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Tag "perception"

The discussion around the subjectivity of mapping and the potential of subjective mapping tools becoming possible with the ever greater penetration of gadgets an locative media is gaining momentum. There are a number of project focusing on the output of individual mapping outputs specifically conditioning the visuals to the location, mood, speed or purpose.

One such interesting project is SubMap by Dániel Feles, Krisztián Gergely, Attila Bujdosó and Gáspár Hajdu at Kitchen Budapest. A collective working with technology and the environment, its mainly funded by Magyar Telecom.

SubMap 1.0
Image taken from SubMap / In the first version of SubMap we present three print maps which show the city from ‘our point of view’. We chose our homes as epicenters of these unique, spherical, perspectival distortions. Additionally we created a superimposed map centred around Kitchen Budapest where we all work together.

The SubMap project distorts the map according to the location and literally lets the map appear larger around the focal point. This can be the actual location of the person or a location that is currently being talked about.

In the subjective version they are using Foursquare to track themselves and log the location. Each check in creates a new focal point. There is a whole series of SubMaps currently at version 2.0 including a Generative sound by Kiss László.


Exhibited: Subjective Budapest Maps, Galeria Centralis, Budapest, 20/10/2010-02/12/2010

In SubMap version 2.0 they are pulling in news data from a large archive. This shifts the focus from the individual to a more collective representation of activity. As described by “Ebullition visualises and sonificates data pulled from one of the biggest news sites of Hungary, origo.hu. The work is part of the project SubMap, which deals with subjective mapping of cities and countries.
One frame is one day, and on one day many things can happen. Depending on how many times a day the name of a city or a village is mentioned on the site, the map of Hungary dynamically distorts according to that number. The sound follows and sonfies that visual outcome, creating a generative ever changing drone.”

Via jmichaelbatty on Twitter.

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A team of students from Berkley has taken on the project of mental mapping San Francisco. It has turned in to a really interesting piece of research about how people see the city and how they imagine the city.

Using Mental Maps is nothing new it goes way back to Lynch and Gould and White, but it has not been used for a while and in combination with digital tools it could have a sort of revival. The great aspect on this project ‘Visualizing Mental Maps of San Francisco‘ by Rachelle Annechino and Yo-Shang Cheng is how they allow room for the method to breath the uncertainty of its nature. Mental Mapping is not about accuracy and precision, or truth and objectivity and to combine this with GIS or mapmaking is a very difficult task for not to say impossible.

San Francisco - Corridors
Image taken from Visualizing Mental Maps of SF / San Francisco’s Deadzones and Corridors is a map depicting both where the city’s “corridors” or main drags are, the neighborhood names associated with them and a measure of “neighborhood-ness” throughout the city (the residential density metric). The map has three layers: a choropleth (heatmap) of residential density in red tones, areas zoned for commercial activity in blue and street segments with verified commercial activity in yellow..

The essential thing is to give the playfulness a meaning and find a balance for mapping it in GIS. With this project it is not achieved in the detail, but in the overal construction, how the different sections combine and the picture the presented result paints.

“I think of San Francisco as being a bunch of main streets in small towns, all smushed next to each other.”

The project is the team’s final master project at the School of Information at University of California in Berkley. The link to the final project presentation can be found HERE and the very detailed report is HERE.

The findings are presented in seven groups and you would probably expect more Kevin Lynch influence, but they firmly hold up their own topics. Which is great, it’s over fifty years in between, but still from a urban planning perspective the five groups defined by lynch should at least have been challenged.

Their topics are Orientation: Which way is North? It doesn’t always have to be at the top of the page. Re-orient or dis-orient yourself in San Francisco. Corridors: Where are the hearts of each neighborhood? Barriers: Is it really that close? It’s not always as simple as it looks getting from one neighborhood to another in San Francisco. Boundaries: What neighborhood are you in? According to whom? Storymaps: Take a tour of the city, guided by the thoughts of locals. Game: Ready, set, go. Invisible bike race! Gallery: Draw a map or a picture of your neighborhood, however you see the space.

San Francisco - Boundaries
Image taken from Visualizing Mental Maps of SF / Visualising Neighbourhood areas from different sources. Some of the boundaries are firm and bold, where as other can be fuzzy and blurred.

The different topics each address an aspect and the project combines the data collected through participants with additional information such as landuse and density as for the Corridors, but also with various sources such as Wikipedia, Zillow and Craglist for the Boundaries. This creates an interesting mix that manages to minimise the burden usually put on the Mental Maps in terms of expectations. They play a lot better in combination. Especially the sequence on boundaries and the changes over time on Wikipedia is really an interesting aspect of the boundary definition and naming discussion.

San Francisco - Sketches
Image taken from Visualizing Mental Maps of SF / A Mental Map sketch by Victoria F., one of the participants of the study. She has been living in San Francisco for 23 years.

There is a lot about the city that has be pulled out using somehow unconventional combinations of techniques and it offers great access to ‘local’ knowledge of the place.

Via Roomthily

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At the AA School in London a new exhibition is opening on the 7 Mai, with a focus on ‘Spatial Form in Social and Aesthetic Processes’. The exhibition follows an earlier symposium held in OCtober 2010 also at the AA School, with a very extensive list of speakers and topics like Social Contracts, Relational Space, Sensory Engagement and Perception and Cognition. These events are organised by Concrete Geometries, an ongoing interdisciplinary AA research initiative, investigating the social and experiential value of architectural form – its relational potential.

Concrete (adjective): capable of being perceived by the senses; not abstract or imaginary
Geometry (noun): a part of mathematics concerned with questions of size, shape, relative position of figures and with properties of space

Jane-Hutton-Adrian-Black
Image taken from Kallaway / Dymaxion Sleep – Jane Hutton and Adrian Blackwell, Canada
An installation in the public realm. A structure of nets suspended over a field of aromatic plants
Credit: © Jane Hutton and Adrian Blackwell.

As Marianne Mueller, one of the directors of ‘Concrete Geometries’ and Diploma Unit Master at the AA School, explains: “‘Concrete Geometries’ is investigating the intimate relationship between spatial form and human processes – be they social or aesthetic – and the variety of new material entities this relationship might provoke. By bringing together art, architecture, sciences and humanities, the cluster aims to provide a platform beyond disciplinary boundaries.”

Some of these topics have been brushed on for example in the book ‘Installations by Architects‘ by Princeton Architectural Press. And this exhibition in a very engaging way continues this line of practice of very concrete and to a great extend practical investigation method.

“A corridor, so narrow that strangers brush shoulders; a platform through a densely inhabited house, changing the relationship between inhabitant and visitor; a room reshaped through a graphic pattern; a space under a motorway, sloped in a way that it is rendered useless for those who need it most.”

Voussoir Cloud
Image taken from Compute Schottland / Voussoir Cloud – Iwamoto Scott Architecture, USA. A site-specific installation consisting of a system of vaults, exploring the structural pardigm of pure compression coupled with an ultra-light material system. Credit: © Iwamoto Scott Architecture

With works by BAR Architekten, Barkow Leibinger, Adrian Blackwell + Jane Hutton, Brandlhuber + ERA Emde Schneider, Fran Cottell, Anthony Coleman, Easton+Combs, Lukas Einsele, Bettina Gerhold, Jaime Gili, Susanne Hofmann/Baupiloten, IwamotoScott, Graziela Kunsch & Rafi Segal, Christine Rusche, Kai Schiemenz, SMAQ, SPAN Architecture & Design, Atelier Tekuto, Studio Elmo Vermijs and Vincent Wittenberg. Words by Matthias Ballestrem, Kathrin Böhm/public works, Isabelle Doucet and Toni Kotnik,
The exhibition has been supported by CCW Graduate School, the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Austrian Cultural Forum in London.

Marianne Mueller explains: “The aim of Concrete Geometries, part of the AA School Research Cluster Programmes, is to transform how architects think about the creation of space and how it is used for everyday life. This topic seems quite an obvious thing to be exploring, but it is not a discussion that is being held in architecture today. By involving designers and artists we are able to rethink our practice on the creation of space. Digital design has provided architects with new tools to experiment with the use of space. We need to challenges our current thinking of space and how we as architects create it.”

Exhibition on from 7th Mai to 28th Mai 2011, Mon–Fri 10am–7pm, Sat 10am–3pm

Connecting Corridor
Image taken from Compute Schottland / Connecting Corridor – Elmo Vermijs Studio, Netherlands. An installation connecting two buildings, the chosen form of which causes people to unexpectedly run into one another, Credit: © Elmo Vermijs Studio

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