Tuesday, September 30. 2014
Everything I Know: 42 Hours of Buckminster Fuller’s Visionary Lectures Free Online (1975) | #documentation
Via Open Culture
Think of the name Buckminster Fuller, and you may think of a few oddities of mid-twentieth-century design for living: the Dymaxion House, the Dymaxion Car, the geodesic dome. But these artifacts represent only a small fragment of Fuller’s life and work as a self-styled “comprehensive anticipatory design scientist.” In his decades-long project of developing and furthering his worldview — an elaborate humanitarian framework involving resource conservation, applied geometry, and neologisms like “tensegrity,” “ephemeralization,” and “omni-interaccommodative” — the man wrote over 30 books, registered 28 United States patents, and kept a diary documenting his every fifteen minutes. These achievements and others have made Fuller the subject of at least four documentaries and numerous books, articles, and papers, but now you can hear all about his thoughts, acts, experiences, and times straight from the source in the 42-hour lecture series Everything I Know, available to download at the Internet Archive. Though you’d perhaps expect it of someone whose journals stretch to 270 feet of solid paper, he could really talk.
In January 1975, Fuller sat down to deliver the twelve lectures that make up Everything I Know, all captured on video and enhanced with the most exciting bluescreen technology of the day. Props and background graphics illustrate the many concepts he visits and revisits, which include, according to the Buckminster Fuller Institute, “all of Fuller’s major inventions and discoveries,” “his own personal history in the context of the history of science and industrialization,” and no narrower a range of subjects than “architecture, design, philosophy, education, mathematics, geometry, cartography, economics, history, structure, industry, housing and engineering.” In his time as a passenger on what he called Spaceship Earth, Fuller realized that human progress need not separate the “natural” from the “unnatural”: “When people say something is natural,” he explains in the first lecture (embedded above as a YouTube video above), “‘natural’ is the way they found it when they checked into the picture.” In these 42 hours, you’ll learn all about how he arrived at this observation — and all the interesting work that resulted from it.
Tuesday, September 23. 2014
Note: Viva Jean-Luc!
Via The Verge
Jean-Luc Godard messes with 3D to wonderful results.
You’re probably at least a bit of a film nerd if you’re familiar with Jean-Luc Godard, the biggest name of the ’60s French New Wave movement. Even if you don’t know him, you've definitely seen a lot of film techniques that he pioneered. He's credited with turning the jump cut from an editing accident into a legitimate tool. And you know Wes Anderson's playful use of on-screen text and standout bright colors? Godard was doing that 30 years earlier. He’s been incredibly influential when it comes to what modern films look like, so when he decides to play with something new, it's worth paying close attention.
Godard's latest picture, Goodbye to Language, is his first feature shot in 3D. It's an impressionistic film about an affair, and for Godard it's as unapproachable as ever, with little semblance of narrative, strange interactions, and characters that basically just make heady declarative statements like, "A woman can do no harm. She can annoy. She can kill. No more." But whether you're interested in his avant-garde musings or not, there's one big reason to see this film: it may be the first one that really uses 3D to do something new.
A lot of great directors have tried their hand at 3D, including Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese. Notably, Werner Herzog earned plenty of accolade for his use of 3D to portray cave paintings. For the most part, though, 3D films haven't done much more than look like a cinematic pop-up book — a poor excuse to ask for 10 more dollars at the box office. It's fortunate then that Godard has tried his hand at one and come up with some truly interesting uses for it. Here are three big ways that Godard makes it work.
He actually makes 3D look good
Most 3D films either look almost indistinguishable from 2D, or they don't do much more than apply a basic layering effect between the foreground and the background. Godard, on the other hand, manages to film the world in 3D very much as we see it, using a long depth of field that makes the film’s world extend far into the distance. On top of that, many of the scenes are deeply layered, making the 3D effect more prominent than usual. In one scene, there's a good seven layers from front to back (not counting the actors): a potted plant, a chair, a bike, a barrier, a house, another house, and finally some trees. It’s one of the first times in a 3D film that the image truly looks like it has depth.
Another key aspect is that the film is often rolling at a higher-than-usual framerate. That does give Goodbye to Language something close to the much-dreaded "home video" look, but it's stylized enough with bright colors or contrasting highlights and shadows to not matter so much. The result is some gorgeous imagery that makes me really want to see a nature documentary in 3D.
He mixes 2D and 3D
This may not sound like succeeding at 3D, but it actually leads to a couple of interesting results. For one, it's kind of funny: one of the very first things that you see in the movie is the term "2D" printed in 2D with the term "3D" hovering over it in 3D. It's a little inexplicable, but it's sort of a necessary joke to get you in the mindset for this film.
The more interesting use of 2D, though, is when archival footage (or, at least, what looks to be archival footage) is interspersed with the newly shot 3D footage in the film. In many ways, this is a modernized equivalent to cutting back to a black-and-white flashback. The fact that it's 2D lets us know that it's out of the modern narrative.
He totally messes with your vision
Sometimes the 3D in Goodbye to Language looks crisp, clean, and downright gorgeous. Other times, it'll drive you cross-eyed — and that's exactly what Godard wants to do.
In what's easily the coolest use of 3D in this film, Godard actually splits the image in two. 3D movies are normally shot with two cameras that remain perfectly side-by-side, one capturing an image for your left eye, the other capturing an image for your right eye. But in two scenes of Goodbye to Language, Godard has the left camera remain stationary, pointed at an unmoving character, while the right camera pans to the side to follow another person's movements.
At first, you have no idea what's going on — your eyes twist in pain, you lift your 3D glasses up in confusion. Then, suddenly, you see it: close one eye, and you see 2D action of the character on the left; close the other eye, and you see 2D action of the character on the right; leave both eyes open, and the images play on top of one another, fighting for your attention and only letting you ever really see their essence. Ultimately, Godard has the two cameras rejoin again, completing the picture and relieving you of discomfort.
That type of discomfort is used throughout the film in other ways as well. In many situations, the two cameras will be positioned slightly too far apart, once again turning your vision cross-eyed. Alternatively, it means that you can shut one eye and see farther around a corner than you might otherwise have seen. (In a maddening twist, this distortion effect even stretches over to the film's English subtitles on occasion.) One of the more clever uses is when this distortion occurs between two characters on either side of the screen, essentially creating a schism between them that twists your eyesight when you try to look. It makes for a very evocative separation between the two characters — a separation that’s so tangible you can quite literally feel it.
These are obviously not all techniques that should be used by most (if any) mainstream films, but they turn 3D into much more of a marvel than it currently is. If all movies are going to be 3D one day, it'd be pretty disappointing if directors never figure out novel ways for using it to tell a story — and Godard is, unsurprisingly, quick to search for something new. This film is called Goodbye to Language, and you have to wonder: perhaps this is an ode to the end of one cinematic language, and the greeting of another.
Goodbye to Language is currently screening at the New York Film Festival. It opens in theaters on October 29th.
Monday, September 08. 2014
Inflatable cobblestone, action of Eclectic Electric Collective in cooperation with Enmedio collective during the General Strike in Barcelona 2012. © Oriana Eliçabe/Enmedio.info
The V&A presents the first exhibition to explore objects of art and design from around the world that have been created by grassroots social movements as tools of social change from the late 1970s to the present. Disobedient Objects demonstrates how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and showcases forms of making that defy standard definitions of art and design. The objects on display are mostly produced by non-professional makers, collectively and with limited resources as effective responses to complex situations.
Friday, September 05. 2014
A little bit of irony about skeuomorphism by Studio Moniker in their video for the "office of the future". It looks like the real offices of Google though, according to the many pictures that have populated the web about their offices interior design... I hope Google glasses don't make you see the world that way btw.
Jump to synchronize the office floor with the kind of work you are doing!"
So, do you believe that Google employees are jumping too to synchronize their working space?
Wednesday, September 03. 2014
We've been working on a new publication for the magazine PAPER / Architectural Histamine about the project Deterritorialized Living, that has just been published, an interview for ETAPES: design & cultures visuelles magazine and we've also been invited to work on two competitions (invitations & deadlines during deep Summer are always most welcome...). All these in what? 6 weeks or so.
I will publish about these new works later this year, when I'll hopefully find time again, so as about other researches that matter to us and that we've been working on for some times (Algorithmic Atomized Functioning, based on data feeds, sensors and actuators, Responsive Atmospheric Patios, which atomizes its functions too, Deterritorialized House, Satellite Daylight Pavilion, etc.), or that we've just started to work on (a research project we'll be in charge for ECAL, Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s), in collaboration with Nicolas Nova and for which a dedicated documentary blog will soon be opened).
So... hopefully many things to come. But in the meantime, let's continue our "subjective collection of ..." which among other things and thanks to all these meaningfull works that tell something about our times, helps us develop our owns.
Saturday, August 02. 2014
Note: in the end... it's time for me (too) to turn off my screens for a couple of weeks and maybe go look for this swimming pool! "Subjective collections of ..." and myself will be back in early September.
The piece was completed last Friday and it consists of a single, diminutive swimming pool located somewhere in the southern Mojave Desert between Joshua Tree and Apple Valley. The public is allowed to use the pool, but in order to do so visitors need the key that unlocks it (it is kept covered) as well as the GPS coordinates. Only once you have the key, which is kept at the MAK Center, are you given the coordinates.
Friday, August 01. 2014
By fabric | ch
As we continue to lack a decent search engine on this blog and as we don't have a "tag cloud" ... This post could help you navigate though all the content on | rblg, via its tags.
HERE ARE ALL THE CURRENT TAGS TO NAVIGATE ON | RBLG BLOG:
(to be seen just below if you're navigating on the blog's page or here for rss readers)
Posted by Patrick Keller in fabric | ch at 21:19
Defined tags for this entry: 3d, activism, advertising, agriculture, air, animation, applications, archeology, architects, architecture, art, art direction, artificial reality, artists, atmosphere, automation, behaviour, bioinspired, biotech, blog, body, books, brand, character, city, climate, clips, code, cognition, collaboration, communication, community, computing, conditioning, conferences, consumption, content, control, craft, culture & society, curators, customization, data, density, design, design (environments), design (fashion), design (graphic), design (interactions), design (motion), design (products), designers, development, devices, digital, digital fabrication, digital life, digital marketing, dimensions, direct, display, documentary, earth, ecal, ecology, economy, electronics, energy, engineering, environment, equipment, event, exhibitions, fabric | ch, farming, fashion, fiction, films, food, form, friends, function, future, gadgets, games, garden, generative, geography, globalization, goods, hack, hardware, harvesting, health, history, housing, hybrid, identification, illustration, images, information, infrastructure, installations, interaction design, interface, interferences, internet, kinetic, knowledge, landscape, life, lighting, localization, localized, magazines, make, mapping, marketing, mashup, materials, media, mediated, mind, mining, mobile, mobility, molecules, monitoring, movie, museum, music, nanotech, narrative, nature, neurosciences, opensource, operating system, participative, particles, people, perception, photography, physics, physiological, politics, pollution, presence, print, privacy, product, profiling, projects, psychological, public, publishing, reactive, real time, recycling, research, ressources, robotics, santé, scenography, schools, science & technology, scientists, screen, search, security, semantic, sharing, shopping, signage, smart, social, software, solar, sound, space, speculation, statement, surveillance, sustainability, tactile, tagging, tangible, targeted, teaching, technology, tele-, telecom, territory, text, theory, thinkers, thinking, time, topology, tourism, toys, transmission, trend, typography, ubiquitous, urbanism, users, variable, vernacular, video, viral, vision, visualization, vr, war, weather, wireless, writing
By fabric | ch
As we lack a decent search engine on this blog and as we don't have a "tag cloud" either... (and as Summer is also a period when there is maybe still a bit of time left to dig into content)
HERE ARE ALL THE CURRENT CATEGORIES TO NAVIGATE ON | RBLG BLOG:
(to be seen below if you're navigating on the blog's page or here for rss readers)
Posted by Patrick Keller in fabric | ch, Architecture, Art, Culture & society, Design, Interaction design, Science & technology, Sustainability, Territory at 21:18
Defined tags for this entry: architecture, art, culture & society, design, fabric | ch, interaction design, science & technology, sustainability, territory, toorop
Thursday, July 31. 2014
Scientists have discovered that scorpions design their burrows to include both hot and cold spots. A long platform provides a sunny place to warm up before they hunt, whilst a humid chamber acts as a cool refuge during the heat of the day.
This recent discovery of scorpion architecture adds to a sizeable list of impressive non-human architecture.
Anthills consist of a complex network of paths. Comparative to the size of an individual ant, these structures are mega-skyscrapers.
Likewise, termites build huge structures that have been dubbed "cathedrals." Reaching up to 6m high or more, termite cathedrals are clustered in large arrays that cover whole landscapes.
This complex web of branches was built by the vogelkop gardener bowerbird. In direct refutation of the "less is more" aesthetic exemplified by both ants and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, these birds embellish their structures with any bright things they can find.
Primates, including humans, are probably the most avid builders. For example, from an early age, orangutans learn to design and construct elaborately woven nests high in trees.
Far from trivial – and humor aside –, studying animal architectures helps destabilize the normative understanding of architecture as a strictly human domain of activity. Certain studios – like Animal Architecture – both draw inspiration from non-human design and develop collaborative practices with non-humans. Decentering the human as the center of architectural thinking is a necessary step in fostering a deeper understanding of the complex mesh of interconnectedness that is ecology. Without this step, humans will continue to practice architecture without regard for a larger context, which is why the profession already accounts for nearly half of US carbon emissions.
Friday, July 25. 2014
This algorithmic creationism game makes me think, to some extent, to the researches lead by philosophers, mathematicians, or physicists to prove that our own everyday world would be (or wouldn't be) the result of an extra large simulation...Yet, funilly, even so this game world is announced as "algoritmically generated", planets populated by dynosaurs or similar creatures are still present, so as the dark emperor's cosmic fleet! There's probably some commercial determinism within their creationism rules...
At some point though, we could make the following comment: what is the fundamental difference between the use of algorithms to carve a digital world for a game (a computer generated simulation) and the pratice of many contemporary architects that uses similar (generative) algorithms to carve physical buildings to live in, not to speak about all the other algorithms that structure our everyday life? If not by somebody else, we are creating our own simulation, so to say.
No Man’s Sky: A Vast Game Crafted by Algorithms
A new computer game, No Man’s Sky, demonstrates a new way to build computer games filled with diverse flora and fauna.
By Simon Parkin
The quality of the light on any one particular planet will depend on the color of its solar system’s sun.
Sean Murray, one of the creators of the computer game No Man’s Sky, can’t guarantee that the virtual universe he is building is infinite, but he’s certain that, if it isn’t, nobody will ever find out. “If you were to visit one virtual planet every second,” he says, “then our own sun will have died before you’d have seen them all.”
No Man’s Sky is a video game quite unlike any other. Developed for Sony’s PlayStation 4 by an improbably small team (the original four-person crew has grown only to 10 in recent months) at Hello Games, an independent studio in the south of England, it’s a game that presents a traversable universe in which every rock, flower, tree, creature, and planet has been “procedurally generated” to create a vast and diverse play area.
“We are attempting to do things that haven’t been done before,” says Murray. “No game has made it possible to fly down to a planet, and for it to be planet-sized, and feature life, ecology, lakes, caves, waterfalls, and canyons, then seamlessly fly up through the stratosphere and take to space again. It’s a tremendous challenge.”
Procedural generation, whereby a game’s landscape is generated not by an artist’s pen but an algorithm, is increasingly prevalent in video games. Most famously Minecraft creates a unique world for each of its players, randomly arranging rocks and lakes from a limited palette of bricks whenever someone begins a new game (see “The Secret to a Video Game Phenomenon”). But No Man’s Sky is far more complex and sophisticated. The tens of millions of planets that comprise the universe are all unique. Each is generated when a player discovers it, and is subject to the laws of its respective solar systems and vulnerable to natural erosion. The multitude of creatures that inhabit the universe dynamically breed and genetically mutate as time progresses. This is virtual world building on an unprecedented scale (see video below).
This presents numerous technological challenges, not least of which is how to test a universe of such scale during its development – the team is currently using virtual testers—automated bots that wander around taking screenshots which are then sent back to the team for viewing. Additionally, while No Man’s Sky might have an infinite-sized universe, there aren’t an infinite number of players. To avoid the problem of a kind of virtual loneliness, where a player might never encounter another person on his or her travels, the game starts every new player in the same galaxy (albeit on his or her own planet) with a shared initial goal of traveling to its center. Later in the game, players can meet up, fight, trade, mine, and explore. “Ultimately we don’t know whether people will work, congregate, or disperse,” Murray says. “I know players don’t like to be told that we don’t know what will happen, but that’s what is exciting to us: the game is a vast experiment.”
The game also bears the weight of unrivaled expectation. At the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles in June, no other game met with such applause. It is the game of many childhood science fiction dreams. For Murray, that is truer than for most. He was born in Ireland, but the family lived on a farm in the Australian outback, away from civilization. “At night you could see the vastness of space,” he says. “Meanwhile, we were responsible for our own electricity and survival. We were completely cut off. It had an impact on me that I carry through life.”
Murray formed Hello Games in 2009 with three friends, all of whom had previously worked at major studios. Hello Games’ first title, Joe Danger, let players control a stuntman. The game was, according to Murray, “annoyingly successful” in the sense that it locked him and his friends into a cycle of sequels that they had formed the company to escape. During the next few years the team made four Joe Danger games for seven different platforms. “Then I had a midlife game development crisis,” says Murray. “It changes your mindset when a single game’s development represents a significant chunk of life.”
Murray decided it was time to embark upon the game he’d imagined as a child, a game about frontiership and existence on the edge of the unexplored. “We talked about the feeling of landing on a planet and effectively being the first person to discover it, not knowing what was out there,” he says. “In this era in which footage of every game is recorded and uploaded to YouTube, we wanted a game where, even if you watched every video, it still wouldn’t be spoiled for you.”
When players discover a new planet, climb that planet’s tallest peak, or identify a new species of plant or animal, they are able to upload the discovery to the game’s servers, their name forever associated with the location, like a digital Christopher Columbus or Neil Armstrong. “Players will even be able to mark the planet as toxic or radioactive, or indicate what kind of life is there and then that then appears on everyone’s map,” says Murray.
Experimentation has been a watchword throughout the game’s production. Originally the game was entirely randomly generated. “Only around 1 percent of the time would it create something that looked natural, interesting, and pleasing to the eye; the rest of the time it was a mess and, in some cases where the sky, the water, and the terrain were all the same color, unplayable,” Murray says. So the team began to create simple rules, such as the distance from a sun at which it is likely that there will be moisture,” he explains. “From that we decide there will be rivers, lakes, erosion, and weather, all of which is dependent on what the liquid is made from. The color of the water in the atmosphere will derive from what the liquid is; we model the refractions to give you a modeled atmosphere.”
Similarly, the quality of light will depend on whether the solar system has a yellow sun or, for example, a red giant or red dwarf. “These are simple rules, but combined they produce something that seems natural, recognizable to our eyes. We have come from a place where everything was random and messy to something which is procedural and emergent, but still pleasingly chaotic in the mathematical sense. Things happen with cause and effect, but they are unpredictable for us.”
At the blockbuster studios in which he once worked, 300-person teams would have to build content from scratch. Now, thanks to the increased power of PCs and video game consoles, a relatively tiny team is able to create unimaginable scope. In this sense, Hello Games may be on the cusp not only of a new universe, but also of an entirely new way of creating games. “When I look at game development in general I think the cost of creating content is the real problem,” he says. “The sheer amount of assets that artists must build to furnish a world is what forces so many safe creative bets. Likewise, you can’t have 300 people working experimentally. Game development is often more like building a skyscraper that has form and definition but is ultimately quite similar to what is around it. It never sat right with me to be in a huge warehouse with hundreds of people making a game. That is not the way it should be—and now it doesn’t have to be.”
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fabric | rblg
fabric | rblg is the survey website of fabric | ch -- studio for architecture, interaction and research. We curate and re-blog articles, researches, exhibitions and projects that we notice during our everyday practice.