-9/11 push to protect critical infrastructure from terrorist attack.

At some point, the city council decided to extend the system to cover the whole of Oakland and its population of 400,000 people.....

Hundreds of new cameras would be installed across the city and data would be incorporated from number plate readers, gunshot-detection microphones, social media, and, in later phases, facial recognition software and programs that can recognise people from the way they walk.
The city said it needed an early warning system to give "first responders" a head start when dealing with emergencies like chemical spills and earthquakes, as well as major crime and terrorist incidents.
But privacy campaigners in the city were alarmed at the thought of the Oakland Police Department having access to an all-pervasive real-time surveillance network - particularly one that did not have a policy on what data would be stored and for how long....

With the city council tied on the issue, Oakland's then mayor Jean Quan, who had originally been in favour of the DAC, used her casting vote to back a motion that would dramatically scale it back so that it would be focused solely on the port, as originally planned....

"It's not the ordinary citizens. We want cameras. We want our safety. Because you can't walk down your street without worrying about whether someone is going to randomly shoot at you. Every night you hear gunshots going off."
Oakland is a high-crime city, averaging 109 homicides a year for the past 45 years. Many residents and businesses have invested in their own security cameras and are happy to share their contents with law enforcement...

Brian Hofer agrees that security cameras can prevent crime but says there is no evidence that mass surveillance does. And he argues that police departments only turn to "shiny gadgets" when relations with the public they are meant to protect, and on whom they rely as witnesses, have broken down.
"Instead of trying to repair these relationships we are just throwing more surveillance equipment at the problem. We are smart people here in Oakland. We have Silicon Valley right up the road and we just think all these new tools are going to solve our problems but it just doesn't work."...

Last week the ACLU launched proposed legislation in 11 US cities, including New York and Washington DC, that would, if passed, establish community control over police surveillance.
The initiative is inspired, in part, by the Black Lives Matter campaign, although many of the guidelines, such as an annual surveillance audit, come straight from the Oakland Privacy playbook....

Many of the systems being offered for sale to law enforcement agencies across the US, and around the world, were developed by defence giants for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is a small selection:
Stingray fake phone masts
About the size of a suitcase, Stingrays work by pretending to be a phone tower in order to strip data from nearby devices, enabling police to track suspects without a warrant. They are also capable of accessing the content of calls and texts. The next generation of the device, Hailstorm, is now on the market.
Number plate readers
Police cars mounted with automatic number plate readers are thought to be in use in many US cities, gathering data on the location and movements of drivers. Research in Oakland found black neighbourhoods were being disproportionally targeted.
Crime prediction software
Software is being used by police in the US and UK that analyses crime statistics to predict where it will happen next. Microsoft, IBM and Hitachi are among the big players moving into this market. The latest Hitachi "crime visualisation" software - effectively a Domain Awareness Centre on your computer desktop - is being trialled in Washington DC and is demonstrated in this YouTube video. There is also growing concern about the use of social media analysis software, which monitors hashtags such as BlackLivesMatter and PoliceBrutality to identify "threats to public safety".
Surveillance enabled light bulbs
LED light bulbs marketed as energy-efficient upgrades to existing light bulbs on city streets that can contain tiny cameras and microphones linked to a central monitoring station.
Through the wall sensors
These use radar to peer through the walls of buildings - currently precise enough to show how many people are in a particular room.
X-Ray, or 'backscatter" vans
Mobile units that use X-ray radiation to see underneath clothing and car exteriors.
Aerial surveillance
The use of light aircraft to record continuous high definition footage of a city - recently discovered, and stopped, in Baltimore, following a public outcry. Police departments across the US, and in cities around the world, are also buying drones for surveillance.
Listening devices
Shotspotter microphones have been around for more than a decade and are thought to be in use in at least 90 US cities. They are designed to improve police response times but there are concerns they could be used to listen in to conversations.
surveillance  urban_media  privacy 
october 2016 by shannon_mattern
Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age, Archiving as an Act of Resistance | Ibraaz
From the very first day of the 2011 uprisings in Egypt that toppled president Mubarak, archiving played a central role. During the 18 days of the revolution in Tahrir square, photographing was an act of seeing and recording...

Today, Tahrir Square stands as one of the most documented and mediatized events in the digital age. The challenges of remembering this unprecedented moment in Egyptian history and archiving such an extensive document – that is, an extraordinary and unedited portrait of Egyptians in Tahrir Square one can find online, and/or similar historical events in the digital age – are not only linked to oppressive political contexts. The very nature of the documentation of this movement is intrinsically problematic. In spite of the age of big data and mass connectivity we live in, relying on the Internet is precarious. Even though in theory data related to the 18 days exists online, in reality most of it has already vanished into the Internet's bottomless pit of information....

I started an ongoing archival project called Vox Populi.[5] This archive consists of data related to chronological events unfolding on the ground and major events taking place around the world since #Jan25 and in parallel, data related to historical events, philosophical speeches, banned cartoons, and more footage that all resonate with Tahrir. Today, Vox Populi is also comprised of a series of projects, art installations, sculptures, public events and essays that branch out from the archive.

The impulse behind Tahrir Cinema was the fact that there were no images on the square, but rather a lot of sound. Angry and anxious, people were less united than when the revolution started – though just as determined, if not more so, to make it succeed. For Egyptians, the louder the sound, the better. Speakers or megaphones are in every mosque, at every wedding, every funeral – every event. From stages built around Tahrir, the cries of women echoed the voices of men yelling out their political opinions across the square in reverberant microphones. I felt the need to bring images into this cacophony, and serendipity brought me together with people with a similar impulse.... Using USB flash drives, DVDs and other (now obsolete) storage devices, we created a space where filmmakers could show their films but also where everyone could exchange raw footage on the revolution at any point in time in the square.

But what the media called the 'Facebook Revolution' was only true for a couple of million out of the 90 million Egyptians who had access to the Internet. I recall the spectators' shock when, one night in Tahrir Cinema, I projected a selection of videos of the 18 days in early 2011 from the Vox Populi archive. Although they had gone viral, the majority of the audience had never yet seen them. The extraordinary experience that Tahrir Cinema was and its impact on the crowd reinforced my belief that archiving was crucial; that it was, in fact, another tool against the regime... the participatory multi-vocal documentary, #18DaysInEgypt, was launched online.[8] The slogan 'You witnessed it, you recorded it. Now, let's write our country's history' invited people to upload videos on Tahrir. Similar to the movement in the square and the leaderless revolution, this web-based 'director less' documentary – a series of mini-narratives – offered a space for revolutionaries to tell their personal stories on Tahrir, alone,… together....

Graffiti in the form of political slogans, painted murals and stencilled revolution iconography transformed many public spaces. In the virtual realm too, the artistic gesture, freed and democratized, had become a kind of contemporary digital version of the Polaroid. Artists and citizens alike used photography, video, and political satire in social media and blogs, impacting instantaneously on political life....

Freed from censorship and from the near-impossible task to obtain official authorizations, artists quickly took over the public space. Street graffiti art, videos, films and other self-produced media expressions, were not political art as we knew it, but a form of 'artivism' – art as a weapon against the oppressing state that seeks to confront and reject the political system in place, and by extension the contemporary art market as well. The walls on Mohamed Mahmoud, for instance – a street off Tahrir that witnessed several violent battles between security forces and protesters, became a landmark for revolutionary graffiti. The slogan 'Erase and I will draw again' was a response by revolutionary artists to the systematic attempt by the army to delete every trace of the revolution. The army painted the walls white. The artists drew new graffiti. The multi-layered walls in Mohamed Mahmoud functioned as a much-visited memorial for martyrs, a sort of Guernica of the Egyptian revolution and a public space for revolutionaries' freedom of speech.

Art galleries adapted to this new context and embraced the needs of revolutionary artists to produce reactionary art. They offered space for workshops and discussions, for projects related to the on-going revolution, for events such as Tweetnadwa where activists of all stripes gathered to discuss issues such as the reform of the police or the judiciary system, in short, Tweet-like interjections. And so, new distribution networks appeared. Art as we knew it not only left the gallery spaces for the streets but also for online platforms, that is, for platforms of knowledge and spaces of resistance. Online projects, web-platforms and communities (Facebook groups) supporting the revolution were also in full bloom. Many of these web-platforms were archiving projects, each focusing on a specific aspect of the revolution ranging from pamphlets distributed in the square, testimonies, graffiti and even jokes from the revolution, among other data. These archiving endeavours were initiated by institutions such as the American University in Cairo, media initiatives such as Mosireen, by artists and citizens. The more the revolution lost territory, the more vital it became to archive Tahrir and its aftermath. Today, the more oppressive the current regime is, the more necessary – but also the more vulnerable and susceptible to censorship – these knowledge platforms have become.

Five years later, along with this shift in the cultural spheres, there are more restrictions than ever on freedom of speech and artistic expression. The law criminalizing non-profit organizations signed in 2013, including cultural initiatives, receipt of foreign funding 'seen to impact national security,' affected many cultural spaces leading some to shut down. Censorship on music and cinema is now applied more forcefully than it ever was under Mubarak. The present oppressive context combined with an entirely new art scene has further breached the gap between the visual Art market and underground art. In the music scene, Mahragan, or 'festival' in Arabic, is the name for a whole new genre of electronic music. This music, born in the streets, which is at the core of youth popular culture has, since the revolution, spread to a broader, local and international, public.[14] Shebab and women alike amalgamate dance moves borrowed from hip hop, zikr- literally 'remembering,' a form of religious trance, Egyptian belly dance and sometimes mime, on a reverberating, unembellished synthetic music mixed with tabla, the traditional Egyptian drum....

In 2014, Maged Atef and Sheera Frenkel wrote from Cairo forBuzzFeed news that Egypt had signed a contract with the sister company of the American cyber security firm, Blue Coat: 'our job as a company is to give them the system. I train the government how to run it and we give them the programme,'[16] Ali Miniesy, the CEO of See Egypt, said. While surveillance systems have always been an integral part of Egypt's governance, if this is true, it is the first time that such an extensive system as the Deep Packet Inspection technology – enabling geo-location, tracking, and combing through Facebook, Skype, Twitter, among other social networks – is being used in Egypt (and most certainly like in many more countries in the world.) Since 2014, the crackdown on the Internet has been relentless.... But how can a historical event as significant as the 2011 Egyptian revolution survive such a repressive context? Aside from the question of how things are archived and the infinite number interpretations archives can generate, a subjective selection, filtered according to political, social and religious beliefs, is bound to occur. Additionally, given more than half of the Egyptian population is illiterate and has no access to the Internet, a large number of people are automatically excluded from the process of archiving history. Furthermore, many of the archive platforms on the revolution have already either been censored, their activity slowed down or discontinued, or have been deactivated.

In a time when virtual connectedness appears to be based on shared beliefs and values more than nationality or social class, thinking history in the digital age and instinctively sensing the importance of archiving as a responsibility for the future, Egyptians collected, archived and organized documents on Tahrir as it happened, defying the way that history has been, again and again, written by the victors.

Pierre Nora writes in his essay, 'Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire (The Places of Memory),' published in Representations, Vol. 26 Spring 1989:
Memory and history, far from being synonymous, appear now to be in fundamental opposition. Memory is life, borne by living societies founded in its name. It remains in permanent evolution, open to the dialectic of remembering and forgetting, unconscious of its successive deformations, vulnerable to manipulation and appropriation, susceptible to being long dormant and periodically revived. History on the other hand, is the reconstruction, always problematic and incomplete, of what… [more]
activism  social_movements  archives  memory  graffiti  egypt  protest  voice  urban_media  media_city 
august 2016 by shannon_mattern
Before DRM, There Were Mesopotamian Boundary Stones | Motherboard
These are kudurrus, ancient Mesopotamian boundary stones that were placed on the ground to demarcate the boundaries of land grants. A kudurru is inscribed with gods and kings, along with cuneiform that outlines legal rights, tax obligations, and magical curses.

If you tried to move the boundary stone as an unauthorized land grab, you would be cursed by the gods. If you tried to cheat on your taxes by messing with the writing on the kudurru, you would be cursed by the gods. And heaven forbid, if you tried to tamper with the curses, you were definitely getting cursed.

Thousands of years before the advent of digital rights management, the Mesopotamians were already practicing analog rights management, with a form of double liability that’s parallel to DMCA section 1201.
writing  DRM  digital_rights  urban_media  mesopotamia  media_history 
december 2015 by shannon_mattern
Harun Farocki: Counter Music
The city today is as rationalised and regulated as a production process. The images which today determine the day of the city are operative images, control images. Representations of traffic regulation, by car, train or metro, representations determining the height at which mobile phone network transmitters are fixed, and where the holes in the networks are. Images from thermo-cameras to discover heat loss from buildings. And digital models of the city, portrayed with fewer shapes of buildings or roofs than were used in the 19th century when planned industrial cities arose, amongst them the Lille agglomeration. Despite their boulevards, promenades, market places, arcades and churches, these cities are already machines for living and working. I too want to 'remake' the city films, but with different images. Limited time and means themselves demand concentration on just a few, archetypal chapters. Fragments, or preliminary studies.
operative_images  control  infrastructure  regulation  video  farocki  networks  machine_vision  urban_media  media_city 
december 2015 by shannon_mattern
Neighborhood Field Guides | Elsewhere
Neighborhood Field Guides are a series of pocket publications that reroute local histories, inviting you to experience the neighborhood from three different conceptual perspectives.

The Field Guides were developed through conversational research with South Elm residents and local experts this summer. The references and contributors are extensive: neighbors, professionals, architects, birdwatchers, botanists, geographers, historians, photo albums, municipal documents, meeting notes, advertisements, insurance maps, journals, archives, museums, and time spent walking around.

Like all versions of history, these guides to South Elm are only part of the shared story of a nuanced place. They hope tourists and Greensboro residents alike will continue to discover new ways of seeing the South Elm neighborhood.

Guides are available at Elsewhere, the Chamber of Commerce, at stores and tourist hubs around the neighborhood, and online at
urban_media  field_guide 
november 2015 by shannon_mattern
Schele Drawing Collection
Text of the east panel from the temple of the cross (glyphs p1-u17). text continues from the west panel with accession history of the palenque rulers to k'inich kan b'alam
media_city  writing  drawing  urban_media 
november 2015 by shannon_mattern
NASA Adds to Evidence of Mysterious Ancient Earthworks
High in the skies over Kazakhstan, space-age technology has revealed an ancient mystery on the ground.

Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old.

The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Another is a kind of three-limbed swastika, its arms ending in zigzags bent counterclockwise....

The idea that foragers could amass the numbers of people necessary to undertake large-scale projects — like creating the Kazakhstan geoglyphs — has caused archaeologists to deeply rethink the nature and timing of sophisticated large-scale human organization as one that predates settled and civilized societies,” Dr. Clarkson wrote in an email.

“Enormous efforts” went into the structures, agreed Giedre Motuzaite Matuzeviciute, an archaeologist from Cambridge University and a lecturer at Vilnius University in Lithuania, who visited two of the sites last year. She said by email that she was dubious about calling the structures geoglyphs — a term applied to the enigmatic Nazca Lines in Peru that depict animals and plants — because geoglyphs “define art rather than objects with function.”
writing  urban_media  geoglyphs  astronomy  infrastructure  urban_history 
november 2015 by shannon_mattern
From SimCity to, well, SimCity: The history of city-building games | Ars Technica
I'm going to take you on a whirlwind tour through the history of the city-building genre—from its antecedents to the hot new thing.

While extremely limited in its simulation, Doug Dyment's The Sumer Game was the first computer game to concern itself with matters of city building and management. He coded The Sumer Game in 1968 on a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8 minicomputer, using the FOCAL programming language. David H. Ahl ported it to BASIC a few years later retitled as Hamurabi (with the second 'm' dropped in order to fit an eight-character naming limit).
The Sumer Game, or Hamurabi, put you in charge of the ancient city-state of Sumer. You couldn't build anything, but you could buy and sell land, plant seeds, and feed (or starve) your people. The goal was to grow your economy so that your city could expand and support a larger population, but rats and the plague stood in your way. And if you were truly a terrible leader your people would rebel, casting you off from the throne.

The game captured many a player's imagination, and several more expanded versions soon emerged, with different localities but the same core systems. Of these, George Blank's 1978 Apple II game Santa Paravia and Fiumaccio was perhaps the most notable, as it introduced several types of buildings (or "public works") that you could buy/construct.

With Santa Paravia, most of the elements of a city-building game were in place. You had taxes, buildings, disasters, population growth and decay, approval ratings—even a map of your kingdom that displayed at the end of each turn. But the most crucial ingredient of the genre was missing (and no, it wasn't that the game was still turn-based). Santa Paravia felt as though you were playing a computerized board game, not experimenting with wooden blocks and model train sets.
games  media_architecture  media_city  urban_media  urban_planning 
october 2015 by shannon_mattern
Text and the City
The notion of the city as a (legible) text has been contemplated since the nineteenth century: Baudelaire saw the emerging modern city as a "forest of symbols"; Kracauer considered the deciphering of the "hieroglyphics of spatial images" as "the basis of social reality"; Benjamin observed that the metropolis demanded special kind of 'reading'; and for Barthes, "the city is a poem [...] which unfolds the signifier".[1] Linguistics, semiotics and literary theory have supplied concepts for urban analysis, and literature and film have provided narratives, figures, metaphors and models for investigating the complexities of the city, its landscapes, aesthetics, poetics, and traumas. But the city is also a site of numerous textual practices that in addition to shaping art, literature and theory, inflect our writing and thought, resonate in our language(s), and profoundly affect urban spaces. These textual practices compete for our visual attention, make claims on political allegiences, confront the images of cities and representations of places, assert themselves within the conceptual fields of both the text and the city. They take space. They form immersive and pervasive environments within which we navigate daily. They are manifest in architecture, in monuments and on everyday urban sourfaces, they take form of commemorative inscriptions, outdoor advertising, media screens and mediascapes, signage and regulatory systems, mapping and place naming, branding and marketing, political slogans, public art and street art. Immersive environments of fast changing, visible (and increasingly interactive) everyday texts demand new modes of investigation and new means of conceptualization.
media_city  urban_media  text  textual_form  reading  print  graffiti 
july 2015 by shannon_mattern
Photos of ’90s Newsstands Capture NYC Nostalgia -- NYMag
Newsstands are the kind of New York City landmark you never notice. They are around, but like benches and bike stands, you acknowledge them, or their absence, only when seeking one out. Which, at least where newsstands are concerned, probably doesn’t happen very often these days.

A little more than 300 newsstands still operate in the city today. Most are in Manhattan, plus a smattering in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, says Robert Bookman, counsel to the New York City Newsstand Operators Association. At their peak, in 1950, there were 1,325 newsstands. Then, newsstands served as a safety net for vulnerable populations, with the city setting aside small but valuable slices of sidewalk for the blind and disabled veterans (and later all vets) returning from World War II and the Korean War. But by the 1960s newsstands would begin their decades-long decline. In 1979 about 400 newsstands remained, and their numbers hit a historic low — a little more than 280 — in the late 1990s. What remain today are the survivors.

The numbers prove the newsstand's narrative is knottier, and a bit less romantic, than simply the decline of print — though that plays a huge part. Newsstands sold "1,000 newspapers and now they're selling 200," Bookman says. "That's 800 customers not coming to the newsstand." The people who passed by and picked up the Times or the Post also grabbed a pack of cigarettes, or gum; now they're doing neither. A tough regulatory environment, which, Bookman says is the primary deterrent to newcomers, and heavy cigarette taxes have also squeezed the industry.

When Moyra Davey decided to photograph newsstands in 1994, she also saw them as vanishing pieces of an old New York. She was inspired by French photographer Eugène Atget, who recorded Old World Paris, including a handful of newsstands. Though Davey didn't normally do street photography, she wanted to create her own New York series, in color. “I connected to this idea that they were somehow analogues to dark rooms and both on their way out,” she says. “Both the darkroom and the newsstand were on some level digitized.”
media_city  urban_media  newspapers  newsstands  print  infrastructure 
may 2015 by shannon_mattern
Learning from CGIs - Gillian Rose, Monica Degen, Clare Melhuish
we instead approach these CGIs from their circulation through networks; and as a consequence, we no longer want to call them ‘images’ but rather ‘interfaces’.

By starting with their network, this paper engages with the appearance of these visualisations by focusing less on what they show and more on how they are made to show it. For they are made to show it as they circulate around a network of offices and computer screens; they are worked on by architects, visualisers, project managers, the client, advertising executives and others; and the visualisation’s digital file thus constantly encounters various software programs, hardware devices and human bodies....

As well as the sheer numbers of CGIs generated, it should also be evident from the above account that the CGIs are highly mobile. And their mobility continues even after ‘final’ versions have been agreed (the 42 agreed in November 2012 were being revised a year later to reflect design changes). The ‘finished’ CGI as a digital file goes to all sorts of other places and in the process it gets converted into different media. So, it appears on the pages of promotional books and on the websites of the developer, to advertise their project (Msheireb Properties has a website, a YouTube channel and a Facebook page). The developer has also used the image in other promotional media: on billboards, as smaller posters and part of interactive models at real-estate fairs, and as framed prints in their offices. It may also travel to the websites of the architect and the visualiser and in order to advertise their skills. Already it is obvious why CGIs are popular with developers: they are seductive images; their content can be easily altered; and they can be displayed in many ways via various media....

What also became evident early on in our fieldwork was that this ‘ecology’ was not only complex but also somewhat unstable. Relations among various ‘allies, accomplices, and helpers’ were not always ‘steady’, and this also contributed to the mutability of the CGIs. Latour suggests that those allies, accomplices, and helpers become particularly noticeable in moments of crisis:
Take any object: At first, it looks contained within itself with well-delineated edges and limits; then something happens, a strike, an accident, a catastrophe, and suddenly you discover swarms of entities that seem to have been there all along but were not visible before and that appear in retrospect necessary for its sustenance....

Annotation: these efforts to co-ordinate and prioritise the actions required on the CGIs were not entirely adequate, and this was because of the translation required from a visual encounter with a CGI to a written description of that encounter. There was something about the annotation interface between certain actors and the CGIs that did not in fact travel very well. In particular, the ALA’s suggestions for ways to create more ‘poetic’ images – his requests, visible in fig 3, for ‘atmosphere’, ‘more magic’ and ‘MM’s (magic moments) – proved difficult for visualisers and architects to understand. One DA told us, ‘[the in-house visualiser] just kept looking at me going, “I don’t understand. What does he mean more magic?...

The paper has identified three of these interfaces as particularly important in understanding what sort of objects these CGIs are, as they circulate among diverse and dispersed allies. It has emphasised the intraface, where for example separate 3ds Max files (standardised by the EC’s guidelines) are integrated, thus allowing the EC to modify individual designs in relation to one another. It has stressed the multiple ways in which CGIs are used by different ‘allies’, and the way those allies design specific uses into how the CGIs look. And it has examined the necessity for traces of interactions with CGIs to travel as annotations through the network. At all of these interfaces, work is done. Work is done to create a digital visualisation of a view of Msheireb Downtown; and work is also done to make that work possible by managing the frictions created by the interfaces between software, hardware and various humans....

attempts to resist the ‘glow of unwork’ precisely by reconceptualising the smooth surface of surface of CGIs as a site of (net)work. 26 Rather than take these CGIs at, literally, their face value – that is, rather than focus on their materialisations as images – this paper advocates approaching them as digital files created by, and therefore materialising, a (net)work of interfaces.
interfaces  renderings  media_architecture  urban_media  urban_design  labor  translation  globalization 
december 2014 by shannon_mattern
A Dublin-Based Startup Hopes to Make Tracking Changes in Your Neighborhood a Whole Lot Easier - CityLab
In far too many cities, if you want to know about construction plans and other real estate development data, you'll need to prepare for a dusty slog through paper documents or a battle with arcane city-records tech.

It would be easier for everyone to remove such boundaries and opt for a streamlined online mapping interface, says Ciaran Gilsenan, a civil engineer and founder of the Dublin-based startup BuildingEye, which provides residents with easy, online access to visualized local government information....

Simplicity is the key to BuildingEye, which gathers planning data from various city authorities and visualizes the data on maps, which link directly to the relevant planning information and documents.

BuildingEye started in Ireland, using a collection of local authorities as a test bed. The startup now has an office in San Francisco—where it plans to test its programming for the first time in a major U.S. city. The move was partly in response to San Francisco’s entrepreneur-in-residence program, which put a call out to startups that wanted to get involved in government and tackle issues like city planning, transportation, and earthquake safety.
apps  urban_informatics  interfaces  dashboards  construction  urban_media 
september 2014 by shannon_mattern
Connected Streets
Future Cities Catapult is interested in how our cities will feel and perform when objects, spaces, buildings, infrastructure and people are connected. As part of an ongoing design research project about the connected street, the Catapult collaborated with Berg, a UK-based technology company, to explore the possibilities of connected displays. Berg pursued the idea through making a prototype called Pixel Track. The Catapult pursued the idea through a series of interviews with those who commission, curate and manage signage.
smart_cities  sentient_city  urban_media  signs  interfaces 
july 2014 by shannon_mattern
Subway Map Floating on a NYC Sidewalk by Francoise Schien | Visualingual
In NYC’s SoHo neighborhood, Subway Map Floating on a NYC Sidewalk by Francoise Schien is embedded into the sidewalk in front of 110 Greene St., between Spring and Prince Sts. The project measures 90 feet long and 12 feet wide, with concrete rods in the sidewalk and LED lights embedded in the ceilings of the basements of adjacent buildings. It was installed in 1985, when SoHo was a vastly different neighborhood...

For more thoughts on this installation, please read the excellent critique by Jonathan Lukes [part of a graduate seminar entitled Urban Media Archaeology that, damn, I wish I could have taken].
urban_media  mapping  my_work  teaching  public_art 
april 2014 by shannon_mattern
dark mirrors: theaster gates and ebony - / in print
SINCE THE MIDDLE OF THE LAST CENTURY, the magazines produced by the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company—most famously Ebony and Jet—have visualized models of black aspiration and bourgeois achievement. At the same time, they have directed their readers’ sights toward texts and photographs of transformative import, from Larry Neal’s writings on black aesthetics to images of the brutalized body of Emmett Till. These periodicals, along with the company’s cosmetics and hair-care lines, provided sources of employment as well as safe havens for black cultural producers forced to navigate a segregated world in an even more segregated city....

With his wife, Eunice Johnson, JPC founder John H. Johnson audaciously imagined and financially supported a modern black world that would become a tendentious model of commercialized uplift, a bulwark against racialized oppression, and an inspiring Gesamtkunstwerk. As such, JPC stands as a peculiar mirror to another Chicago-based corporate enterprise: namely, the practice of Theaster Gates. An ensemblic concatenation that includes performance, painting, sculpture, and video, as well as a series of urban-renewal projects, Gates’s work has at times specifically evoked or cited the images and infrastructure of JPC. But, more broadly and significantly, Gates’s art is animated by the same tensions between social imperatives and economic exigencies that have shaped JPC’s shifting fortunes. To consider his practice alongside the company’s history is, then, to illuminate the contradictions that mark the lives of black institutions, and to underscore the ongoing necessity of such formations in our own neoliberal moment, in which white supremacy’s hold still seems secure even as its means of reproduction take on ever subtler guises.

Certainly, Gates is not the only artist for whom JPC and its magazines have functioned as generative sites. Ellen Gallagher, for example, has been exhibiting modified pages from the company’s publications for over a decade, while in a 2010 painting by Hank Willis Thomas, the titles Ebony and Life are neatly conjoined, underlining the shared visual logic of the two magazines’ branding as well as the distance between their coverage and constituencies. In Stray Light, 2011, a film by David Hartt that is part of his larger multimedia project of the same title, the sumptuous William Raiser and Arthur Elrod–designed interiors of the JPC’s 1972 John Moutoussamy skyscraper on Michigan Avenue become the ethereal stuff of late-modernist fantasia....

Gates’s own connection to the Johnson brand is considerably more material and far more synergistic. For his 2012 exhibition at London’s White Cube gallery, alongside other items redolent of African American progress and protest, the artist displayed John H. Johnson’s sprawling office library, which was given to Gates by Linda Johnson Rice, current chair of JPC’s board. Wheeled ladders and reading tables installed in the gallery made the library accessible, establishing it not as a monument to be mourned or a cipher to be commoditized but as a capacious resource to be engaged. Other works on view, though, were available for sale; in one of several nods to JPC’s array of brands, there was even a Fashion Fair Cosmetics booth open for makeover consultations. The exhibition as a whole, titled “My Labor Is My Protest,” brought into focus Gates’s characteristic confusion of those boundaries—between work and resistance, art and commerce, radicalism and reform, politics and policy—that black practitioners working within hegemonic frames have sought to at once master and disarticulate in reimagining history and tracking the past’s unfolding in the present.

LIKE GATES’S ECLECTIC LONDON INSTALLATION, Ebony and Jet have consistently played with and against hegemonic assumptions about the realities of life lived black. But this tack has not always guaranteed financial success. As hardly needs saying, the past ten years have not been easy for the publishing industry, especially for companies that market to “niche” groups, and JPC has weathered its fair share of storms: layoffs, restructuring, and declining subscription rates for its flagship magazine, Ebony, which is synonymous in many minds with an older generation’s Cosbyesque dreams of black success....

The irony here is worth lingering over. In order to survive in the digital economy, JPC is expanding its brand by hawking a greater range of lifestyle wares and representations while selectively unburdening itself of physical stuff. By contrast, Gates’s acquisition of those very same materials crowns his triumphant emergence within and recasting of contemporary financial economies....

Gates’s best-known work, Dorchester Projects, 2009–, is a suite of beautifully restored South Side buildings that collectively function as a hybrid art center, gathering place, and residence; almost from the start its development was intertwined with the economic downturn that affected JPC so adversely. Searching for a house within his means in 2006, Gates selected a property located on South Dorchester Avenue in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood, a predominantly black area whose neglect by the city abetted both the house’s decay and its affordability. Within a few years, thanks to the subprime mortgage crisis, he was able to acquire the adjacent building and another property across the street. He used the structures to house his growing collections of cast-off cultural artifacts, many of them—such as the University of Chicago’s glass lantern slides and a cache of vinyl records from a neighborhood music store that had gone out of business—casualties of the digital revolution. As the economy fell, Gates rose up to meet it, at once satisfying and exceeding sociocultural demand with a vision to rival the Johnsons’, albeit one that materially foregrounded rather than wished away the precarious circumstances in which blackness often unfolds.

Since then, Gates’s production has only grown more expansive and complex, constantly shifting to meet his own outsize ambition as well as the demands and criticisms of the communities within which he operates. Indeed, his practice can be said to work with and against a particular admixture of aesthetics, theories, contexts, and attitudes: white guilt, the archival turn, DIY aesthetics, the uplift impulse, parafiction, actor-network theory, and, perhaps unavoidably, privatization and the concomitant proliferation of nonprofits and NGOs. His endeavors reflect the extent to which nonprofits, rather than government agencies, are now viewed as providers of crucial services and as “agents of change,” a term favored by postmillennial plutocrats and policy wonks alike....

The exhibition strategy modeled by the “13th Ballad” tends to position the museum as a mere repository or an occasional staging area, just as JPC’s buildings, art, and library have been left out of the loop of its attempted reinvention. In both instances, the object is set adrift from the economies that produced it in order that black life might thrive elsewhere. For scholar Fred Moten, this is a key aspect of Gates’s sculptural works, since they ask for—even if they do not enact—a reconfiguration of the gallery as the kind of “open institution” that blackness itself is and that the artist has materialized “nowhere, everywhere.”

Nowhere, everywhere: This, I think, is an apt characterization of Gates’s decentered practice and of JPC’s transnational brand, both of which differently pose questions about what constitutes an aesthetic enterprise, where it ought to reside, and how it ought to be considered in light of the deformations of race....

While Gates’s strategies may read as very much of their moment, they should also be understood as feints and tactics grounded in opposition to a racialized social order that has much deeper roots than our current socioeconomic condition and that must be battled on all fronts, within and beyond artistic discourse. Like two sides of the same coin, Gates and JPC are for-profit purveyors of goods with divergent aims and attitudes—one aesthetically down-home, the other committedly aspirational. But both are also invested, whether primarily or incidentally, in the construction of spaces of black autonomy.
magazines  periodicals  race  theaster_gates  urban_media  relational_aesthetics  urban_development  libraries 
march 2014 by shannon_mattern
Where the streets now have names | Citiscope
Most city streets in Ghana —  as in many parts of the developing world —  have no names, or at least no formal names that are widely accepted and publicly marked with signs. To identify buildings, people use landmarks. Make a right at the mango tree next to the uncompleted building, and look for the petty trader selling on table top. He’ll tell you where to go.

There are some obvious problems with this system. The tree may have been cut down. The trader may be away from his usual spot. Accra and other Ghanaian cities are growing so fast that even locals can easily get lost amid the new settlements. Urban navigation is even harder for visitors and tourists.

But wayfinding problems are just the beginning. In a city with no addresses, it’s difficult for local authorities to tax property. And without tax revenues, it’s difficult to upgrade infrastructure and services in the slums that are home to half of Ghana’s urban population. Delivering emergency services in a city with no addresses is a particularly serious problem. The moment your house is burning down is no time to hope that firefighters can find the right mango tree.

To fix these problems, Ghana is on a national quest to name its city streets. About a year ago, President John Mahama issued an ultimatum to municipal assemblies across the country to name their streets within 18 months. The effort is backed by several international aid agencies. ...Local planners have been facilitating these conversations. Street by street, they’re logging the new names into geographic information systems and producing new maps. In some places, road signs have begun going up.
naming  media_space  urban_media  street_names 
february 2014 by shannon_mattern
» What the public way means in the networked age Ascent Stage
Typically sensors and wireless connectivity claim the spotlight in discussions of the networked city, but I’d argue we’re missing a real opportunity not to use new technology to make the built environment more legible.

Most obviously, embedded digital information can aid in safety.... You could imagine a more nuanced system which assumes pedestrians are looking down (at their devices) and flashes or changes color when the traffic signal is about to turn green. Interaction with devices via Bluetooth or NFC is not inconceivable either. Scenario: if the device is engaged in use, assume distraction, and alert accordingly. A responsive public way that’s in a positive feedback loop with its users.

Accessibility is another category of use for the responsive public way. Crosswalk design for the visually-impaired is not a problem for individual intersections — high-pitched chirping signals — but it doesn’t scale for large cities. The cacophony of a city full of bleating traffic signals would be the kind of noise pollution that causes New York City to impose fines on honking motorists. But if the crosswalk itself was open to digital development you could imagine white canes, phones or other personal devices alerting the visually-impaired pedestrian that the street was open to cross...

Basic convenience may be an even better rationale for a legible (and writable) public way. Why perform a digital transaction at a modern-day parking meter when you can text it or use an app to pay before leaving your car?
urban_media  mobile_media  screens  legibility  wayfinding  safety  smart_cities  data  interface 
november 2013 by shannon_mattern
Legible Cities: The Human Face of Smart Cities | Unified Field
If information is the currency of the world, then many cities have under-leveraged assets buried deep in their data on urban conditions and city operations. The promise of releasing this big data to the people is a new approach to understanding cities by making them more legible. Now it is difficult, if not impossible, for someone trying to read the “big picture” of a city. Legible Cities ties together data, outdoor displays, sensors, wireless networks, data visualization and ways of accessing information to make cities more navigable, legible, and livable for its inhabitants. Legible Cities mediates physical and virtual space through installations, digital signage, mobile apps and online and off line programs.

In Legible Cities time is used to measure and report the “now”, for events, locations, communications and services that range from real-time bus schedules to virtual land use planning and more. Providing an historical lens into the city’s past will inform the present into the future. This is a revolution in measurement. “…There are now countless digital sensors worldwide in industrial equipment, automobiles, electrical meters and shipping crates. They can measure and communicate location, movement, vibration, temperature, humidity, even chemical changes in the air.” The Age of Big Data, Steve Lohr, The New York Times Sunday Review, February 11, 2012

We’ve chosen to call this trend Legible Cities rather than Smart, Intelligent, or Digital Cities, as those terms are the government’s perspective and are focused on software services and urban management and design. Legible Cities implies that the end users’ point of view; their involvement, participation and understanding that are inherent in the process and their usage. The ways that people participate in Legible Cities and the way it gets developed – organically from the ground up from the street – combined with enterprise level software and IT/telecom infrastructure will determine Legible Cities’ ultimate success.
urban_media  smart_cities  legibility  wayfinding  urban_screens  data  sensors  wireless  interface 
november 2013 by shannon_mattern
Bristol Legible City initiative | RUDI - Resource for Urban Development International
For some in Bristol the answer is yes. As part of the Creative Bristol campaign (the city’s bid to be Capital of Culture 2007), the organisers of a conference on Building Legible Cities state: ‘Issues of the image of the city, its identity to residents and visitors, and the brand that it offers are critical factors in urban development. And yet branding of places is in its infancy.’

The Bristol Legible City initiative is a pioneering project in this country which attempts to address these issues.

Bristol Legible City sign

The programme was developed in the late 1990s as the city was embarking on a series of major regeneration projects in the centre.

One of the major problems facing the city was communicating these changes to the public. This was made worse by the confusing layout of Bristol city centre, in turn exacerbated by poor signage and low levels of useful public information.

The Legible City concept was developed by a team working in Bristol City Council’s planning department, working in conjunction with a range of partners including the Chamber of Commerce and South West Regional Development Agency.

The Council defines the initiative as ‘an integrated programme of identity, transportation, information and arts projects designed to improve people’s understanding, experience and enjoyment of the city’. It aims ‘to make better sense of the city for both residents and visitors, helping to connect areas and amenities together and enhance the city’s identity’. In practice, it consists of a series of information and sign making projects which aim to guide visitors and residents around the city.
urban_media  legibility  signs  wayfinding  branding  mapping 
november 2013 by shannon_mattern
New Work: NYC Wayfinding | New at Pentagram
Finding one’s way through the streets of New York when coming up out of the subway or walking through an unfamiliar neighborhood can be confusing, even for the most seasoned New Yorker. On Monday the New York City Department of Transportation introduced WalkNYC, a new program of pedestrian maps that makes it easier to navigate the city streets. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan unveiled the initiative’s first signs at a news conference in Chinatown, where four maps were installed over the weekend. In addition to Chinatown, the first phase of the program will be implemented this summer in Midtown Manhattan, Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and Long Island City in Queens, with more to follow next year in other parts of the city. The maps are already installed on over 300 kiosks of the CitiBike bike-share program....

Pentagram helped create the graphic language of the maps, working on the project as part of PentaCityGroup, a special consortium of designers that also includes wayfinding specialists CityID, industrial designers Billings Jackson Design, engineers and urban planners RBA Group, and cartographers and geographic information specialists T-Kartor. The team worked closely with DOT and the city’s local Business Improvement Districts (BID) and other institutions and agencies to develop the program.
wayfinding  smart_cities  legibility  interface  navigation  signs  urban_media 
november 2013 by shannon_mattern
Events | Looking Down on Modernity | The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
Architectural historian Anthony Vidler (Dean and Professor of Architecture, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art) and Jeanne Haffner (Lecturer on the History of Science, Harvard University) will discuss the impact of aviation and war on architecture in the twentieth century, considering how aerial vision and other visual technologies and techniques of representation have come to shape the way we “see,” analyze, and respond to urban form—and to urban social life.
media_architecture  photography  air_travel  urban_media 
april 2013 by shannon_mattern
Studio-X NYC: Via Studio-X NYC exhibitor @joealterio, a decoder...
a decoder ring for the multicolored inscriptions of subterranean infrastructure spray-painted on streets and sidewalks across the United States.
infrastructure  construction  urban_media 
april 2013 by shannon_mattern
An Expert's Short History of NYC Street Sign Design | The Shutterstock Blog
In 1793, systematic house numbering and street signs, known as “direction boards” for horsecars, were introduced to “rationalize [New York] City’s built environment.” Other early street signs in New York were hand-chiseled onto the corners of buildings, like in Paris. In Paris, historic preservation sensibilities have led to the retention of earlier inscription designs, now incorporated into laser cut plaques. These new signs are placed above or around the old chiseled signs, leading to a visual documentation of the history of street names...

Vintage photographs of New York City show that ornate 19th century Victorian street signs and posts were replaced by more modern-day rectangular street signage by the 1910s...

The larger blue street signs are a reference to the “humpback” style of signage that date from the 1910s to the 1930s. The brown signage was introduced in 1989 to demarcate historic districts on the 25th anniversary of the Landmarks Law. Only streets within official historic districts can have the brown signage, whose terracotta color was designed to blend nicely with New York’s limestone and brownstone buildings...

In 2010, New Yorkers were given a rude awakening by the Federal Highway Administration, requiring all street signs to be switched to lowercase for safety and readability reasons. The cost of replacing the signage was estimated at $27.6 million for the 250,000+ signs.
urban_media  media_city  signs  street_signs 
march 2013 by shannon_mattern
Printed Talks in the City - Design - Domus
The results were also circulated via another equally ephemeral medium: a newspaper, of which 10,000 copies were printed and distributed in and around Milan by the Zero network.
newspapers  print  urban_media  reading 
february 2013 by shannon_mattern
CityTracking, a two-year project, to change the way people view, talk about, utilize digital city services, and improve their urban lives, owes its origin to a generous grant from the Knight News Challenge. (See blog post from June 16, 2010). We’re privileged because when we perform projects of this scale, it has mostly been for specific clients. This time the client is us. And we hope to turn what’s great for Stamen into something even greater for cities.

Certainly there’s quite a bit we don’t know – hence the challenge. But what we do know is that CityTracking is intended to be a public, open source project that takes data about cities and lays it open for examining from many angles so it can be optimized for use by city personnel, journalists, and the public (including businesses). Along the way we’ll release server-side code bases, mapping algorithms, managed datasets, APIs and API specs, and new views on data. And finally we’re doing this work in public, in close dialogue with our audiences, so that we know we’re not going down data rabbit holes and doing work that, in the end, will have little value.
media_city  urban_media  mapping  data_visualization  networked_urbanism  open_data  infrastructure  city_services 
january 2013 by shannon_mattern
Gunther Kress’ 2010 publication Multimodality identifies and reforms key metaphors that have been used to delineate knowledge production and prioritize linguistic representation of objects. However, while his concerns are organized around contemporary communication, his metaphor of multimodality reaches through modern and ancient networks of city space to become archaeologically relevant. Historically, it is in the city that the multiple modes of image, writing, gesture, speech, material object, etc. require specific mediating practices to manifest material world qualities and experiences. Many of these experiences resist translation into linguistic norms. Archaeologically, these multiple modes form representational and communicational networks that bridge our knowledge of past and present worlds, and generate meaning-making potentials through combinations of media, on a primarily object-oriented field. Thus, multimodality serves the idiosyncrasies of media archaeology.

The scope of this paper is to revisit multimodality and its media-archaeological relevance: its potential for capturing the semiotic resources of city space, and designing alternative non-linguistic sets of knowledge relations. On one side, media archaeology concerns itself with mediating practices and their production of knowledge; on another, it highlights modes of material engagement, and particularly those that allow us to generate archaeological discourse. In particular, Friedrich Kittler’s article “The City is a Medium,” and its departure from Lewis Mumford’s The City in History, explicates the convergent relationship of both definitions. In turn, I present a symmetrical discussion of archaeological media, deploying the concept of the city to describe networks of modes currently used to generate knowledge about the past. First, as a seemingly unlikely reference point, I engage the documentary-fantasy film genre, the medium-as-archaeologist in the city, of Guy Maddin’s “My Winnipeg.” Second, I reconsider contemporary media practices adopted by archaeologists, such as peripatetic video, as correlated possibilities for material engagement.
media_city  media_archaeology  urban_media 
october 2012 by shannon_mattern
Bustler: Urban Exquis II: Open Call and Exhibit - sound and movie installation
Urban Exquis is inspired both by the cadavre exquis method of poetry, in which a collection of writers blindly contribute isolated words that together compose a poem, and by Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1976 film City Slivers, in which the artist depicts New York City through a collection of masked views that fill only a portion of the film frame. Urban Exquis consists of several short video slivers hat depict various urban environments. Like the word fragments in a cadaver exquis, each video sliver is composed by a different moviemaker, artist, or architect. Like the images in City Slivers, each video sliver is a vertically-oriented fragment of a conventional video frame that defies the conventional widescreen format of cinema. In both method and form, the installation challenges many assumptions regarding the relevance of cinematic imagery to urban space. Urban Exquis suggests that the identity of the city resides in simultaneity and adjacency, not in spatial and temporal unity.
urban_media  film  exhibition  public_space 
september 2012 by shannon_mattern
Ateneo Naider - Edición General | History of urbanism in the 20th century in 10 videos
I posted A selection of 75 videos about cities and urban policies highlighting some of the videos that were considered for the final short-list of videos we finally used in the session. I will try to find the time soon to update this list but, in the meantime, here you can find 10 pieces that draw a selective and incomplete (but still relevant I guess) picture of some of the main ideas that influenced how cities were thought, designed and built in the 20th century.

Lewis Mumford, The City in History; Pruitt-Igoe Myth; Anatomy of Los Angeles; The Living City; The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces; How To Live in a City; Jane Jacobs: Neighborhoods in Action; Unfinished London; New Moscow
urban_studies  urban_media  documentary  video  los_angeles  london 
august 2012 by shannon_mattern
Mark McKeague Explores The Future Sound Of Traffic — The Pop-Up City
Although many electric vehicles use synthesized sounds to simulate the sound of motor vehicles, you can let them play any sound you want. (A good example is this electric pizza scooter in Amsterdam that says “Mmmmmmmm… lekker” (“tasty”) instead of “Vroooooooommm”.) McKeague, who studies Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art, created a scenario in which electric cars adapt their sound to their relationship to other road users and the environment, resulting in a totally new sound of traffic.
urban_media  sound  sound_space  transportation  interaction_design  music 
june 2012 by shannon_mattern
NCR-01 [Agenda]: Reading the Streets | Istanbul Design Biennial
With the New City Reader, we sought to return to an older practice of reading newspapers, posting them in public and, in so doing, taking advantage of the newspaper as a graphic surface. Posting newspapers on walls was common in New York outside of newspaper offices in the nineteenth century and still exists in many countries which have either government run newspapers and large populations of poor people who cannot afford to purchase newspapers outright. We thought that the sharing that such newspapers created was worth investigating in depth. We set out to to find some two dozen sites in which we could publicly hang the papers. Unfortunately, we found this easier said than done. New York city levels $35,000 in fines for posting materials in public with a permit—and these proved difficult to obtain—and our original plan to post papers on temporary walls around construction sites turned out to risk angering those organized crime entities with connections to the construction industry. Posting in public, it turned out, already had an agenda, one of money and danger. Thus, the first New City Reader inadvertently wound up reinforcing our own niche, being posted in the façades of the New Museum and Storefront for Art and Architecture, as well as on the walls of the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Pratt, and even the School of Architecture at the University of Limerick.
media_space  urban_media  newspapers  public_reading 
june 2012 by shannon_mattern
Shots Heard, Pinpointed and Argued Over -
Milwaukee is one of an increasing number of cities around the country — just under 70 to date, including some in the New York area — that are using a gunshot detection system called ShotSpotter to pinpoint the location of gunfire seconds after it occurs. Last year, the company that developed ShotSpotter began offering a more affordable system, and that has brought in new clients and led other cities to consider trying it.

The detection system, which triangulates sound picked up by acoustic sensors placed on buildings, utility poles and other structures, is part of a wave of technological advances that is transforming the way police officers do their jobs.
urban_media  surveillance  sound_space  violence 
may 2012 by shannon_mattern
CITE CITY :: Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation :: New Mexico, USA
The Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation (CITE) will be the first of its kind, in scale and scope, fully integrated test, evaluation and certification facility dedicated to enabling and facilitating the commercialization of new and emerging technologies....

CITE will represent a 20th century American city with a population of approximately 35,000 people and be built on roughly 15 square acres. CITE’s test city will be unpopulated. This unique feature will allow for a true laboratory without the complication and safety issues associated with residents.

CITE will be a catalyst for the acceleration of research into applied, market-ready products by providing “end to end” testing and evaluation of emerging technologies and innovations from the world’s public laboratories, universities and the private sector.

CITE will be modeled after a mid-sized modern American city, integrating real-world urban and suburban environments along with all the typical working infrastructure elements that make up today’s cities. This will provide customers the unique opportunity to test and evaluate technologies in conditions that most closely simulate real-world applications.
urban_planning  models  urban_media  infrastructure  telecommunications  transportation 
may 2012 by shannon_mattern
Cities Are Surprisingly Menacing When You Remove All the People - Arts & Lifestyle - The Atlantic Cities
"Silent World" suggests life would not be so peaceful in a completely silent city. It's unnatural and threatening; as fun as it'd be to climb all the sculptures at MoMa, the uneasy feeling of being the last person on earth could build and build until one goes mad.

Lucie & Simon create these vacuumed-up cityscapes by using a neutral density filter that allows for extra-long exposures, which removes moving objects like people and cars. The fact that the filter is "normally used by NASA for analyzing stars," according to art professor Klaus Honnef, ramps up the alien vibes of "Silent World." Here's Honnef explaining his attraction to the series:

The silence of the world, like a quotation, is suddenly endowed with an oppressive eloquence. Small intrusions are the true sparks here, because their disconcerting presence disrupts the majestic calm of the streets and squares.
photography  urban_media  public_space  silence  technologized_vision 
may 2012 by shannon_mattern
Silent World: What Makes A City A City — The Pop-Up City
Lucie & Simon, a French/German duo of photographers, recently put together a series of humbling photographs of huge urban spaces completely devoid of activity. The photographs (also with an accompanying video that ably mixes in Philip Glass and Daft Punk) show some of the busiest places in the world (Tiananmen Square, Times Square, Place Montparnasse) almost entirely empty, save for the built forms that contain the spaces.
photography  urban_media  public_space 
may 2012 by shannon_mattern
Eleven Things That Were Different About Old New York -- Daily Intel
The New York City Department of Records recently made 870,000 photos from its archives available online for the first time, offering a fascinating glimpse into the city's past, and some of the ways that life here has changed over the years.
archives  photography  urban_media  new_york  urban_archaeology 
may 2012 by shannon_mattern
Podcast, Jesse Shapins: "Mapping the Urban Database Documentary" | MIT Comparative Media Studies
The urban database documentary is a mode of media art practice that uses structural systems as generative processes and organizational frameworks to explore the lived experience of place. The genre emerges in the early 20th century, and can be read as symptomatic of panoramic perception, sensory estrangement and networked participation, cultural utopias which respond to modernity's underlying paradoxes. As such, the invention of the computer did not give rise to the urban database documentary, it only enabled new forms of its realization. The hope is to shift the conversation from a fetishization of ever-­new technological possibilities to a discussion of the underlying cultural aims/assumptions of media art practice and the specific forms through which works address modernity's cultural tensions.
media_city  film  database_cinema  urban_media 
april 2012 by shannon_mattern
Open-source city: In urban interventions, the metaphor matters — BMW Guggenheim Lab | log
The living city. It’s a phrase or a variation on a phrase you’ve probably heard dozens of times to describe the urban realm... but as digital devices and technological infrastructures increasingly mediate the way we live in cities, the language by which we describe urbanism shifts accordingly. The city is less akin to organisms and more to software, thus subject to coding, versioning, and hacking, like any computer program.

Looking at the city with this technologically charged metaphor, in June 2011, sociologist Saskia Sassen in an op-ed in Domus Magazine suggested that “open-source urbanism” is a means for the city and its citizens to interface, writing, “We can think of the multiple ways in which the city talks back as a type of open-source urbanism: the city as partly made through a myriad of interventions and little changes from the ground up.”... In 2008, Matthew Fuller and Usman Haque created the Urban Versioning System 1.0... Echoing Fuller and Haque’s CVS, last fall saw the development of #whOWNSpace, a collaborative and discursive project that maps issues of ownership and public space. Founded by DSGN AGNC in collaboration with Not An Alternative and DoTank:Brooklyn, #whOWNSpace grew out of conversations about tactical urbanism and Occupy Wall Street... #whOWNSpace inherently operates as if the city is open-source system. It is a place where small-scale activity—a recoding of conventions within the urban fabric—aggregates into larger impact. It may seem like a persnickety detail, but by changing the vocabulary we use to describe the city from the organic to the digital we change our own interface with it. We’re no longer positioned against a living organism, whose body evolves based on some higher, perhaps unknowable, order. Instead, we act, hack, and react to a mutable and collaborative system: the open-source city.
open_source  urban_planning  hacking  programming  media_space  urban_media  media_city 
january 2012 by shannon_mattern
Urban Omnibus » Cinebeasts’ Gowanderlust
"On Saturday, October 8, Cinebeasts presented Gowanderlust!, an event combining a neighborhood walking tour with quick, guerilla-style film installations....
media_city  film  exhibition  urban_media  walking  walking_tours 
october 2011 by shannon_mattern
An Interview with Kevin Slavin - Rob Walker - Design Observer
When we started Area/Code in 2004, it was “software for cities,” and we were interested in entertainment software. We were working through certain curiosities about how, on the one hand, these new technologies affect how individuals interact with the world, and then on the other hand, how these larger collective organisms called cities are also reshaping themselves around software... The point is we’re using algos to analyze the world, but it goes beyond that: we've weaponized some of them, so they're not just thinking, they're acting... We are learning, all of us, how to speak system. You know what a good example of this is? Writing for SEO. You’re no longer writing to communicate clearly with a human. You’re writing to be as clear as possible to Google search algorithms.
augmented_reality  locative_media  algorithms  urban_media  writing  machine_writing 
october 2011 by shannon_mattern
YouTube - Miniature City (720p HD)
Via Installing Social Order: "Seeing this intersting tilt-shift video of a city, I was reminded that scale is a salient issues regarding infrastructure as infrastructural entities often exist in at such massive scale that it is difficult to "humanize" or make it "knowable" to people... Unlocking the scale issue for infrastructure is quite important, especially emphasis on the massiveness, but, as this video indicates, although only through implication and extension: as scholars, we may need to find a way to write tilt-shift about infrastructure."
infrastructure  urban_media  video  scale 
september 2011 by shannon_mattern
Where the Skills Are - Magazine - The Atlantic
"For centuries, the specific geographic advantages of cities tended to obscure their underlying social role. When agriculture powered economic development, cities grew near fertile soils. In the industrial age, access to raw materials and ports became critical, along with the presence of enough physical labor to run large factories. But as those factors become less important, we can see more clearly what has arguably mattered the most all along.

Cities are our greatest invention, not because of the scale of their infrastructure or their placement along key trade routes, but because they enable human beings to combine and recombine their talents and ideas in new ways. With their breadth of skills, dense social networks, and physical spaces for interactions, great cities and metro areas push people together and increase the kinetic energy between them."
urban_media  communication  oral_culture  urban_history  urban_form  geography  infrastructure 
september 2011 by shannon_mattern
Urban Omnibus » Iconathon: Designing Symbols for Civic Ideas
"collaborative design charrette aimed at creating a set of graphic symbols that can be applied across sectors to communicate commonly recognized urban concepts" -- Code for America w/ The Noun Project, a grp "contributing to and disseminating the world’s collection of visual symbols... As metropolitan areas and cities seek new ways to adapt to demographic shifts in language + culture, how that information is visually disseminated + the technology that facilitates this with efficiency and ease have become increasingly important... Adam Greenfield spoke of the role that tech can play in creating equality of movement, where digitized interactive spaces provide people with agency in the public realm... not all symbols or civic concepts are universally translatable... argued that transitions btw modes (bike to rail to bus) can never be completely seamless... unavoidable moments of transition... strive for “beautiful seams,” transitions that are fluid + easy to make between modes.
urban_media  iconography  signs  locative_media 
september 2011 by shannon_mattern
Masters of Media » PICNIC: Life in Readable ...
BETH COLEMAN: "we produce a considerable amount of data by putting virtual tags on locations + saying what we do and where – instead of using this info commercially, why not make use of this data for ourselves and use it for common resource sharing?" / SASKIA SASSEN: "addressed the need to understand that there is a gap between a cold set of data and the actual knowledge it can provide us with. By claiming that “data itself don’t give you any story”...importance of acknowledging the power of institutions as knowledge systems and how these can intervene in the interpretation and accessibility of our data." / MARTIJN DE WAAL: "What are the new cultural objects nowadays around which a public sphere can emerge? Is it particularly the role of ‘user generated content’ that influences how we produce information and how we participate?" -- "challenging to make interesting knowledge out of accessible data sets + inject a ‘human side, to involve citizens in urban projects of sustainability."
urban_media  urban_informatics  urban_studies  data  locative_media 
september 2011 by shannon_mattern
Network City 2010 |
"Network City explores how urban areas have developed as ecosystems of competing networks since the late nineteenth century. Networks of capital, transportation infrastructures, and telecommunications systems centralize cities while dispersing them into larger posturban fields such as the Northeastern seaboard or Southern California... A fundamental thesis of the course is that buildings too, function as networks." -- First Network Cities (Ronald F. Abler “What Makes Cities Important"), Metropolitan Subject (Simmel, Burgess, Wirth), Office Bldgs as Corporate Machine (Whyte, Wiener, R. Martin, Return of the Center (Jacobs, Koolhaas, Zukin, Florida), Global City & New Centrality (Sassen, Castells), Postsuburbia & Edgeless City, Tourist City
media_city  urban_media  infrastructure  networks  syllabus 
august 2011 by shannon_mattern
Timelapse - The City Limits on Vimeo
"I shot this timelapse montage from late 2010 through early 2011.
One year in the making.

My goal was to show the duality between city and nature.

Locations include :

- Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Quebec city, Quebec, Canada
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Manhattan, New York, USA
- Chicago, Illinois, USA"
video  urban_media  infrastruture  urban_form  circulation  transportation  timelapse 
july 2011 by shannon_mattern
Reinvent - An unprecedented community event at General Assembly to kick off the reinvention of New York City's primary web presence. Civic participation meets the digital age.
"An unprecedented community event at General Assembly to kick off the reinvention of New York City's primary web presence. Civic participation meets the digital age.
On July 30-31, teams of designers, engineers, copywriters, photographers and product managers will come together at General Assembly in New York City to spend a full weekend designing, developing, and launching their visions for a re-imagined"
urban_informatics  open_data  urban_media 
july 2011 by shannon_mattern
daro: "Networked Cities: Infrastructures of Telecommunication and Modern Urban Theories"
"“The telegraph symbolically follows the railroad; the telephone, with kindred symbolism, follows the motor highway. So much for the business end of communication.” - Lewis Mumford (1925)... The infrastructures of telecom – electricity pole, cable, antenna, transmission tower – have become universal icons crossing the earth’s surface. These physical markers [created] networks for instant communication on a global scale; (2) were equipment around which cities would be rebuilt, giving rise to new ways of imagining + conditioning space in the metropolis. The diffusion of telephone, electricity + transport. networks, at the beginning of the 20th c., particularly as they were pioneered in North America, propelled widespread processes of urbanization. In the 1920s, Mumford and his colleagues in the Regional Planning Association of America argued for the decentralization of cities into ideal conurbations that were linked specifically by the transmission of electricity and telephone lines."
urban_media  telegraph  telephone  infrastructures  urban_archaeology 
july 2011 by shannon_mattern
"The Illinois Telephone and Telegraph Company had been organized in 1898 to construct a telephone system that would compete with the well-established Chicago Telephone Company. The City of Chicago required the IT&T to place their wires underground in conduits. Construction of the conduits began in late 1899; however. these were crafted to a size much larger than needed to hold mere wires. Built to a dimension of 7 1/2 feet high and 6 feet 9 inches wide, they happened to be just large enough to also accommodate a narrow gauge railway.
..The subterranean railway was envisioned not to handle passengers but freight. By diverting freight from slow moving wagons on congested streets to electric trains running beneath them, it would be possible to move goods of almost every description quickly between railroad stations, boat docks, department stores and factories. ..Excepting a specialized mail handling railway that would later open in London, it was unique among the world’s railways."
media_architecture  urban_media  postal_service  urban_archaeology  underground  railroad  telephone  infrastructure  chicago 
may 2011 by shannon_mattern
Urban Omnibus » Festival of Ideas for the New City Recap
"Sustainable cities are dense, diverse and attract newcomers. They are the ones where people want to walk because they know they will encounter the unexpected. Lanier made a claim for visceral interpersonal experience in his keynote address: “in New York you walk down the sidewalk, lock eyes with someone and your life changes.” The energy of these interactions, of these organic synapses dispersed in the urban fabric, has the potential to make cities that do more than merely sustain themselves — cities that generate ideas, choice and productivity. To realize this potential, however, demands attention at all scales: reconfiguring spaces that don’t work into spaces that do, bringing awareness to the power of individual behavior, harnessing digital technology to expand possibility while countering observation and control, and constantly questioning the status quo. The new city should be a city that always evaluates itself, and the Festival of Ideas seized an opportunity to do just that."
urban_media  media_architecture  urban_planning  public_space  networks  public_design 
may 2011 by shannon_mattern
HG Wells on Newspapers |
"Figure first, then, a hastily erected and still more hastily designed building in a dirty, paper-littered back street of old London, and a number of shabbily dressed men coming and going in this with projectile swiftness, and within this factory companies of printers, tensely active with nimble fingers—they were always speeding up the printers—ply their type-setting machines, and cast and arrange masses of metal in a sort of kitchen inferno, above which, in a beehive of little brightly lit rooms, disheveled men sit and scribble. There is a throbbing of telephones and a clicking of telegraph needles, a rushing of messengers, a running to and fro of heated men, clutching proofs and copy. Then begins a clatter roar of machinery catching the infection, going faster and faster, and whizzing and banging—engineers, who have never had time to wash since their birth, flying about with oil-cans, while paper runs off its rolls with a shudder of haste."
media_city  urban_media  newspapers  printing  sound_space  media_workspace 
march 2011 by shannon_mattern
INSCRIPTIONS: The Material Contours of Knowledge
"This conference will explore the material dimensions of inscribed knowledge across modern disciplinary lines, featuring talks by internationally known scholars in History, Literature, Digital Humanities, Geography, Music and Art History. Drawing on a diverse range of methodological approaches, the speakers will collectively address the role of material inscription in the formation, or deformation, of knowledge from roughly 1660-1850. Kinds of inscription that we will consider include manuscripts, drawings, maps, graffiti, archives, books and other objects. We will also consider the physical circuits and practices (i.e., manual, technological, social, institutional) through which such inscriptions traveled. "
text  books  media_space  urban_media  geography  writing  publishing 
march 2011 by shannon_mattern
Looking @ Music 3.0: MoMA | Listening to Art
"...explore[s] the influence of music on contemporary art practices, focuses on NY in the 80s + 90s... Ad hoc collaborations of graffiti, performance, and media artists presented new works in alternative spaces and short-lived underground clubs... Art of the street thrived. On the heels of graffiti, hip hop started out at grassroots, amplified music/dance gatherings in schoolyards in the Bronx. On the LES artists joined forces, notably after the 1989 Thompson Sq. riots. Handmade posters plastered around the neighborhood protested police brutality and the gentrification of a park where the homeless had camped out for decades. Appropriation... flourished as a means of opposing the mainstream. It was a time of movements.... cassette offered new channels for presenting and disseminating sound and rap (Tellus). Video maintained that you-are-there, live feel of performance, whereas interactive CD-ROMs turned audiences into active participants"
sound_studies  sound_space  urban_media  exhibition  sound_art 
february 2011 by shannon_mattern
**Urban Omnibus » New City Reader - Kazys Varnelis
"Joseph Grima and I were already talking about working together when he received a call from Richard Flood at the New Museum who was beginning the curatorial process for “The Last Newspaper.” Joseph and I were talking about how in the 1960s, artists and thinkers connected to obsolete practices in order to re-imagine contemporary possibilities. Newspapers are not yet obsolete, but we wanted to go back to earlier methods of producing and consuming newspapers as a way to investigate critically a variety of trends and practices in the contemporary city. Joseph immediately suggested a model he had seen in China, the Dàzìbào (大字报), or wall-mounted newspaper, meant to be read — and presumably discussed — in public. Then I began to do research into 19th century New York. A fascinating book called City Reading explains the proliferation of print culture in New York on the facades of buildings."
urban_media  reading  newspapers  public_space  public_sphere  textual_form 
february 2011 by shannon_mattern
Announcing the New City Reader |
"Produced as a collaboration between myself/the Netlab and Joseph Grima, the New City Reader will consist of one edition, published over the course of the project with a new section produced weekly by alternating guest editorial teams within the museum’s gallery space. These sections will be available free at the New Museum and—in emulation of a practice common in the nineteenth-century American city and still popular in parts of the world today—will be posted in public throughout the city for collective reading.

The New City Reader kicks off today with the City section, a massively detailed graphic produced by the Netlab recounting the 1977 New York City blackout and its effects on the failing city to reveal the interdependence of infrastructure, information, and social stability. If the challenges of that era map to the difficulties facing both the country and the city today, the New City Reader will inquire into these parallels."
newspapers  urban_media  textual_form 
february 2011 by shannon_mattern
The Last Newspaper ::
"At the turn of the twentieth century, in the dawn of the machine age, newspapers were everywhere and wire services were feeding their hunger for the latest information. ...The artists in this exhibition continue the exploration of the newspaper, but their focus lies in the ideological rather than the purely physical properties of the daily press. They use the newspaper as a platform to address issues of hierarchy, attribution, contextualization, and editorial bias. By disassembling and recontextualizing elements of the newspaper, such as the construction of graphics and text, the artists on view take charge of and remake the flow of information that defines our perception of the world. At its simplest, the artistic impulse that largely informs this exhibition is one of reaction and appropriation; the newspaper provides a stimulus and is itself incorporated into the final artwork. "
textual_form  newspapers  exhibition  urban_media 
february 2011 by shannon_mattern
Week Zero: Introducing Urbanscale | Urbanscale
"collapse in any easy distinction between the virtual and the physical. With the advent of smartphones, especially, the Internet has been folded back onto the built environment; networked information pervades and conditions just about every facet of the contemporary metropolitan experience.

We believe that this presents the greatest possible ground of potential and opportunity, a once-in-a-generation chance to devise more humane, more livable and sustainable urban places…at precisely the moment in which humanity has become a decisively urban species.... This is the challenge we’ve taken up. Urbanscale is a practice committed to applying the toolkit and mindset of interaction design to the specific problems of cities. Through the design of products, services, interfaces and spatial interventions, our work aims to make cities easier to understand, more pleasant to use and more responsive to the desires of their inhabitants and other users."
media_city  mobile_technology  urban_media  urban_informatics 
february 2011 by shannon_mattern
Doors of Perception weblog: Bangkok Cable Ways
"On of the reasons we underestimate the sheer physical mass of our power and information networks is that they're hidden from view. But not in Bangkok. The German photographer Thomas Kalak has spent ten years decade capturing images like these."
media_city  urban_media  infrastructure  telecommunications  cables  wires 
february 2011 by shannon_mattern
Letterology: Brit Lit
"The New York Times reported in the most recent Sunday travel section on the literary town of Norwich England—a Getaway for Book Lovers. Included was an image and brief mention of the abandoned electrical plant which had been painted with the text of Sir Thomas More's 16th C Utopia. A further search directed me to British artist Rory Macbeth who painted the entire building's facade word for word. These are not short line lengths mind you. Each line of text appears to continually wrap around the entire building so the reader would have to circle round and round just to read it all. "
media_city  urban_media  books  reading 
february 2011 by shannon_mattern
BLDGBLOG: Drift Deck
"The Drift Deck, produced in 2008 by Julian Bleecker and Dawn Lozzi, is "an algorithmic puzzle game used to navigate city streets," offering "instructions that guide you as you drift about the city."
psychogeography  urban_media  games  walking 
january 2011 by shannon_mattern
Technology and the City - Reading List | Serial Consign
"I'm particularly excited about a course that I'll be launching tomorrow entitled 'Technology and the City' that I'll be co-teaching with economic geographer Matthew Talsma. For this third year undergraduate course, we'll be using technology as a lens through which to consider various urban paradigms. The major deliverable will be a research paper but we're also going to be running a series of lab exercises that will have the students photograph, record and collaboratively map Toronto and the surrounding suburbs. "
urban_media  media_city  urban_informatics  mapping  syllabus 
january 2011 by shannon_mattern
The Rockefeller Foundation on “the future of crowdsourced cities” « Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
"it’s no surprise that in trying to wrap our heads around the implications of networked urbanism, many of us instinctively retreat to the safe, familiar binary of Jane Jacobs-style, bottom-up activism vs. Robert Moses-style command-and-control development, as I certainly have in the past, and as Greg Lindsay does in this otherwise-excellent piece for Fast Company. But if we’re collectively going to develop any meaningful or usefully actionable insight on the issues raised in the course of the two days, I think we’re going to have to take a deeper cut.

For starters, I’m not sure that the Jacobs/Moses schema necessarily makes much sense anymore, either sheds enough light or does enough work to justify its continued deployment. For one thing, Metcalfe’s law suggests that the real benefits of certain technologies are only likely to become apparent at scale, or when a significant percentage of a population is connected to a given network."
urban_planning  urban_informatics  urban_media 
december 2010 by shannon_mattern
Streetscapes - Rare Books About New York -
"If I were to choose one present to put under a tree, it would be John Kouwenhoven’s magisterial “Columbia Historical Portrait of New York” of 1953. This is the granddaddy of New York picture books, an exquisite pleasure to hold. It’s not just old photos, but engravings, prints, maps and broadsides, some dating back to the 17th century, with expert captions."
media_architecture  urban_media  books  photography  new_york  urban_history 
october 2010 by shannon_mattern
Pocket Calculator's Vintage Boombox and Ghetto Blaster Museum
"Precisely when the term was coined we're not sure. Department stores such as Sears and K-Mart began used it in their marketing as early as 1983. Merriam-Webster pins it at 1981, and defines the boom box as "a large portable radio and often tape player with two attached speakers". Initially, it became identified with a certain group of society, hence adopting epithetic nicknames, like ghetto blaster, and jam box. But as the masses began to embrace this assemblage of electronics gadgets as an indespensible form of portable entertainment, it became an icon of popular culture, and we've yet to let go. Your hosts of Pocket Calculator Show endeavor here to provide a retrospective, including as many photos, facts and accounts as we can provide, during your tour of the Vintage Boombox Museum."
sound_space  sound_studies  music  things  urban_media 
october 2010 by shannon_mattern
holding company | Dark Fiber | Fiber Optic Resources | FiberLocator | Information You Can Use
"Unlike a traditional map, FiberLocator sees opportunities. Depending on where you are, you can tell how far away your nearest source of Dark Fiber is. There is also the option of an extensive report so you can know not only where the Dark Fiber is, but how to best go about getting that fiber for your company.

The FiberLocator report is an amazing tool in getting your company ahead of the telecom curve. Don’t be dependent on a big corporation that doesn’t care about you. Take your telecom and your bandwidth into your own hands with Dark Fiber and the Dark Fiber Locator Report from NEF. "
infrastructure  telecommunications  fiber_optics  urban_media 
october 2010 by shannon_mattern
Seminar Participants | Toronto Photography Seminar
"She is currently working on a book-length study of the impact of photography on the urbanization of Toronto in the early twentieth century. Her publications include “Picturing Filth and Disorder: Photography and Urban Governance in Toronto” in the journal History of Photography (2004) and “Visuality and the Emergence of City Planning in Early Twentieth-Century Toronto and Montreal” in the Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada (2007)."
photography  urban_media  urban_planning 
october 2010 by shannon_mattern
Marville: When Haussmanization Transformed Paris
"From 1865 to 1878, Charles Marville was assigned by the City of Paris to photograph Old Paris before, during, and after its transformation into a modern city. Patrice de Moncan has collected a series of amazing shots for a book and an exhibition that delve into the capital’s extraordinary history."
photography  urban_media  media_architecture  urban_change  paris 
october 2010 by shannon_mattern
You really wish you could attend these conferences | girlwonder
"There’s “The Invisible City,” the theme of the 1972 International Design Conference Aspen. It promised to

“address the implications of making the invisible city visible: of changing misuse into use and apathy into engagement. The conference will explore the programs, philosophies and materials that use the resource of our man-made environment for learning. The conference will address the architectural, planning, design, economic and political implications of these educational alternatives.”"
media_city  urban_media  information_architecture 
october 2010 by shannon_mattern Technology
"Submedia and the medium of my art displays derive from a technology I conceived of. (Spodek et al, Apparatus for displaying images to viewers in motion, US Patents 6,564,486 B1, 6,718,666, and 6,731,370). I led and continue to lead its research and development through all stages. I also develop technology independently of Submedia; subways are only the start.

My one percent inspiration came in graduate school in 1996. I wondered if the zoetrope would work if it was straight instead of circular. Since all it consists of is slits and images, it seemed possible. Moving a display past a viewer seemed impractical, but moving viewers past a display would work. Subways move people past tunnel walls all the time."
urban_media  urban_archaeology  media_archaeology  film  transportation 
september 2010 by shannon_mattern
At New Lincoln Center, Information Joins Architecture -
"what she refers to as Lincoln Center’s electronic infoscape — the final elements of which are being installed this week — amounts to a great deal more than just signs. As Ms. Diller and her partners see it, the media elements are not just finishing touches: they are an extension, and in many ways the ultimate expression, of a wholesale reimagining of the complex as more porous, inviting and immediate.

This electronic component of the project includes — in addition to the words that have been adorning the risers of the new grand entrance stair on Columbus Avenue for the last few months — five screens at the back of the new bleachers facing Alice Tully Hall, scrolling text on the West 65th Street staircase to the north plaza, and 13 new vertical 4-by-8-foot L.E.D. screens, or blades, lined up along the south side of West 65th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. "
media_architecture  media_city  urban_screens  urban_media  screen  public_space 
september 2010 by shannon_mattern
City of Wires on Vimeo
"A city is enmeshed with cables, that may have malevolent intentions. Wires are used to represent the physical manifestation of the internet, and a retro phone booth to symbolize the human-machine interface we have with it. I believe we need to guard our privacy in the networked culture we live in. Where we go, what we do, what we buy - is nobodies business but our own, unless we choose to make it so. Otherwise the invisible, all pervasive data trail we leave behind may one day ensnare us."
urban_media  telecommunications  infrastructure  video  wires  cables  electricity 
september 2010 by shannon_mattern
FutureEverything Feature | Vague Terrain
"The consistently excellent recently published the above feature on the most recent FutureEverything conference. The short video is a good overview of the portion of the 2010 festival that considered 'smart' cities and open data – Drew Hemment and Adam Greenfield offer some thoughtful insights and there are a number of interesting projects mentioned that are worth investigating."
media_city  locative_media  urban_media  urban_informatics  surveillance  mobile_media 
september 2010 by shannon_mattern
a/v mapping
"This blog is a research platform organizing projects, examples, and thoughts surrounding the idea of an urban mapping which reads the city as a network of individual activities and relationships in time rather than as a static form. This research looks at the city both from within and from above as kind of urban cat-scan."
mapping  urban_media 
august 2010 by shannon_mattern
Festival | Media Facades Festival
"MEDIA FACADES FESTIVAL EUROPE 2010 will explore the networked possibilities of urban screens and media facades...reflects on the increasing presence of massive-infrastructures with digital visual elements in public spaces while investigating their communicative function...The festival will projects in Europe-wide Joint Broadcasting Events which aspire to share dreams of the different cities and report about local issues and exchange peoples’ stories and ideas. The media facades will be transformed into local stages and open a global window for cultural and societal processes to create a dialogue and connect the local public virtually with other places throughout Europe. Its long-term vision is to be a catalyst for the creation of a sustainable and transportable structure where art/cultural professionals, arts/cultural/governmental, businesses, media and the general public...can interact through the development of a new cultural communication format in the public space."
media_architecture  urban_media  urban_screens  screen 
august 2010 by shannon_mattern
Location-Based Linkage | Serial Consign
"when navigating the city we do just scan. Street Slide allows users to expand their field of view from the bubble into a continuous photo-collage that lends itself to efficient panning. Since the city is being abstracted and 'flattened' to a 2-dimensional surface anyways, the designers pull business signage, street numbers and road signs out of the city and blow them up as annotations to make finding what you're looking for that much easier.... Location Labs outlines a basic typology of geofences (virtual perimeters), these are: Place geofences – "use a stream of continuously pushed location to identify when a user enters or exits a place or static zone; Dynamic geofences – event spaces that are demarcated by time-sensitive events like concerts, celebrity sitings or traffic accidents; Peer-to-Peer geofences – location-based collision detection! i.e. a rule that causes some kind of notification or API call when linked users (mobile devices) come into contact or part ways."
urban_media  locative_media 
august 2010 by shannon_mattern
A Nightclub Map of Harlem @ Mike Thibault
"“A Nightclub Map of Harlem” and it was drawn in 1932 by E. Simms Campbell, a cartoonist who went on to great success with his drawings in Ebony Magazine."
mapping  urban_media  music_scenes 
august 2010 by shannon_mattern
Visible City Project + Archive
"The Visible City Project seeks to understand the different roles that artists play in imagining and helping to design 21st century cities. The project investigates how art practices function in specific contemporary urban contexts as a tool for enhancing communication and renovating democratic citizenship, and how they might be used to educate and transform the experience of urban dwelling in light of the changing technological, economic and cultural experiences of globalization."
urban_studies  public_art  urban_planning  media_city  urban_media  video 
august 2010 by shannon_mattern
Rhizome | FM Radio Map (2006) - Simon Elvins
"Site-specific map plotting the location of FM commercial and pirate radio stations within London. Power lines are drawn in pencil on the back of the map which conduct the electricity from the radio to the front of poster. Placing a metal pushpin onto each station then allows us to listen to the sound broadcast live from that location."
media_city  urban_media  infrastructure  radio  mapping 
august 2010 by shannon_mattern
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