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city

This tag is associated with 15 posts

The smart of the deal

I’m interested in the technologies, claims and challenges of the smart city: its structures, platforms, processes, security and surveillance systems, involving big data flows and encryption, as well as the city’s opportunists, underworlds, hacks and how cities get interfered with. While futurists, urbanists, academics and cultural commentators probe the city’s covert and overt sign systems, … Continue reading

Nested parentheticals

Sometimes it’s hard to get back on track. People tell stories and construct arguments with subplots and digressions. It’s fine for stories to wander. But for coherence we expect the story-teller to return to the main point, to rewind the string they just unravelled back into a neat ball. One of Trump’s improvised speeches illustrates … Continue reading

Escapology 101

Biologists and animal behaviourists refer to their study of escape responses as escapology. Fish, cockroaches and higher animals move at speed in a direction away from an immediate threat from a predator, but not always, and not directly. The direction of the escape travel depends on the lay of the land, the position of likely … Continue reading

Tags and codes

Graffiti tags are like the scents left by animals to mark territory. The territorial call signs of birds presumably fill a similar function. Territories are defined as much by secret conventions as they are by walls and boundaries. As explored in my previous post, one of the technical terms for such sign conventions is “deictic” … Continue reading

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

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