How do the idealised promises and purposes of urban informatics compare to the material politics and practices of their implementation? To answer this question, I ethnographically trace the development of two data dashboards by strategic planners in an Australian city over the course of 2 years. By studying this techno-political process from its origins onward, I uncovered an interesting story of obdurate institutions, bureaucratic momentum, unexpected troubles, and, ultimately, frustration and failure. These kinds of stories, which often go untold in the annals of innovation, contrast starkly with more common framings of technological triumph and transformation. They also, I argue, reveal much more about how techno-political systems are actualised in the world.
Across the U.S., people are getting vaccinated in dormant horse racetracks, empty baseball stadiums, megachurch parking lots, Target dressing rooms, and abandoned shopping malls. “They’re the kind of places that don’t even register as places, because they’re so peripheral, just part of the sprawl,” said Brandon O’Brien, who lives in Phoenix and got his Covid-19 shot at 5 a.m. in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. “They’re not remarkable, until they become meaningful.”...
We have gone through innumerable psycho-geographical somersaults since the beginning of the pandemic. Bedrooms became offices. Homes became restaurants. Convention centers and ships became hospitals. Hospitals became warzones. Trucks became morgues. Storefronts became ghost towns. Stadiums became election sites. “Covid has opened up empty spaces in a way that I can’t think of another epidemic that did that,” David Jones, a Harvard University historian of medicine, told me.
And, now, many of the spaces depopulated by the virus are being repopulated by vaccine drives to combat it—especially sites like defunct stadiums and malls that offer the benefits of public transportation, handicap accessibility, and ample parking....
So what does it mean that this historic vaccine drive is being housed in spaces of abandonment and neglect? “It says a lot about the pandemic itself,” Mooney said, and about how far it pushed our healthcare system’s capacity for conducting medicine normally. It also reminds us of how possible it would be, with enough will, to repurpose geographic and architectural surplus into accessible healthcare clinics or shelter for the unhoused. “I think it’s innovative. Some of those spaces and places are hideously underused,” Mooney said....
Somehow, restoring the shell of a before-times place by transforming it into a hope-filled vaccine hub feels restorative in and of itself. When someone passes through, they receive not only a potentially life-saving drug but a soothing of the psychic distortion wreaked by the last year.
Once mainly a painter, LaTocha, 52, now operates in a vein all her own, somewhere between painting and environmental art. Her works are made on sturdy, resin-coated photographic paper that she lays out on the floor, often at such large scale that she must crawl across them in the studio. She repeatedly pours and spreads pools of ink as well as heaps of soil and materials that she lets settle and pervade the surface, then scrapes and sweeps away.
Lately, she has added volume in the form of sheets of lead that partially overlay the main surface: They are crinkled like tinfoil, the result of working them by hand over rock formations, imprinting every fissure and striation.
The works present as stormy, earth-toned abstractions, but they are deeply site-responsive, their ingredients gathered in New Mexican mesas, Ozarks bluffs, Louisiana wetlands.
Now she has turned her attention to New York City and the geological and human forces that have shaped its terrain. Her 55-foot installation at BRIC, titled “In the Wake Of…,” and a companion piece in the Greater New York exhibition now at MoMA P.S.1, also involve soil from Green-Wood Cemetery and imprints of Manhattan schist bedrock striated by glaciers.
We are a design collective using art for liberation, against capitalism and authoritarianism.
Art should not be used to prop up the system, it should be used to enforce political change. There is no point in art if it sits inside galleries and social media is only a tool - the streets are the real galleries of the people.
All our work is open-source, editable, and printable so it can be mass produced and pasted everywhere over and over again. We want to confront people with leftist politics in their day-to-day lives: in the street, on the bus, on the hoarding of that new block of flats on your way to work.
We face a multitude of crises. It is now completely clear to us that we are faced with a choice: barbarism caused by capitalist climate disaster and poverty, or a new world based on autonomy and liberation. To bring this new world into reality, ideas must be communicated in an approachable, clear, and accessible way.
Kurant is fascinated by moments in which new developments — the agricultural revolution, the invention of writing, the advent of electricity — transform humanity, rewiring both individual brains and the collective unconscious. We are, she believes, living in such a moment, and her works give expression to the heady, ominous potential of our current evolution. “She’s actually interested in how technology becomes magical to most of us,” says Mary Ceruti, the executive director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, who organized Kurant’s breakout exhibition. “She’s interrogating both how seductive the magical part of it is and how potentially sinister the invisible parts are.” In an era when our digital selves are bought and sold, data mining has extended to our dreams, cellphones have practically become prostheses and algorithms determine whom we date, Kurant probes the uncertainties of the volatile present and unknowable future through projects that verge on scientific experiments. If technology is remaking individuals and society in ways we can barely articulate and certainly cannot predict, her projects examine the mechanisms driving these changes and where they may take us.
To create one of her best-known works, Kurant supplied termite colonies with unusual building materials: crystals, gold and neon sand. Over the course of several months, the insects produced a glittering suite of knobby spires in electric shades of blue, violet, yellow, orange and green. Kurant titled the 2014 piece “A.A.I. (Artificial Artificial Intelligence),” borrowing Jeff Bezos’ dubious term for the humans who perform microtasks, often for pennies and given little context regarding the projects they are helping to realize, on his online labor platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk. At its most basic level, the piece spotlighted the condition of workers more alienated from their product than Marx could have imagined, but it also spoke to the extent to which we have all become workers in a global digital factory, inadvertently generating profit for private corporations. The termites had no idea they were producing art for Kurant — they were just doing what termites do. Humans may be slightly less oblivious, but we continue cranking out intangible capital simply by logging on and going about our everyday lives.
Publishing can be a slow business—frustratingly so when you want to participate in societal debates that evolve ever faster. That’s especially the case when you want to elevate such debates with high-quality materials—well-researched, well-designed, sustainable publications. It gets even more tantalising when you’re after a public outside your own (academic) bubble and want to build critical and communal audiences. In the project Making Public, these experiences and ambitions were the starting point for two years of experimentations and conceptualising around the notion of ‘urgent publishing.’ Over the course of the project, our thinking about time in the publishing process shifted from an understanding of urgency as a business asset into one referring primarily to ethical context.
How can a different approach to the timeframes or tempo of publishing help in building relevant publics for content? In the language of the research question: How to achieve an optimal balance between the speed, quality and positioning of a publishing project? In a media and publishing sphere dominated by breaking news, hype cycles and metrics, how do you keep up your quality standards and care for your publics, while also being part of ongoing societal debates? How can publishing in this context be a tool for critical community building?
In contact with Shannon Mattern and her research into “Library as Infrastructure” and her detailed and inspiring syllabus “Data Archive Infrastructure”, which looked at the past, present, and future of our archives, libraries, and data repositories, and considered what logics, politics, audiences, contents, aesthetics, physical forms, etc., define them. The syllabus details all the intricacies of coordinating and organising needed for a good teaching and learning experience;
in contact with “Syllabi by Artists”, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles, who, by “exhibiting” a syllabus as a work of art, proposes a shift from individual artists expressing themselves towards a collective endeavour of thinking and learning together;
in contact with “Pirate Care Syllabus”, a collectively sourced syllabus initiated by Valeria Graziano, Marcell Mars and Tomislav Medak that aims to intervene into the crisis of care and maps practices experimenting with self-organisation, alternative approaches to social reproduction and the commoning of tools, technologies and knowledges at the intersection of care and piracy;
in contact with some of the ideas in “The Undercommons, Fugitive Planning and Black Study” by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten showing that studies are an ongoing mode of thinking with others and the spontaneous sociality of lived experience;
in contact with the Sitterwerk Foundation’s Kunstbibliothek and Werkstoffarchiv and their wide range of approaches that critically engage with knowledge-related practices in libraries. For example, enabling users to arrange the books on the shelves as they see fit and inviting them to leave traces in the library via annotation.
Whether a collection of print media or a digital archive, a library is a key place for accessing, activating, and disseminating knowledge. Typically, a library is a highly classified space that formalises and organises knowledge into categories – both intellectually and spatially. The exhibition “Reading the Library” interrogates the prevailing methods and practices of describing, naming, and classifying knowledges and focuses in particular on the library catalogue. The library catalogue reflects these categories and attempts to represent existing contents in the form of records to enable the books to be searched and found. A library is thus a place of strict organisation, standardisation, and discipline. The classification systems widespread in the global North typically pursue the liberal approach structured on the basis of equality or sameness. The problem of equality, however, is its homogenising presumption that the same model will be universally applicable. Moreover, the implicit function of naming denotes delimiting one thing from the other. Such delimitations are, however, inherently based on particular cultural perspectives—and inevitably result in distortions, exclusions, and marginalisations.
Surveys of employers routinely point to the value of preparing college graduates to be effective team players. As educators, we’ve responded with a now-familiar solution: the group project. But too many of us operate under the comfortable delusion that we are teaching teamwork skills merely by assigning group projects.
The reality: We ask students to exercise their leadership and interpersonal muscles, but we rarely offer any instruction on how to operate effectively in a group. And although we evaluate the results of each project, we tend to provide little or no feedback on how well they performed within their group.
What are the consequences? One of them is that most students don’t greet the prospect of a group project with anything close to enthusiasm....
lay the foundation for a more optimistic attitude toward group projects by explaining the practical value of knowing both how to function well within a group and how to get a group to function well. You could even invite local employers to a class session to talk about teamwork and/or to listen in on group deliberations or final project presentations....
Guide their group discussions with a structured list of questions. Students often rush to exchange opinions on the project topic before clarifying what the problem is or deciding on the best way to go about approaching it. By handing out a list of questions to guide their thinking, you encourage students to take the time to lay out a plan of attack that could reduce complications later on. Start with: “What is the best way to accomplish the task?” or “What is our end goal, anyway?”...
Dedicate precious class time to group projects. Most of the work will happen outside of class. But by devoting at least some class time to group projects, you reinforce their importance and open the way for some creative intervention....
You can spread the assessment burden by asking students — upon the completion of some phase of the project — to turn to the team member on their right and identify one or two ways that the person contributed to getting this part of the job done....
Conduct equity reviews at the end of major projects. To discourage “social loafing” — a term used by psychologists to describe “the tendency for individuals to put forth less effort when they are part of a group” — inform students that their peers will be rating the quality and reliability of their contributions....
Require self-assessment. Ask students to identify specific teamwork skills that they should be trying to refine over the course of a class project — for example, volunteering a viewpoint, challenging misinformation, seeking consensus, delegating responsibilities, debating possible solutions before selecting one, and monitoring the quality of group processes.
Over recent years, we have seen numerous examples of large tech companies taking a lead on the evolution of living environments, whether digital or physical. In the past three years alone, Facebook has announced plans to invest $150 million to build 2,000 affordable homes in the Bay Area, as well as a more ambitious plan to construct a 59-acre neighborhood adjacent to its Menlo Park headquarters. The design of Willow Village, also dubbed Zucktown and Facebookville, includes a commercial core, 1,700 apartments, a hotel, 1.25 million square feet of office space, and an elevated park. Writing about Willow Village in 2018, The New York Times reflected that “it is a project with many precedents in American history, quite a few of them cautionary tales about what happens when a powerful corporation takes control of civic life.”...
Facebook is by no means the only tech giant shaping the built environment. Earlier this year, we reported on Amazon’s emerging practice of buying up empty shopping malls to be repurposed as fulfillment centers, asking if the move was a positive act of adaptive reuse, or a giant online retailer eating its prey. In 2017, meanwhile, it emerged that Bill Gates had spent $80 billion buying up 25,000 acres of land in Arizona to construct a smart city with 80,000 residential units, 3,800 acres of office, commercial, and retail space, and 470 acres for public schools.
Among the tech giants, Google has demonstrated the most sustained engagement with architecture and design in recent years. Earlier this year, we reported on the company’s Downtown West mega campus gaining city approval in San Jose, California, set to deliver 7.3 million square feet of office space and thousands of homes for 20,000 workers across an 80-acre site. In addition, Google’s parent company Alphabet is the owner of urban innovation company Sidewalk Labs which, up until recently, was involved in an ambitious plan to transform Toronto’s Quayside into one of North America’s largest smart cities.
Underlying the company’s innovations in cities and future living is Google R+D for the Built Environment, an in-house ideas workshop that introduces itself as “architects, engineers, researchers, designers, inventors, dreamers and builders who are obsessed with meaningfully shaping our environment.” The several open positions at Google R+D for the Built Environment demonstrate the active involvement of architects and designers in the relationship between tech giants and cities.
Over on our Jobs Board, the company is currently recruiting a Project Manager, an Operations Project Manager, and a Senior Technology Innovations Manager to join their team at Mountain View, CA. Projects undertaken by the team range “from the scale of the desk to the scale of the district” with a mission of “generating ideas and prototypes that deliver immediate tangible value, and project a resilient, resource-efficient, technologically-enriched and beautiful future.”
Public Record is a public artwork in New York City comprised of artist-created government records. The project was commissioned by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Records and Information Services, who named me Public Artist in Residence in 2019. Public Record consists of eleven photographic prints that explore the government’s relationship to artists over the last century, looking particularly at records featuring criteria for evaluating art, surveillance of individual artists, and notes on artists’ role in civic life.
I created the Public Record compositions using an artistic and bureaucratic process designed to ensure that the artworks would be classified as official municipal records. The images were produced using only equipment owned by the City of New York—cameras, lights, computers—and I was assisted by government workers during their regular work day. As a result, the artworks are subject to laws that outline how government records must be managed, including the requirement that they be processed, maintained and made available permanently to the public. Viewers may see the physical prints by waiting for them to pass through the city’s archiving process into the publicly-accessible collection of the Municipal Archives. Alternatively, high resolution digital versions of the works are available through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). In Spring 2020 all of the artworks were released electronically through FOIL as a result of requests submitted by members of the public. New York City government must now support digital exhibition of the images permanently. To view the artworks, search “Julia Weist” on the NYC Open Records Portal.
Facebook, Twitter, ByteDance and Netflix have built regional headquarters in Singapore, alongside many smaller tech companies. To try to attract new growth sectors, like fintech, cybersecurity and medical technologies, the government has directly invested in startups and created a “regulatory sandbox,” giving companies a long leash to try out products and new technologies, from self-driving cars to electronic payments.
As connectivity increased and smartphones proliferated, the government began talking about using tech as a way to achieve social goals. In 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the “Smart Nation” initiative, promising to apply cutting edge technology to almost every aspect of life in the city-state, from A.I.-optimized transport systems to cashless payments at its fabled hawker centers, to the digitization of government services.
At the time—2006-2011—many states were starting to require that custodial interviews be videotaped in their entirety, and even more were deploying dashcam systems as standard equipment in patrol vehicles. Bodycams weren’t quite a thing yet, but smartphones were hitting the market, and the question of how to authentically capture and preserve evidence that came in the form of text messages or social media posts was already cropping up. I was really curious about how all of those new forms of evidentiary media were joining the flow of material evidence that law enforcement agencies were already required to collect, preserve, and provide access to—sometimes indefinitely. Who was managing that stuff? How did they do it? If they were doing it well, what could we learn from their methods? How much of property and evidence management would we recognize as a fundamentally archival process, informed by the values of authenticity, integrity, and reliability that underpin archival endeavors in the heritage or business sectors?
I found an agency willing to let me intern with their Major Crimes Unit, and I spent about nine months shadowing their Crime Scene Investigators and working in their property department, seeing how their information systems worked, what happens to a digital image file from an officer’s camera or a dashcam and how that’s different from the way a DNA sample or a pathology report or a seized weapon moves through the process of becoming evidence. It was absolutely fascinating, and I’m tremendously grateful to the people who spent so much time with me and showed me so much of what they do and how they do it.
"A Centrifuge of Calculation: Managing Data and Enthusiasm in Early Twentieth-Century Bird Banding,” Osiris 32 (2017).
“Trackable Life: Data, Sequence, and Organism in Movement Ecology,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57 (2016): 137-147.
“Naming the Ethological Subject,” Science in Context 29, no. 1 (2016): 107-128.
“Generating Infrastructural Invisibility: Insulation, Interconnection, and Avian Excrement in the Southern California Power Grid,” Environmental Humanities 6 (2015): 103-130.
“Trackable Life: Data, Sequence, and Organism in Movement Ecology,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57 (2016): 137-147.
"The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States," Journal of American History 110, no. 3 (December 2013).
"Demarcating Wilderness and Disciplining Wildlife: Radiotracking Large Carnivores in Yellowstone and Chitwan National Parks," in Civilizing Nature: National Parks in Global Historical Perspective, edited by Bernhard Gißibl, Sabine Höhler, and Patrick Kupper (New York: Berghahn, 2012), pp. 173-188.
"Endangered Science: The Regulation of Research by the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species Acts," Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 42, no. 1 (2012): 30-61.
"One Infrastructure, Many Global Visions: The Commercialization and Diversification of Argos, a Satellite-Based Environmental Surveillance System," Social Studies of Science 42, no. 6 (2012): 846-71.
"Autonomous Biological Sensor Platforms," Cabinet 41 (Spring 2011): 74-78.
"From Wild Lives to Wildlife and Back," Environmental History 16, no. 3 (2011): 418-422.
"A Difficult Time with the Permit Process," Journal of the History of Biology 44, no. 1 (2011): 103-123.
"Animal Writes: Historiography, Disciplinarity, and the Animal Trace," in Making Animal Meaning, edited by Linda Kalof and Georgina Montgomery (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2011): 3-16.
Sure, it's been fun to mock. But the impulse to start something new highlights the disconnect between operations and mission in postsecondary institutions. By John Warner
Oh, we’ve had some fun online over the last couple of days following the announcement of the establishment of the University of Austin.
There has been much generalized snark (including from me), a parody Twitter account, and at New York magazine, Sara Jones dubbed it a “Bible college for libertarians.”
It should not surprise that a project born out of the culture war would inflame the culture war. A declaration from the outset that higher education is irretrievably broken wasn’t going to garner wishes of godspeed and good luck. In his cri de coeur announcing the project, Pano Kanelos, former president of St. John’s College, throws some pretty big rhetorical bombs essentially accusing all other universities of having sacrificed the quest for truth to the gods of mammon.
This did not sit well with everyone. E. Gordon Gee, current president of West Virginia University and member of the University of Austin board of advisors had to issue a statement saying that while he’s helping out with the founding if UATX, he doesn’t actually think higher ed in general, and the University of West Virginia in specific is no longer a “truth seeking” institution.
Organized by the Independent Curators International (ICI), Publishing Against the Grain provided a space for reading, thinking, and conversing, where slowing became a form of intellectual resistance. It encouraged discursive public participation, self-reflective investigation, and invited visitors to discover new perspectives while connecting differing and analogous spheres of contemporary art.
In the context of today’s corporatization and commodification of cultural institutions, and in many political situations where free speech becomes ever more precarious, independent publishing has shown extraordinary vitality and importance as a platform for disseminating alternative, progressive and autonomous positions.
Publishing Against the Grain was an exhibition organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and initiated by Alaina Claire Feldman and Becky Nahom, with Sanna Almajedi.
The Stedelijk Museum has one of the largest art libraries in Europe, with a collection of over 190,000 titles. Visitors walking through the suite of ground floor galleries may be surprised to know that they are actually walking over almost 2.5 kilometers of books and journals which are stored in the museum basement. An infinite number of relationships can arise between the various publications. What may begin in the reading room as a researcher’s question is often the first step in a long route of inquiry that encounters cross-fertilizations, influences and chance discoveries.
For the first time, the Stedelijk library’s reading room is the backdrop to an artwork. In her project Moving Thinking, the Brazilian artist Mariana Lanari (1976) created a visual presentation of information pathways. In October, she began a five-month performance that aims to reveal how the content of books is interlinked. The project not only shows how a library functions, but also displays the enormous wealth of the Stedelijk Museum library – which first began its collection around 1930, and opened its doors to the public in 1957.
The Library of Babel is a place for scholars to do research, for artists and writers to seek inspiration, for anyone with curiosity or a sense of humor to reflect on the weirdness of existence - in short, it’s just like any other library. If completed, it would contain every possible combination of 1,312,000 characters, including lower case letters, space, comma, and period. Thus, it would contain every book that ever has been written, and every book that ever could be - including every play, every song, every scientific paper, every legal decision, every constitution, every piece of scripture, and so on. At present it contains all possible pages of 3200 characters, about 104677 books.
Since I imagine the question will present itself in some visitors’ minds (a certain amount of distrust of the virtual is inevitable) I’ll head off any doubts: any text you find in any location of the library will be in the same place in perpetuity. We do not simply generate and store books as they are requested - in fact, the storage demands would make that impossible. Every possible permutation of letters is accessible at this very moment in one of the library's books, only awaiting its discovery. We encourage those who find strange concatenations among the variations of letters to write about their discoveries in the forum, so future generations may benefit from their research.
Once people see it, the need for care is hard to unsee. In an architectural context, care links the labor of cleaning with the design of the surfaces to be cleaned, physical infrastructure with social services for its users, landscape with mental health. Care can be demonstrated through org charts and through organizing, through serving food and setting aside land to grow food, through creating public space and training people to take care of it. This is a lot to pile on to a four-letter word — care also has the potential to be just another buzzy term for the same old architecture.
Moore is far from alone these days in talking about care. Design professors at Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern and elsewhere have incorporated care into their titles and design briefs, often quoting the work of Michel Lussault, Joan Tronto and bell hooks. (A recent lecture series at City College of New York is titled “Architectures of Care,” while Bryony Roberts taught the studio “A City for Child Care” at Columbia, to name just a couple.) One oft-cited text on the relationship between architecture and repair is Shannon Mattern’s 2018 essay “Maintenance and Care,” which emphasizes the former but asks, ultimately, why designers of all kinds of systems are so bent on innovation and newness when “what we really need to study is how the world gets put back together,” and how we care for the people doing that work. These questions have never been more timely.
Sound maps, particularly the web-based examples that have proliferated since the early 2000s, have proven compelling and valuable as means of conveying diverse perspectives of urban, rural and wilderness sound environments, while opening the creative process of mapping through field recording to non-expert user groups. As such, sound maps hold the promise of broad public engagement with everyday sonic experience and spatial typologies. Yet this straightforward participatory aim is prone to complication in terms of participatory frameworks and scale of analysis. Drawing on a catalogue of sound maps by the author, this article problematises the participatory norms of sound mapping and, in tandem, calls for a more nuanced approach to scale than typically seen to date in sound maps based on geospatial mapping APIs. A sound mapping workshop in Lisbon with a multidisciplinary participant group provided the opportunity to ‘re-prototype’ sound maps at the scale of a local neighbourhood using multimodal means of representation; the results highlighted questions of form, scale, representation, authorship and purpose in sound mapping and demonstrated its continuing potential as a participatory practice.
The user agrees to cruise oceans and continents in the space of a few seconds, carrying their local time message. In accordance, the user agrees to the following: to refuse their association with solar time and to align with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) standards; to recognize Greenwich meridian as the center of the world, as the 0 hour; and to follow all the adjacent standards agreed at the 1884 International Meridian Conference.
In the process of being translated into a signal, the user agrees to follow the Network Time Protocol (NTP). Correspondingly, the user agrees to accept as truthful, the average calculations of the 420 atomic clocks distributed worldwide by the French based International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), in cooperation with the Geneva based International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
In this agreement, the user recognizes atomic time as the time, and the second, or 1/86400 of the length of the Earth’s rotation on its axis; as 9192631770 vibrations of the sky blue caesium atom. Respectively, the user agrees to be dependent on the rare element, mined in 85% of its capacity in the Tanco mine in Canada, and controlled in 100% of its production by Chinese corporations. Subsequently, as each terrestrial day is longer than the last, while the caesium atom is one of the most stable elements, the user agrees to the addition of leap seconds in order to match the difference.
First: "The New School will be known and recognized as a preeminent leader for access, equity, inclusion, and social justice in higher education." "create an ever stronger, more inclusive, continually forward-thinking New School." "momentum toward a more inclusive New School and a more globally accessible university."
Second: "The New School will be known for our culture of support and service to our students through intentional focus on building a strong sense of academic community." "In short, our students need to feel our support."
Third: "The New School will become an ever more visible and engaged leader in the rich civic and cultural life of New York City and beyond." "as a university, and as an important New York City institution, to build connections, strengthen networks, and cultivate partnerships and collaborations "
This work was largely desk research conducted from Adelaide, South Australia, between March and August of 2021. The research consisted mainly of interviews, literature review, group discussion, and quantitative analysis. I explored four themes: Current members: What do they need from Flickr Commons? How are they operating these days? What tools do they use to do their work? How do they relate to their audience? Growing the program: What do we need established before we open the doors again? How could being in Flickr Commons be beneficial to a wider membership? The wider openGLAM ecosystem: What are the hefty platforms? What tools do people like? What are the lessons learned elsewhere? Where is the energy? What does contemporary practice mean today? Cost neutrality: How much does the Commons cost? How can we construct it to be self-sustaining and cost neutral? What does financial security look like for the long term? Is it possible to do good and make money?
Designing with Air, An I̶m̶(material) Space Office for Example (e.g.)
We will have an abundance of hot air in the very near future.
Air cannot be seen (for the most part). Air can be felt. Air is getting warmer. Air can have seen affects. Air can form artifacts. Air is Immaterial.
An I̶m̶(material) Space deploys logics for designing with hot air. The project examines applicable uses for building with temporal materialities within the fields of architectural fabrication and construction practices via the development of an immaterial brick. The immaterial brick, composed of soy-wax and gravel aggregate, responds to, records, and importantly, enables air. An I̶m̶(material) Space, derived via interior conditioning technology and its energies, considers temporal relationships between architecture and environment through questions of the felt, the seen, the visible – the known.
We don’t know much about the smells of the past. Yet, odours play an important role in our daily lives: they affect us emotionally, psychologically and physically, and influence the way we engage with history. Can this lead us to consider certain smells as cultural heritage? And if so, what would be the processes for the identification, protection and conservation of those heritage smells? In order to answer these questions, the connection between olfaction and heritage was approached in three ways: (1) through theoretical analysis of the concept and role of olfaction in heritage guidelines, leading to identification of places and practices where smell is fundamental to their identity, (2) through exploration of the evidence for use of smells in heritage as a tool to communicate with audiences; and (3) through experimental evaluation of the techniques and methods for analysing and archiving the smells, therefore enabling their documentation and preservation. We present this through the framework of Significance Assessment—Chemical Analysis—Sensory Analysis—Archiving. The smell of historic paper was chosen as the case study, based on its well-recognized cultural significance and available research. Odour characterization was achieved by collecting visitor descriptions of a historic book extract through a survey, and by conducting a sensory evaluation at a historic library. These were combined with the chemical information on the VOCs sampled from both a historic book and a historic library, to create the Historic Book Odour Wheel, a novel documentation tool representing the first step towards documenting and archiving historic smells.
Cu is the second episode of the five-part Remote Series. Chilean sound artist Fernando Godoy was given permission to record El Teniente for three days. He spent one day outside the mine, recording the 'concentration plant': a chain of non-stop working machines where the mineral is transported, depurated and ground into little pieces, and two days inside on level 5 (of 8 levels total), where the mineral is transported by an extensive internal train which loads and unloads rocks via the mine's complex network of tunnels.
Godoy's acoustic experience of the mine was marked by the repetitive and constant sound of machinery but also by the sound of rocks, metal, the drone of tunnels, its electricity system and the low frequencies of sounds traveling through the tunnels. Cu was made exclusively with mine field recordings, with no sound manipulation during the composition except equalization and layering.
Why can’t we use the $15 million raised last year to fill the budget gap? Why can’t you just tell the donor to endow a professorship and not build the athletic complex? What do you mean, my department can’t have its own logo? Why doesn’t this institution ever get my name right? What really happens in the Board of Trustees meeting? Where does all the tuition money go? What exactly is a provost?
Usually, the questions are followed with speculative answers:
The administration doesn’t want my department to succeed. The institution doesn’t care about people.
Or reactionary solutions:
Let’s sell the art collection to get money for scholarships. Let’s cut the football team.
Or fodder for gossip and conspiracy theories:
The board is going to get rid of (fill in the blank). The administration is hiding money.
In response, I offer the blog “Just Explain It to Me!”
Weekly posts will focus on a single question and succinctly provide an answer and information about particular systems and practices. I’ll also explore the absurdities of our beloved profession that we all know exist but can’t understand why.
While the blog posts offer explanations, they also may spur further conversations about whether the systems and practices are flawed. Sometimes the posts will focus on serious questions and other times outlandish ones. Still, they will always be based upon real-life scenarios (details changed for emphasis or creative license, and for the sake of confidentiality). Think of it as a cross between David Macaulay’s seminal The Way Things Work and Ann Landers’s “Dear Abby” advice column, but for higher education.
The Covid concept home has a hidden room upstairs in the master bedroom that was obviously designed to be a “mom room,” where mothers can hide from their spouses and their children. It has a bookcase, a false bookcase door, an opening — again, only accessible through the master bedroom. It is decorated with floor pillows, reminiscent of California cult chic. It looks like the kind of space where one is expected to chant and to achieve vibrations that will pull them closer to the ultimate energy source. Or whatever.
This room is the most divisive design element among those with whom I shared the concept home. Women with small children, in particular, like one woman I toured the home with, said some version of: “I could absolutely use a room like that, because what Covid showed me is that so much togetherness with my family is not good for my mental health and my well-being. And I cannot escape the home. So I need escapes within the home.” But some men and women were appalled at the room’s concept, describing it as pandering. As one woman said to me, getting away from your children can’t solve the problem of how unfair and unsustainable modern motherhood is. It can’t rebalance a disproportionate division of labor. She called it akin to building a bubble bath to solve the social structural problem of gendered labor and expectations....
The Covid concept home demonstrates both the exuberant quality of American consumption — that we can buy our way out of everything — and its limits as a solution. Designing for problems that may seem straightforward in a survey may sound really cool, and may provide you with some really cool features. Listen, I thought that the laundry room was impressive, and I never imagined myself being impressed by a laundry room. But the problems posed by Covid can’t really be solved at the level of the household. These are structural, collective problems: politically and culturally, economically and spiritually.
M Moser’s 10,000-square-foot Manhattan headquarters in the Woolworth Building was designed in 2018 and revamped in 2020 to create a healthier workplace. Employees do not have assigned seats but rather choose a place to work every morning. Instead of sitting at desks, they sit at mobile tables; their portable electronic equipment is powered by portable battery packs.
The firm’s headquarters have been open, with limited capacity, since June 2020; its flexible workspace enabled it to adapt quickly when it reopened.
Similarly, M Moser’s new “living lab” for its offices in Shenzhen, China, offers diverse work settings and choices, as well as a virtual meeting device with real-time connection but no advance booking requirement....
His firm’s “more progressive” clients are dramatically reducing individual work spaces from 70 percent of the total to 30 percent, with 70 percent now collaborative; at least one client is dedicating only 10 percent of its work spaces to individuals....
What will emerge will be “a blended work force where some people will work from home, some in the office on certain days,” he added....
To make offices attractive to those who choose to work there either occasionally or full-time — rather than at home — companies are creating spaces for employees to socialize and meet, either in person or virtually....
For its clients, the firm further recommends what it calls the “anti-anxiety office entry.” This would entail redesigning an office building’s lobby so it contains “breathable and easily navigable spaces [so] we can choreograph the arrival experience to reduce crowding,” according to a document titled “10 Ideas for Post-Pandemic Design.” “Employees and visitors, messengers and deliveries and people arriving by foot or by bike, each will have a clear and dedicated arrival path.”...
Its outdoor space, which has tables and seats for meetings, will be as large as its indoor space, maximizing employees’ access to the elements year-round.
Art, Engagement, Economy: the Working Practice of Caroline Woolard proposes a politics of transparent production in the arts, whereby heated negotiations and mundane budgets are presented alongside documentation of finished gallery installations. Audience members will follow the behind-the-scenes work that is required to produce interdisciplinary art projects, from a commission at MoMA to a self-organized, international barter network with over 20,000 participants. With contextual analysis of the political economy of the arts, from the financial crisis of 2008 to the COVID pandemic of 2020, this talk suggests that artists can bring studio-based sculptural techniques to an approach to art-making that emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and dialogue.
Caroline Woolard (b.1984) is an American artist who, in making her art, becomes an economic critic, social justice facilitator, media maker, and sculptor. Since the financial crisis of 2007-8, Woolard has catalyzed barter communities, minted local currencies, founded an arts-policy think tank, and created sculptural interventions in office spaces. Woolard has inspired a generation of artists who wish to create self-organized, collaborative, online platforms alongside sculptural objects and installations. Her work has been commissioned by and exhibited in major national and international museums including MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and Creative Time. Woolard’s work has been featured twice on New York Close Up (2014, 2016), a digital film series produced by Art21 and broadcast on PBS. She is the 2018–20 inaugural Walentas Fellow at Moore College of Art and Design and the inaugural 2019–20 Artist in Residence for INDEX at the Rose Museum, and a 2020-2021 Fellow at the Center for Cultural Innovation.
Here, we undertake an analysis of human-bed bug relations in order to both better understand this contemporary resurgence and critically examine the concept of “companion species.” We argue for conceiving of bed bugs as “estranged companions,” and foreground the need to understand contemporary encounters between humans and the insects through distinct histories that have been shaped by the opening and closing of spaces between classed and racialized bodies and that have been dependent upon the development and deployment of particular technologies such as Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). Further, we argue that “estrangement” has wider conceptual purchase and contributes to a body of research that has countered a strain of scientism in theory that decenters “the human” by interrogating the relations between companion species, (bio)political interventions, and colonial histories.
Queuing is one of the dominant images associated with the spatialization of bureaucratic power. The queue serves as a reminder of a certain administrative logic (and failure), and also of a certain belatedness and delay, which sheds light on how power relations, forms of knowledge and subjectivities are constructed and reified. The duration of this belatedness, of (indefinitely) waiting one’s turn, is mapped onto racialized and gendered subjects and geographies. As a “temporal map,” the queue sets out expectations about the practice of standing in line, that one is being taken into consideration for admission, and so one must wait one’s turn. The figure of the immigrant, the refugee, the marginalized and racialized emphasizes a socio-temporal order in which there is both a real and an imaginary symbolic queue. Further, the distribution of waiting coincides with the distribution of power: there are those who wait and those who are waited for...
At times, when waiting is a permanent condition, when people are kept waiting interminably, when waiting is filled with dread, the experience of prolonged liminality and uncertainty assumes a punitive form of disciplinary temporal power, or what Ta-Nehisi Coates, Saidiya Hartman, and Brittney Cooper describes as theft, or robbery....
the queue also gives rise to “line specialists” or “line tactics,” non-normative temporalities, confused/opaque identities in order to avoid asymmetrical power relations and “harmful ideological interpellation.”... This radical instability of the line—as a structuring mechanism for the distribution of waiting—can move in several different directions at once—towards creative pursuit or the mob, towards protest or inertia.
Welcome to Gallery 404. We exclusively specialize in broken artworks. None of the works are for sale. You will find the exit just past the gift shop. About Gallery 404
net.art is artwork that is made for the internet. It is handcrafted and the results happen in cyberspace, an ephemeral place between machines. Simple Net Art Diagram MTAA (1997) Simple Net Art Diagram MTAA (1997)
Gallery 404 collects and displays hyperlinks to prominent net.art artworks on the world wide web. These links point to a place where net.art happened. The links are displayed along side of more traditional media: written biographical information and images of the artwork’s current state.
Not automating has an obvious cost—human labor. We estimate that our volunteers spent more than 20,000 hours doing data entry alone. But there were clear benefits, some of which weren't easy to foresee as we built out processes at the beginning of the project.
Seeking out and manually entering each data point gave us a detailed understanding of the data that we would not have been able to develop had we automated data collection. We knew when new data points were added and came across caveats and notes posted on state data pages. When metrics changed abruptly, we sought out explanations that states sometimes posted to explain issues like data dumps and reporting lag. The perils of failing to do so are evident: for example, on March 18, 2021, CNN reported dramatic COVID-19 case spikes in Alabama and Delaware, citing data that had been collected automatically—and missing notes that both states published on their dashboards clarifying that the increases resulted from backlogged cases. Additionally, we learned what was normal and what was abnormal on a state by state basis, enabling us to make informed decisions when handling reporting anomalies....
Building automated tooling facilitated our manual data collection and was crucial to our ability to verify data. Ultimately, though, human scrutiny was needed to develop a deep understanding of the data. Perhaps most importantly, collecting data manually allowed us to build a culture of curiosity and care about the data in a way that we could not have done if we were a primarily automated project.