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This tag is associated with 11 posts

One knock for yes two for no

You might think that advanced technologies obliterate the need for a belief in spirit, a world outside of everyday tangible experience. More accurately, techno-science, and its attendant promotion of rationalism and the cultures of modernity have supposedly disenchanted the world. Techno-science explains the world without the need to look for extra-physical cause and effect. There’s … 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

A life of crime

Crime is immensely popular — in fiction if not in everyday life. No victim enjoys the consequences of crime. But many of us enjoy a good mystery, and the narrative aspects of crime meet some human need, as when solving a puzzle, or watching others solve it. Burglary materialises metaphor, putting a thing in the … Continue reading

Share city

In his book on the “sharing economy,” Arun Sundararajan maintains that commerce is shifting “away from traditional corporations and toward a crowd of entrepreneurs we find through a digital marketplace” (6). Within the constellation of these new (shared) business models he places Airbnb, a platform that allows individuals to capitalise on their own under-utilised domestic … Continue reading

Sentient spaces

Sentient spaces are simply spaces containing sensors: registering heat, light, sound, impact and other signals derived from movements, properties, and other aspects of the environment. After all, the Latin sentīre is to feel (OED). Spaces saturated with CCTV coverage also contribute to spatial sentience, and spaces laced with networks, software, and storage media through which these signals pass. Add to … Continue reading

Interactive architecture

How interactive is architecture? These days, networked computer systems, tablets and smartphones seem to exemplify interactivity amongst people, and between human beings and objects. Perhaps architecture participates in this interactive milieu in so far as it embraces concepts such as “virtual reality (VR) and 3D worlds, game design (including 3D games, platform games, and arcade games), mobile computing, … Continue reading

Brand melancholy

Who would want to brand their city as melancholic? I’ve just caught up with the Guardian’s city brand barometer. One of the parameters by which they measure brand success is “buzz”: “a combination of social media (Facebook likes and Twitter sentiment analysis) and media mentions.” They don’t measure melancholy, but if buzzing is frenetic activity, then it’s opposite is … Continue reading

Nature into the city

Parks, gardens, tree-lined streets, balconies, atria, glasshouses, allotments, bird feeders, green walls, nature reserves, aviaries, zoos: these are amongst the most obvious ways that planners, designers and citizens bring nature into the city. But something similar happens via certain marginal urban practices, that by their very nature construct and re-construct the city as wilderness, bringing the values … Continue reading

Re-making the city

Cities play host to a range of spatial activities that are at the edge of civility. Such practices are inconvenient to some, often hazardous, opportunistic, unofficial, and occasionally entertaining. Think of graffiti, skateboarding, rooftopping, parkour, free running, begging, busking, sleeping rough, demonstration, and occupation. Such marginal spatial practices appropriate places and city paraphernalia in ways other than their sponsors, designers, legislators, and polite civilian users intended. … Continue reading

After dark

It was an ordinary Friday night out in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, except that the two guys at the front of the group in the picture below are wearing brain-monitoring EEG headsets. The occasion was a workshop organised by Dorothea Kalogianni to coincide with a talk by visiting fellow Carlo Ratti, who runs the MIT Senseable City … Continue reading

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