web analytics

— urbantick

Tag "publication"

A publication is no longer just a publication. It can be many things and what we see is only the beginning. A book can be a magazine, an ebook a website or a comic. Different medias are being mixed to play with ways of presentation. New technology plays here are good part and enables some very new concepts to be tested.

The eReader platforms and especially the iPad promise new ways of publishing. Only last week Apple has announced, as part of the app ibooks 2, the publication of text books. Here they put the emphasis more than before on the integration of additional media like video for tutorials and explanations, interactive graphics (like the newly released E. O. Wilson’s Life on Earth) and of course web links and so on. The animated and augmented book is only catching on a the moment. If you’re looking to purchase an iPad try out these Promotional Codes and save some money on this expensive technology!

Yes is more ipad
Image taken from earchitect / Yes is More on the iPad.

The architectural monagraphy is a rather unlikely candidate to put forward such an interactive publication. One would expect it to be a heavy piece with nicely photoshopped images and and a thick cover. This is however a way of presentation for the old garde and if BIG represents the new generation of architects such an interactive option of presentation is the way to go. BIG has always been very much about telling a good story and producing a good show. The show of course is very subjective and this subject is two fold its the facts about the design and Bjarke Ingels the head of the Bjarke Ingels Group (This is what BIG stands for).

Their Yes is More: An archicomic on architectural evolution was originally published back in 2009 by Taschen and as such already wasn’t the architectural monograph one might buy if it was Norman Foster or Richard Meier. BIG presented their work in a sort of comic they branded archicomic. It was however mostly well received even though few probably understood what Bjarke actually meant by Yes is more.

The one architectural monography ambitious architecture practices have to top if they really want to set a mark and the book that has dominated the style of architecture book for the last decades is S,M,L,XL by Rem Koolhass’s OMA and AMO’s Bruce Mau. It was published in 1995 by Monacelli Press.

BIG had a go at this with the comic. It was well received, but not quite enough to land in the hall of fame. It certainly did stir things a little and it fitted well with the self image Bjarke is building around his practice and the delivered projects. The advancing technology however meant new opportunities are opening up. BIG has been working more and more with new media, testing animation, 3d as well as augmented reality.

Now in 2011 the original book has been transformed into an app for the iPad as Yes is more! An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by BIG. It is published by Taschen again and available on itunes. It is not exactly an ebook since it is as a comic mainly imagery based and now also integrated animations and movies. The comic comes to live with clips that play within the grid of images or in full screen mode. It’s clear from the start that this format fits the stile. The publication really thrives with the media in this case.

Image taken from the app / Page spread 218-219 in landscape mode and page 219 in portrait mode. Both show at the bottom the navigation bar.

Yes is more! An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by BIG - TASCHEN GmbH

The app works both in portrait and in landscape mode. With the swipe of a finger one browses through the sequence of images learning about reasons and effects, but also a lot about Bjarke. Where he lives and what the view of his balcony looks like. Details can be zoomed in on, just like you are getting used to on your touch screen. A youtube like triangle symbolises clips and a click opens these additional medias in a small window or plays them at full screen at rather good resolution. Quality is ver good through out even if zoomed in on details.

Navigation is organised in a bar at the bottom that appears with a tab. To choose or jump to a new topic one can either use a slider of miniature pages or a selector roll. Of course individual pages can also be found by page number. However, the layout does not show any page numbers. They have been removed. In this sense the app is not at all a pure digital version of the paper based publication.

The app also offers a search box for key word search or a separate listing of all the clips if only moving images are of interest. The app offers the option to put bookmarks. There is no note option though, something a lot of ebook users probably have come to like from other platforms.

The experience the app offers is very good even though they have chosen not to the mimicked turn the page effect. It runs smooth the displayed material is qualitative very good with nice colours and sharp contours. Its what you get from other ebooks.

THe feel of the app has very little to do with a book any longer. The turn the page effect is missing, which to be fair, is a stupid thing, an purely visual imitation, but it comes the closest to turning a page and with it imitating the book. Then also the page numbers are missing, a very distinct design element of a paper based publication. This is not so much about the actual number but about orientation and progress. How far have I read and how many pages ago did the lead character last smile? Here we have no page numbers unless we choose to look at it in the bottom bar by tapping to activate it every time. There is however, a tiny bar appearing with each swipe of the page at the bottom indicating the position in the book, assuming the whole length of the screen is the entire book. This is very neat and practical. It would be nice if this little feature could also be draged and enable a sort of quick flip.

Currently there is no way to quickly flip through the book. the swipe response is quite slow and three quick swipes result in only one page shift. Similar the page numbers don’t move you through the pages that quickly. If now this little bar could do such a thing, maybe even in combination with the thumbnail page preview it would make for a great navigation.

The sequence of pages are presented in linear fashion. There are for example no links within the book. The last chapter BIG City provides an overview of the BIG project grouping similar projects together to city districts. It would be nice if clickable and acting as hyperlinks to jump to the details. Or maybe select one of the groups and look at all these projects together. It being programmed as an independent app such options would be possible enabling more browser like handling with back and forth or even history options, where the linearity of the paper based publication would be unlocked. With out this and it feels a bit like a slide presentation and in terms of the linearity would represent a power point against a prezi.

Yes is more ipad
Image taken from klatmagazine / Yes is More on the iPad.

To sum it up, navigation and experience are working fine. Every function you would need is there. Its just that most things have the feel of a computer based click with your mouse here sort of solution. At the same time the app designer have not really let go of the book and present it in a purely linear fashion. It remins a hybrid, and is as sort of ebook with its own app not quite defining a new category of interactive, reader driven, content platforms.

As it being an independent app there are is the downside that it does not link up with other publications. The thing about ebooks is that they still, at least in the term, link up and the same software is playing for all of them. Notes are taken across books, so are markings. This publication is a standalone thing and plays at most with the collection of apps, but not necessarily the books or ebooks in this case. This is more from a collectors perspective a point, but then if you are into architecture you want a whole bunch of similar publications to cover your entire field of interest. One single item doesn’t really satisfy this and remains the odd one out. Bjarke doesn’t mind to be the odd one out as long as he’s being talked about.

Nevertheless its an interesting publication and an impressive one. Its not just a few swipes long, something you have swiped through in under five minutes. This is your proper comic you can read on the tube and the bus for an entire week of commuting. It comes along happily on you iPad and pops upen where you left it. It is currently priced at £6.99 which is nearly the price of the actual print, on amazon for £11.66 (on the Taschen website it is priced at £ 17.99, here the app a bit less than half). You can buy the app from HERE on itunes and the book from Taschen or amazon.

Image taken from the Yes is More app / Spread showing the project with the very poignant title Swept under the carpet. It is not a particularly famous BIG project, but it is one that summarises a lot about the approach. (click image to read the details) The introduction of the publication shows Bjarke with his feet on the table proclaiming his architecture paradigme is to say YES to everything. He claims that architecture can incorporate everything and still be progressive. In this very particular project, Swept under the carpet, he literally sweeps the pollution, this very project is built on a piece of land with polluted soil and the competition asked for solutions to deal with this fact, under the carpet with the argument: “Instead of cleaning up the mess we just cover it. We can spend the money required for cleaning the soil on my project and cover up.” He in fact says NO, in this case to the environment and a longterm solution. Much rather, he lets the polluted soil continue to contamine the water around the community and sailing centre and lets the kids swim in the dirty waters, but everything is nicely covered up. Even though BIG claims for their working attitude to be about process the reflection stage is missing in their project. No critical questions are asked, there is often little attitude or actual opinion on things. Even though BIG is subjectivated and purely focused on the person of Bjarke Ingels it is a brand and not a person.

The comic style fits well with the experiment of a ebook hybrid. There isn’t much to loose by putting it in an rather experimental form and it thrives on it. However the comic style dose not add anything to the content. It is however playful option to publish a book base don figure notes. Yes is More is a graphic novel taking the communication of architecture in visual terms to the extreme by not even attempting to talk about architecture in text form. The comic here is interpreted as annotated pictures and this fits perfectly with the way BIG explain projects, in simple steps explaining what is happening as if it were a DiY manual.

For BIG it’s all about the presentation. They way the projects are presented makes the projects directly ind simply accessible, see video below. The media used are engaging, playful and fitting. The explanations are very simple making every move easily understandable even for a layperson. Interesting however is more how arguments are made and here BIG’s background shines through. Everything is very much the famous and with this publication very much targeted form follows function. Following this paradigma the entire project is presented, throwing in here and there a few clever references and options, but essentially argumentation is very much founded on functionality.

Yes is more! An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by BIG - TASCHEN GmbH

Ingels, B., 2010. Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution, iPad App., Cologne: Taschen GmbH.

Read More

Public spaces are big topic on urban planning. On one hand they are seen as what measures the success of the project and their spacious employments indicates how thoughtful the project is implemented. On the other hand however they are feared for their unpredictability as to how the public like it the cruelty with witch they can tear down a whole project after implementation. With planners and designers public spaces and especially public squares are a sort of love-hate relationship of a special sort.

Still these spaces are what most people talk of beside the famous monuments and icons if they talk about the city and further more those are the spaces people interact with, use and activities take place within. Both locals and tourists sit in the restaurant on the square and drink a coffee, sit on the bench and read the news paper or simply stand over there by the pillar to wait for a date. It’s the place to be, the place of orientation and a space to get involved.

Numerous books have been dedicated to this subject and have more or less successful captured and presented the various different aspects of public space. Two of the very famous ones are definitely Camillo Sitte’s Der Staetebau nach seinen kuenstlerischen Grundsaetzen (City planning according to artistic principles), 1889 and Alan Jacobs’s Great Streets, 1993. There are others like Dr. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani’s Die Stadt im 21. Jahrhundert or from a different perspective CHORA with Raul Bundschoten’s Public Spaces.

The key to a good book is the chosen approach, the consistency as well as the plainness of the representation. In order to serve the understanding and the readability everything has to be dedicated supportive in that the read can dive into a place through the book.

A recent Norton publication by Robert F. Gate presents a new try at this noble task of selecting and summarizing a set of public squares from Europe and the Americas. With Great Public Squares: An Architect’s Selection the author not only in the title is inspired by a number of the famous books on this subject, it is an other version of a successful receipt.

Place des Cornieres
Image take from monpazier / The public square of Monpazier, the Place des Cornieres, in the book on page 130.

Unfortunately, even though with great intentions, this book can not live up to the expectation its sets by placing itself in the companionship of such great master pieces. From the design to the graphical representation to the selected photographs this publication doesn’t quite manage to convince and draw the reader in. Especially the graphics of the plans that document each square are very crude. The representation is more concealing than revealing and gradients in full colours and patterns make very hard to read. The last thing one want ina gapihcal representation of space is to know about the different coloured chares each restaurant has chosen on the Plaza Mayor in Salmanaca.

The patterns are very dominant and the line thickness distracting, in many cases it is impossible to read the difference between open space and indoor space and roofed parts are non distinguishable. The one point that can be discussed is the direction of the sunlight. The author here has chosen to go with the geographers approach to place the sun in the North-East drawing the shadows towards the bottom right. His argument is that it makes buildings “…jump out”. While I believe it is very important to show the shadows my opinion would be to show the reality in order to make the representation of space close to what it actually looks like. It is just that the centre of gravity can be shifted by the dominant shadows and if the Piazza San Pietro in Rome all of a sudden shifts to the south rather than what it always does, shifting to the north, it is a very different thing.

There would be other things to discuss like the use of colours and the representation of canopies, furniture and temporal structures, but it wouldn’t make things much better. Similar with the choice and layout of the documenting photographs. There are usually too many on e one page and a number of them are unspecific making them hard to place in the overall picture the publication is trying to bring across.

Venice Piazza San Marco
Image take from Archleague / The public square in Venice Piazza San Marco, in the book on page 34.

However the book has its qualities as a first point of reference if looking for public squares. The selection can never be complete, but the examples chosen are definitely a bunch worth looking at. Also the background texts that weave in a bit of history and point out a few specialities as well as references to other squares are indeed very useful. The same is true for the information and details of measurements. Here the shadows are coming in handy again as at the scale of 1:1000 make it possible to actually measure the hight of each element.

Overall a book on a noble subject that fails to live up to expectations, e.g. graphically (it already starts on the cover in the way the banner is placed very unfortunate slightly covering the books subject, the square), but still holds some qualities for the user in specific use cases. Also for other reviews, have a read over at Archidose with more of a focus on the selection of presented examples.

Great Public Squares Book cover
Image taken from Archidose / Book cover.

Gatje, R., 2010. Great Public Squares: An Architect’s Selection, New York, N.Y: W. W. Norton & Co.

Read More

Renewing architectural traditions is hard business. You could try to change the practice, but this would be a singular act. If you publish about it using the media a wider audience is reached and the effort is more effective.

Clip, Stamp, Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines, 196x -197x redraws the history of some of the many radical architecture magazines at the mid last century that had this one idea, to change the world of architecture by writing about it. The Actar publication is is edited by Beatrice Colomina and Craig Buckley and brings together e a large body of research on the massive body of material.

There was a great urge to overthrow established architectural structures and break out of the as tight perceived ideologies of modernism. “[T]he FORMALITY of architecture and its teaching has to explode.” as Archigram put it in one of their last issues NO.9.

Clip, Stamp, Fold
Image taken from electric type/ A section of the magazine timeline as presented on the Clip, Stamp, Fold online page.

The Small Talks section brings a transcript of talks between a selection of members of the movement that took place as apart of the exhibition Clip, Stamp, Fold in 2007 in New York. In different combinations the origines and motivations as well as the individual context of the activity and the magazine are discussed with an audience.

Stocktaking is a timeline bringing together a section of publication, ranging from 1962 to 1979. Each issue with a paragraph summarizing its content and context. This is a great resource and a very interesting read, since it provides an overview and the changes over the whole period can be directly followed.

The Facsimile and the Interview part are interwoven with the interviews printed experimentally onto ‘inbook-magazines’ surrounded by reprinted example pages taken from some of the magazines. It properly feels like poking around in an archive looking into different drawers with these great treasures popping out, explaining themselves.

Clip, Stamp, Fold
Image taken from architizer online / View into the exhibition space in Vancouver. The exhibition traveled the world after it was showing in New York.

Amongst the people interviewed are Peter Cook, Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton, Hans Hollein, Rafael Moneo, Graham Shane, Philip Steadman, Bernhard Tschumi or Tom Wooley, to name a few. In total there are a staggering 47 interviews.

The publication manages to be different things at the same time. It is a documentation of the activities and the context of this magazine period, but it is also a book preserving the motivations and stories behind the individual magazines. Furthermore it is also a summary of the achievements and an position statement thirty years later.

As such this can be read as a vision and a starting point for visions to come. The publication has an extensive website.

Clip, Stamp, Fold
Image taken from Peter Lang / Book cover, back and front.

Colomina, B. & Buckley, C. eds., 2010. Clip, Stamp, Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines, 196x -197x, Barcelona: Actar.

Read More

Milan based Mousse magazine is running a series with the title ‘Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating‘. The editor of the series, Jens Hoffmann explains: “it emerged from a desire to trace the coordinates of contemporary curatorial practice, to take stock of a profession that is constantly evolving. Through the contributions of ten curators, the ten essays in the project examine ten fundamental themes in curating. The booklets are structured as hypothetical chapters in a book that once completed, through the reflections of some of the leading figures in the contemporary scene, will try to offer an answer to the question of “what it means to be a curator today”

I was invited by the London based artist Marysia Lewandowska to collaborate on her contribution to the fourth edition.

Mousse 4/10 Why Mediate Art?
Image taken from Mousse / Page one of ‘4/10 Why Mediate Art?’.

The fourth instalment of “Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating” looks for an answer to the question “Why Mediate Art?”. The editor Jens Hoffmann invited Maria Lind to contribute who in turn proposed to work with Marysia Lewandowska as an artist curator collaboration. In her text Maria Lind examines the seeming paradoxes that revolve around art institutions: an overabundance of traditional educational activities, aimed at engaging an ever broader public; marketing departments and press offices that take on a strategic role; curators who have no real interest in making their project known outside the professional sphere. The Swedish curator explains the importance of weaving connections between works, curatorial projects and the public, for a new kind of artistic “mediation”. Marysia Lewandowska proposal extends the meaning of mediation in our networked culture by connecting the ‘followers’ of major contemporary art museum and public galleries and Maria Lind’s text through twitter.

Mousse 4/10 Why Mediate Art?
Image taken from Mousse / Page one of ‘4/10 Why Mediate Art?’. Click Image for the interactive version.

This is the time when art is mediated to its audience not only through lectures, seminars, artists’ talks, guided tours and publications but when mediation intervenes as a pulsating stream of immediacy, mixing the promotional intentions of the institution with the visitors’ desires of sharing their observations and responses. The banal is closely entangled with the political, the randomness is attached to a system as announced by the ubiquitous banner: Twitter is a rich source of instantly updated information. It’s easy to stay updated on an incredibly wide variety of topics. By utilising the social networking platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter that emerged over the past few years, the communication between the art institutions and their audiences has grown into a real time stream of information snippets.

Interactive version created by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / Twitter Education. Tweets collected using 140kit, to visualise the network Gephi was used. Click HERE for the full screen version.

What appears on the visuals are graphs mapping tweets sent by three major art institutions, Tate in London, MOMA in New York and Moderna Museet in Stockholm to communicate and mediate their activities as they are enmeshed together with Maria Lind’s text. The two text streams have been aggregated as a word chain, where each word is connected with a link to the following word in the sentence. Each word is represented only once as a node in the chain, but in many cases with multiple connections, edges, to the following words. The resulting visualisation is of a network based on the structure of the words in use. The two different sources are distinguished where red lines represent the links between the words in the tweets sent by the art institutions, while the black lines show the flow of the essay written by Maria Lind. The tweets cover the period between 2009-09-16,15:18 and 2010-11-29 16:03.

Mousse 4/10 Why Mediate Art?
Image taken from Mousse / Page one of ‘4/10 Why Mediate Art?’. Tweets collected using 140kit, to visualise the network Gephi was used. Click Image for the interactive version.

For artist Marysia Lewandowska the mapping of this flow expresses a desire and interest in distributive networks without restriction; it is the desire of being in touch and engaged, of organising one’s thoughts and sharing them instantly. The knowledge ecologies of a wider world intersect in unexpected ways and point to the role mediation plays in shaping our current social and political life.

Publication – Mousse, Editor – Jens Hoffmann, Text – Maria Lind, Art – Marysia Lewandowska, published 2011.

Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating, edited by Jens Hoffmann and published by Mousse in collaboration with the Fiorucci Art Trust, is distributed with the international edition of Mousse and with subscription copies.

Interactive version created by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / Twitter Education. Tweets collected using 140kit, to visualise the network Gephi was used. Click HERE for the full screen version.

Read More

The publication has been reworked and we can now feature an updated version of the preview. See previous version HERE. We also offer a few more pages for you to read. Not much sorry. Each chapter is lead in by an essay, each written by an academic or professional with a specific interest and expertise in the particular topic. It will set the scene to the topic and beyond.
The book is illustrated with 400 tiny graphics in black and white. The content is full indexed to find tags easily. References and links in the text are fully ported and are directly accessible through the blog, so no tedious typing here.

Contributors: Sandra Abegglen, Matthew Dance, Jeff Ho, Ana Rebelo, Luis Suarez, Zahra Azizi

The preview below is really only a preview. Intro and outro are more or less complete, each chapter is only present with the first page of each section. But it should give you an idea of what the book will be like.
Anyway, also the cover now goes bold very much in the sense of the recent trend of pimped publication. You can see this as an homage to all these books that appear big and bold, but actually have some really ephemeral content. Feedback welcome! If you would like to have a look at the full publication drop me a line and I can give you access.

Read More

The paper was published on the CASA page already in December last year. That was as a boring ‘first have to download’ pdf format.
Now, this is cool, it is available on Issuu, conveniently embedded and you can flip through right here, share it with friends and so on.
So there you go, now you can casually flip through and see if your interested to read more, if so click on the fullscreen button and you’ll enjoy it large.

Read More

The UrbanDiary working paper has just been published on the CASA publication page. It is a write up of the GPS tracking study undertaken during 2009 with twenty participants. Each one was tracked for a period of two month. The paper outlines the methodology the concepts, such as mental maps and also examines technical aspects of GPS. A main focus is on the aspect of visualisation of this kind of temporal data.
Thanks for supporting this project go to Garmin for supplying the Forerunner 405’s and especially all the participants of the study.
Details on urbanTick can be found on this blog/urbanDiary or on the UrbanDiary facebook page – become a fan!
Now to the content of the paper, abstract: “This working paper investigates aspects of time in an urban environment, specifically the cycles and routines of everyday life in the city. As part of the UrbanDiary project (urbantick.blogspot.com), we explore a preliminary study to trace citizen’s spatial habits in individual movement utilising GPS devices with the aim of capturing the beat and rhythm of the city. The data collected includes time and location, to visualise individual activity, along with a series of personal statements on how individuals “use” and experience the city. In this paper, the intent is to explore the context of the UrbanDiary project as well as examine the methodology and technical aspects of tracking with a focus on the comparison of different visualisation techniques. We conclude with a visualisation of the collected data, specifically where the aspect of time is developed and explored so that we might outline a new approach to visualising the city in the sense of a collective, constantly renewed space. “
The actual paper can be downloaded from HERE and detailed information are on the CASA publication page.

Image by CASA – working paper 151 cover (part)

Read More

A new UCL publication landed on my desk today with a note to thank for my contribution. Although I did not know I am contributing, I was pleased to see the PLY365 track record being published.
I remembered that I have submitted a graphic to the annual UCL Grad SChool image competition last year. I haven’t won anything ack then and now it is published in the new Grad School Handbook 2009/10.

Image by urbanTIck – the Art of Research page 12/13

At the same time this data set was the first material to be published on this blog back in october 2008. I only had completed the recording in Plymouth and moved to London. The original image can be found here. I continued recording my movement with the GPS device and the latest map, London 365, can be found here.

Read More