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robertogreco : fredscharmen   20

No one’s coming. It’s up to us. – Dan Hon – Medium
"Getting from here to there

This is all very well and good. But what can we do? And more precisely, what “we”? There’s increasing acceptance of the reality that the world we live in is intersectional and we all play different and simultaneous roles in our lives. The society of “we” includes technologists who have a chance of affecting the products and services, it includes customers and users, it includes residents and citizens.

I’ve made this case above, but I feel it’s important enough to make again: at a high level, I believe that we need to:

1. Clearly decide what kind of society we want; and then

2. Design and deliver the technologies that forever get us closer to achieving that desired society.

This work is hard and, arguably, will never be completed. It necessarily involves compromise. Attitudes, beliefs and what’s considered just changes over time.

That said, the above are two high level goals, but what can people do right now? What can we do tactically?

What we can do now

I have two questions that I think can be helpful in guiding our present actions, in whatever capacity we might find ourselves.

For all of us: What would it look like, and how might our societies be different, if technology were better aligned to society’s interests?

At the most general level, we are all members of a society, embedded in existing governing structures. It certainly feels like in the recent past, those governing structures are coming under increasing strain, and part of the blame is being laid at the feet of technology.

One of the most important things we can do collectively is to produce clarity and prioritization where we can. Only by being clearer and more intentional about the kind of society we want and accepting what that means, can our societies and their institutions provide guidance and leadership to technology.

These are questions that cannot and should not be left to technologists alone. Advances in technology mean that encryption is a societal issue. Content moderation and censorship are a societal issue. Ultimately, it should be for governments (of the people, by the people) to set expectations and standards at the societal level, not organizations accountable only to a board of directors and shareholders.

But to do this, our governing institutions will need to evolve and improve. It is easier, and faster, for platforms now to react to changing social mores. For example, platforms are responding in reaction to society’s reaction to “AI-generated fake porn” faster than governing and enforcing institutions.

Prioritizations may necessarily involve compromise, too: the world is not so simple, and we are not so lucky, that it can be easily and always divided into A or B, or good or not-good.

Some of my perspective in this area is reflective of the schism American politics is currently experiencing. In a very real way, America, my adoptive country of residence, is having to grapple with revisiting the idea of what America is for. The same is happening in my country of birth with the decision to leave the European Union.

These are fundamental issues. Technologists, as members of society, have a point of view on them. But in the way that post-enlightenment governing institutions were set up to protect against asymmetric distribution of power, technology leaders must recognize that their platforms are now an undeniable, powerful influence on society.

As a society, we must do the work to have a point of view. What does responsible technology look like?

For technologists: How can we be humane and advance the goals of our society?

As technologists, we can be excited about re-inventing approaches from first principles. We must resist that impulse here, because there are things that we can do now, that we can learn now, from other professions, industries and areas to apply to our own. For example:

* We are better and stronger when we are together than when we are apart. If you’re a technologist, consider this question: what are the pros and cons of unionizing? As the product of a linked network, consider the question: what is gained and who gains from preventing humans from linking up in this way?

* Just as we create design patterns that are best practices, there are also those that represent undesired patterns from our society’s point of view known as dark patterns. We should familiarise ourselves with them and each work to understand why and when they’re used and why their usage is contrary to the ideals of our society.

* We can do a better job of advocating for and doing research to better understand the problems we seek to solve, the context in which those problems exist and the impact of those problems. Only through disciplines like research can we discover in the design phase — instead of in production, when our work can affect millions — negative externalities or unintended consequences that we genuinely and unintentionally may have missed.

* We must compassionately accept the reality that our work has real effects, good and bad. We can wish that bad outcomes don’t happen, but bad outcomes will always happen because life is unpredictable. The question is what we do when bad things happen, and whether and how we take responsibility for those results. For example, Twitter’s leadership must make clear what behaviour it considers acceptable, and do the work to be clear and consistent without dodging the issue.

* In America especially, technologists must face the issue of free speech head-on without avoiding its necessary implications. I suggest that one of the problems culturally American technology companies (i.e., companies that seek to emulate American culture) face can be explained in software terms. To use agile user story terminology, the problem may be due to focusing on a specific requirement (“free speech”) rather than the full user story (“As a user, I need freedom of speech, so that I can pursue life, liberty and happiness”). Free speech is a means to an end, not an end, and accepting that free speech is a means involves the hard work of considering and taking a clear, understandable position as to what ends.

* We have been warned. Academics — in particular, sociologists, philosophers, historians, psychologists and anthropologists — have been warning of issues such as large-scale societal effects for years. Those warnings have, bluntly, been ignored. In the worst cases, those same academics have been accused of not helping to solve the problem. Moving on from the past, is there not something that we technologists can learn? My intuition is that post the 2016 American election, middle-class technologists are now afraid. We’re all in this together. Academics are reaching out, have been reaching out. We have nothing to lose but our own shame.

* Repeat to ourselves: some problems don’t have fully technological solutions. Some problems can’t just be solved by changing infrastructure. Who else might help with a problem? What other approaches might be needed as well?

There’s no one coming. It’s up to us.

My final point is this: no one will tell us or give us permission to do these things. There is no higher organizing power working to put systemic changes in place. There is no top-down way of nudging the arc of technology toward one better aligned with humanity.

It starts with all of us.

Afterword

I’ve been working on the bigger themes behind this talk since …, and an invitation to 2017’s Foo Camp was a good opportunity to try to clarify and improve my thinking so that it could fit into a five minute lightning talk. It also helped that Foo Camp has the kind of (small, hand-picked — again, for good and ill) influential audience who would be a good litmus test for the quality of my argument, and would be instrumental in taking on and spreading the ideas.

In the end, though, I nearly didn’t do this talk at all.

Around 6:15pm on Saturday night, just over an hour before the lightning talks were due to start, after the unconference’s sessions had finished and just before dinner, I burst into tears talking to a friend.

While I won’t break the societal convention of confidentiality that helps an event like Foo Camp be productive, I’ll share this: the world felt too broken.

Specifically, the world felt broken like this: I had the benefit of growing up as a middle-class educated individual (albeit, not white) who believed he could trust that institutions were a) capable and b) would do the right thing. I now live in a country where a) the capability of those institutions has consistently eroded over time, and b) those institutions are now being systematically dismantled, to add insult to injury.

In other words, I was left with the feeling that there’s nothing left but ourselves.

Do you want the poisonous lead removed from your water supply? Your best bet is to try to do it yourself.

Do you want a better school for your children? Your best bet is to start it.

Do you want a policing policy that genuinely rehabilitates rather than punishes? Your best bet is to…

And it’s just. Too. Much.

Over the course of the next few days, I managed to turn my outlook around.

The answer, of course, is that it is too much for one person.

But it isn’t too much for all of us."
danhon  technology  2018  2017  johnperrybarlow  ethics  society  calltoaction  politics  policy  purpose  economics  inequality  internet  web  online  computers  computing  future  design  debchachra  ingridburrington  fredscharmen  maciejceglowski  timcarmody  rachelcoldicutt  stacy-marieishmael  sarahjeong  alexismadrigal  ericmeyer  timmaughan  mimionuoha  jayowens  jayspringett  stacktivism  georginavoss  damienwilliams  rickwebb  sarawachter-boettcher  jamebridle  adamgreenfield  foocamp  timoreilly  kaitlyntiffany  fredturner  tomcarden  blainecook  warrenellis  danhill  cydharrell  jenpahljka  robinray  noraryan  mattwebb  mattjones  danachisnell  heathercamp  farrahbostic  negativeexternalities  collectivism  zeyneptufekci  maciejcegłowski 
february 2018 by robertogreco
New Year's resolutions for architecture and design in 2017 by Will Wiles
"With 2016 coming to an end, Will Wiles doses out his New Year's resolutions for architecture and design in 2017, which include resisting the hygge trend and finally taking responsibility for the climate.

I suggested New Year's Resolutions for architecture and design at the end of 2015, and the response was great. So, one year later, I've made some more:

1. An end to TED's glib solutionism

Consider president-elect Donald Trump's proposed wall to keep out Mexico. It was the most consistent pledge he made during his precedent-smashing election campaign. Trump admitted that it was his secret rhetorical weapon for when he sensed a crowd was getting bored: "I just say, 'We will build the wall!' and they go nuts," he told the New York Times.

The wall is a strong pledge to make: it's a simple, easy-to-understand design solution to a perceived problem. It's also crass, offensive and impractical in the extreme, but that didn't matter to the target audience. They got it. They went nuts.

There was a lot of this in 2016, the year zealots of various stripes promised to sweep away the knotted, stifling problems of globalisation with no more than a wave of the tiny hand. Build the wall, make America great again, drain the swamp, vote leave, take back control.

Architecture and design, which is well populated with experts and systems-thinkers, might regard itself as being apart from all this. But, in fact, one of the throbbing nerve centres of the post-expert, hand-wave era lies closer than you might think: TED, the wildly popular talks series.

TED, of course, presents itself as a hub of expertise and intelligence. And in criticising TED, I don't mean to denigrate the vast majority of its speakers, or to imply that TED equals Trump, or anything so dim. It's the format that's the problem, and the kind of intellectual legerdemain it encourages.

TED is the golden cap of the yaddering pyramid of hackism: that every wicked problem has a nifty workaround or backdoor, that it's all got a glib little design solution that'll bypass all the waffle and the smoke, and make everything OK. Ted Everyman, outsider genius, has cracked the problem that has the eggheads stumped, and it was so simple.

Trump's wall is very TED. So is his insistence that generic "smartness" on his part means that he can do without the expert advice previous presidents have relied upon, such as intelligence briefings.

The trouble for democratic opposition to these forces is that complexity and intractability make for very unenticing messages. Even more problematic is the fact that "it's complicated, let us experts handle it" is the way the globalist managerial class has ushered in many of the problems that Trump and others now claim to have solved.

Where architecture and design might be able to make a difference in the coming months is by shunning hackism and solutionism, and demonstrating instead its remarkable ability to research, explore and expose.

2. Take personal responsibility for the climate

With Trump's administration stuffed full of climate-change deniers and oil men, concerted international state action to address the warming planet looks unlikely. Worse, existing measures, such as the Paris Agreement that came into force this year, might be in peril. American leadership isn't essential for progress on the climate, but its active obstruction and wrecking of vital research could be a disastrous setback when renewed effort is needed.

The abdication of governments from climate action serves, at least, as a reminder that they can't be relied upon to enforce change. The long-awaited economic breakthrough of renewable energy has at last arrived: solar is now the word's cheapest form of energy. Simple economic forces might now drive down carbon emissions while national governments are preoccupied. Texas, a place strongly associated with oil and gas, now gets as much as half of its electricity from wind, and is anticipating a solar boom. China may also be a source of surprises.

These are changes that may yet halt the incipient climate catastrophe: not grandiose treaty-signing, but aggregated individual decisions. Be part of it in what you make and build.

3. Health warnings for the whimsy

Another Trump-related one, sadly. Trump's victory has also sparked a debate over so-called "fake news": the growing welter of misinformation, disinformation and scurrilous falsehood online. This risks crowding out more reliable sources of information and overwhelming civil society's already overtaxed critical faculties.

Again, you might wonder what that has to do with architecture and design. But of course architecture and design has a long history of generating its own "fake news" in the form of the more fanciful speculative proposals and vapourware.

There's nothing wrong with speculation, paper architecture and design fictions, of course – they're all useful endeavours and we'd be hugely poorer without them. It suits architecture and design to propose their own forms, as well as to simply deliver the proposals of others.

Even the grubbier end of that kind of activity isn't inherently bad. Here I'm talking about the completely senseless floating lilypad cities or vertical farms that get pitched out as blog-fodder for no practical purpose than showing off a designer's rendering skills and get their name about. They probably belong on Deviantart rather than Dezeen, but no one's harmed.

Really what's needed is appropriate labelling: making it clear what is speculation for the purposes of debate, what's a real proposal that's seeking backers, what might actually have a chance of actually appearing, and what's just a bit of hey-look-at-me fun. That's where the ethics get murky. Remember that Chinese straddling bus concept that turned out to be little more than a scam? Or that kooky London Garden Bridge concept that also turned out to be little more than a scam. Whimsy can be costly, people!

But seriously, knock it off with the floating cities and the vertical farms.

4. Leave "hygge" in 2016

Financial Times critic Edwin Heathcote has already done a sterling job of debunking hygge, the ubiquitous pseudo-Scandinavian lifestyle craze. Like many ubiquitous lifestyle crazes, it's a subtle blend of total common sense (fires are nice in winter) and complete balderdash.

Anyway, it's upon us now and resistance is futile – the tie-in books have already been given as presents, and they already sit amid the Christmas wreckage of many, many living rooms. And I'm sure they look harmless enough. So it's time for a word of warning.

The Guardian's Charlotte Higgins has already shown how hygge was confected within the publishing industry. I think the part played by architecture and design has been understated, though. For a start, the sector has done much to import interest in Scandinavian lifestyles by importing lots of Scandinavian people. No one in their right mind would think this was anything other than a tremendous boon, and I can only apologise to my Scandinavian friends and colleagues for the way Britain is presently making a travesty of their culture. That, and Brexit.

Let's not do hygge urbanism. The temptation will be strong, and you must resist
It truly has been a terrible year. Architecture – specifically, architecture publishing – was also making something of a fetish of things hygge before hygge was a thing, with its recent boom in cabins and log piles. I attribute this more to an interest in consumer survivalism, rather than Danish culture, but nevertheless "cabin porn" was very much the gateway.

Anyway, here's the warning. Already, thoughts will be turning to next year's endeavours, and fun ways to present them to the public. The eye will blearily cast around the living room for ideas. Thanks to architects from Jan Gehl to Bjarke Ingels, the Danish way of making cities is already rightly praised and emulated. But let's not do hygge urbanism. The temptation will be strong, and you must resist. No hygge placemaking. I beg of you. Just don't."

[via "These resolutions from @WillWiles are all worth considering, especially the one that equates Speculative Design and Fake News."
https://twitter.com/sevensixfive/status/815242847095951361

"There's a subtle but not so subtle difference between projects that are intended as critique, click bait, or outright hoax.

The hoax, as @bruces says, is in the territory of the Black Arts, and almost always maliciously and dangerously deployed.

I say this as someone whose proposal to launch manatees into space was reposted w/ straight seriousness by the Daily Mail & their commenters

The project, intended as critique (&, to be honest, clickbait!) was weaponized by DM, in the genre of "goofy eggheads wasting tax dollars""
ted  tedtalks  solutionism  climatechange  2016  2017  willwiles  architecture  design  hackism  government  governance  policy  economics  energy  renewableenergy  fakenews  news  media  specualtivedesign  fredscharmen  brucesterling  hoaxes  clickbait  critique  hygge  responsibility  speculation  whimsy  edwinheathcote  charlottehiggins  scandinavia  fetishes  publishing  cabinporn  bjarkeingels  jangehl  hyggeurbanism  urban  urbanism  placemaking 
january 2017 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: Shaky Tripod
"From the inception of American architectural education, our discipline has always been an unstable hybrid. William Ware, the founder of MIT's program, observed in 1866, after studying architectural education in Europe, that: "the French courses of study are mainly artistic, and the German scientific, and the English practical." His program, one of the first in the nation, would represent an attempt at synthesis.

Today this uneasy balance of art, science, and practice is in more danger of collapsing than ever.

We've ceded speculation to designers from other disciplines, the best work about the future relationship between technology, design, and culture at large is now coming from the fields of product design and industrial design. Within architecture, the production of novel form is now almost instantly commodified in the global marketplaces, going wherever labor is cheap and politics are autocratic. We've lost the majority of the everyday built environment to dullness and risk-averse bad planning. Meanwhile, with the exception of too few responsible firms engaged in mentorship, we have a professional culture that privileges technical skill and low wages over critical thinking. And we have an academic culture that looks for hard, measurable, machine readable metrics to decide if education is taking place or not.

University cultures, now focused on quantitative assessment over narrative in annual reports, are asking how many faculty are licensed architects, and how many graduating students are going on to licensure, meanwhile our professional organizations are re-entering the academy in several ways. NAAB intends to merge with ACSA, and NCARB wants to retool curriculum so that students receive licensure upon graduation. This is against the backdrop of a university academic culture that's getting hollowed out from within, as administration expands while teachers are asked to do more with less. Never mind time for research and speculation about the future, the academy must produce students that serve the profession now, because offices want affordable labor in the seats at 9am Monday, and they'd best be proficient in the latest version of Revit.

What can American architectural education offer back to these challenges? We can re-emphasize the historical mandate of the M. Arch degree: sustained critique, sustained speculation, in parallel with practice, scholarship and service, as a complement to the profession-oriented pedagogy of the B. Arch, and the deep dive methodology of the PhD. We can advocate for a return to an attitude towards the study and practice of architecture that places it back alongside the liberal arts and the fine arts.

The most useful things that architectural education can offer students in regards to professional practice are being buried under a futile race to keep up with software. If we teach practical skills, then let us focus on methodology over technique, the "why" over the "what." The proliferation of job descriptions designated "X Architect", where "X" is "Software", "Experience", or "User Interface", shows that other disciplines are hungry for the rigorous systems-level design methodologies that architectural education offers. And if one of the things we do best is speculation about the future, then let us serve practice by speculating with our students about the future of practice. This way, they will be able to anticipate, not the new plugins for parametric modeling that come out next week, but the new paradigms that will change how the built environment is made over the next decade."
fredscharmen  2015  architecture  education  criticalthinking  highered  methodology  practice  software  design  architecturaleducation  measurement  algorithms  quantification  curriculum  culture  academia  metrics  howweteach  howwelearn  why  theywhy 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Working Group on Adaptive Systems
"The Working Group on Adaptive Systems is an art, design, and research consultancy based in Baltimore, Maryland. We are interested in cities, spaces, people, & the things that connect them to each other and to the larger world.

The Working Group on Adaptive Systems was co-founded by Fred Scharmen, and encompasses an evolving set of partners and collaborators. Since 2008, we have worked with people and groups in diverse fields including education, public art, building, urban design, and strategic planning.

We are based around the principle that each project demands its own unique combination of disciplines and approaches, and that forming ad-hoc teams of horizontally organized professionals is the most effective way to address the fuzzy, complicated, and exciting problems of the urban environment."
baltimore  collaborative  urbanism  design  art  cities  fredscharmen  publicart  urbandesign  urban  strategicplanning 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Nonhuman Autonomous Space Agency
"The Nonhuman Autonomous Space Agency is a network of robotic and biological systems, tied together by exchanges in the material and attention economies. One set of probes searches the asteroid belt for resources drifting in the solar wind like giant flowers. Another set, made from modified classic spacecraft, uses its manufacturing and fabrication capacity to shape those resources. Together they build and nurture the habitats for animals and robots, while the whole process can be followed on social media from Earth, all mediated by servers on the Moon."



"The Nonhuman Autonomous Space Agency is a research project from the Working-Group on Adaptive Systems.

Selected prints and three dimensional artifacts from this series are available for exhibition, for more information, please contact sevensixfive ~at~ gmail ~dot~ com.

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Further Reading
When Species Meet, Donna Haraway
The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan
Space Settlements: a Design Study, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Modernity Unbound, Detlef Mertins
Lesabéndio, an Asteroid Novel, Paul Scheerbart
Enduring Innocence, Keller Easterling

Special Thanks
Bryan Boyer, Keller Easterling, Anne Galloway, Marian Glebes, Adam Greenfield, and John Powers"



[http://cargocollective.com/nonhumanagency/How-to-Get-Involved ]

"The Nonhuman Autonomous Space Agency is an open world project. If you have an idea for an image, story, comic book, toy, scenario, or any other media, narrative or not that explores the interaction between nonhuman Earthlings in space exploration and colonization, please get in touch and share it at sevensixfive ~at~ gmail ~dot~ com"
fredscharmen  multispeciesdesign  donnaharaway  space  nonhumanautonomousspaceagency  johnpowers  adamgreenfield  marianglebes  annegalloway  kellereasterling  bryanboyer  michaelpollan  nasa  datlefmertins  paulscheerbart  adaptivesystems  posthumanism 
january 2015 by robertogreco
18. Webstock 2014 Talk Notes and References - postarchitectural
[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/91957759 ]
[See also: http://www.webstock.org.nz/talks/the-future-happens-so-much/ ]

"I was honored to be invited to Webstock 2014 to speak, and decided to use it as an opportunity to talk about startups and growth in general.

I prepared for this talk by collecting links, notes, and references in a flat text file, like I did for Eyeo and Visualized. These references are vaguely sorted into the structure of the talk. Roughly, I tried to talk about the future happening all around us, the startup ecosystem and the pressures for growth that got us there, and the dangerous sides of it both at an individual and a corporate level. I ended by talking about ways for us as a community to intervene in these systems of growth.

The framework of finding places to intervene comes from Leverage Points by Donella Meadows, and I was trying to apply the idea of 'monstrous thoughts' from Just Asking by David Foster Wallace. And though what I was trying to get across is much better said and felt through books like Seeing like a State, Debt, or Arctic Dreams, here's what was in my head."
shahwang  2014  webstock  donellameadows  jamescscott  seeinglikeastate  davidgraeber  debt  economics  barrylopez  trevorpaglen  google  technology  prism  robotics  robots  surveillance  systemsthinking  growth  finance  venturecapital  maciejceglowski  millsbaker  mandybrown  danhon  advertising  meritocracy  democracy  snapchat  capitalism  infrastructure  internet  web  future  irrationalexuberance  github  geopffmanaugh  corproratism  shareholders  oligopoly  oligarchy  fredscharmen  kenmcleod  ianbanks  eleanorsaitta  quinnorton  adamgreenfield  marshallbrain  politics  edwardsnowden  davidsimon  georgepacker  nicolefenton  power  responsibility  davidfosterwallace  christinaxu  money  adamcurtis  dmytrikleiner  charlieloyd  wealth  risk  sarahkendxior  markjacobson  anildash  rebeccasolnit  russellbrand  louisck  caseygollan  alexpayne  judsontrue  jamesdarling  jenlowe  wilsonminer  kierkegaard  readinglist  startups  kiev  systems  control  data  resistance  obligation  care  cynicism  snark  change  changetheory  neoliberalism  intervention  leveragepoints  engagement  nonprofit  changemaki 
april 2014 by robertogreco
GRIEF — THE BI BLOG
"Neither love nor depression have the words “finish” or “end” or “done” in their vocabulary. Love is belief in expansiveness, of more and again and adventure, of a year that keeps unfolding, of Death Valley in summer and northern Sweden in winter and even just Venice Beach on a gloomy day in June. Depression, too, is expansive, but in a different way, a swirling vortex of shit, a downward funnel that just spins deeper.

Grief, however, is bounded. It twists and gnarls and it stifles the breath. It forgoes the linear in favor of spikes and spots and synchronicity. When you think you’ve managed to escape grief, it hoods you again, capturing you in another convolute. A knot under my sternum that sticks on every inhale, a peach pit, the bitter walnut falling out of a cracked shell. And then: the knot tires itself, giving way to all the muscles that gripped it; the walnut spit out, the peach pit tucked into a napkin, then folded in quarters."
love  depression  grief  mollywrightsteenson  fredscharmen  endings 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Architecture needs to interact - Op-Ed - Domus
"Instead of bringing together users through machines, what if interaction design were reconceived to foster positive friction between different design disciplines? What would interaction design look like if it wasn't only (or even necessarily) digital, but if it genuinely melded architecture, industrial and product design, graphic design, art, video narrative, tiny technology, large scale networks, and so on? What would debates between the disciplines be like? What might win, and more importantly, what would they unearth about interaction design in general? What other disciplines might emerge and what new visions of the world might appear? The recognition that many other fields have dealt with these issues and continue to do so, may open up a larger conversation that reveals new relationships, isomorphisms, productive frictions—even interactions."
architecture  design  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  mollywrightsteenson  fredscharmen  mit  medialab  nicholasnegroponte  janejacobs  christopheralexander  cedricprice  archigram  reynerbanham  urbancomputing  interactiondesign  networkarchitecture  billmoggridge  billverplank  ideo  philtabor  2011  mitmedialab 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Op-Ed: Sticks and Stones; Ai Weiwei and the Uses of Architecture | Features | Archinect
"…new form does have the potential to enable new social relationships. If we, as architects, didn't believe that built space could change lives, we wouldn't do what we do. The students whose bones were broken in Sichuan certainly had their lives changed by architecture…It is not enough to merely say that CCTV is an office building for government censors, & Bird's Nest is a giant political distraction, Rem & Herzog were wrong, & that all building in China is wrong. Just as it is equally unproductive to simply reproduce the press releases for the latest spectacular cultural institution to be completed or proposed in China , w/out caveat or disclaimer: this state jails artists. "Stunningly Omnipresent Masters Make Mincemeat of Memory". Architecture is large enough to be both radical social transformer & retrograde political instrument, if we're willing to talk about it. These things must be the beginning terms in a larger conversation about architecture in China, & in the world.
fredscharmen  architecture  aiweiwei  china  2011  press  journalism  remkoolhaas  herzogdemeuron  change  transformation  activism  society 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Power « Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
"To me, power is…

- an ability expressed within an immanent grid of relations superimposed on the phenomenal world, from which it’s effectively impossible to escape;

- the ability to shape flows of matter, energy and information through that grid of relations, and most particularly through bodies situated in space and time (including one’s own);

- the ability to determine outcomes where such bodies are concerned;

- this ability consciously recognized and understood.

By this definition, power can be exerted locally or globally, at microscale or macro-."

[See also the comments, including further reading and a definition of lines by Fred Scharmen.]
power  adamgreenfield  definitions  richarddawkins  buddhism  feminism  anarchism  deleuze  guattari  davidharvey  gayatrispivak  naomiklein  antonionegri  michaelhardt  matter  energy  relationships  body  space  time  spacetime  scale  fredscharmen  lines  adamkahane  paultillich  foucault  zygmuntbauman  modernism  johnruskin  gillesdeleuze  michelfoucault  félixguattari  bodies 
march 2011 by robertogreco
interactions magazine | Adaptive Reuse: Things, Containers, and Streets in the Architecture of the Social Web
"There is an aesthetic here, but it’s less a visual aesthetic than an enacted, functional one, an aesthetic of use and organization. The container is understood through its activation: To know it, it must be occupied. The street is understood through navigation: To know it, it must be traversed. This is the space that Manuel Castells refers to as “the space of flows”—”the technological and organizational possibility of practicing simultaneity without contiguity. It also refers to the possibility of asynchronous interaction in chosen time, at a distance” [9]. When the discussion moves from form to relationships, distinctions between different architectures—whether built, information, or experience architectures—give way, and common modes emerge from these different disciplines."
fredscharmen  aesthetics  information  urbanism  ux  mobility  postindustrial  development  design  data  culture  art  architecture  application  networks  web 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Collaborative Placemaking Facilitators are Present (with snacks) - a set on Flickr
"photographs commissioned for eric leshinsky, c. ryan patterson, and fred scharmen for their participatory work "The Collaborative Placemaking Facilitators are Present (with snacks)," part of "Evergreen Commons" at the 2010 Evergreen Biennale." [See also: http://friendsofevergreencommons.com/ AND http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/13/AR2010051301849.html AND http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bal-art-evergreen-simultaneous-presence-photos,0,7320835.photogallery ]

[via: http://twitter.com/sevensixfive/status/17543588478 ]
baltimore  architecture  sculpture  placemaking  fredscharmen  ericleshinsky  cryanpatterson  participatory  glvo  art  ncm  participatoryart 
july 2010 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: But Today We Collect Gizmos
"The application of a heuristic gizmo is an act of pattern recognition - the intuition that some set of undifferentiated circumstances is isomorphic to some other set that was previously encountered, even if the context was wildly different. ... It has been said that things hardly "exist" before the fine artist has made use of them, they are simply part of the unclassified background material against which we pass our lives. The application of gizmo metaheuristics requires a certain kind of approach to interdisciplinary work and expertise: try it first, then read the manual. Like a western tourist using chopsticks, there is an attitude of being cheerfully out of one's depth, but willing to learn, and eager to add this new technique to the repertoire and impress the folks back home."

[See also: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5803 ]
fredscharmen  architecture  cities  collecting  patterns  urbanism  patternrecognition  tcsnmy  classideas  art  science  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  recombinantgizmos  gadgets  gizmos  theadjacentpossible  hacking  hacks  glvo  mashups  frankenstein  robertsmithson  reynerbanham  vernacular  collections  objects  folkart  closed-loop  ecosystems 
july 2010 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: Losing My Edge: Architectural Informatics (and others)
"(Disclaimer: This is quick and unconsidered)

It is fascinating to watch other disciplines inch closer and closer to the territory that was once claimed by architects. As the profession of architecture continues to shrink, the ground that is ceded does not remain unclaimed for long, and there is new and interesting territory to be discovered at our borders that we no longer seem to have the resources to explore.

Sustainability Consulting, Strategic Masterplanning, Landscape Architecture - all of these other disciplines are very interested in architecture: its literature, its history, and its scope of services. Now add to that the relatively new fields of Service and Interaction Design. Recent articles here and here (and here(and here!)) have all implied that there is a strange relationship between services, distributed computing and cities, with a parallel strangeness in the design of interactions and the design of buildings.

Despite having several friends who are actively working in these fields, I admit that it is sometimes very difficult to understand what it is that they actually do (besides organize, attend, and speak at conferences). Many of them have backgrounds in architecture, and almost all of them are avidly reading Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, Archigram, Situationists - all of this neglected literature from the 60s and 70s that architects themselves had almost forgotten, in our (perhaps bubble-powered) accelerated criticality (and the inevitable post).

So there are all of these people moving in this direction, and there are a few general observations that are worth making about that:

- They seem to think that they have something to learn from the theory and practice of architecture, so let's help them figure out what that is.

- They are creating their own discourse from scratch, outside of academia. Architectural discourse has been supported by schools for so long that it is difficult to remember any other way. The fields of Service and Interaction Design seem to be supported by something more like the feudal corporate patronage structure that architects relied on in the Renaissance. That's very interesting, no? Not the least because despite any purse or apron strings linking them to the corporate world, they still seem to want to talk about ideas, even some of the more out-there quasi-marxist corners of critical theory that academic architects like to frequent. That's kind of fun, right?

- They have no history. Though some might disagree, this is probably a good thing for now (but not for much longer).

- They bring an entrepreneurial startup culture with them. A lot of the work in this area is coming directly out of computer science by way of the old dot.com and web 2.0 pathways, but the thing is, these aren't the casualties, they are the survivors. Many of the people involved with these offices have lived through several busts, and they are thriving. They know about venture capital, public offerings, and bootstrapping. They have business plans. This is kind of exciting, yeah?

For Archinect's '09 predictions last year, I hoped that there would be this massive flow outward from architecture to other disciplines: underemployed architects as secret agents, implanting methodologies into other fields from the inside out. It hasn't happened. Instead, we've lost even more ground to others who are doing the things we do, and it's like the song says: "... to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent ... and they're actually really, really nice." They want to be friends, they want to talk about cities and buildings.

So in the New Year, let's all spend more time hanging out: architects can trade some of our thoughts on cultural context, historicity, and the public realm for some of you all's ideas about agility, narrative, strategery, and business planning, and we'll all hopefully learn a lot."
design  architecture  history  discipline  discourse  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crosspollination  janejacobs  christopheralexander  archigram  fredscharmen  interaction  interactiondesign  reanissance  academia  patronage  servicedesign  situationist  theory  criticaltheory  via:migurski  baltimore  cities  culture  designthinking  interdisciplinary  urbanism 
december 2009 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: How to: Draw the Voronoi Diagram
"Drawing Voronoi diagrams by hand has renewed my interest in the stuff. There are lots of scripts out there for making instant vector crystal foam in just about any modeling or CAD platform, but it's more interesting for me right now to slow it down, take it step by step, and really try to understand the geometries involved. More a heuristic than an algorithm, executing it demands and reinforces the kind of zoned out close attention that almost becomes the whole point of drawing in the first place. The artifact that you get at the end it is just an unexpected bonus: the physical record left by the process of thinking out loud on paper. Below is a rough pseudocode (thanks, mike!) for building it up from a set of points."
continuouspartialattention  process  drawing  craft  voronoi  topology  visualisation  sevensixfive  geometry  structure  space  design  networks  growth  diagrams  fredscharmen 
september 2009 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: X Ways to Ride a Bike in the City
"Coast, As a Swimmer among Monsters, Synaesthetically, Risk vs. Reward, Mindfully."
bikes  cities  urban  navigation  adaptation  cv  via:migurski  fredscharmen 
february 2009 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: Invasive Species
"This project takes the detritus from the constant construction and destruction of Baltimore's built environment into the park to form new patterns and structures embedded in the ground like reverse archaeology"
art  architecture  installation  urban  geometry  decay  baltimore  landscape  ecotopia  environment  visualization  cities  urbanism  urbandecay  glvo  invasivespecies  fredscharmen 
september 2008 by robertogreco

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