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— urbantick

Tag "time"

Australia has only just recently suffered the worst flooding in years, with large areas of the East Coast under water. Brisbane was hit very hard with high waterlevels over days.
ABC-News has put together a coverage story showing in detail the impact of the flooding before and after. It is a sort of time warp representation between two given dates. Click HERE for the slider version 01 and HERE for the slider version 02.

The visualisation is based on date from the nearmap service. They are providing detailed resolution time aerial maps, just like google maps does but with an integrated time slider. Google offers a similar tool in Google Earth to see older imagery, but nearmap offers more and much shorter timespans between the dates. So it happens they also have imagery ready from right during the flooding.

Rosalie Village [Click for original nearmap]

Cleverly the imagery is overlaid and allows to drag the before stage to reveil the after, showing water everywhere. Of course the images line up perfectly with the difference of what happend to the place in the mean time.

Milton (Lang Park) [Click for original nearmap]
Milton (Lang Park) (before flooding)
Milton (Lang Park) (after flooding)

Floating pallets in Rocklea industrial estate [Click for original nearmap]
Milton (Lang Park) (before flooding)
Milton (Lang Park) (after flooding)

In the original representation this obviously has the wow effect for discovering whats underneath and then covering it up again. This is great interactive visualisation. The fasciantion lies in the hidden part.

HMAS Diamantina in ‘dry dock’ at South Bank [Click for original nearmap]

Two men in a floating ‘spa’ in Chelmer [Click for original nearmap]
Milton (Lang Park) (before flooding)
Milton (Lang Park) (after flooding)

Via infosthetics

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I will be giving a lecture today at the Bartlett School of Architecture to the MA Urban Design course students. The course is directed by Professor Colin Fournier.
My talk will focus on the spatial dimension of narratives and time in everyday urban live. The different topics discussed are Repetition, with an introduction to the machine city and different types of cycles to create an identity of the place, Time as a framework of organisation, Space as a result of body physicality and experience, Pattern as a combination of time and space and a conception of place as mental maps to Morphology as the physical result of the narrative created.
As illustration material serves the data collected via the twitter microblogging site, the New City Landscape maps, as well as urbanDiary GPS tracking data.

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The thing with time is that if your not on it, you might have missed it. The opportunity windows are small and meeting with others’ shedule might be tricky. This is the same in the ever so present online networking world. Nothing is more boring than a static profile page as you might have on linkedIn or Academia. However, this is one of the option for not to get missed, just be always there.

In the ephemeral world of twitter, facebook, gowalla or foursquare this is not an option. If your facebook page hasn’t changed in the past day, something is wrong, if you haven’t checked in at any location that day on foursquare you must be very ill and in bed and if you did not send any tweets in the past hour this isn’t gona work.

Image taken from tech cocktail / timely logo.

The flow of tweets however, does not guarantee that if you tweet your tweet is being read. On the contrary things are changing fast and as a tweeter your basically battling on your own against the rest of the tweeter kingdom for a sunny spot on the top of any readers list, but on time. Right at that moment this follower of yours is actually reading the first three tweets on the feed, picks the one you wrote and retweets or replays or clicks, but does something with it.

This is tricky, but time is on our side, or better the human desire to organise around it in cycles. Even here on tweet-eden routine rules the behaviour and there is a certain time of the day your tweets will have the prime spot, most-impact-in-24-hours-moment it would be called.

And of course there is an app for everything – here is TIMELY. It is simple but functional. Write a tweet you want to send out, timely looks through your past 199 re-tweeted tweets checks them agains a 24 hour timeframe and calculates the time of the day your tweets had the most impact in the past. At this very moment in the upcoming 24 hours your tweet will be sent. Ever though of something like that?

There isn’t much more to it, really. And to proof the point, the guys at timely, actually flowtown, provide you a basic statistic with the past tweets send on this platform showing the number of clicks, the number of retweets and the number of readers (potential readers) your tweet has had so far.

With this you can really start to enjoy your day. No more worries about keeping up with the bomb shell tweet, just follow the stream of incoming messages, relaxed you can watch other struggle along with tweeting, everything with the peace of mind that your three tweets scheduled will be on time. Thats all that counts.

Image taken from urbanTick on flickr / Screenshot of my timely performance panel.

Of course timely does offer other functions, for example you can have multiple accounts, or invite other people to schedule tweets on your timeline, this is great for collaboration on one account. It features an integrated url shortener that actually work The settings allow you to controle how many tweets will be sent per 24 hours and accordingly the analysis will be adjusted. Weekends can be different or ignored and you can also force a tweet to go out in the next 30 minutes, of course timed to fit the best time frame.

One thing to mention though is that the management of the queue, you can prewrite a whole list of tweets, is tricky since there is only a delete, edit or move to the top button. A move up and down, especially for the top few in the queue would be very handy.

Anyway try it for yourself and get your tweets out on time. At least some of them, you can still use in parallel other platforms to reply or interact, this is gona be the back bone to keep your twitter account running on time!

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Some new data has com in from the GPS tracking project in Basel, Switzerland. Earlier a first group was blogged as ‘Urbandiary Comparison Study‘ where we looked at the region and in ‘Stadtraum – UrbanDiary‘ the focus was on the interaction area between participant and the city.

Image by urbantick for urbanDiary / Basel-Stadt view, plotting all participants GPS track locations. Plotted using cartographica using Bing Maps in the background.

With the new data the focus shifts towards the individual movement in the urban area. This is in a next step also the unit that will be comparable to the existing urbanDiary London data sets.

Image by urbantick for urbanDiary / Grossbaselview, plotting a single participant’s locations. Plotted using cartographica using Bing Maps in the background.

Of much interest is of course the temporal structure of the everyday rhythm. The earlier London data was visualised as a graph plotted the number of track points per hour. This represented the amount of activity per each hour in 24 hour day. The resulting graph fitted well with the expected pattern, higlighting the rush hours, the lunch brake as well as elements of weekend activities following a different time structure. Examples HERE and updated HERE.

Image by urbantick for urbanDiary / Distance-Time graph over 24 hours linear single participants. Plotted using DataGraph.

The strategy to visualise the Basel data in a similar graph has been changed a bit in order to create a stronger contextual sense. The Basel graphs are not based on number of track points, but on distance traveled from home. The home location is assumed to be a sort of start and end location in this case.

The graphs therefor trace the ebb and flows of the movement from and to home. On the way different activities paint the patterns and reoccurring activities enforce their pattern.

Image by urbantick for urbanDiary / Distance-Time graph over 24 hours circular single participant. The 24 hours are here visualised around the circle, clockwise, with the distance plotted radial. Plotted using DataGraph and wound in photoshop – cheating I know but I needed a quick fix.

For the working week the distance starts to increase just after seven as participants leave the house to travel to work. Generally the distance then stays more or less the same through out the day, sometimes with a little bit of movement around the lunch time brake. In the evening the distance changes again until it is back to zero as the participants get back home.

However, the evening is compared to the morning a lot less precise. The morning fits across the sample into a timeframe of around one hour. The evenings are more divers and different activities take place opening a timeframe of up to four hours. This will need some more analysis in terms of how this timeframe divides into different activities and how it is structured. Maybe it is dominated by work activities and if there is more work people stay longer or there are groups of after work activities, such as fitness, shopping, socialising, and so on. Together with the interviews and the schedules it should be possible to entangle the structure.

Image by urbantick for urbanDiary / Distance-Time graph over 24 hours circular multiple participants. The 24 hours are here visualised around the circle, clockwise, with the distance plotted radial. Plotted using DataGraph and wound in photoshop – cheating I know but I needed a quick fix.

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Working remotely from a desk is nowadays very common and hardly anyone is thinking too much about it. However interestingly the differences between workplace and work create a sort of warp hole that needs to be managed in order to handle the strains put on both parties.

Nicholas Poltorak is managing the BP Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tanker fleet around the world, normally from the headquarter in London. We are not discussing politics or environment here, but time. we are interested in the differences and the common constraints.
Events can change rather quickly and with it the destination of each of the tanker. Decisions have to be taken quickly and is there a “POR’, a point of no return in the daily practice of LNG shipping management? And on the other hand how is it all connected to the live on board and hectic there?


urbanTick: Is it important to be on time?
Nicholas Poltorak: Yes depending on what type of time you mean, physical time, in a particular time zone, contractual time, world time, decision time.

urbanTick: Picking up on your distinction of different times, in a sense you could add on more here – real time?
Nicholas Poltorak: Before answering whether it is important to be on time, it is important therefore to specify what type of time category is most relevant or important in any one moment.
Decision time: I consider this to be almost out of time as a decision made can have impacts that splinter and hit different time zones and areas at different moments.
World time: In my opinion this notion is that there is a sense of multi faceted, multi dimensional element of world experience. It is impossible to be on time in the global sense. It is perhaps the importance of your action or decision (see above) or the impact of actions and decisions that will determine that all conventional rules of time zone etiquette are broken and a global event affects everybody simultaneously. I could think of the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa as being such a moment, or the assassination of John F Kennedy would be another example. Global conferences might also fit into this type of concept of time.
Contractual time: Contracts are written or agreed upon verbally by millions of people every day. It could be an arrangement to buy a house, or a newspaper, or a cup of coffee. It can also relate to a series of contractual requirements (such as in my previous role) to nominate, confirm and deliver cargoes of LNG around the world. In some cases it is not commercially advantageous to meet these contractual obligations to the letter and be “on time” it is rather worth to stretch all the flexibility and delay fulfilling certain contractual requirements till as late as possible. In a sense by delaying you are creating a new time framework within particular contracts. You are creating a new time construct for the contract.
Time zone: Working with colleagues in different time zones will determine your behaviour and will affect whether you carry out certain activities earlier or later. In some cases you will adjust your schedule to be able to talk to a colleague, at other times you will delay work as you are aware there is no-one available in that time zone to respond to you “today”.
Again it is not a case of being “on time” but adjusting your actions in your time zone to be most efficient and effective when taking into account other time zones.
Calendar time: How time is split up into seconds, hours, days and months has a big impact on how we all perceive time and how we act within it. This time structure as with the others above is very culturally defined. The use of alarm clocks to break up our night time sleeping has a big impact on our lives and some might say is actually adapting our “body clocks” to the requirements of working life.
Natural time: The ebb and flow of the seasons, of light to darkness and back to light again.
These are experiences that
Physical or real time: I would define this as being the personal time zone of each individual.
Each individual will have time for decisions, be aware of global events that are happening in the global “now” if they are important. Individuals may also be aware of how to structure time to fit their own commercial or personal interests relating to contracts, relations with different parts of the world. They make their own compromises with the culturally defined days and weeks. There is nevertheless a very personal time zone in which we breathe, meditate, cry, laugh and create meaning for our lives. You are “on time” in this time category if you are listening to it and not being distracted by the other interpersonal time constraints around you.

urbanTick: You are working for one of the biggest supplier of gas and oil globally, can you describe your current workplace?
Nicholas Poltorak: I work in a global team from Canary Wharf. I sit in an open plan office surrounded by computer screens windows, sport and news bulletins as well as ship movement maps, gas pipeline flow numbers and lots of people. I work in a global team in my office: I work with people based here who come from Japan, United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, France. In addition I work on the phone with members of the team based in Singapore, S Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the United States and Egypt. My role is to co-ordinate the supply of Natural Gas for BP on 7 ships and ensure that this activity is done safely and efficiently while providing the trading team with as much time and flexibility to change destinations of cargoes.

Image taken from marketwire.com/ Sempra LNG’s new Cameron LNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) receipt terminal near Lake Charles receives first cargo on June 21 aboard BP’s British Diamond, an LNG carrier bringing supplies from Trinidad.

urbanTick: Looking back, how have you come to this position and what is your background?
Nicholas Poltorak: I have come to this position after working in logistics and operations roles for the past 10 years. I started working for BP in 2001 and started in the company by applying for a role in the BP Chemicals European Customer Service Centre. Since 2001 I have carried out various logistics and operational roles arranging the transport of goods by truck, rail tank car, rail wagon, pipelines, ships, barges.
The Job title Operations means executing contracts physically. A trader agrees to buy or sell product and then relies on the operational staff to ensure that the purchase or sales contracts is physically implemented with regard to physical delivery, quality checking, invoicing and finally payment. A job in operations involves putting the written word in contracts into the 3 dimensional world and meeting the challenges that world throws up in the face of the varying contracts. Often production plants do not produce as much product as planned, ships are delayed, demand varies on a daily basis. Operations staff therefore have to deal with managing risk, change and uncertainty as well as being ready to solve problems and deal with unplanned incidents.

urbanTick: Your role involves a lot of management and organisation does that contain a sort of future time?
Nicholas Poltorak: That is a good point. In fact scheduling is dealing with future time. In a certain sense although the future must be planned for and taken into account in all operational work, there is a sense that we wish to cheat the future into revealing its secrets. What I mean by this is that in practical terms you know that a particular ship will need a certain number of days in the future before it can arrive at any one destination. You also know that you have certain commitments in the future: dates for cargoes to arrive and deliver.
However, while you have these fixed/flexible future commitments clearly in mind you wish you make the decision about how to deliver those commitments at a point as close to the date as possible.
In general terms however, I am doing a job which is very much concentrated on the future.

urbanTick: What are the differences between personal and work related time aspects?
Nicholas Poltorak: My work keeps me occupied and busy from 8.00am to 18.00pm everyday. I am very task focussed at work. In other words certain activities have to be completed each day. In addition deadlines emerge throughout the day as new trading opportunities emerge and new physical schedule scenarios need to be analysed. In work I wish to complete as much as I can in every hour of work. When I am spending time at home on a personal level I would like to maximise the amount of time I have free to think, relax, read, talk with friends and sleep without a task focussed approach.

Image taken from bp.com / Click image for current location of the vessel.
Type: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tanker | Hull: Double hull | Crew: Typically totals about 28 officers and ratings | Class: BP Trader class | Length: 278.8 metres | Beam: 42.6 metres | Draft: 11.35 metres | Deadweight: 75,059 tonnes | Propulsion: One steam turbine/single propeller | Top speed: 20.1 knots | Cargo type: Liquefied Natural Gas | Who: | Operator: BP Shipping Limited | Classification society: Lloyds Register | Where: | Flag: British | Port of registry: Douglas, Isle of Man | Operates: Worldwide | History: | Builder: Samsung Heavy Industries Company Limited (Korea) | Delivered: 01 July 2003.

urbanTick: You are describing two distinct environments in terms of activity and focus. How would you describe the temporal (time) differences? The amount of time or the passage of time.
Nicholas Poltorak: Time at work feels constrained and passes quickly. A lot of time disappears during the day with distractions, interruptions and breaks in activity. The amount of time seems to be governed by the clock: being “on time” to meetings, by the frustration of delays
The time at home is short and seems to be dedicated to more natural rhythms: cleaning the house, preparing food, eating, drinking, washing and sleeping rather than the clock in any real sense.
Time sleeping seems at times very short at times long depending on levels of tiredness and levels of wakefulness.
Time spent at home even if spent cleaning and washing and doing basic rudimentary household chores often feels more fulfilling than time spent a work.
The trick to be contented is perhaps to treat work and home life as being part of one living time continuum and to treat all parts of the day in the same way (?)

urbanTick: In a rather global sense, how would you define time?
Nicholas Poltorak: Time for me is a framework within which things must and do happen.

urbanTick: The framework you mention presumably spans across tremendously different scales of time duration, from a life time to the blink of an eye. Can you think of or have you ever come across limitations of possible time experience?
Nicholas Poltorak: I am not sure I understand this one.
Do you mean that some experiences cannot be experienced within this time framework or that time cannot explain or define some experiences? Ie experiences of life, birth death?
See my answers below.

urbanTick: Are you using a specific definition of time for your work?
Nicholas Poltorak: Time in operations is very important in the sense that we are bound to it in delivering certain cargoes on time. On the other hand if we can delay decision making that has immense value. It allows the trading team to have more time to consider how the market is moving and reacting and the ability to make a better decision based on more known and certain information.

urbanTick: Are you referring to clock time in the sense of the tick of a second or is it a time unit based on related decisions? eg market, events, cost?
Nicholas Poltorak: It is not clock time as you say it is more market time, contract time, cost time.
Often decisions and activities may stretch over weeks, months and may perhaps only occupy small sections of individual working days. Therefore to categorise this time as being by the clock is not the best definition.

urbanTick: What exactly does timing mean for your job?
Nicholas Poltorak: Timing means performing tasks when they need to be performed to ensure safe and efficient delivery of natural gas but doing them late enough to allow traders and ship crew to have as much information available when the final decision is made.
Your work is focused on this event of the final decision, could this be described as the point where time stops?
The final decision means time can no longer amend that decision and therefore yes, time as a space where decisions can change and be made is dead for that particular activity set or decision.

urbanTick: What are the different methods you are using to work with time?
Nicholas Poltorak: I work in 3 main time zones and therefore organise my day according to when different offices are open in Asia, the US and Europe.
I also organise my day in terms of contractual deadlines, and concentrate on the following 90 days of the shipping schedule. I leave aside time in the afternoon to look at more structural issues or longer term issues or reviewing past activities.

urbanTick: What does it mean to work with time, can you describe the context and
support systems required?

Nicholas Poltorak: I have a scheduling tool which looks at shipping rotations and scenarios but it is not time sensitive. Therefore it has to be updated on a weekly basis to reflect what can be daily changes. I deal with time also on a daily basis by the fact that the global schedule has to be updated on a daily sometimes hourly basis to reflect latest views of ship positions and next loads and discharges.

urbanTick: Does time change the way you do your job, e.g occurring events?
Nicholas Poltorak: Events in time do affect the type of work I do and how intensely I have to work.

urbanTick: Is there a backup system if the timing fails?
Nicholas Poltorak: I would have to manually log the position of ships and use my knowledge of shipping distances and times to plot out future schedules.

Image taken from bp.com / Click the image for current location of the vessel.
Type: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tanker | Hull: Double hull | Crew: Typically totals about 28 officers and ratings | Class: BP Trader class | Length: 278.8 metres | Beam: 42.6 metres | Draft: 11.35 metres | Deadweight: 75,074 tonnes | Propulsion: Single steam turbine/single propeller | Top speed: 20.1 knots | Cargo type: Liquefied Natural Gas | Who: | Operator: BP Shipping Limited | Classification society: Lloyds Register | Where: | Flag: British | Port of registry: Douglas, Isle of Man | Operates: Worldwide | History: | Builder: Samsung Heavy Industries Company Limited (Korea) | Delivered: 13 November 2002.

urbanTick: You are working across different time zones on different continents. Does a global time exist?
Nicholas Poltorak: Yes it is a time when things happen and have impacts on the world. For example if a volcano explodes in Iceland this has an affect on air traffic in a certain area and moment in time.
This is a local event and local time bound event. Global time comes into play in a more subtle way. The impact of the Icelandic volcano also has repercussions all over the world to varying degrees and at different moments. Nevertheless it had a global impact and this event is therefore set within a global time frame.
It is a time not based on a particular time zone but on the impacts and echoes of events around the world. These echoes are as real as the louder sounds made by the event in a more local context. Global time for me is a cacophony of louder or softer voices passing through space which can be heard globally in every moment.

urbanTick: Do you think different times exists, take place or could be constructed?
Nicholas Poltorak: I think that we can and perhaps should consider different constructs of time. What time does and does not do. Time can be a passive or an active agent.

urbanTick: Referring back to the framework of time have there been events in your life that have changed or influenced your time construct?
Nicholas Poltorak: The experience of Thomas’ birth has taught me to value the moment in time as well as time passing. I can see Thomas grow and learn each day and also understand that my own life involves constant growth and learning. I come to value the free time I have with Thomas greatly because it allows me to deepen my relationship with him and at the same time participate in and witness the miracle of a growing human being at such an early stage.
In a rather more sad case, the death of my father has taught me that you cannot hold onto time that has passed and that memories are such fragile containers of past experience.
It saddens me to know that a man’s existence is often summarised in a few short stories or moments of their long and interesting life story. Emotions are perhaps what link us to people rather than time and it is perhaps that emotion of love, attachment or closeness that unites us all outside of time. In other words, I love my father now as much as I did when he was alive and the passing does not diminish or reduce that love or attachment nor does it necessarily deepen it as I have no new experiences with him to deepen my understanding of him.
In summary the elemental experiences of life, love, loss are perhaps those which are less time bound that any others and perhaps the most important emotions. The ones that define us as human beings.

urbanTick: What are the differences in time for you and the crew of the ship?
Nicholas Poltorak: Time for me is bound by a regular daily routine centred on BST or GMT. For the ships they work to ship time and slowly adjust their clocks as they pass different time zones.
The crews also work on certain tasks throughout the day and night and have to work constantly during loading and discharge operations.
In a certain sense office bound staff level of work is different as we have a constant working day with weekend and holidays
For the crew they work full time every day at sea for 6 months and then have 6 months off.


In an interview series urbanTick is looking closely at meaning and implications of time in everyday life situations. In the form of dialogs different aspects are explored, with the idea to highlight characteristics. The main interest is circling around the construction and implementation of different concepts of time between independent but related areas of activity, such as leisure and work, private and public, reality and virtual. This interview series will not be continuous, but more adhoc, so you might want to use the interview tag to catch up with the rest.

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The urban and the sound are very much one and the same. Noises and tweets, squeaks and bangs, whispers and rattle are constantly present and play an important part in the shaping of the environment. consciously or unconsciously we are attracted or repulsed by certain sounds in specific configurations. But how is it interlinked with time and space, how does it tie in with time and certainly space, the much talked focus in the urban discussion.

In this interview we want to discuss these questions with Salomé Voegelin, an artist and writer who is concerned with the practice and philosophy of sound. Her work has been shown in the UK and Mainland Europe. Most recently her work “Barry Echo” has been included in Playing with Words, the Spoken Word in Artistic Practice, Cathy Lane ed., UK, CRiSAP and RGAP, Cornerhouse Publication, 2008. In 2007 she was commissioned to produce an urban pod-cast for RADAR in Loughborough, UK, and to realise, in collaboration with artist and writer David Mollin, a site-specific work for the Bregenz Kunstverein, Magazin 4, Austria. She is the curator of Clickanywhere, an online sound exhibition featuring sound work that focuses on the voice, http://clickanywhere.crisap.org/. Her published writing includes ‘Sonic Memory Material as “Pathetic Trigger” ‘ in Organised Sound international peer-reviewed journal, Cambridge University Press April 2006, and ‘Völlig Losgelöst’, a chapter in Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment, Angus Carlyle ed., published by Double Entendre in 2007. And a chapter on long duration on the radio for the book ‘Nachtschichten’, Jörg Köppl ed., edition Fink 2008.

Her book Listening to Noise and Silence: Toward a Philosophy of Sound Art
was published by Continuum Press in May 2010.

Since we are talking sound, we wana make use of sound and ditch the predominately visual approach, so turn the volume up and/or put on the headphones.


urbanTick: Is it important to be on time?
Salomé Voegelin: Of course I think it is impolite not to be on time, but I have become rather used to everybody always being late since living in England. However, I have been reminded of the importance of being on time by my son’s Kindergarten teacher, who, to stem off the slow trickle of late pupils every morning, keeps on telling the parents that if we want our children to learn to appreciate being on time we need to bring them to school on time.

urbanTick: We are discussing here three key words with very strong and evocative characters. They can be arranged in sort of a definition triangle, with each being used to describe the next one, let’s try this. What’s the sound of time and what’s the sound of space?
Salomé Voegelin: I want to bring these two questions together, which in many ways also answers the next. In the tradition of Western Philosophy there is a great dialectical urge to keep things apart, to see them as conflictual, defined against rather than through each other. Which is by the way a very visual “deducticism” in the sense that the meaning and status of the one is produced by deducing it from that of the other, rather than through the experience of itself. And so time and space are understood to cancel each other out, negate each other or use each other to the end of their own realization; and they are defined by their purpose rather than their experience. It is the function of the space by which I measure it rather than its experiential time, and it is the purpose of the time by which I read it rather than the experience of its space. Time and space thus exist in a purposeful conflict that seeks a resolution in a higher order synthesis, a better space, a better time, outlining a progressive understanding rather than a place to be. Thereby hinting at continual improvement that renders time and space vehicles only, to propel the subject, who passes through their a prior existence, onwards and upwards, towards always yet another such conflictual place.

Sound, a sonic sensibility, challenges the possibility of such a dialectical differentiation and the consequent imagination of their relationship as necessary progressivity. It sounds space in time and time in space and produces a place that is neither oppositional nor deductional. Instead it presents space and time as extensions of each other, where they exist in a critical equivalence: not the same but not combative either; an agonistic play that defines them both, but never for long in the same shape, inviting the experience of fixedfluidities and fluidfixities that are permanently differently now. Such time and space is a moving realm that changes in the continuous presence of perception. This realm is not functional however, but playful, and neither is it relative since it is generated through the listener’s experience where time and space find their particularity and contingent hold.

This proposition is based on the experience of sound as an invisible formless thing that is not there before its encounter, as is the assumption in a visually orientated philosophy, but is generated in my perception of it, always now.

urbanTick: You remove the dash between time-space in your book, can you explain this and how this relates to sound?
Salomé Voegelin: The dialectical conflict that is born from and leads to this progressive imagination of place is based on the idea of time and space as two autonomous entities (Gesamtheiten). It is, almost paradoxically, their exclusivity that allows us to pitch them malevolently against each other rather than focus on their playful interaction. I call both together through the notion of time-space, but remove the dash to call them timespace in order to avoid the possibility of exclusivity and immanent antagonism. In this way I aim to highlight the need to keep them together while also stressing their equal difference: They are elements of equal significance, they are neither the same nor opposed to each other but are generated through each other in the effort of perception.

urbanTick: Is there a past and a future in sound or is there only the here and now?
Salomé Voegelin: The term timespace allows not only for the imagination of a present place, as produced in the playful agonism between a present time and a present space, but also brings to perception the notion of an over-there and of another-time that are not opposed to or outside this moment of now but that constitute it in its extensionality. What I mean by this is that the now of a sonic timespace is durational. It is a thick slither of now, again a seeming paradox, but an imaginative possibility. Listening is extensive, it generates space in the temporality of its material. And it builds this temporal space not only from what we hear but also from what that audition produces in terms of a generative possibility. Sonic possibilities and memories trigger the present perception and also rush into this present moment to extend its space, which we prise open in the time of our listening to inhabit as place. This thick place of a present timespace allows us to inhabit the now, and at the same time it is our effort of perception, inhabiting that now, that produces the extensity of its place.

This extensity is of course not exclusive to the sonic perception, but a sonic sensibility has the ability to imagine it. In sound we inhabit our perception, we are always part of it; our sounds are as much part of the soundscape as those we perceive to be over-there. And it is this sensibility of simultaneity with one’s surroundings that enables the imagination of an inhabited, agonistically playful and thick now rather than of an exclusive, conflictual and functional now.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Lovely.

urbanTick: You are characterising the experience of sound as the here in sort of a thick slither of the present and as evocative. To what extend can we imagine the sound? Almost as in the secondary school physics example, where the excited teacher demonstrates with some fireworks how the light, the smoke, travels faster than the sound, the bang. From experience we’ll already be awaiting the sound as we see the little firecracker blowing up.
Salomé Voegelin: Sound is never an a priori, it is not there before its experience, but is generated in our audition and this audition is what extends its present moment to include all that could sound as well as what does. There is an anticipation to listening, which is particularly forceful when we are in silence; an almost breathless waiting for what might eventually sound. This anticipation is my agency of listening as a pull to generate the heard. Unscheduled radio is a good way to experience this: the formless invisibility of its sound means that our anticipation never leads to the fulfillment of one’s expectations but to the production of the heard, and this heard involves the imagination of ourselves at the moment of its production, inhabiting it. We do not imagine the sound but produce it, as imagined, in our auditory imagination.

urbanTick: In your book you mention Doreen Massey’s description of space and time as conventions, as matter of perception as well as believe. To what extend does this conception apply to sound.
Salomé Voegelin: Massey’s ideas of space and time not as dialectically opposed absolutes but as constituted in perception and therefore dependent on the inhabiting subject, has very crucially influenced my own thinking about time and space in sound. Her articulations are in many ways a critique of the theorizations of time-space compression in the networked age where fluidity is generally articulated as crisis and fixity seen as providing the certainty of place. She re-assesses these absolutes and makes any judgment dependent on the subject’s social and political narrative instead.

In sound too the reality, the timespace, of a situation is not absolute but depends on the perceiving subject. Sound does not provide us with representations of a priori situations, but forces us into its timespace place, to inhabit its material and generate it in this inhabiting simultaneity. There is then in sound too not one sensibility of time and space but a multiplicity of possibilities, which reflect back on the particularity of their perception rather than on a stable and absolute reality.

This is a very interesting starting point also to consider sound and a sonic sensibility in relation to art and the acoustic environment not only in terms of its aesthetic appreciation, but also in terms of a political and social consequence of a sonic subjectivity, a sonic community, etc.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Oblongs in Square Spaces.

urbanTick: Practically everything has a sound to it. Be it the clicking of the keyboard while typing a text, the whistle of the water boiler or the beep of the scanner at the supermarket till. Would it be possible to classify different sounds according to time?
Salomé Voegelin: Putting aside the notational control over time in conventional music production and its learned appreciation, for me the interest in considering the time of sonic occurrences does not lie in the duration of the sound but in the duration of its perception, and this recalls my answer to your last question, how it involves the aesthetic, social and political situation of the perceiving subject. In other words my interest lies not in classifying sounds as autonomous and abstract entities, but to engage in the time of their perception understood as the moment of their inhabited generation. These moments are not bound to clock time but generate our individual sense of it, as well as the sense of ourselves as sonic subjectivities inhabiting that formless time.

The discussion of this perceptual time and self in sound could grant us access to the reality of the world as a multilayered thing, illuminating “possible worlds”, whose spatiotemporal formation is formless by itself, dependent on the generative perception of its inhabitants, and mirroring their own formless possibility.

urbanTick: Is sound timeless?
Salomé Voegelin: It is not timeless but its time is full of space. It produces space from its time and invents the time of its space. Together they create the thick and complex slither of now that is our listened to environment and it is in listening, through an auditory imagination, that we appreciate the complexity and reciprocity of its time.

urbanTick: Do you think different times exist, take place or could be constructed?
Salomé Voegelin: The sense of now as a thick timespace invites the idea, mentioned already in response to your earlier question about the time of things that sound produces, of “possible worlds”. The suggestion that listening, the auditory perception, is not a receptive mode but a generative effort, which produces the now as a thickset thing that we construct and inhabit in our subjective particularity, might lead us to argue that there is not only the one, visual, world, which we pragmatically refer to as the real world, but that, there are many other, possible worlds that we thus generate. And, in extension that it is through sound, a sonic sensibility that we gain access to those other layers of reality, those possible and even impossible or at least improbable worlds. These other worlds do not cancel out or negate the “real” world, but extend and augment it. These worlds might or might not be indexically linked, thus no causal connection might exist, but inevitably, the imaginative perception of such possible worlds expands the way we experience the “real” world.

As a consequence of the idea that space and time are produced as timespace, and that this timespace is a thickset thing of present, past and future, of an over-there and of other-times, and the related idea that the world, experienced via a sonic sensibility produces possible worlds, we could imagine that equally there are different times, possible times and maybe even impossible times. They are a matter of perception, of invention of experience, but not less real, as it is our perception that generates them, and our subjectivity that guarantees them.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Skating.

urbanTick: These soundtimespaces of individual experience and timing, how can we make them sharable as important elements of interaction and social existence?
Salomé Voegelin: Sonic sensibility, in its insistence on contingency and experience rather than permanence and recognition questions the possibility and authenticity of the linguistic exchange. Instead of building on the certainty of language, a visual set of signs and symbols, it suggests a much more fragile and formless exchange. It suggests that communication is founded in principle on misunderstandings with exceptional moments of understanding, “moments of coincidence”, when our worlds overlap momentarily. This is not as frightful as it might sound. It simply means that we have to work harder to be understood and to stay in communication. That we cannot take communication for granted simply because we have the tool, language, to communicate, but that the actual moment of exchange needs my agency of speech, understood as the development of my agency of listening into language, to coincide with your willingness to share in that exchange. Sound elucidates the responsibility of listening and speaking as the basic condition of communication. A sonic exchange is based on the desire to share the heard rather than on a shared order or lexicon.

urbanTick: New media and technologies have questioned the definition of location with real time communication; the physical location of the body might no longer be the only indicator of the local. Did this change timing in sound, across different places?
Salomé Voegelin: Sound in many ways precedes and makes thinkable virtuality long before the technology enabled the production of digital places, virtual communication and multi-locationality of bodies and things. Sound’s invisibility and formlessness engenders an imagination that is not dependent on the reality of places and things but produces places and things and consequently invites us to invent our location in relation to those places and things. The body in sound is always the indicator of the local as it is its inhabiting that generates that local, however, what that body and what that local is, is a matter of imagination rather than of certainty in sound.

urbanTick: This year has seen a number of projects recording sounds to preserve them. On one hand this is part of the technology hype and we do it because we can, but on the other, is there a history of sounds?
Salomé Voegelin: I am fascinated by phonography and aural history, which, in terms of documenting, narrating and extending time and space are closely related, since both, in their own way, play with notions of the “real”. They both use sound to renegotiate reality, how it is constructed and told; what is real time, what is real space. And ultimately both invite us to generate our own sense of time and space.

Aural history of course has been around for a long time and listening to people describing their personal histories of the second world war, say, makes it apparent how very personal, individual and full of stories rather than realities and truths history, its times and places, is.

Phonography used as a strategy to garner material for composition of the patently composed, or to make us aware of the different facets of a visual reality, is very interesting in terms of how it problematises and plays with our ideas of a real space and a real time. Phonography is highly experiential. I am sure we can try to read a phonographic work as much as we read a photograph, but I doubt we would succeed to neatly summarise it. Rather phonography invites a constant re-telling of the scene recorded, a filling-in of the invisible space that is left by the microphone, constantly re-generating it with our own thick and expansive sense of time and space, producing our own timespace place from the heard.

urbanTick: Thinking of everyday practices and experiences, does sound tell the time?
Salomé Voegelin: I don’t think sound tells the time but it fills time, not in the sense of making it pass more pleasantly, functionally or usefully, but in the sense of making it thick with experiential stuff – a clump of sensation – senseable, in the sense of available to sensation, not however as a certain and shareable clock time but as a much more personal pulse by which we generate the world we inhabit at that timespace moment.

urbanTick: Time is often generally thought of as clock time, the continuous ticking sound of the counting of identical units. Is sound linear?
Salomé Voegelin: This personal pulse, which generates the timespace moment, which I mention in answer to your last question, is not linear at all. It draws the past and the future, the over-there, and the other-time and all sorts of things into its space not as a linear construct but as a fragmented constructing that fragments the listener too.

Sound by Salomé Voegelin / Hänsel und Gretel.


In an interview series urbanTick is looking closely at meaning and implications of time in everyday life situations. In the form of dialogs different aspects are explored, with the idea to highlight characteristics. The main interest is circling around the construction and implementation of different concepts of time between independent but related areas of activity, such as leisure and work, private and public, reality and virtual. This interview series will not be continuous, but more adhoc, so you might want to use the interview tag to catch up with the rest.

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Behaviorology is the title of the new Atelier Bow-Wow book. It is published by Rizzoli International Publications and contributors include Terunobu Fujimori, Meruro Washida, Yoshikazu Nango and Enrique Walker. A monograph one could say, summarizing most of the architecture projects they have realised. Bow-Wow is well known for their indepth research resulting in a series of books an use of diverse media, methods and techniques to investigate and create. In this sense a monograph is a bit a surprise.

It is almost, as is pointed out at A Daily Dose of Architecture, it seems as if this book has to be read together with the previous Bow Wow book Graphic Anatomy. In contrast to this most recent publication the focus of the previous publications lay on the representation of the projects in drawings. In this sense the drawings and te now published photographs could be read together. How they could fit together was beautifully demonstrated in the earlier reviewed book ‘Portrait from Above‘ wich does employ a very similar ‘research’ strategy as the earlier Bow Wow ‘Guide Books’.

However, there is more to this publication that a first impression might reveil and it starts with the title: Behaviorology, what does that mean?

For one, as the introduction explains, the term summarises the range of interests the Bow-Wow team has investigated and continues to investigate. This includes the focus on the interrelations between people and architecture, the architecture and the city and the city and people.
The second and probably more dramatic aspect to the term is the clear intention to establish an alternative to ‘function’ as the traditional modernist term. Modernist practice and definitions are critiqued and through out the work of Bow-Wow the wrestling with the omnipresence of this universal term of ‘function’.

To create a new term and trying to establish it is a bold move, but the intentions are clear. It proposes an activity and subject centred new perspective. Probably a move so many practitioners and offices could buy into. This new perspective is of course something that is of course highlighted in this ‘monograph’ in all the project presented. And the introduction also outlines how te term can be applied on to three different areas of human beings, natural elements and buildings.

How this could work is the core of the introduction and the fundamental structure are the above mentioned three groups as areas of separate interests that will be tied together by the new term. Surprisingly these three groups could probably also be found in the modernist description of ‘function’ as a conception of the matter at hand.

Nevertheless, the term implies a new dimension of time at a much more dramatic scale than function ever did. Moreover function, probably intended to freeze time where behavior incorporates temporalas an active aspect. This in it selve is a paradigm shift and opens new dimensions for architecture and its positioning or role in everyday culture.

As an fundamental aspect Bow-Wow characterises this temporal aspect as a rhythmic repetition, very similar to what was proposed in ‘Cycles in Urban Environments‘. It proposes to use the routine and the cycle as a standard overarching the here proposed three main groups. This conception places the subjective and individual at the centre and establishes a ‘bottom up’ perspective. This conceptions could mark the departure from old practices and fuel the ongoing debate with a new term that ties in with a new understanding.

As described in the beginning and highlighted by others hoever, the book reads a bit in a rather confusing way, especially when it come to the presentation of the projects. We have been trained over the years by a flood of glossy monographs to read these marketing statements as a cultural contribution (which it was in some cases) and in this sense it is difficult to make an exception for the book a hand. The story is great and very convincing and we are all dreaming of this, a word, a term that would finally open the chains and lead on to new horizons.

Somehow the project documentation can not really live up to this promis. It is a good monograph, but it is still at large a glossy documentation of architecture. The photographs are very good and bring the objects across in vivid colours with shadows and lively materials. However, the settings are standard as are the situations. There are a handful of images that incorporate the behavior idea, but at large the images are standard architecture photography.

In this sense it remains unclear how this theoretical positioning of the approach ties in with the documentation of the body of work. The approach to integrate the two aspects is of course the best way to go about it, but at the same time the most problematic.

Nevertheless, it becomes clear while reading the texts that accompany the different chapters that this is definitely more than a simple monograph, but it is a process. I this sense this could be an actual milestone. An clearly the process will role on and might need further departures from terminologies, but could definitely lead on and in many sense it has already managed to incorporate the important dimension of time into the discussion and this could proof as a vital first step.

It is an unlikely contribution but things are not as they seem. It offers a lot of material for discussion and thought.

Image taken from Amazon / Front cover of the book Behaviorology by Atelier Bow-Wow published by Rizzoli International Publications

Bow-Wow, A., 2010. The Architectures of Atelier Bow-Wow: Behaviorology, Rizzoli International Publications.

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Today is RGS day, actually RGS has been on since Tuesday this week. RGS is the Royal Geographical Society: ‘We are the learned society and professional body for geography’. The annual conference of course is a big event, prestigious and well attended we hope. THe official twitter tag for this conference is #RGSIBG10. So look out for this to follow the latest news on the day.

I will be presenting a paper in the session 143 organised by James Cheshire from spatialanlaysis. The session title is: Postgraduate Session: Analysing and Visualizing Social Change

THe paper I will be presenting is on aspects of routine migration in the city, the daily migration from home to work and changes in location on short term. I will be using both, the study using GPS to trace individuals in urban areas as well as the more recent twitter mined data with the New City Landscapes to illustrate these aspects. Important key elements will be time obviously, but also a number of aspects of repetition, memory and the creation of identity. There will also be a focus on visualisation using the Hagerstrand time-space aquarium.

The abstract of the paper:
The research project investigates temporal spatial patterns of citizens. For the study we are using GPS technology to track participants over a longer period to record repetitive activities. The collected data, through the GPS has a timestamp and a location, serves well this purpose. However the challenge is the visualisation and the interpretation of the data. To approach this problem the ‘technical’ GPS data is complemented with individual information collected through interviews and mental maps. This set of data helps to create a context, in which the aspects of temporal experience can be studied as an additional dimension to urban life. Visualisation concentrates on time budget in the spatial context taking location features into account as part of the memory as well as the creation of identity. For visualisation purposes a number of approaches are used, from time-space aquariums to animations.

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The twitter activity varies over the course of the day as shown in an earlier post on Tweet Times. So far we were using the timeRose to visualise the temporal activity.
The data used here is based on the geo located tweets collected for the New City Landscape maps of New York, Paris, London and Munich. I have now produced a simple contour for each hour of the day. This shows the activity over the period of 24 hours, with all days superimposed. This visualisation only looks at the data collected for Munich. The detailed New City Landscape map of Munich can be found HERE. In Munich there are some hotspots that are constantly active over the course of the day, like the airport terminals in the top right hand corner and of course the centre. Then there is a lot of fluctuation around the center and ocasional spots on the outskirts. For orientation purpose I have put in major green features and the water line.

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The art collective Observatorium is creating Big Pieces and these art works are always about location and time. Usually time in the sense of ‘time out’ or simply resting.
They have now published a book with 010 Publishers covering the twelve of their installations they have realised in the past twelve years. As a side note, maybe we could also start speculating about te topic of time and the meaning of twelve as a number?
The book is ‘Big Pieces of Time : Observatorium‘.
As the work is described in the introduction, summarises most of the intentions: “Ideally, the sculpture will provide a focus, a point of arrival and of redirection; it gives the countryside or town a space and a symbol, something that invites and stimulates people into action or contemplation. If the art can accomplish anything, then it is above all to create time and space for attention – attention and curiosity towards the outside worlds, towards – the interior resonances we experience. It presents an environment that highlights the imponderability of the world around us.”
The twelve pieces are monumental and even by looking at the images in the book this can be felt. Take the project ‘Das Hallenhaus‘, a steel construction outlining a building. It is erected on a platform on top of a hill with beautiful views, a place to be.

Hallenhaus Observatorium
Image taken from stroom.nl / Image of the Hallenhaus.

It is a mazing how Observatorium manages to create this tension between place and context and everything without the salesman attitude of selling art. In fact art is the lat thing one think about while looking at this work presented in the book and I imagine this to be an even stronger aspect of the real live installations. There is something very natural, self explaining and normal to it.
This goes along with a statement by the art collective: “The work is not finished until someone uses it” (Observatorium on their project ‘Square for De LeiJ, Judical Juvenile Institution De Leij, Vught, 2003). One of the projects that beautifully demonstrates the process the art piece is involved after it is actually finished. How this project has changed with it being used is not disimilar from an other built work, be it architecture or landscaping.

The beauty about the book are the photographs documenting the work. Using the full format of the book an additional story is narrated with the images. In fact one could argue that this is a picture book book. As mentioned above the monumentality of the projects is captured beautifully, with a seriousness and a self-evidence rarely seen in project documentation. However this is mainly down to the monumentality of the installations and the other aspects of participation, community work, actual activity and action is harder to document. Cleverly here the text takes over this part and rounds the publication to a slow motion whale, a super-size book that brings you a time-out, time to recharge and enjoy. It is not about art but about the involvement, the possibilities and the dreams.

Big Pieces of Time, Cover
Image taken from the Observatorium blog / BIG PIECES OF TIME – Observatorium, Designed by Karelse & Den Besten, English, 288 pp / 326 x 240 mm / hardcover, price € 39.50, ISBN 978 90 6450 680 2.

de Camp, G., Dekker, A. & Reutelingsperger, R., 2010. Observatorium: Big Pieces of Time, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.

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