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Tag "urbanNarrative"

There are a lot of hidden treasures to be found in the city. Being this some historic relicts, a great view across to a place all of a sudden becoming a landmark or a lovely coffee place. One can also find inspiration, patience or pleasure in many ways and colours. The city is a truly amazing digging place.
The thing with finding is that there is more to the way of finding than the way of searching. Some things just don’t want to be found, you run into them.

20 December, 16.51
Image taken from Ti.Mo on flickr / Walking the pole at night in Oslo, tracing the Wi-Fi quality.

However, in this case the desired thing, if it is one, is invisible. It requires an invention to actually make it visible. The waves of the wireless network swirling the urban spaces are no where to be seen other than on the display of your gadget in the form of four stacked arches. This is sort of point information concerning just the immediate location. And if you have ever tried to catch a signal in an awkward spot, you must have experienced how much difference one side step can make, or half a pirouette, wonders.

The guys over at touch have invented the ultimate light painting rod to visualise exactly these waves. This is not coming out of the bue though. There is some history to this. In short, they where earlier experimenting with RFID working on the nearness project, together with berg. In a next step they used a similar approach, on much small scale, to visualise the transmitter field of the RFID reader. In this sense the visualisation of the Wi-Fi is some sort of large scale, real world implementation. They also experimented with the visualisation of Wi-Fi earlier. This new very much hands on approach works amazingly well in terms of the images it produces. I guess this is the nice thing with finding the treasure, you get to give it an image, you can brand it.

20 December, 15.54
Image taken from Ti.Mo on flickr / Detail of the rod with LED lights and loads of wiring.

They explain “we built the WiFi measuring rod, a 4-metre tall probe containing 80 lights that respond to the Received Signal Strength (RSSI) of a particular WiFi network”. As they take the rod for a walk the light indicate the signal strength vertically. Amazingly the fluctuations in signal quality are dramatic, making it possible to differentiate changes on a step by step basis. It would be quite cool to attempt a surface modeling. Maybe as a section by section path across could generate a leveled view? As a distant relative of this tool the pole land surveyors use comes to mind with the red and white markings. In reference to one point the profile of the topography is charted. Similarly this could be implemented here. As it looks on some of the photographs they are using a visualisation software on the laptop to record the measurements. Seems to be built with processing, maybe this can be reused if they simultaneously record the location via GPS for examples. Maybe it could even be developed into a mobile application using a mobile device as the flashing light, being this the iPhone or the iPad as for example shown in light paintings developed by berg as part of the making future magic project.

In a way the landscape the rod is making visible is not too disimilar from the New City Landscape (NCL) we developed from twitter messages. Both are providing an interface between real world and virtual world.

The photographs used here were shot in the Grünerløkka area in Oslo. The lighting works really nicely against the backdrop of dark buildings and white tones of the snow cover. As they point out in some of the write ups there is a fascinating relaionship to the architecture around in terms of scale. The super human size of four meter matches about one story of a building picking up the architectural line and stepping out of the human reference. This gives it a more objective relevance, looking very meaningful.

20 December, 17.01
Image taken from Ti.Mo on flickr / Visualisation of a cross country cross section.

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If we start with Petra Kempf’s publication ‘You Are The City‘ we jump straight into the discussion about the personal expression in the urban environment. Clearly this has become dramatically individualised and
and citizens have grown into roles as independent user, aspiring for flexibility and uniqueness.
The technological development in the recent years, month actually, is fuelling these developments. Here individuality turns into solitary and disconnectednes with the latest app telling you whats happening around you. Interaction becoming the biggest thing as long as we don’t need to talk to anyone.

The urban landscape is turning from a servicescape in to a stagescape for individuals to produce themselves as the latest celebrity. Interaction becomes one directional, the famous show off to be looked at, the ultimate aspiration.

The individualisation obviously is a very big topic in the media and some recent project are quite cleverly employing this trend to the point of questioning its real existence.

For example the current aviva campaign puts the individual in to the centre. On the website http://www.youarethebigpicture.com/ they started a collection of portraits, with the option to draw in your facebook image, as a representation of personal commitment and support. The great thing is the personalised video clip everyone gets as a sort of gift. The uploaded image is embedded in the clip and everyone has the chance to appears big in the city.

In fact aviva actually is running live projections of the submitted images in cities around the world. Some have ended, but on the page you have access to the recorded time lapse.

Another effort is made by the Dentsu London media company. They have recently had some really exciting project utilising the latest technologies with quite visionary content. See for example the iPad illumination clip.

THey were also looking into the personalisation of the city environment and visualised their ideas in two animated clip, sort of augmented visualisations. Their claim goes beyond the content, but this doesn’t matter at the moment I guess.

The basic idea is to utilise and augment existing objects and surfaces with personalised content and information. The desire to keep up to date with the latest social networking news, updates, notifications and tweets. Some of the idea are quite interesting, especially the ones that aim at linking the individual back to the physical context. It is very simple, but for example the Dentsu train ticket idea is a different take on the location awareness trend.

There is a lot of potential in this trend to personalise the everyday environment. There might be individual benefit and surprises to be discovered for everyone. However it might be not as new as it would like to be. But it is certainly a new take on the everyday routines and a chance to embed it with the aspired independence and individuality of our current culture. Definitely the city is the playground.

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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.

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Probably the beauty of the product lies not in the subject of the product, but in the way it is done. Might not be the latest headline, but there is something to this. Can one build nice highways, is it possible to design a meaningful park and ride or can a disused railway lines turned into a park? Well you must have guessed it by now, I am thinking of specific examples here. Even though it is probably a lot easier to come up with terrible examples for infrastructure projects, you probably only have to look out the window, there are some really ‘knock you out of your shoes’ examples of good practice. A great collection is put together in the book ‘the Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure‘, published by NAi Publishers.

Image taken from Archphoto / A view of the Swiss highway A16.

And of course here are the examples I was thinking of, ‘Tunnel Artifices’, highway projects by Flora Ruchat-Roncati and Renato Salvi 1988-2008, realized in Switzerland; ‘Terminal Hoenheim Nord’ by Zaha Hadid Architects 1999-2001, realized in Strassbourg, France; or the ‘High-Line‘ by Dillier Scofidio + Renfro with James Corner Field Operations 2005-2010, in New York, USA.
And actually New York was what I wanted to get at, to introduce this beautiful timeLapse. A day in the Sandpit of the big Apple portrayed so beautifully the everyday situations that it lives up greatly to the examples give. Everyday life is beautiful, no matter what.

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There are things and things in our material world, that are not the same. Some things, especially if they inherit the ability to change between different forms and states or even context, are contradictially received. This phenomenon is known in all areas, but it is particularly distinct in the context of the environment. More so because it is so consequently denied.
And I am probably taking it a little far here, but a great deal of the sustainability debate of the recent decade is related to this denial of context and integrativity of more than a century of constructing and theorizing environment. So in this context the debate about how and especially why we should build ecological or sustainable buildings and cities makes more sense. Because of the radical and to a large extend successful exclusion of anything unplanned, uncontrolled we now are doomed to sit out the debate around how to live a life on our planet and to learn to accept that everything is part of the plan even and particularly the planner. This is a tuff one, I know, but there is no return, we have to obey the culture we live in (@geno).
Beauty might lie in this. Louis Sullivan wrote a poem to one such banned commpanion of the environment:

“I made a little one to a weed the other day. I like weeds: they have so much ‘style’ to them and when I find them where they grow free they seem most interesting and suggestive to me. I think I’m something of a weed myself….And then there are so many of them, and they differ so much in shape, colour and arrangement; the form follows the function so beautifully as you would say. I wish I knew the names of the little rascals; then it seems to me, I could talk to them better.” (David Gissen (2009), Subnature. p. 154)

In his book Subnature – Architecture’s Other Environments, published by Princeton Architectural Press, the author David Gissen goes to a great length to shade light on different aspects of denial of context in the practical and theoretical construction of environment. It is a book that you probably wouldn’t take first down from the shelve in the store, but not because it is not good written or pleasant looking (the opposite is true), but very likely because the topic puts oneself against so much practice and cultural conventions, that it might still be hard for people to take this step of acceptance.
It is worth it, moreover it is necessary and I believe this publication is only the start of the theorization of a movement that has developed tools and practices to allow numerous completely forgotten dimensions to feed into the man made environment.
Gissen has positioned the book very cleverly out of the main line of commercial sustainability debate and with this can avoid all the unnecessary discussion around the education of professionals and can concentrate on actually discuss concrete examples, approaches and theories on this subject.
The book is organised in three parts. Part one is on darkness, smoke, gas, exhaust; Part two is on dust, puddles, mud and debris; Part three is on weeds, insects, pigeons and crowds. A not on first blink self explaining structure, but as you dive into the content a skeleton that starts to make sense as Gissen continuously feeds the reader with examples. An this is really the strength of the book. The author has illustrations for most of his arguments and subjects. This is really brilliant and pulls the reader in immediately. It is not one of these “I tell you to to this!” books, but a real discussion of the subject matter. THe examples are not presented as right or wrong, but as a way of reading something, leaving it open for the reader to read more into it or read something completely different from it. This is something very few books mange to do, creating this platform for an debate between professionals.
For the conclusion, I realize that I have actually given away very little on the content of the book, but I guess this is a good thing in this context. There is little point in me repeating what David Gissen has put so beautifully and engaging in print. This is simply a must read, if you are prepared to take the plunge and be prepared to see the world, and definitely your work, with different eyes.
For further and detailed reviews visit Landsacpe+Urbanism or Archidose or see the authors blog for a 11 point list on Subnature.

Image taken from HTcExperiments / Alternative book cover, showing the work by Jorge Otero Pailos.

Gissen, D., 2009. Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments 1st ed., Princeton Architectural Press.

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Architectural anthropology is described as: ‘At the end of the sixties, in the course of the so-called ‘crisis of modern architecture’ a movement of architectural theoreticians greatly stimulated by Amos Rapoport’s ‘Built Form and Culture’ (1969) began to widen their horizon into the ethnology of architecture’ (Egentre, 1990).
In this sense it is the research into the history of architecture. Together with an illustration of five lines of architectural evolution it is presented as a comprehensive body of work into the understanding of how architecture developed into a technological sophisticated science. But essentially it argues that as long as humans (even great apes) had a urge to adjust the environment to suit specific needs.
Interesting to me seems the argument that architecture can be traced back to the nest building of great apes. However this will definitely be challenged with questions around design and the idea of a discipline of architecture as opposed to individual temporal structures. However this is probably an argumentation of modernist understanding of the ‘plan’. Nevertheless I would argue that between temporal structures of ‘night beds’ constructed by apes and a detailed concept of space and time lies a big gap. It might be down to a few million years of evolution, I don’t know.
The argument is logic, however I would remind that a lot of species build nests or construct temporal structures. Even more beyond the nest usually animals have a clear concept of space and the idea of ‘owned space’ in the sense of a territorial behavior. This territory is marked for example by a black bird singing or a cat spraying. In this context the argument might look different.

Image by Nold Egenter – The plate indicates a Macro-Theory of the Evolution of Habitat and Architecture and at the same time the Evolution of Culture

For the argumentation and presentation of architectural project a lot of leaps an crazy combinations are undertaken. And recently nests have seen a rise in popularity, but I have not heard H&dM arguing for their Olympic stadium that the shape is the origin of architecture. However it would fit.

Image taken from creative class – the bird nest at night

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An attempt to mimic the daylight in the city. The project is realised as an A-level art project by the student jamatkins. The sound scape is also quite nice, so turn your headphones up.

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Image by tadar

The narrative is currently a big topic in the construction of my research project. The creation of the narrative through activity as a constant process, currently guides the conception of the study. The idea really is to get to grips with the creation of time and space as temporal phenomena. If we employ the narrative as the structural element this might become possible.
This has to be seen in the context of the urbanDiary tracking project and the time-space aquarium as the approach in time geography. The narrative here describes the time-space aquarium as a whole, containing similar trajectories. But since a number of narratives can fit in to a story it allows for the combination of multiple time-space aquariums with different time and space parameters.
The narrative in a sense is purely structural and simply describing the way the body of content is organised. It is organised along an inner coherency.
As a visualisation of the concept ‘the snail on the slope’ is very interesting, since it works with a strong focus on the form aspect of the narrative. The movie is actually based on a novel and the sequences of processes are generate for each chapter. THe novel was initially written by the Strugatsky brothers. FOr the visualisation processing was use.

The Snail on the Slope from tadar on Vimeo.

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A beautiful short film by Peter Kidger an ex Bartlett students – ‘the Berlin infection’ – is a a mixture of high resolution still photographs and 3D animation. It is an intriguing tale of identity and the assigning of it to particular objects of the urban context.
He produced it as part of his postgraduate diploma in architecture in the unit 15 at the Bartlett School of Architecture in 2006.
On his youtube page you can find some more animations of this kind.

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Let’s start the week with a beautiful tale of routine. It is all going according to plan, back and forward, but wait there might be something different. I noticed this and that and felt quit different for it. We meet, we part, we ignore and still follow the pattern on time.
It is an animation directed by Sola Baptiste, inspired by Josef Albers’ work.

L’échange – The exchange from Baptiste Sola on Vimeo.

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