Tuesday, April 30. 2013
Following the previous post about Strange Utility: Architecture Toward Other Ends, the sympoisium organized in Portland, here is an interesting call for proposals that adresses similar questions, by Storefront fr Art & Architecture (for the AAA) in NYC: a competition of competitions.
As explained on Storefront's website:
"Given competitions operate in a confined space for experimentation, they have perpetuated and sometimes repeated ad nauseam a series of programmatic and social needs – from Museums to Concert Halls - without actually asking what needs of society architecture should aspire to serve.
This competition claims that the true desires of our present society are outside of the current taxonomy of competition briefs and that architects should be participants in the construction of the questions they are asked to answer."
And while we are speaking about NYC, another event that promiss to be interesting in the city: Ideas City 2013 with this year's theme Untapped Capital (organized --among others-- by Storefront for Art & Architecture, The Architectural League NY, The Cooper Union and The New Museum).
COMPETITION OF COMPETITIONS
Redefining Briefs, Clients and Agents.
by Storefront for Art and Architecture for the AAAI!
Throughout history, competitions have constructed a relationship of servitude between architects and the structures of economic, politic and cultural power.
The competition brief has served as the initial document for the manifestation of desires either through programmatic, economic or formal needs. Often, the role of the architect has been reduced to answer a question that someone else has asked. In exceptional occasions, the architect’s ability to reinvent and produce new desires has occurred in the form of rebellion against the brief. In an act of bravura, architects have broken the rules, driven by the pure belief that the real needs were contained outside of the given principles.
Given competitions operate in a confined space for experimentation, they have perpetuated and sometimes repeated ad nauseam a series of programmatic and social needs – from Museums to Concert Halls - without actually asking what needs of society architecture should aspire to serve.
This competition claims that the true desires of our present society are outside of the current taxonomy of competition briefs and that architects should be participants in the construction of the questions they are asked to answer.
If a competition is the articulation of society’s desires in space, what new desires should we consider? What are the questions of our time that we should be asking to architects, urban planners and policy makers to redefine the way in which we build our cities and territories? What underrepresented spaces, individuals or collectives need to be explored? And, what are the agents, authorities or organizations from which the competitions should be promoted?
The intention of “The Competition of Competitions” is to provide and deliver new and relevant forms of engagement and content to the economic, politic and social systems that currently act as the voice of authority for the development of our cities. “Competition of Competitions” asks architects, artists, economists, philosophers, writers, and citizens at large to create interdisciplinary teams to formulate the questions of our time and define the agents that should pursue the task to ask and commission the visions for the future in the form of a competition brief.
We encourage participants to rethink the format, content and agent/s that constitute the basis for the way competitions and commissions are organized.
This is a conceptually based bureaucratic competition. The scales or sites of operation that each submission might choose to engage has no limits and should be specified by each participant in the brief.
DELIVERABLES: How to write your brief.
Each entry will be able to define the necessary elements for the articulation of the competition brief. Each submission should not be longer than 10 one-sided pages, including text, images and/or drawings.
The following points summarize the general parameters to be addressed throughout the brief. When not applicable or appropriate, applicants might decide to respond differently to the following requirements.
1. Title: List the title and, if desired, subtitle of the competition.
2. Political Agent: Describe the individual, corporation, organization or collective (real or fictional) in charge of organizing or commissioning the proposed competition. Please provide the CV or mission statement of the organizing entity or individual.
3. User-Subject: Describe the individual, corporation, organization or collective (real or fictional) to whom the competition brief is addressed.
4. What: State a general description of the competition. This might include, but is not limited to, ideological, programmatic, material or formal principles.
5. Scale: Delimit the competition site (physical or conceptual)
6. Deliverables: Enumerate the necessary documents to be produced to establish a proper judgment of the future possible entries.
7. Temporality: List the start date, deadline, phases, schedule, etc.
8. Economics: Outline the prize[s] and budgetary constraints, if any.
9. Rules/Laws: State the competition rules. Briefs might respond to current laws or might assume the creation of new laws, rules or regulations of existing or fictional governing authorities. Submissions should specify, if necessary, the applicable rules the brief needs to obey.
10. Eligibility: State entrant’s eligibility. Requirements for entry need to specify who can and cannot participate. Please, specify conflicts of interest or any other policies applicable.
11. Jury members: Indicate individual names or generic categories with brief descriptions.
12. Evaluation guidelines: Indicate the criteria used to evaluate the entries.
13. Questions: Establish formats of communication between the organizing entity and the entrants.
14. Registration: Define the protocols of subscription and entry.
15. Anonymity: Address the notion of authorship, recognition and identity by identifying the mode in which authors might or might not be identified.
Once payment and registration form have been received, entries must be submitted in 2 formats:
1. Through an online platfrom (link provided after registration)
2. By sending a pdf file of no more than 10 pages to email@example.com
Competition launch: February 22, 2013
Early registration: March 22, 2013, 5pm EST [50 USD]
Late registration: June 22, 2013 [100 USD]
Relevant Questions: Answers will be published periodically
Final Submissions: July 22nd, 2013
Announcement of Winning Entries: September 15, 2013
First Prize 2,000 USD
Second Prize 1,000 USD
Third Prize 500 USD
7 Honorable Mentions
1 Storefront Special Prize
The jury will select 10 projects (3 Prizes and 7 Honorable Mentions) and a Storefront Special Prize: “The Competition of Competitions of Competitions Prize.” All selected projects will be publicized and given support to reach the pertinent agents and authorities.
The Special Storefront Prize “Competition of Competitions of Competitions” will be awarded to a Competition Brief that resonates with Storefront’s mission. The recipients of the Special Storefront Prize will be commissioned to organize and run the submitted competition as part of the 2014 Storefront for Art and Architecture program calendar.
1. All submissions should be sent in English. Please, provide translation footnotes if native language is deemed necessary at points within the submission.
2. There is no limit to the number of submissions a given organization, team, or individual may submit, but each submission must be registered separately and be accompanied by a unique Identification Number and separate registration fee payment.
3. No entrant shall receive or be entitled to receive any payment as a result of a submission or for granting the promoters any right here in or associated with the competition except an award pursuant to the rules herein.
4. All registration fees are non-refundable and nontransferable.
5. Ineligible participants include any staff or directives of SFAA (Storefront for Art and Architecture) or of AAAI*, any jury members and direct employees or relatives.
6. Storefront for Art and Architecture has the right to publish without prior consent all materials submitted to this competition.
7. Submissions shall not be published or made public until a final decision by the jury is made public.
8. By entering the Competition, any and all entrants, and where applicable, their predecessors, successors, assigns, heirs, officers, directors, attorneys, agents, affiliates, parents, subsidiaries, employees, shareholders, and any other person or entity similarly situated, agree in full to these Rules and Brief.
1. All submitting teams must be at least formed by 2 people (real or fictional).
2. Each submitting team must have at least two people from the following disciplines: economy, philosophy, architecture, anthropology or art history.
3. Additional team members from other disciplines, ways of life and expertise are encouraged.
The decision of the jury shall be final and binding on all parties, and no disputes shall be entertained.
The jury might declare the competition deserted and reject any and all proposals received in response to this competition.
The jury might waive or modify any irregularities in proposals received or any other aspect of this competition.
Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
· Difficulty: Originality, innovation and risk.
· Style: Thoroughness, clarity and consistency.
All questions should be e-mailed to COC@storefrontnews.org. Relevant questions and answers will be posted on the “Competition of Competitions” webpage found on the www.storefrontnews.org periodically.
Competitors are required to register their intention to enter. This registration must be received by June 22, 2013 before midnight, by sending the registration form [Annex 1] to COC@storefrontnews.org, which includes a $100 registration fee payable via PayPal. Projects will not be juried without valid registration. Upon receipt of payment and registration form, each entrant will be emailed further instructions and a unique Identification Code which must be used to identify the project on each page of the submission.
Competitors must not communicate with the jury about the competition in any way until a public announcement of the winners is made.
“Association Against Architectural Irrelevance!” is a fictional association still to be founded that defends the role of architects in contemporary society. Via Storefront
By David Talbot on April 16, 2013
Storing video and other files more intelligently reduces the demand on servers in a data center.
Worldwide, data centers consume huge and growing amounts of electricity.
New research suggests that data centers could significantly cut their electricity usage simply by storing fewer copies of files, especially videos.
For now the work is theoretical, but over the next year, researchers at Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs and MIT plan to test the idea, with an eye to eventually commercializing the technology. It could be implemented as software within existing facilities. “This approach is a very promising way to improve the efficiency of data centers,” says Emina Soljanin, a researcher at Bell Labs who participated in the work. “It is not a panacea, but it is significant, and there is no particular reason that it couldn’t be commercialized fairly quickly.”
With the new technology, any individual data center could be expected to save 35 percent in capacity and electricity costs—about $2.8 million a year or $18 million over the lifetime of the center, says Muriel Médard, a professor at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics, who led the work and recently conducted the cost analysis.
So-called storage area networks within data center servers rely on a tremendous amount of redundancy to make sure that downloading videos and other content is a smooth, unbroken experience for consumers. Portions of a given video are stored on different disk drives in a data center, with each sequential piece cued up and buffered on your computer shortly before it’s needed. In addition, copies of each portion are stored on different drives, to provide a backup in case any single drive is jammed up. A single data center often serves millions of video requests at the same time.
The new technology, called network coding, cuts way back on the redundancy without sacrificing the smooth experience. Algorithms transform the data that makes up a video into a series of mathematical functions that can, if needed, be solved not just for that piece of the video, but also for different parts. This provides a form of backup that doesn’t rely on keeping complete copies of the data. Software at the data center could simply encode the data as it is stored and decode it as consumers request it.
Médard’s group previously proposed a similar technique for boosting wireless bandwidth (see “A Bandwidth Breakthrough”). That technology deals with a different problem: wireless networks waste a lot of bandwidth on back-and-forth traffic to recover dropped portions of a signal, called packets. If mathematical functions describing those packets are sent in place of the packets themselves, it becomes unnecessary to re-send a dropped packet; a mobile device can solve for the missing packet with minimal processing. That technology, which improves capacity up to tenfold, is currently being licensed to wireless carriers, she says.
Between the electricity needed to power computers and the air conditioning required to cool them, data centers worldwide consume so much energy that by 2020 they will cause more greenhouse-gas emissions than global air travel, according to the consulting firm McKinsey.
Smarter software to manage them has already proved to be a huge boon (see “A New Net”). Many companies are building data centers that use renewable energy and smarter energy management systems (see “The Little Secrets Behind Apple’s Green Data Centers”). And there are a number of ways to make chips and software operate more efficiently (see “Rethinking Energy Use in Data Centers”). But network coding could make a big contribution by cutting down on the extra disk drives—each needing energy and cooling—that cloud storage providers now rely on to ensure reliability.
This is not the first time that network coding has been proposed for data centers. But past work was geared toward recovering lost data. In this case, Médard says, “we have considered the use of coding to improve performance under normal operating conditions, with enhanced reliability a natural by-product.”
Still a link in the context of our workshop at the Tsinghua University and related to data storage at large.
Friday, April 26. 2013
Taking place April 26-27, the ‘Strange Utility: Architecture Toward Other Ends’ Symposium will explore the following provocative questions: How is architecture’s use value defined, and by whom? How can turning to other disciplines’ unexpected utilization of architecture expand our perception of its utility? And what are the future utilities of architecture? Today, the idea of architecture’s utility is perhaps more diverse than ever, as architecture commonly mingles with other disciplines, and as new typologies of building design emerge almost daily. Organized by Portland State University School of Architecture, three keynote speakers—Philippe Rahm, Jimenez Lai and Jill Stoner—as well as eleven notable architects, artists and academics will participate. More information after the break.
Grouped into three sessions, the symposium begins on Friday, April 26 at 4 pm in Shattuck Hall Annex with an exploration of architecture and the arts, with a keynote speech by Jimenez Lai, Leader of Chicago-based Bureau Spectacular, an architect and graphic novelist. Discussions of the role of art and design in the alternative utilization of architecture will follow. The evening concludes with a reception to celebrate the work of MacArthur award winning artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. The reception for Manglano-Ovalle’s exhibition, entitled “Always After (The Glass House)” will be held 7pm to 8:30pm at the Littman Gallery in Neuberger Hall. This exhibition will feature Always After (The Glass House) (2006), a film shot entirely on location at Crown Hall, Mies van der Rohe’s school of architecture on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus. The film-based work explores the complex legacy of Modern architecture through the artful manipulation of footage from the 2005 dedication of the building’s renovation, when the architect’s own grandson broke the windows of the iconic building with a sledgehammer.
The event continues the next day, April 27, at 9am with a session on the origins and history of utility in architecture, with a keynote presentation by Jill Stoner, Associate Professor at University of California, Berkeley, an architect, author and editor of Toward a Minor Architecture and Poems for Architects: An Anthology. The third and final session focuses on the unexpected utility of architecture in the urban setting, culminating in a keynote presentation by architect Philippe Rahm. Based in Paris, Rahm’s firm is internationally recognized and praised for their innovative approach to sustainable energy in the built environment, often to unexpected and artful ends.
Strange Utility: Architecture Toward Other Ends begins at 4pm Friday, April 26 and continues until 5pm Saturday, April 27, in the Shattuck Hall Annex at SW Broadway and Hall Street, Portland, Oregon. Tickets ($15 advance; $25 from April 23 onward) are available through the PSU Box Office.
For a full schedule, to register, and more information, please visit here.
Very interesting symposium today and tomorrow in Portand, about "stange utility" in architecture.
By Roberto Arista
With its second edition, the Serbian festival – a meeting point for technology and art – establishes itself as a sounding board for a mature and growing scene.
Resonate Festival, Belgrade, 2013. Projection during the debate with Memo Akten, Rainer Kohlberger, Eno Henze and Shane Walter.
Resonate was founded in 2012 by Magnetic Field B and the Creative Applications network, in an attempt to provide the visual arts world with a new platform for discussion. The event focuses on the role of technology in art and culture, and especially on the connections between the disciplines that these areas involve. The 2013 edition took place from March 21 to 23 in the Dom Omladine cultural space, close to the city’s Republic Square. More than 1200 visitors attended the event, which was already sold out several days before the opening.
The first day was devoted to a rich and varied assortment of workshops – open to all selected participants – regarding the analysis of the available tools (hardware and software) for video mapping, data visualization on different media, the design of cross-platform applications, or even the choreography of (flying) drones.
The next two days were dedicated to a full program of 44 lectures and video projections. The general impression is that there is a panorama of versatile designers who can carefully hybridise different disciplines and tools – marrying electronic engineering with products, landscape with graphics, analogical techniques with digital media. These designers are bolstered by the freedom to experiment that distinguishes those who are not pigeonholed within a specific category. The profession’s evolution and, more generally, a look at the recent past, were leitmotifs of some of the most interesting projects presented. Examples range from Memo Akten, Golan Levin and Joachim Sauter, who are now ready to offer an engaging retrospective of their projects, to the much admired by the public Meet your creator, Free Universal Construction Kit and Kinetic Sculpture.
Similarly, a lively debate followed the talk by artist and interaction designer Zach Gage. Is it possible that the "game" – understood within a broader realm than the videogame – has not yet found the right place to be preserved, celebrated and narrated?
Participants were moved by London-based architect, critic and curator Liam Young’s future scenarios and landscape mutations. Projects like Silent Spring dampened that blind faith in technological advancement that permeated the festival. The work by professors in Europe’s most popular Interaction Design courses was of great interest, in particular Anthony Dunne from the RCA in London, David Gauthier from CIID in Copenhagen and Alain Bellet from ECAL in Lausanne. These schools have overcome the unnecessary separation between the humanistic and scientific universes, while in Italy the legacy left behind by Benedetto Croce still paralyses many university courses.
It is striking that there were no Italian presenters given the number of European speakers. This is probably due to the Italian design world’s reluctance to accept the digital sphere. However, some undisputed masters were mentioned: Luigi Serafini, whose Codex Seraphinianus has become an international case study, or Bruno Munari’s work in design teaching.
It became evident that childlike curiosity is fundamental in developing languages and tools. Many festival speakers dared to compare their more mature projects with images from their childhoods, so it is no coincidence that a statement by Carl Sagan’s was heard several times during the festival: "Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." Roberto Arista
A little report by Roberto Arista on Domusweb about the last and good Resonate conference that happened in Belgrade last March. With the talk of Alain Bellet that is head of the very good bachelor in Interaction Design at the ECAL, in Lausanne Switzerland (and occasionally, my "boss" too, as I'm teaching there as well)!
Wednesday, April 24. 2013
The Lewis Residence by Frank Gehry (1985–1995), Peter Eisenman’s unrealized Biocentrum (1987), Chuck Hoberman’s Expanding Sphere (1992) and Shoei Yoh’s roof structures for Odawara (1991) and Galaxy Toyama (1992) Gymnasiums: four seminal projects that established bold new directions for architectural research by experimenting with novel digital tools. Curated by architect Greg Lynn, Archaeology of the Digital is conceived as an investigation into the foundations of digital architecture at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s.
The vernissage for Archaeology of the Digital is 7 May 2013.
On 8 May, from 2 pm to 6 pm, Greg Lynn discusses the foundations of digital architecture with Peter Eisenman, Chuck Hoberman and Shoei Yoh.
Though we are not really in this line of thinking regarding what digital technologies means/will mean for architecture, an interesting "archeological" exhibition next May at the CCA about the rise of computation and algorithmic tools in architecture back in the late 1980ies and early 1990ies.
(Page 1 of 3, totaling 11 entries) » next page
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