Monday, October 4, 2010

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] of flashmobs, foursquare and facades.....

Katharine, (and to Martin and Dmitri -
Hello. An interesting set of points to depart from on the notion of hybrid city.
I am responding here to some of your questions - I edited your
sections slighlty to avoid a huge, long post - and, retroactively to
Martin and Dmitri, who's questions are so close to the subject matter
of my dissertation as to give me pause...pls find some preliminary
responses below...and thank you for the link to the Mediacity project.
I look forward to following that up, at least on line. My problem,
still, in terms of the whole list discussion and this is surely no
one's fault - is simply isolating those areas where we "see" or "hear"
hybridity. At the recent press preview for Biennial ZerOne in San
Jose, curated by none other than the forward thinking, STeve Dietz, I
was struck, actually by how his/the emphasis upon "interactive city"
had changed from ISEA 2006 to the present, largely, I felt as a result
of 'green' and 'wireless' incorporated in to the consciousness of
artists - and his curatorial introdcution which started with the
observation that artists today are not making objects/installations/
or even performances now - but are creating "platforms" in which the
public and other artists can create projects...(paraphrasing)

On Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 3:06 AM, Katharine S. Willis
<> wrote:

> In the discussion on hybrid spaces, an earlier post from Martin and
> Dimitiris (20 July) talked about 'The synchronous experience of a mobile
> spatial interface and of the non-mediated physical environment, a hybrid
> spatial experience, material (space determined by material elements) and
> immaterial space (determined by digitally produced representations) are
> merging'.

Yes, definitely in need of merging anyway. Can we isolate specific
examples of where they actually have merged? Off handheld devices?

> of flashmobs, foursquare and facades....
> It puzzles me that when I look and move around I notice very few obvious
> changes in the physical nature of urban space (maybe I expect too much?).

Its kind of too early too tell. There seems to be a movement in urban
design towards lacing outdoor furniture with wi fi, powerpoints, and
interactivity, such that it can be modularly arranged and
provisionally used. (Fletcher Studio/Urban LAB/CCA)

> flash mobs.
> How can the static nature of out built
> environment and space start to respond to these forms of serendipity and
> micro-coordination of social behaviour? Can hybrid space start to perform,
> to come together and disperse when its use is over?

Well, I have never personally found much hope or promise or revolution
in flashmobs, except where protest culture is concerned and a flash
mob comes together to take a place or situation by surprise - but, i
would think that responsive public space, which enables social
interaction would be preferable to "managed" social space where
flashmobs could not happen. I feel it is important myself to break
down the city into its parts: the street, the sidewalk, the piazza,
the park, the commercial, the residential - i can only grasp a
politics of public and private in this way. there are new public
spaces opening even in privatized American cities - new cooperative
temporary "markets" run by young people; skate parks, art making
spaces on the sidewalk which are impromptu and which accomplish some
of this hybrid experience with or without technology - could be
technologicalized, as well, in the sense of being designed again, or
utilized as "rough" ideas for design
> foursquare.
> lSo as locative media re-values the sociality of presence with
> strangers in urban public space how can the spaces start to allow for these
> passing encounters?

I am reminded of an early large scale work by Julia Scher at the
Museum of Contemprorary Art in Ohio that Eisenmann designed. I worked
for her for a brief moment in time when she was still showing at Pat
Hearn in NYC, before going to MIT. At that time we schemed to attach
video cameras to telephone poles along the Bowery and run the images
through a hole in the wall of the Anthology Film Archives. Really the
Wexner Center project, and subsequent work she did at the Whitney
Biennial, probed some of these questions early on about making the
apparatus of security and surveillance part of the celebration of
public encounter.
In the Wexner, she mounted custom designed video monitors to the
ceilings and walls along circulation zones and dispersed cameras all
over, inside and outside. Visitors were immediately brought into the
building or saw the inside on the outside via the monitors, which also
allowed her to the artistic license to put text with random pictures
of the public. Inigo Manglano Ovalle did something similar with gang
kids in Chicago - drawing attention to them and making them self
conscious in their behavior. I think this would be great for streets
in some instances - or malls.
It is always rather thrilling in the bank when one sees oneself and
others on the monitor. Tends to locate the body into the space. (I
created drawings for the Wexner Center project. ) If we are conscious
of changing or supporting social behavior, then the camera and the
screen are important. Face Time in iPhones has some promise if it can
become more ubiquitous.

Do we simply need a few more places to be 'slow' and to
> stop (without having to pay for a coffee), where we can be present in both
> digital space and the physical space without causing disruption due to our
> civil inattention. Is it as simple as more benches, more meeting points with
> wifi and a power supply?

Most public spaces are not equipped for recharging laptops or phones,
surely a practical hybridization of public space with ncts. Slow to
come in. Being suggested by some of the outdoor furniture that I
mentioned above. Also think, however, that
sensing technologies could be incorporated, esp around environmental
and density issues. How much particulate pollution, Andrea Polli asked
in her Biennal project, Particulate Waterfall, at San Jose? I'd like
to know 'how many people?' in a space - or
how much power is generated by solar? There have been some recent
schools designed where architects (EHDD) have incorporated these
technologies into the learning environment so that students can
understand their building and the environment and how the two sync. I
often want to know when I see a solar panel
randomly attached to a city light fixture - what its actually doing in
terms of kwh.
To me these kinds of informational "plaques" are similar to knowing
how many vets died and for which this monument is erected, or who gave
money for the park know? Reading the impact of tech upon
cities. Seeing the results of green energy in this way...would be one
way we could get some feedback upon ourselves. It's not only about
"seeing" its also about hearing, or decibels. When I was walking in
San Jose, I stopped at a light and there were bird calls coming from
tiny speakers mounted on a traffic crosswalk signal box. This was such
a surprise and so pleasant, but then, I had to consult a book or app
to see which art project it was...I would have liked to have the info
right there - what native know? Learn about the ecology of
my city...

> facades.
> As I move through transit spaces there is a growing number of screens
> showing digital images, sometimes they respond to my input. Whole facades
> are superimposed with images and sometimes projections or even screens. Do
> we need windows in public buildings any more? probably not. So how do we
> design for spaces that need not look out, but that offer other ways of both
> enclosing and making interfaces between one space and the next?

Unless we need no windows, I'm wondering how in the era of operable
windows that designers are now experiencing - operable as opposed to
HVAC, how we justify windowless environments? But, yes, I think other
forms of mediation to the enclosure might be very very interesting. We
really need to consider though, even with low voltage communications
wiring, how much power is technology utilizing - design needs not
contribute to yet another era of waste...cities need to go more solar
all the for lack of windows - hmm, where? I like the
question. Sorry if i digress.

> Struppek's work on highlighting the important issue of urban screens starts
> to reclaim the screens as a creative design problem. But on a broader level
> how do we connect our physical spaces with our digital spaces. How do we
> make a less diss-jointed hybridity, drawing together the physical
> requirements of the built space to connect outside and inside, and the media
> spaces which demand a different kind of accessibility; one which is only
> concerned with non-visual, unbroken links to the network?

I'm sorry, I don't understand last part of this. I can understand the
desire for fluiditiy in design but i don't get the last part.

I think we will have the capacity for a more hybrid city and better
connectivity for what ever we want when WiMax or other city wide wi fi
projects are put into place. AT the moment, there are several
platforms and no democracy when it comes to wi fi or instrument
ownership. my concern is more that the streets do not become more
privatized, but remain public. in san francisco where i live some
trends in the city and city government portend a future of control of
the streetscape such that one wonders at civic participation and if it
is the right of citizens to determine any thing much about their
urbanism...loss of CAstro street party, development of City STreets no
car days in certain zones (lots of fun but very official), proposition
on the ballot this November to outlaw lying or sitting on the sidewalk
and citizens movment against this...increased policing all over the
city..., street vendor movement against removal...."parklets" designed
for bicyclists cropping up...these events suggest greater social
control of the street and sidewalks, and what it means in a democracy
which has long left it as the place of public activity. but, our city
is getting larger by the year, and so we may be jumping scales at the
moment to an increase in bureacracy. while i enjoy the bike revolution
here, there are some very repressive phases to it.

finally, in this discussion of the hybrid, we really need at this
point a post colonial critique of the meaning of urban land; function
of ethnicity in determining 'green' ideas and 'environmental' ideas.
the 'green' movment is great in theory and in practice, but its highly
class and race based, so as part of any emerging hybrid, really needs
to be examined as an ideologically loaded urbanism.

my two bits
> regards,
> Katharine
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Molly Hankwitz Cox
**mobile research**architecture**
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