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robertogreco : rotterdam   5

Against Infographics - Art Journal Open
"When design is excellent, graphics reveal data, writes the infographics guru Edward Tufte.1 Good information graphics allow the reader to see relationships not apparent in data without visual form. In principle, such graphics do not impose interpretations but, by showing relationships, make interpretations possible. In Tufte’s oft-quoted phrase: “Good design is clear thinking made visual.”2 Things become considerably more difficult, however, if, pace Tufte, your analytic goal is to complicate rather than to simplify, to open multiple avenues of inquiry, and, most important, to challenge the stability of underlying data, in fact or in principle.

All of these complexities are probed intensely in Depictions, an ongoing print series by the Dutch artist Gert Jan Kocken (b. 1971). Depictions consists of room-size maps of European cities during the Second World War—Rome, Vienna, Munich, and Berlin along the north-south axis of fascism; London, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Łódź, Warsaw, and Stalingrad along the east-west corridor of conflict—each built up in layers from dozens of source maps unearthed in archives. Kocken’s three-by-four meter Depictions of Berlin, 1933–1945 (2010), for example, is constructed from 104 historical maps, which the artist scanned, georectified, layered into a single digital image, and rendered as a C-print. The resulting composite is a welter of information representing the breakneck change, contradictory claims, and massive data production of the Second World War.

Visually, Kocken’s Depictions are both familiar and strange. Anyone who knows Berlin, particularly the internal borders drawn in 1945 and ossified in the Berlin Wall that remain central to the city’s identity, will easily recognize the terrain of Depictions of Berlin. But other cartographic ghosts visible in the work are invisible on the ground. In Kocken’s map, along with the outlines of the wall, we see the process of ethnic cleansing as registered in contemporary reports, the footprint of Germania, the megacity with which Hitler intended to replace Berlin, and the view from Allied bombers. At once, the Depictions series draws on the data-rich tradition of monumental history painting, as seen, for example, in Albrecht Altdorfer’s The Battle of Alexander at Issus (1529), and on the defocalizing, allover paintings of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and other artists working in the 1940s and 1950s. Kocken’s Depictions are simultaneously narrative and aleatory."



"For infographic purposes, there are a number of more obvious ways to deal with historical maps than Kocken’s approach. In the first place, we have the computer interface. Clearly, this is a resource available to Kocken, as his maps all pass through digital mediation on their way to their final printed form. One can easily imagine, for example, a mapping application that allows users to pick and choose among the 104 maps that constitute Kocken’s Depictions of Berlin, selecting display options such as color, opacity, and so forth. And, indeed, many such engines exist. Moreover, with the right approach, even Kocken’s print artifact could be rendered more legible. Kocken chose a different angle, allowing competing stories to conflict visually as well as epistemologically. In places, this conflict produces illegibility not unlike what we find in the dark regions of the Ypres map; in other places, coherences and transparencies are themselves a surprise.

In an age of infographics, we tend to forget that infographics age and the foreignness of old graphics matters to our understanding of them. Kocken’s Depictions show us that information graphics are always historical and conveying their opacity is as much a part of the historical project as is translating them into a contemporary visual language."
via:shannon_mattern  ambiguity  cartography  epistemology  complexity  art  maps  mapping  gertjankocken  danielrosenberg  2016  edwardtufte  visualization  infographics  berlin  amsterdam  rotterdam 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Freehouse - Radicalizing the Local
"The Afrikaanderwijk in the south of Rotterdam is currently going through a process of transformation. By focussing on its small scaled multicultural character the neighbourhood could distinct itself from the new to develop suburbs that will surround it. One of the strongest and most recognized points of the area is the Afrikaander market. With over 300 stalls it is one of the biggest markets in the Netherlands. Twice a week it brought for years the most exotic products of the city. But it is also a run down market in need of attention.

Visual artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and architect Dennis Kaspori developed, with Freehouse a project that is based on cultural production as means for economical growth, a plan for an innovative programmatic design of the market. Together with market salesmen, local entrepreneurs, people form the neighbourhood, designers and artists they developed new products and services. This in order for the market to become again a site of cultural production and a meeting place for the neighbourhood. Tomorrows Market is a sparkling urban market with new products from the neighbourhood, new services, fashion shows, performances, special mobile vending carts, unique market stalls and much more.

http://www.freehouse.nl "

[See also: https://vimeo.com/32154833 ]
lcproject  openstudioproject  art  jeannevanheeswijk  community  design  sewing  glvo  rotterdam  netherlands  production  food  clothing  vending 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Revolution at Your Community Library | New Republic
"Now that a digital copy of the Library of Congress’s entire book collection could fit in a single shoebox, the future of the contemporary library is up for grabs. The New York Public Library’s proposed reconfiguration of its Manhattan headquarters is only the most recent high-visibility entrant in a debate that has been ongoing since the mid-1990s, manifested in the press and in a series of large urban central library projects in Berlin, Singapore, Seattle, and elsewhere. What should a contemporary library be? 1 Seattle is one oft-cited exemplar: there Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture jettisoned the reading rooms, study carrels, and hushed whispers of the traditional library in favor of a dramatic multi-story “living room” where patrons could, according to the architects, “eat, yell, or play chess.” But to find architects, librarians, and municipalities who have re-conceptualized the contemporary public library with a more nuanced and promising vision, we must turn our attentions away from noisy Seattle and other large projects toward the modest community library.

Around the globe, a handful of innovative architects are forging a new building type with a deceptively familiar name. These libraries offer something found nowhere else in the contemporary city: heavily used, not-for-profit communal spaces that facilitate many and various kinds of informal social interactions and private uses. Ranging in size from five thousand square feet, a smallish McMansion in Westchester, to thirty thousand square feet, the size of Derek Jeter’s home near Tampa, some of these community libraries are neighborhood branches of an urban library system, and others stand alone. These buildings look nothing like one another, yet they all offer exemplary moments of architectural innovation. Collectively, they make the case that excellent design is no luxury, certainly not for the civic buildings and lives of people and their communities."



"No wonder that, around the world, the construction of new small community libraries has spurred an impressive efflorescence of architectural innovation. People have wearied of bowling alone. Individuals need places where they can engage with others like and unlike them, with whom they share an affiliation just by virtue of inhabiting a particular city, town, or neighborhood. Groups of people need places that can help constitute them into and symbolically represent their community. Everyone needs what the urban sociologist Ray Oldenberg calls third places—the first is home, the second is school or workplace.2 That is what these new community libraries provide.

THE FUTURE OF THE LIBRARY IS UP FOR GRABS.

This creates an engagingly complex architectural challenge, as the community library presents many competing mandates that are difficult to resolve in built form. To become a lively centrifugal social force that can buttress or, in more troubled areas, constitute a neighborhood’s sense of identity, it must project the impression that it is a civic icon and a public place. And yet it must also offer people opportunities to engage in solitary pursuits. Today’s community library might well be a place where one can eat and play chess, but it must not be a place to yell; it must still offer private moments in communal places, moments saturated in silence, light, the knowledge and the creativity of human expression. And all on a tight budget.

How to distill such competing if not colliding imperatives—public, private; iconic, domestic; distinctive, local—into a coherent design? Even though technically all that a community library actually needs is enclosed, climate-controlled loft spaces, in fact it needs more. Only good design can make a mute, inert edifice convey to people that it embraces all comers and embodies their community’s shared identity. Many of the new library designs are loft-like spaces writ monumental, but they are much more than warehouses for computers, books, and people. Monumentalizing domesticity by design, they take their cues from the needs of people in general and community library patrons in particular: the neighborhood’s scale, the proportions of the human body, people’s innate receptivity to natural light, their tactile sensitivity and associative responsiveness to materials."
2014  libraries  seattle  bellevue  washingtonstate  oma  remkoolhaas  joshuaprince-ramus  washingtondc  community  architecture  norway  samfrancisco  louiskahn  mvrdv  rotterdam  nyc  nypubliclibrary  davidadjaye  thirdplaces  thumbisland  nypl  dc 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Urban Adventure in Rotterdam: Psychogeography bingo
"Explore – Below you will find 50 psychogeographic observations. Go out and explore. Rediscover one of the observations. Document it in pictures or text and mark its number.

Get bingo - You get bingo when you fill any column, row or diagonal.

Profit - Document your bingo observations in the comments of this blog. Provide pictures if possible. Do this before 1-1-2012. We will try to send the first few winners a random book from the Rotterdam secondhand book market. It may be in Dutch but then it will have pictures."

[All posts on the blog tagged 'psychogeography': http://uair01.blogspot.com/search/label/psychogeography ]
netherlands  rotterdam  exploration  play  bingo  urbanism  urban  poetry  psychogeography  via:litherland 
january 2012 by robertogreco

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