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You searched for "Aura". Your search returned 30 results.

Moody atmospheres and electric auras

How do buildings affect people emotionally? Most architects prefer to talk of atmosphere rather than emotion. For architectural theorist Mark Wigley, atmosphere: “surrounds a building, clinging to the material object.” He says it even emanates from the building: “It is some kind of sensuous emission of sound, light, heat, smell, and moisture; a swirling climate of intangible effects … Continue reading

Surveillance capitalism and its discontents

Social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff’s book on surveillance capitalism reveals the perils and menace of the digital age. I’ve now read all 535 pages, or at least it was mostly read to me in urgent tones as an audiobook at 1.5x speed. The content was so useful to me as I contemplate the implications of the … Continue reading

The pleasures of the mouth

The soft human voice signifies comfort. Some would say that parental cooing and burbling sends babies to sleep. That affinity with the voice persists into later life. Thanks to telephones and mobile phones, the voice-in-your-ear is ubiquitous in contemporary life — compounding opportunities for the voice to do its work. The soft voice, breath, the … Continue reading

Bulk data collection and privacy

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said that when crossing a busy road he instinctively looked away from oncoming traffic for fear of having his image captured on a dashcam. People are more easily recognised face-on than in profile. That short observation from his book Permanent Record delineates some salient themes in the so-called smart city: risk, … Continue reading

Everything is code

“He doesn’t give you questions. He doesn’t give you orders. He speaks in a code. I understand the code because I’ve been around him for a decade” said convicted ex-lawyer Michael Cohen about his ex-boss (Trump) before the US House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. As any student of semiotics knows, speaking in code is what … Continue reading

The memory wheel

By most accounts, at least in Europe, the Gutenberg printing press ushered in a revolution. Printing firms would deploy individual, durable typographic elements (letters and punctuation marks) manufactured in metal and arrange them in rows to produce a page of text, the inked imprint of which was transferred to sheets of paper, over and over … Continue reading

In bad taste

France, and some other countries, use the two-round election system. If there’s no majority vote winner from among a set of candidates then there’s a second election. It’s a playoff between the top two candidates. Binary choices are often easier to deal with, and are decisive. Of less consequence than state elections, I find it easy enough to choose … Continue reading

What happens when the machine stops?

Watching the graceful slow motion “crash” of the Airlander 10 at Cardington Airfield on the news this week prompted me to think about what happens when the machine fails. In the case of an airship it might drift, or fall gently to the earth, even if it lands with a thump. The classic science fiction short story by E.M. Forster, The … Continue reading

Nature games

Can you learn about nature from computer games? According to one commentator, video games “remind us of how we create, and have always created, ‘nature.’ They signpost the virtuality of the real. They show our seemingly endemic proclivities to make over the natural” (411). That’s from cultural theorist John Wills writing about video gaming in 2002: … Continue reading

A sudden prospect

People pay a lot of money for a restaurant table, hotel room or apartment with a good view, but prospect has it’s most dramatic effect as part of a sequence. The geographer Jay Appleton (1919-2015) famously advocated that people prefer views, scenes, paintings, and by implication, landscapes, in which there’s an element of both prospect and of refuge. We are programmed biologically … Continue reading

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