Friday, February 28. 2014
It looks like managing a "smart" city is similar to a moon mission! IBM Intelligent Operations Center in Rio de Janeiro.
IBM, INTELLIGENT OPERATIONS CENTER, RIO DE JANEIRO
And an intersting post, long and detailed (including regarding recent IBM, CISCO, Siemens "solutions" and operations), about smart cities in the same article, by Alex Marshall:
"The smart-city movement spreading around the globe raises serious concerns about who controls the information, and for what purpose."
More about it HERE.
Wednesday, February 26. 2014
Three years ago we published a post by Nicolas Nova about Salvator Allende's project Cybersyn. A trial to build a cybernetic society (including feedbacks from the chilean population) back in the early 70ies.
Here is another article and picture piece about this amazing projetc on Frieze. You'll need to buy the magazione to see the pictures, though!
Phograph of Cybersyn, Salvador Allende's attempt to create a 'socialist internet, decades ahead of its time'
This is a tantalizing glimpse of a world that could have been our world. What we are looking at is the heart of the Cybersyn system, created for Salvador Allende’s socialist Chilean government by the British cybernetician Stafford Beer. Beer’s ambition was to ‘implant an electronic nervous system’ into Chile. With its network of telex machines and other communication devices, Cybersyn was to be – in the words of Andy Beckett, author of Pinochet in Piccadilly (2003) – a ‘socialist internet, decades ahead of its time’.
Capitalist propagandists claimed that this was a Big Brother-style surveillance system, but the aim was exactly the opposite: Beer and Allende wanted a network that would allow workers unprecedented levels of control over their own lives. Instead of commanding from on high, the government would be able to respond to up-to-the-minute information coming from factories. Yet Cybersyn was envisaged as much more than a system for relaying economic data: it was also hoped that it would eventually allow the population to instantaneously communicate its feelings about decisions the government had taken.
In 1973, General Pinochet’s cia-backed military coup brutally overthrew Allende’s government. The stakes couldn’t have been higher. It wasn’t only that a new model of socialism was defeated in Chile; the defeat immediately cleared the ground for Chile to become the testing-ground for the neoliberal version of capitalism. The military takeover was swiftly followed by the widespread torture and terrorization of Allende’s supporters, alongside a massive programme of privatization and de-regulation. One world was destroyed before it could really be born; another world – the world in which there is no alternative to capitalism, our world, the world of capitalist realism – started to emerge.
There’s an aching poignancy in this image of Cybersyn now, when the pathological effects of communicative capitalism’s always-on cyberblitz are becoming increasingly apparent. Cloaked in a rhetoric of inclusion and participation, semio-capitalism keeps us in a state of permanent anxiety. But Cybersyn reminds us that this is not an inherent feature of communications technology. A whole other use of cybernetic sytems is possible. Perhaps, rather than being some fragment of a lost world, Cybersyn is a glimpse of a future that can still happen.
Seen everywhere online these days and now on | rblg too... Yet another "trojan horse" by Google to turn you into a mobile and indoor sensor for their own sake (data collection, if I said so). And soon will we be able to visit your flat or the ones of your friends through Google Maps/Earth, or through a constellation of other applications. After clicking at the door, of course.
But also, as it is often the case with such devices, an interesting tool as well... On top of which disruptive apps will be built that will further mix material and immaterial experiences and that will further locate parts of your "home" into "clouds".
As it consists in an open call for ideas, before they'll give away 200 dev. kits, don't hesitate to send them a line if you have an unpredictable one (this promiss to be very competing...)!
Link to the projetc and call HERE.
*An Android unit with registration.
“What is it?
“Our current prototype is a 5” phone containing customized hardware and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment. These sensors allow the phone to make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real-time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you.
“It runs Android and includes development APIs to provide position, orientation, and depth data to standard Android applications written in Java, C/C++, as well as the Unity Game Engine. These early prototypes, algorithms, and APIs are still in active development. So, these experimental devices are intended only for the adventurous and are not a final shipping product….”
Tuesday, February 25. 2014
Via the guardian
Is our urban future bright or bleak? Peter Bradshaw provides a selection of celluloid cities you might consider moving to - or avoiding - if you are looking to relocate any time in the next 200 years or so.
METROPOLIS (1927) (dir. Fritz Lang)
Metropolis is the architectural template for all futurist cities in the movies. It has glitzy skyscrapers; it has streets crowded with folk who swarm through them like ants; most importantly, it has high-up freeways linking the buildings, criss-crossing the sky, on which automobiles and trains casually run — the sine qua non of the futurist city. Metropolis is a gigantic 21st-century European city state, a veritable utopia for that elite few fortunate enough to live above ground in its gleaming urban spaces. But it’s awful for the untermensch race of workers who toil underground. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981) (dir. John Carpenter)
Made when New York still had its tasty crime-capital reputation, Carpenter’s dystopian sci-fi presents us with the New York of the future, ie 1988, and imagines that the authorities have given up policing it entirely and simply walled the city off and established a 24/7 patrol for the perimeter, re-purposing the city as a licensed hellhole of Darwinian violence into which serious prisoners will just be slung and then forgotten about, to survive or not as they can. Then in 1997 the President’s plane goes down in the city and he has to be rescued. New York is re-imagined as a lawless, dimly-lit nightmare. Not a great place to live. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/MGM.
LOGAN’S RUN (1976) (dir. Michael Anderson) This is set in an enclosed dome city in the post-apocalyptic world of 2274. It looks like an exciting, go-ahead place to live and it’s certainly a great city for twentysomethings. There are the much-loved overhead monorails and people wear the sleek, figure-hugging leotards, unitards, and miniskirts. The issue is that people here get killed on their 30th birthday. Some people escape the dome city to find themselves in deserted Washington DC, which is a wreck by comparison. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive
BLADE RUNNER (1982) (dir. Ridley Scott)
ALPHAVILLE (1965) (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
THINGS TO COME (1936) (dir. William Cameron Menzies)
AKIRA (1988) (dir. Katsuhiro Otomo)
SLEEPER (1973) (dir. Woody Allen)
MINORITY REPORT (2002) (dir. Steven Spielberg)
BABELDOM (2013) (dir. Paul Bush) This cult cine-essay by Paul Bush is all about a fictional mega-city called Babeldom. Where this city is supposed to be is a moot point. It is everywhere and nowhere. At first it is glimpsed through a misty fog: it is the city of Babel imagined by the elder Breughel in his Tower Of Babel. Then Bush gives us glimpses of a place made up of actual cities and then computer graphic displays take us through how a city develops its distinctive lineaments and growth patterns. Of all the future-cities on this list, Babeldom is probably the weirdest.
This article was amended on 30 January 2014 to correct the spelling of Paul Bush's name.
Wednesday, February 19. 2014
Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland
In his video California Bloodlines (GPS Dozen) (all works 2013), California artist Jesse Sugarmann drives through a bright desert expanse in search of somewhere elusive. The camera is trained on the car’s dashboard and windshield, which are festooned with 12 GPS devices that relegate the dramatic landscape of sand and scrub, distant mountains and azure sky to a removed presence. As he drives, a chorus of robotic voices talk over one another, blurting out contradictory directions (‘Turn left!’, ‘Turn right!’, ‘Re-calculating!’). Sugarmann’s intended destination is California City, from which the artist’s exhibition at Fourteen30 Contemporary took its name: a place real enough to have assigned geo-positioning coordinates, yet not real enough for the dozen devices to reach consensus.
Geographically, California City is the third-largest city in the Golden State. Its 40- square-mile grid in the Mojave Desert was developed in the 1960s in tandem with the California Aqueduct, which would transform the arid terrain into a lush, cosmopolitan oasis, a two-hour drive north of Los Angeles. But when the aqueduct was rerouted to the west, development was abandoned. In the ensuing half-century, a population of 15,000 made California City home, leaving the unfinished infrastructure of sidewalks and roads to be slowly reclaimed by the desert. Today, the outskirts of this unrealized city play host to Air Force weapons testing and off-road motor sports.
Symbolically, the site evidences a kind of regional amnesia, in which the glitz and glamour of Southern California’s main cultural centre allows this also-ran destination to fade from collective memory. But Sugarmann leverages its metaphoric impact for more personal ends, using California City as a stage to contemplate his mother’s worsening Alzheimer’s. This place, which bears the fundamental shape of a city but conspicuously lacks the city itself, becomes an analogue for his mother’s frustrated attempts to recall and organize a past she knows exists, but can’t seem to access.
In a second video, California Bloodlines (Parts 1 and 2), the artist has arrived in California City, or at least one of its desolate cul-de-sacs. Joined by an assistant, Sugarmann performs a series of actions addressing the site’s past, present and the irreconcilable divide between them. Initially, they appear as stewards, attempting to restore the road to working condition. They patch a makeshift bonfire pit left by an off-road after-party, sweep sand off the weather-beaten pavement (as desert winds violently undo their efforts), and spread a new layer of asphalt. But with the appearance of a sand dragster, a vehicle equally at home on sand or tarmac, the site’s present-day activities creep in, creating a confused connection to its past: the duo spreads asphalt on the exterior of the dragster and sets it ablaze.
In California Bloodlines (Parts 1 and 2), Sugarmann interpolates scenes of his own ‘weapons testing’ in California City, drawing square-mile development tracts onto Perspex in liquid napalm and burning them into the surface. These works were displayed in the gallery like production stills or outtakes from the film, each image executed in thick black burn marks and feathery yellow flickers. It’s not hard to connect the geometric patterns of the tract with the mapping of the human brain in neuro-imaging techniques.
Sugarmann’s previous body of work focused almost exclusively on cars – as figurative bodies, ‘vehicles’ for projecting human desire and as ubiquitous monuments to the fact of obsolescence and mortality. With the California City videos, this connection between subjects and their automotive stand-ins is made more powerful by the artist’s equation of the landscape with memory. Here, the internal stage of mental function – or in the case of his mother, dysfunction – is depicted in physical, spatial terms. And, tragically, in the enacted folly of restoring unused roads, he illustrates how that which is forgotten can never be recovered.
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fabric | rblg
This blog is the survey website of fabric | ch - studio for architecture, interaction and research.
We curate and reblog articles, researches, writings, exhibitions and projects that we notice and find interesting during our everyday practice and readings.
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