Tuesday, July 05. 2016
Public Platform of Future-Past, extended study phase. Bots, "Ar.I." & tools? | #data #monitoring #architecture
Note: in the continuity of my previous post/documentation concerning the project Platform of Future-Past (fabric | ch's recent winning competition proposal), I publish additional images (several) and explanations about the second phase of the Platform project, for which we were mandated by Canton de Vaud (SiPAL).
The first part of this article gives complementary explanations about the project, but I also take the opportunity to post related works and researches we've done in parallel about particular implications of the platform proposal. This will hopefully bring a neater understanding to the way we try to combine experimentations-exhibitions, the creation of "tools" and the design of larger proposals in our open and process of work.
Notably, these related works concerned the approach to data, the breaking of the environment into computable elements and the inevitable questions raised by their uses as part of a public architecture project.
The information pavilion was potentially a slow, analog and digital "shape/experience shifter", as it was planned to be built in several succeeding steps over the years and possibly "reconfigure" to sense and look at its transforming surroundings.
The pavilion conserved therefore an unfinished flavour as part of its DNA, inspired by these old kind of meshed constructions (bamboo scaffoldings), almost sketched. This principle of construction was used to help "shift" if/when necessary.
In a general sense, the pavilion answered the conventional public program of an observation deck about a construction site. It also served the purpose of documenting the ongoing building process that often comes along. By doing so, we turned the "monitoring dimension" (production of data) of such a program into a base element of our proposal. That's where a former experimental installation helped us: Heterochrony.
As it can be noticed, the word "Public" was added to the title of the project between the two phases, to become Public Platform of Future-Past (PPoFP) ... which we believe was important to add. This because it was envisioned that the PPoFP would monitor and use environmental data concerning the direct surroundings of the information pavilion (but NO DATA about uses/users). Data that we stated in this case Public, while the treatment of the monitored data would also become part of the project, "architectural" (more below about it).
For these monitored data to stay public, so as for the space of the pavilion itself that would be part of the public domain and physically extends it, we had to ensure that these data wouldn't be used by a third party private service. We were in need to keep an eye on the algorithms that would treat the spatial data. Or best, write them according to our design goals (more about it below).
That's were architecture meets code and data (again) obviously...
By fabric | ch
The Public Platform of Future-Past is a structure (an information and sightseeing pavilion), a Platform that overlooks an existing Public site while basically taking it as it is, in a similar way to an archeological platform over an excavation site.
The asphalt ground floor remains virtually untouched, with traces of former uses kept as they are, some quite old (a train platform linked to an early XXth century locomotives hall), some less (painted parking spaces). The surrounding environment will move and change consideralby over the years while new constructions will go on. The pavilion will monitor and document these changes. Therefore the last part of its name: "Future-Past".
By nonetheless touching the site in a few points, the pavilion slightly reorganizes the area and triggers spaces for a small new outdoor cafe and a bikes parking area. This enhanced ground floor program can work by itself, seperated from the upper floors.
Several areas are linked to monitoring activities (input devices) and/or displays (in red, top -- that concern interests points and views from the platform or elsewhere --). These areas consist in localized devices on the platform itself (5 locations), satellite ones directly implented in the three construction sites or even in distant cities of the larger political area --these are rather output devices-- concerned by the new constructions (three museums, two new large public squares, a new railway station and a new metro). Inspired by the prior similar installation in a public park during a festival -- Heterochrony (bottom image) --, these raw data can be of different nature: visual, audio, integers from sensors (%, °C, ppm, db, lm, mb, etc.), ...
Input and output devices remain low-cost and simple in their expression: several input devices / sensors are placed outside of the pavilion in the structural elements and point toward areas of interest (construction sites or more specific parts of them). Directly in relation with these sensors and the sightseeing spots but on the inside are placed output devices with their recognizable blue screens. These are mainly voice interfaces: voice outputs driven by one bot according to architectural "scores" or algorithmic rules (middle image). Once the rules designed, the "architectural system" runs on its own. That's why we've also named the system based on automated bots "Ar.I." It could stand for "Architectural Intelligence", as it is entirely part of the architectural project.
The coding of the "Ar.I." and use of data has the potential to easily become something more experimental, transformative and performative along the life of PPoFT.
Observers (users) and their natural "curiosity" play a central role: preliminary observations and monitorings are indeed the ones produced in an analog way by them (eyes and ears), in each of the 5 interesting points and through their wanderings. Extending this natural interest is a simple cord in front of each "output device" that they can pull on, which will then trigger a set of new measures by all the related sensors on the outside. This set new data enter the database and become readable by the "Ar.I."
The whole part of the project regarding interaction and data treatments has been subject to a dedicated short study (a document about this study can be accessed here --in French only--). The main design implications of it are that the "Ar.I." takes part in the process of "filtering" which happens between the "outside" and the "inside", by taking part to the creation of a variable but specific "inside atmosphere" ("artificial artificial", as the outside is artificial as well since the anthropocene, isn't it ?) By doing so, the "Ar.I." bot fully takes its own part to the architecture main program: triggering the perception of an inside, proposing patterns of occupations.
"Ar.I." computes spatial elements and mixes times. It can organize configurations for the pavilion (data, displays, recorded sounds, lightings, clocks). It can set it to a past, a present, but also a future estimated disposition. "Ar.I." is mainly a set of open rules and a vocal interface, at the exception of the common access and conference space equipped with visual displays as well. "Ar.I." simply spells data at some times while at other, more intriguingly, it starts give "spatial advices" about the environment data configuration.
In parallel to Public Platform of Future Past and in the frame of various research or experimental projects, scientists and designers at fabric | ch have been working to set up their own platform for declaring and retrieving data (more about this project, Datadroppers, here). A platform, simple but that is adequate to our needs, on which we can develop as desired and where we know what is happening to the data. To further guarantee the nature of the project, a "data commune" was created out of it and we plan to further release the code on Github.
In tis context, we are turning as well our own office into a test tube for various monitoring systems, so that we can assess the reliability and handling of different systems. It is then the occasion to further "hack" some basic domestic equipments and turn them into sensors, try new functions as well, with the help of our 3d printer in tis case (middle image). Again, this experimental activity is turned into a side project, Studio Station (ongoing, with Pierre-Xavier Puissant), while keeping the general background goal of "concept-proofing" the different elements of the main project.
A common room (conference room) in the pavilion hosts and displays the various data. 5 small screen devices, 5 voice interfaces controlled for the 5 areas of interests and a semi-transparent data screen. Inspired again by what was experimented and realized back in 2012 during Heterochrony (top image).
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PPoFP, several images. Day, night configurations & few comments
Public Platform of Future-Past, axonometric views day/night.
An elevated walkway that overlook the almost archeological site (past-present-future). The circulations and views define and articulate the architecture and the five main "points of interests". These mains points concentrates spatial events, infrastructures and monitoring technologies. Layer by layer, the suroundings are getting filtrated by various means and become enclosed spaces.
Walks, views over transforming sites, ...
Data treatment, bots, voice and minimal visual outputs.
Night views, circulations, points of view.
Night views, ground.
Random yet controllable lights at night. Underlined areas of interests, points of "spatial densities".
Project: fabric | ch
Team: Patrick Keller, Christophe Guignard, Christian Babski, Sinan Mansuroglu, Yves Staub, Nicolas Besson.
Thursday, June 23. 2016
Platform of Future-Past by fabric | ch, architecture competition, (ex)1st price | #data #architecture #experimentation
Note: we've been working recently at fabric | ch on a project that we couldn't publish or talk about for contractual reasons... It concerned a relatively large information pavilion we had to create for three new museums in Switzerland (in Lausanne) and a renewed public space (railway station square). This pavilion was supposed to last for a decade, or a bit longer. The process was challenging, the work was good (we believed), but it finally didn't get build...
Sounds sad but common isn't it?
We'll see where these many "..." will lead us, but in the meantime and as a matter of documentation, let's stick to the interesting part and publish a first report about this project.
It consisted in an evolution of a prior spatial installation entitled Heterochrony (pdf). A second post will follow soon with the developments of this competition proposal. Both posts will show how we try to combine small size experiments (exhibitions) with more permanent ones (architecture) in our work. It also marks as well our desire at fabric | ch to confront more regularly our ideas and researches with architectural programs.
This first post only consists in a few snapshots of the competition documents, while the following one should present the "final" project and ideas linked to it.
By fabric | ch
On the jury paper was written, under "price" -- as we didn't get paid for the 1st price itself -- : "Réalisation" (realization).
Just below in the same letter, "according to point 1.5 of the competition", no realization will be attributed... How ironic! We did work further on an extended study though.
A few words about the project taken from its presentation:
" (...) This platform with physically moving parts could almost be considered an archaeological footbridge or an unknown scientific device, reconfigurable and shiftable, overlooking and giving to see some past industrial remains, allowing to document the present, making foresee the future.
The pavilion, or rather pavilions, equipped with numerous sensor systems, could equally be considered an "architecture of documentation" and interaction, in the sense that there will be extensive data collected to inform in an open and fluid manner over the continuous changes on the sites of construction and tranformations. Taken from the various "points of interets' on the platform, these data will feed back applications ("architectural intelligence"?), media objects, spatial and lighting behaviors. The ensemble will play with the idea of a combination of various time frames and will combine the existing, the imagined and the evanescent. (...) "
Download pdf (14 mb).
Project: fabric | ch
Team: Patrick Keller, Christophe Guignard, Sinan Mansuroglu, Nicolas Besson.
Wednesday, February 24. 2016
Note: j'aurai le plaisir d'être en entretien --en français-- ce vendredi 26.02 à 20h avec le journaliste Frédéric Pfyffer, de la Radio Télévision Suisse Romande, dans le cadre du programme Histoire Vivante qui traite cette semaine du sujet des "Big Data".
Cet entretien, qui a été enregistré en fin de semaine passée, nous verra évoquer la façon dont les artistes ou designers abordent aujourd'hui --mais aussi un peu hier-- cette question des données. En contrepoint ou complément peut-être des approches scientifiques. Pour ma part, aussi bien dans le contexte de ma pratique indépendante (fabric | ch où de nombreux projets réalisés ou en développement s'appuient sur des données) qu'académique (projet de recherche interdisciplinaire en cours autour des "nuages"... entre autres).
À noter encore qu'au terme de la semaine d'émissions thématiques sera diffusé sur la TSR (dimanche 28.02) le documentaire Citizenfour, qui relate toute l'aventure d'Edward Snowden et du journaliste Glenn Greenwald.
Ces cinq émissions seront également disponibles en mode podcast à la même adresse, suite à la diffusion de cette semaine.
Une semaine d’Histoire Vivante consacrée à l’histoire de la recherche scientifique à la lumière de l’émergence de l’internet et des big data.
Dimanche 28 février 2016, vous pouvez découvrir sur RTS Deux: CitizenFour, un documentaire de Laura Poitras (Allemagne-USA/2014):
"Citizenfour est le pseudonyme utilisé par Edward Snowden pour contacter la réalisatrice de ce documentaire lorsqu'il décide de révéler les méthodes de surveillance de la NSA. Accompagnée d'un journaliste d'investigation, elle le rejoint dans une chambre d'hôtel à Hong Kong. La suite est un huis-clos digne des meilleurs thrillers."
Thursday, January 28. 2016
Note: I'll move this afternoon to Grandhotel Giessbach (sounds like a Wes Anderson movie) to present later tonight the temporary results of the research I'm jointly leading with Nicolas Nova for ECAL & HEAD - Genève, in partnership with EPFL-ECAL Lab & EPFL: Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s). Looking forward to meet the Swiss design research community (mainly) at the hotel...
Christophe Guignard and myself will have the pleasure to present the temporary results of the design research Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s) next Thursday (28.01.2016) at the Swiss Design Network conference.
The conference will happen at Grandhotel Giessbach over the lake Brienz, where we'll focus on the research process fully articulated around the practice of design (with the participation of students in the case of I&IC) and the process of project.
This will apparently happen between "dinner" and "bar", as we'll present a "Fireside Talk" at 9pm. Can't wait to do and see that...
The full program and proceedings (pdf) of the conference can be accessed HERE.
As for previous events, we'll try to make a short "follow up" on this documentary blog after the event.
Friday, October 02. 2015
The design research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) will be presented during the peer reviewed Renewable Futures Conference next week in Riga (Estonia), which will be the first edition of a serie that promiss to scout for radical approaches.
Christophe Guignard will introduce the participants to the stakes and the progresses of our ongoing experimental work. There will be profiled and inspiring speakers such as Lev Manovitch, John Thackara, Andreas Brockmann, etc.
Christophe Guignard will make a short “follow up” about the conference on this blog once he’ll be back from Riga.
Monday, September 28. 2015
Note: a book as a follow up of the exhibition for which fabric | ch designed the scenography last May at the Haus der elektronische Künste in Basel (project White Oblique, downloadable pdf on our website). I was implicated in a double way in the exhibition due to the fact that the content of the design research I'm jointly leading with Nicolas Nova for ECAL and HEAD, Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), was also exhibited. I have the pleasure to publish a text in the book about the state and objectives of the ongoing research as well.
Note: we’re pleased to see that the publication related to the exhibition and symposium Poetics & Politics of Data, curated by Sabine Himmelsbach at the H3K in Basel, has been released later this summer. The publication, with the same title as the exhibition, was first distributed in the context of the conference Data Traces. Big Data in the Context of Culture and Society that also took place at H3K on the 3rd andf 4th of July.
The book contains texts by Nicolas Nova (Me, My cloud and I) and myself (Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s). An ongoing Design Research), but also and mainly contributions by speakers of the conference (which include the american theorician Lev Manovitch, curator Sabine Himmelsbach and Prof. researcher from HGK Basel Claudia Mareis) and exhibiting artists (Moniker, Aram Bartholl, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jennifer Lyn Morone, etc.)
The publication serves both as the catalogue of the exhibition and the conference proceedings. Due to its close relation to our subject of research (the book speaks about data, we’re interested in the infrastructure –both physical and digital– that host them), we’re integrating the book to our list of relevant book. The article A short history of Clouds, by Orit Halpern is obviously of direct signifiance to our work.
It can be ordered directly from H3K website:
Thursday, August 27. 2015
Long introductory note: we all know how data have become important and how we're currently in need of open tools to declare and use static or dynamic data ...
There was once a community data service named Pachube, but it has been sold and its community commodified... There has been initiatives by designers like the one of Berg around the idea of electronic tools, cloud and data services (Berg Cloud), but it was funded by venture capitalists and went bankrupt, unfortunately bringing down the design studio as well. There are some good, simple and interesting online services as well, like Dweet.io, but these are companies that will finally need to make money out of your data (either ways by targeted publicity or by later commodification of the community), as this is one of their main product ...
So we were in need of a tool for our own work at fabric | ch that would remain just what it is supposed to be: a tool... As we are using a lot of dynamic and static data - any kind of data - in our own architectural & interaction works, we needed one. Something simple to use, that we could manage ourselves, that would hopefully not cost much to keep running ...
Following what we already did for many previous projects, for which we designed soft technologies and then publicly released them - and yet never tried to sell them in any manner, we should stress it in this case - (Rhizoreality, I-Weather v. 2001, I-Weather v. 2009 and related apps, Deterritorialized Living), we've designed our own data service: Datadroppers - http://www.datadroppers.org -, first for our own needs, and then just released it online as well. Free to use ...
We thought of it as a data commune... trying to keep it as "socially flat" as possible: there are no login, no password, no terms of service, no community, no profiles, no "friends", almost no rules, etc., ... only one statement: "We are the data droppers / Open inputs-outputs performers / We drop off an we pick up / Migrant citizens of the data commune", which also becomes the interface of the service ...
It is a data commune, but not a "community". It is from a "market product" point of view "unsocial", almost uninteresting to later commodify. Yet there is still one single rule (so to keep the service simple and costless to handle): once you publish your data on the site, they'll become public (for everybody, including third party services that won't necessary follow the same open rules) and you won't be able to erase them, as they'll be part of the commune and will possibly be used by other "data communards" as well. They'll be online as long as the service will (i.e. I-Weather is online for 14 years now). So just declare on Datadroppers raw data that you consider for yourself public ...
The service, directly developed on the basis of previous projects we did, was first published and used last June, for an exhibition at the Haus der elektronische Künste in Basel (Switzerland). It is hosted in Switzerland / Lausanne under strict laws when it comes to data. There are very few data on the site at this time, only the ones we published from the exhibition (as a test, you can for exemple try a data search using "Raspberry Pi" as a string in the Search data section, which will bring live sensors data as a result). We will now certainly continue to use the service for future works at fabric | ch, maybe will it be also usefull for you? ...
The "communal service" is in fact a statement, the statement becomes the navigation interface. The two main sections of the website are composed by the parts in which you can play with or search for data.
We drop off and we pick up is the area where one can see what can be achieved with data. Obviously, it is either possible to declare (drop off) data and tag them, or retrieve them (pick up) - image above -. You can also Search data following different criteria -below-.
Usual data will certainly be live feeds from sensors, like the one in the top image (i.e. value: lumen). But you could certainly go for more interesting things, either when you'll create data or when you'll use them. The two images above are about "curiosity" data. They were captured within an exhibition (see below) and are already partially interpreted data (i.e. you can leave a connected button with no explanation in the exhibition space, if people press it, well... they are curious). As another exemple, we also recorded data about "transgression" in the same exhibition: a small digital screen says "don't touch" and blinks in red, while an attached sensor obviously connected to the screen can indeed be touched. Childish transgression and slightly meaningless I must admit... It was just a test.
But you could also declare other type of data, any type, while using complementary tools. You could for exemple declare each new image or file within an open cloud service and start cascading things. Or you could start thinking about data as "built" artifacts... like we did in a recent project (see below, Deterritorialized Living) that is delivered in the form of data. Or you could also and of course drop off static data that you would like to store and make accessible for a larger community.
Possibilities seems in fact to be quite large.
Datadroppers as a commune could even be considered as a micro-society or nation. It comes with a dowloadable "flag", if you desire to manifest your attachment to its philosophy or plant it in your datacenter!
Some views of Datadroppers in first use during Poetics and Politics of Data exhibition at the Haus der elektronische Künste in Basel (Switzerland), as part of the scenography designed by fabric | ch. Many Raspberry Pis were installed inside the space that captured exhibition's data and feed the service. They can now be retrieved from http://www.datadroppers.org/index.html#search as the exhibition will end this week-end > search with string "H3K" or "Museum".
Finally, I must mention the project that initiated Datadroppers, both because we developed the rules of the data sharing service during this latter project (Link > follow "Access to open data feeds"), but also because it is probably one of the most interesting use of Datadroppers so far...
Deterritorialized Living is an artificial, yet livable troposphere that is delivered in the form of data. Just like if we indeed install atmospheric sensors in a real environment, unless the environment doesn't exist in this case (yet), it is the project. The process is therefore reversed within this almost geo-engineered climate that follows different rules than our earth/cosmos driven everyday atmosphere. We have the open data feed to later set it up. fabric | ch or another designer as the feed is open. We plan to use this feed and materialized it through different installations, like we already started to do.
So, for now, this fictive data flow of a designed atmosphere is also delivered as a feed (again: Search data > Deterritorialized), among other ones (some "real", some not), within the webservice offered by Datadroppers .
Friday, June 26. 2015
I&IC within Poetics and Politics of Data, exhibition at H3K, scenography. Pictures | #data #research
By fabric | ch
Note: last end of May was the opening of the exhibition Poetics & Politics of Data at the Haus der elektronischen Künste in Basel. This was the occasion to present the temporary results of the design research I'm leading at ECAL/University of Art & Design Lausanne, in collaboration with Nicolas Nova from HEAD - Genève, EPFL and EPFL-ECAL Lab. But for that matter, fabric | ch realized the scenography of the whole exhibition, in particular the "hidden" part hosting the presentation of the design research itself.
The whole spatial display we designed looks like some sort of "heterotopy": an archive and (computer) cabinet of curiosities within the white cube. A little bit like the "behind the scenes" of the exhibition, occupying its center, yet articulating it. It is basically made out of the modular elements that constitutes the "white cube" itself. Just that we maintained the hidden parts of these walls open and visible, widen and turn them in a pathway and an archive.
Also present in the space and scenography are different works from fabric | ch: Deterritorialized Daylight is used to drive the lighting of the inner part of the cabinet, a new work Datadroppers --an online data commune, reminiscence of the now dead Pachube-- is used to collect and re-use random data from the exhibition, several Raspberry Pis in their dedicated 3d printed casing are collecting these data (which includes, in addition to the traditional ones more surpising ones like "curiosity", "transgression", etc.) and "dropping" them on the online service. They are then searchable and be used in third parties applications.
The exhibition will still be on view until the end of August in Basel, with works by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Moniker, Aram Bartholl, Jennifer Lyn Morone, Rybn and several others.
Pictures by David Colombini and Marco Frauchiger
Intro text to the exhibition and credits:
Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s) is an ongoing design research about Cloud Computing. It explores the creation of counter-proposals to the current expression of this technological arrangement, particularly in its forms intended for private individuals and end users (Personal Cloud). Through its fully documented cross-disciplinary approach that connects the works of interaction designers, architects and ethnographers, this research project aims at producing alternative yet concrete models resulting from a more decentralized and citizen-oriented approach.
Project leaders: Patrick Keller (ECAL), Nicolas Nova (HEAD)
Students (ECAL): Anne-Sophie Bazard, Benjamin Botros, Caroline Buttet, Guillaume Cerdeira, Romain Cazier, Maxime Castelli, Mylène Dreyer, Bastien Girshig, Martin Hertig, Jonas Lacôte, Alexia Léchot, Nicolas Nahornyj, Pierre-Xavier Puissant
Scenography: fabric | ch
ECAL director: Alexis Georgacopoulos
ECAL/University of Art & Design Lausanne, HEAD – Genève, EPFL-ECAL Lab, HES-SO
Wednesday, May 27. 2015
Note: as explained below in the message I posted on the documentary blog about the design research project I'm currently working on at ECAL, we've been pretty busy recently... and not only with the exhibition project mentioned even so we've been working on the scenography for it. So to say, this explains why we are having a hard time to be more active on | rblg! But hopefully, things will calm down a little bit after that and I'll find time again to write about the many projects we've been working on over the past two years, in parallel to continue archiving interesting works and resources on this blog!
Note: after some time of relative silence on the blog, we’re happy to say that the design-research project Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s) will be part of the next exhibition at the Haus für elektronische Künste in Basel (CH), in the form of a counterpoint or “behind the scenes” to the media art exhibition per se. This explains partly that, then…
We had to work hard for the exhibition, especially because I was also in charge of the scenography (a work by fabric | ch in this case though), while Lucien Langton produced almost all the video documentation content.
At the invitation of H3K curator, Sabine Himmelsbach, we’ll therefore present the work that has been realized so far, half-way through our research process.
This will consist for large parts in video documentation and few artifacts, including some new ones (“Tools” oriented). We will use this material later on the I&IC website to fully document the current state of our work.
The opening of the exhibition Poetics & Politics of Data will be tomorrow at 7pm, at H3K (Dreispitz neighborhood in Basel), the show will then last until end of August.
Christopher Baker, Hello World! or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise, 2008
Poetics and Politics of Data
duration: 29.05.2015 – 30.08.2015
opening: 28.05.2015, 7pm
H3K, Freilager-Platz 9, 4142 Münchenstein / Basel, CH
The exhibition „Poetics and Politics of Data“ addresses the paradigm of a data-driven society and reflects life in an increasingly datified world. In visionary future scenarios, scientists enthuse over a world in which algorithms take over managing processes, envisioning a highly sensory and datafied space for us to live in, a world in which our desires and activities are anticipated, long before we carry them out. „Big Data“ is the keyword to this new era in which the power of data induces a radical transformation of a society whose actions and production of knowledge rely increasingly on the accumulation and evaluation of data.
“Poetics and Politics of Data” shows artistic works that approach the phenomena of Big Data and data mining, visualizing the continuous bitstream in various ways while referring to the political and social implications that come with a world that is controlled by data – from the processes of self-optimization to economical aspects and questions concerning the use and evaluation of this data. Who has access to our data? In what ways is it possible to extract useful information and find “valuable” and applicable correlations from the immense pool of data?
The exhibition introduces critically subversive approaches and interventions in networked spaces that make use of the potential of a virtual community and reflect personal performance in social networks. It focuses on aspects of surveillance strategies, data mining, privacy, post-privacy and digital autobiography acted out in social networks. Amid the constantly growing, infinite ocean of data, artists question the meaning and position of the individual in a technologically networked society and – thanks to their resistance and sense of independence – offer various alternatives to a normative world of data.
From computer-mediated installations to data visualizations, they address these questions through different media in order to not only generate a new approach to complex data structure, but to create a poetic immersive space of data.
“Poetics and Politics of Data” is an interdisciplinary project between HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel), the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW, the Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS and Opendata.ch, the Swiss chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation, presenting an exhibition about artistic approaches to big amounts of data. Artistic strategies and concepts of data usage, -interpretation and -criticism will be on display, discussing the potential and dangers of Big Data and data mining.
Group exhibition with works by:
Sunday, February 01. 2015
By fabric | ch
Along different projects we are undertaking at fabric | ch, we continue to work on self initiated researches and experiments (slowly, way too slowly... Time is of course missing). Deterritorialized House is one of them, introduced below.
Some of these experimental works concern the mutating "home" program (considered as "inhabited housing"), that is obviously an historical one for architecture but that is also rapidly changing "(...) under pressure of multiple forces --financial, environmental, technological, geopolitical. What we used to call home may not even exist anymore, having transmuted into a financial commodity measured in sqm (square meters)", following Joseph Grima's statement in sqm. the quantified home, "Home is the answer, but what is the question?"
In a different line of works, we are looking to build physical materializations in the form of small pavilions for projects like i.e. Satellite Daylight, 46°28'N, while other researches are about functions: based on live data feeds, how would you inhabit a transformed --almost geo-engineered atmospheric/environmental condition? Like the one of Deterritorialized Living (night doesn't exist in this fictional climate that consists of only one day, no years, no months, no seasons), the physiological environment of I-Weather, or the one of Perpetual Tropical Sunshine, etc.?
We are therefore very interested to explore further into the ways you would inhabit such singular and "creolized" environments composed of combined dimensions, like some of the ones we've designed for installations. Yet considering these environments as proto-architecture (architectured/mediated atmospheres) and as conditions to inhabit, looking for their own logic.
We are looking forward to publish the results of these different projects along the year. Some as early sketches, some as results, or both. I publish below early sketches of such an experiment, Deterritorialized House, linked to the "home/house" line of research. It is about symbiotically inhabiting the data center... Would you like it or not, we surely de-facto inhabit it, as it is a globally spread program and infrastructure that surrounds us, but we are thinking here in physically inhabiting it, possibly making it a "home", sharing it with the machines...
What is happening when you combine a fully deterritorialized program (super or hyper-modern, "non lieu", ...) with the one of the home? What might it say or comment about contemporary living? Could the symbiotic relation take advantage of the heat the machine are generating --directly connected to the amount of processing power used--, the quality of the air, the fact that the center must be up and running, possibly lit 24/7, etc.
As we'll run a workshop next week in the context of another research project (Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), an academic program between ECAL, HEAD, EPFL-ECAL Lab and EPFL in this case) linked to this idea of questioning the data center --its paradoxically centralized program, its location, its size, its functionalism, etc.--, it might be useful to publish these drawings, even so in their early phase (theys are dating back from early 2014, the project went back and forth from this point and we are still working on it.)
1) The data center level (level -1 or level +1) serves as a speculative territory and environment to inhabit (each circle in this drawing is a fresh air pipe sourrounded by a certain number of computers cabinets --between 3 and 9).
A potential and idealistic new "infinite monument" (global)? It still needs to be decided if it should be underground, cut from natural lighting or if it should be fragmented into many pieces and located in altitude (--likely, according to our other scenarios that are looking for decentralization and collaboration), etc. Both?
Fresh air is coming from the outside through the pipes surrounded by the servers and their cabinets (the incoming air could be an underground cooled one, or the one that can be found in altitude, in the Swiss Alps --triggering scenarios like cities in the moutains? moutain data farming? Likely too, as we are looking to bring data centers back into small or big urban environments). The computing and data storage units are organized like a "landscape", trying to trigger different atmospheric qualities (some areas are hotter than others with the amount of hot air coming out of the data servers' cabinets, some areas are charged in positive ions, air connectivity is obviously everywhere, etc.)
Artificial lighting follows a similar organization as the servers' cabinets need to be well lit. Therefore a light pattern emerges as well in the data center level. Running 24/7, with the need to be always lit, the data center uses a very specific programmed lighting system: Deterritorialized Daylight linked to global online data flows.
2) Linked to the special atmospheric conditions found in this "geo-data engineered atmosphere" (the one of the data center itself, level -1 or 1), freely organized functions can be located according to their best matching location. There are no thick walls as the "cabinets islands" acts as semi-open partitions.
A program starts to appear that combines the needs of a data center and the one of a small housing program which is immersed into this "climate" (dense connectivity, always artificially lit, 24°C permanent heat). "Houses" start to appear as "plugs" into a larger data center.
3) A detailed view (data center, level -1 or +1) on the "housing plug" that combine programs. At this level, the combination between an office-administration unit for a small size data center start to emerge, combined with a kind of "small office - home office" that is immersed into this perpetually lit data space. This specific small housing space (a studio, or a "small office - home office") becomes a "deterritorialized" room within a larger housing program that we'll find on the upper level(s), likely ground floor or level +2 of the overall compound.
4) Using the patterns emerging from different spatial components (heat, light, air quality --dried, charged in positive ions--, wifi connectivity), a map is traced and "moirés" patterns of spatial configurations ("moirés spaces") start to happen. These define spatial qualities. Functions are "structurelessly" placed accordingly, on a "best matching location" basis (needs in heat, humidity, light, connectivity which connect this approach to the one of Philippe Rahm, initiated in a former research project, Form & Function Follow Climate (2006). Or also i.e. the one of Walter Henn, Burolandschaft (1963), if not the one of Junya Ishigami's Kanagawa Institute).
Note also that this is a line of work that we are following in another experimental project at fabric | ch, about which we also hope to publish along the year, Algorithmic Atomized Functioning --a glimpse of which can be seen in Desierto Issue #3, 28° Celsius.
5) On ground level or on level +2, the rest of the larger house program and few parts of the data center that emerges. There are no other heating or artificial lighting devices besides the ones provided by the data center program itself. The energy spent by the data center must serve and somehow be spared by the house. Fresh and hot zones, artificial light and connectivity, etc. are provided by the data center emergences in the house, so has from the opened "small office - home office" that is located one floor below. Again, a map is traced based and moirés patterns of specific locations and spatial configurations emerge. Functions are also placed accordingly (hot, cold, lit, connected zones).
Starts or tries to appear a "creolized" housing object, somewhere in between a symbiotic fragmented data center and a house, possibly sustaining or triggering new inhabiting patterns...
Project (ongoing): fabric | ch
Team: Patrick Keller, Christophe Guignard, Christian Babski, Sinan Mansuroglu
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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.
Most articles concern the intertwined fields of architecture, territory, art, interaction design, thinking and science. From time to time, we also publish documentation about our own work and research, immersed among these related resources and inspirations.
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