Thank you very much for these 'recaps' of the discussion, from those putting
the list together. I have appreciated the high level of contribution on this
list and the attempt to
better understand the concept of 'hybrid city.' I thank everyone for putting
forth their ideas, links, work, etc. It was a good experience and I'm
definitely interested if something were to start again in September. As for
the posts about 'hybrid cities' as summarizing the list - I would have to
agree, the subject is more than timely. At the 'Towards a Just Metropolis'
conference, which I participated in as a panelist (Blogging the Virtual
City), I felt a struggle in myself with the terminology of 'virtual'.
Clearly, there is a long list of projects which are ____city
something____sensible, sensable, multiple, etc. Many projects are emerging.
Hybrid, coming from gardening, is one way to look at the cultivation of a
new space, or new methods, processes. Curiously, I went to purchase a pair
of walking shoes the other day, after having walked around cities all of my
adult life without gps, and worn out my poor feet...the first shoes I looked
at were called 'hybrid' and it seemed somehow humorous and yet, part of the
new 'urban' style which has gripped San Francisco. Hybrid as a buzzword, but
significantly, as a concept about some movement and development which Marcos
talks about a bit in his long post. Just a few thoughts and notes...how to
keep our own ideas out of the style condition of the spectacle itself. How
to use concepts of 'play' without getting lost in the internet playground
without any way out of a hall of mirrors. Someone wrote, and I apologize for
not having the name right here, but perhaps it was in the Datacity 'call' -
that we are in a time of urban explosion - more people living in urban
conditions now than any other time in human history (Planet of Slums). I
daresay, what is designed as urban for a minority means something very
different than the urban of vast megacities of the impoverished, except,
perhaps where density is concerned. From an urban planning and design
standpoint then, for myself, notions of 'place', 'location' and 'urban' are
as susceptible to ideological differences as any other political terms and
conditions. It is imperative to me that the body of work which emerges as
'locative' reveals the many stresses and inequalities to urban space, just
as it reveals the happy play of diversity and enlightenment.
Thank you so much again. I am looking forward to a second chapter, if it
happens. I have not been at 'locative media' long, but issues of mobile
subjectivity, transnationalism, and networked 'reality' in a changing urban
context is of great significance to me and my work.
I am grateful for all I have to read on these topics and the discussion of
'city' 'place' and 'location'.
On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 3:11 AM, XARITOS DIMITRIOS <email@example.com>wrote:
> Dear YASMINers,
> As scheduled, the "Hybrid City as an Interface" discussion would conclude
> at the end of July and (depending on the interest it would raise among you)
> it would continue in September. As we all have witnessed, there has been a
> lot of interest so far and I would like to thank you all for your great
> efforts and contributions which have made this discussion a successful one,
> according to the comments we read in some of the last messages. I therefore
> propose that we continue the discussion in September and will inform you
> accordingly about the particular dates.
> In an attempt to identify key issues relating to the "Hybrid City" which
> were made so far, Martin has appropriately articulated three main issues
> which mainly refer to the creation, use and appropriation of mobile and
> locative media as well as other web-based applications involving
> location-based activities and content, around which this discussion has so
> far evolved: • real depth of audience engagement, • the radical
> potential of these new technologies and • the quality of existing examples
> of interventions
> The discussion also expanded towards • context-aware systems which reveal
> patterns of activity of any sort not perceptible to humans and the provision
> of these data to all
> • the process of creating maps, emerging cartographies, design
> aspects and politics • the role of Situationists' theory and practice on
> the creation of such interventions
> • the use of ubiquitous computing systems in creating hybrid spatial
> experiences, in the form of connections/bridges between the real and the
> • the politics determining who has access to these environments and
> • the potential for a passage from the public to the common through
> the use of these media
> • the potential of multi-user location-based activities for
> generating new forms of social interaction
> • the concept of "hybrid space", the spatial character of the concept
> of "hybridity", the "hybrid city" and its definition and whether this
> discussion should be limited to the urban realm.
> Moreover, many very relevant examples were mentioned for illustrating the
> points that each of you made in the discussion and I am sure that listing
> these examples has been very useful for many in understanding this subject
> I am also sure there is a lot that was said and I did not include in this
> short attempt to temporarily conclude this phase of the discussion and that
> the concepts of a "hybrid city" and of an "interface" in relation to this
> subject need a better clarification as Marcos pointed out in his message and
> I intend to start the second phase of this discussion by working towards
> such an introduction.
> But, after thanking all the respondents (Martin, Daphne, Iouliani), Roger
> and all of you who gave life to the discussion with your very interesting
> and relevant contributions, I cannot think of a better way to close this
> phase of the discussion, than with the message that Marcos send (which I
> paste below), which did really put the subject in a more holistic context by
> asking some very relevant questions: why?, how?, for whom?, as well as by
> reminding us of the very important issue of sustainability.
> On that note I would like to thank you all, to wish you a pleasant summer
> and to invite you to participate again in this discussion in September
> during the dates that we will announce soon.
> Best wishes
> From: marcos Date: July 30, 2010 4:06:57 PM PDT
> To: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] hybrid city as
> Hello all,
> I've been following the various Yasmin discussions with fascination for
> some time now. Congratulations to everyone for making this one of the most
> informed, thoughtful, and intriguing fora for discussions of art and new
> media. Alas, though I've been tempted to jump in several times, I've just
> been too busy to do so. This time, though, between the topic and season, I
> can't resist. Here goes:
> The topic of the "hybrid city" is timely and important. Many projects and
> events have been taking place around the world, indicating a renewed
> interest in the city. This time around, the terms seem to have changed --
> these aren't the statistically-driven but morphologically bland urban
> planning discussions of old ("old" doesn't have to be that old, these days
> -- a recent Venice Biennale of Architecture took on the theme of the city
> from a statistical vantage point and tried to let the numbers and graphs
> speak for themselves. They didn't.) The discussions today are energized and
> activated by the overlay of several issues that carry a new urgency:
> locative media and technologies, social networking,
> the-city-as-display-and-interface, sustainability and ecological awareness,
> globalization, and also a new sense of empowerment to affect the design of
> cities via algorithmic design, computer controlled fabrication, new
> materials, and the addition of increasing "intelligence," both local and
> remote, to what was previously inert form. Of course, one can't have new
> cities without new citizens, so one of the major factors is the coming of
> age of a new population that has assumed ubiquitous connectivity and
> computation from birth. The rise of this group has meant that the inertia of
> resistance that characterized much of the parent generation is rapidly being
> replaced by a dizzying forward momentum by the offspring generation.
> These and other topics have spurred various voices to try to articulate the
> new conditions of the city. Indeed, acting across Los Angeles and Vienna,
> the MAK Center, and, in particular, the MAK UFI (Urban Future Initiative),
> has just published a book of new "Urban Future Manifestos."
> For this book, Peter Noever invited numerous voices around the world to
> each contribute a manifesto. I am one of the authors called upon to write
> such a manifesto. It was quite a challenge to write a manifesto in the 21st
> century, but, in the end, it was a clarifying and refreshing exercise. I
> wish I could share it with this group, but, due to the publication
> agreement, I can't make the full text available to the discussion right away
> (but may be able to do so soon, if there is interest). In the meantime, I
> can direct your attention to the book (which, in any case, contains many
> more manifestos pertinent to this discussion!). I've included some
> additional information about the book below.
> Now, to the them of "hybrid" and the hope for converging upon a definition.
> I would argue that perhaps a definition might only close down an argument
> that is better left open. The specific term "hybrid" actually contains hints
> to the problem I am drawing attention to. A "hybrid" is a creature that is
> the offspring of two related but separate species (which is what appeals to
> all of us in this discussion) but, which, critically, is unable to reproduce
> further on its own. Hybrids are sterile, most often. This morning, in the
> news, there was word of a new "zedonk" being born in captivity at the
> Chestatee Wildlife Preserve in Dahlonega, Georgia. The "zedonk" is a hybrid
> of a zebra and a donkey. It is also known as a "zonkey" or, more to the
> point, a "zebra mule." Mules of various kinds cannot reproduce. For all
> their utility to humans, we must bring together horses and donkeys to make
> them. Other hybrids like "ligers" and "tions" suffer the same fate.
> A "hybrid city" thus suggests that some combinations may be attractive and
> useful and yet not sustainable (and I don't just mean this in terms of
> energy or materials, I mean it culturally and civilizationally) -- and,
> since we are speaking of living things -- unable to continue to evolve. What
> would be preferable, I think, is not to settle on a term, but to try to
> understand what principles might be necessary to restore and provide for
> richness and ever-growing diversity. In my own discourse of "transvergence,"
> I focus on "speciation" -- not the making of hybrids between species, but
> the construction of ecologies within which genuine, stable, and
> ever-evolving new species can proliferate.
> This isn't just a semantic quibble or a fussiness about this word or that.
> The difference is real and structural, and hinges on the specific and real
> construction of openness. To give a single example that can ground that I
> mean this technically, let me add this: we all know about genetic algorithms
> by now. A genetic algorithm may evolve by mutating its own genes, but,
> unless it actually has the ability to extend its own genome (that is to say,
> modify and extend the set of genes whose values are able to mutate), it
> can't produce anything but variations of the same kind -- it can never
> produce new kinds, or new species. A closed genome is an industrial-age
> artifact, focused on optimization. What is needed is a post-industrial
> construct able to alter itself as it proliferates.
> Not fixating on a closed hybridity, and instead focusing on the provision
> of conditions and flexible, mutating structures that ensured the evolution
> of new species of urbanism and urban life would be a start, but would not be
> the all that we could strive for. Another problem remains.
> The next issue, I think, has to do with how we still exist within
> structures and value systems that can produce variety without producing
> difference, and, especially positive difference, by multiple definitions.
> Guy Debord pointed this out in "The Society Of The Spectacle," and, as far
> as I can tell, we have yet to extricate ourselves from that maze.Whether we
> have 500 channels of unwatchable television or a trillion documents online
> does not matter if everything is motivated by an indifference to quality,
> and a subjugation of every effort at qualitative assessment to a
> simple-minded and perceptually and intellectually impoverished logic of mere
> counting -- more is better, and that's that. To put it plainly -- it is not
> that we cannot build better cities -- it is that we don't have the will to,
> or, to strike more deeply, the value system for. Cities are mirrors, and we
> already have the cities that are the perfect reflections of our collective
> values. If we wish to change them, we need to address the value systems by
> which we make urban decisions. Until we do, we will get technological
> advances that look like visionary avant-garde propositions until they
> arrive, but that will be commodified into glorified high-technology
> marketing delivery mechanisms in lived fact -- "cool" for a few minutes
> (generously), and then abrasive and tiresome, not really pleasant to live
> in, and next to impossible to thrive in.
> The question then shifts to a multi-headed problem: how to provide a
> constructive critique of our global culture and its values, how to assert
> positive and constructive alternatives, and how to literally structure our
> poetic and technological efforts to realize those alternatives. The problem
> I find the most vexing is the problem of values. In our community and on
> this forum, we are all dedicated to imagining and designing alternatives --
> but the real brick wall is not our ability to imagine and design in careful
> and exquisite detail what would be good and beautiful -- it is to emplace
> our proposals in a culture that does not even seem to know how to value
> them, let alone desire them and support them, even if the might appear to
> cost more (though cost is not the real issue, quality is).
> I love Venezia and have been there every year for over a decade, and, in
> parallel, I've lived for over a decade in Venice, California. The relation
> between the two cities is instructive. Venice, California is four times
> bigger than the original, but, though interesting, nowhere near as rich in
> wonder as La Serenissima. One is a human treasure. The other is pleasant
> beach-town with an unusual origin. Venice, California started off as an
> effort to create a Venice-of-America, not from any organic will of its
> citizens, but as a business proposition. Still, it was a pretty imaginative
> effort. Abbot Kinney, the developer who created it, managed to keep it
> going, in spite of curiously correlated pressure to build oil-wells and
> arson, until his death, whereupon it was handed over to the City of Los
> Angeles, which promptly filled in and paved the inconvenient canals, beauty
> (or, at least, character) be damned.
> Even where a tangible effort was made to build a timidly unusual city, a
> hybrid of America and Venezia, and even with a strong and clear precedent in
> mind, the value system of the society it was built within and for could not
> support what was offered. Venice-of-America was not culturally sustainable
> because people simply did not care enough to keep it going. The original
> Venetians had lesser technology but stronger urban values, and they
> consciously named their city after Venus, goddess of beauty, and then made
> every effort to make it beautiful. There are places in Venezia where five
> bridges (almost) intersect. One would have been enough, but five, in
> counterpoint, are more beautiful, and, though more costly then as now, those
> people chose beauty. All we seem to know to do now is consume beauty, as
> tourists, not make it, at least at the level of urban will and the public
> realm. Until we address this, we will do the same with technology, and the
> hybrid city will not be what we really wish it to be.
> Interface? To what? From what? From whom? Toward whom? Of what sort of
> benefit? Of benefit to whom?
> The questions multiply from here. I can't even begin to outline them in
> this response. My manifesto offers suggestions and directions, but it is
> best to leave the questions hanging, and, hopefully, to have many of us
> engage them. The problem of the city is the problem of "us" -- of how we
> construct ourselves as a community and a public and how we come to value and
> build the public good. It is the "demos" in democracy. In these troubled
> times, it may be the most important question of all.
> p.s. Some more information about Urban Future Manifestos"
> Urban Future Manifestos calls upon leading creative thinkers to address
>> urgent questions about the future of the contemporary city. Contributing
>> architects, artists, designers, and urban scholars from around the globe
>> consider the city from a variety of positions and posit their unique and
>> inspiring visions. Urban Future Manifestos was produced by the MAK Urban
>> Future Initiative (UFI), which was founded to generate concepts for the
>> urban future by stimulating international dialogue.
>> Urban Future Manifestos includes texts by UFI fellows Marco Kusumawijaya,
>> Urban Think Tank, Ismail Farouk, Xiangning Li, Alexia Leon, Pages (Babak
>> Afrassiabi and Nasrin Tabatabai), and Alaa Khaled and Salwa Rashad are
>> featured. Other contributors include Beatriz Colomina, Teddy Cruz, Dana
>> Cuff, Keller Easterling, Gregor Eichinger, Nnamdi Elleh, ATOPIA: Jane
>> Harrison and David Turnbull, Zvi Hecker, Gustaff Harriman Iskander, Doung
>> Anwar Jahangeer, Bernard Khoury, Norman Klein, Herbert Lachmayer, Rick Lowe,
>> Mehret Mandefro, Marcos Novak, Edgar Pieterse, Travis Price, Robert Ransick,
>> Christian Reder, Karl-Henrik Robèrt, Saskia Sassen, Felicity Scott,
>> AbdouMaliq Simone, Edward Soja, Michael Sorkin, Jonathan Tel, Tezozomoc, Ai
>> Wei Wei, Eyal Weizman, Lebbeus Woods. Graphic design by Axel
> Marcos Novak, Professor
> Director, transLAB
> University of California, Santa Barbara
> MAT: Media Art and Technology Program
> CNSI: California NanoSystems Institute
> Art: Department of Art
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HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.
HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
HOW TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.