Everyone need to see this right now!!!!
Everyone need to see this right now!!!!
Yesterday I had a meeting with Associate Professor Axel Burns (http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/bruns/) who is an expert in interpreting new media data with a special interest in live analysis of Twitter data during national and global events. I came to talk to Axel about his work with analyzing the #QLDFloods (which can be found @ http://www.mappingonlinepublics.net/) and his visualization of Twitter networks using Gephi.
The Graphs that are produced are absolutely beautiful, Pointillist geography with large data sets have a lot more depth then just graphs and images. Some of Axel’s recent work on creating a Gephi map for Australian Twitter accounts was a lot more detailed then the #QLDFloods one shown above. The shape and form was exactly like I had imagined a digital landscape to look like. Tiny individual points of information collected and sorted into cliques and associations forming a representation of a new digital continent.
I need to write a 1000 words for a report on the #QLDFlood report so I’ll talk about it after I’ve considered and dissected the document further in another post.
This idea of mapping digital entities in a physical (or imagined) environment will form the basis for my own work using Twitter to generate 3D physical environments. This form will become a digitally augmented/activated memorial for the QLDFloods facilitating a ‘Therapy Through Architecture”(TTA), a phenomenon which was introduced to me by Glenda Caldwell , in where architects give the community a place/space to commemorate an event while also providing a physical outlet for the architectural and allow it to be involved in the rehabilitation of the city somehow (other then emergency shelters). I will ask Glenda today if she has any literacy on the subject, as it turned on a light for me as far as why architects are so community minded sometimes and feel more connected to national/local events then, lets say, an accountant would.
I still haven’t heard back from Tim Javis (PHD Student @ UTAZ) on the subject of Digital Schizophrenia and have not started researching the subject myself. I’ll email Simone Brott, author of Architecture for a Free Subjectivity (http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409419952), which I highly recommend, to see if she has any views on the subject as well or can point me in the right direction.
The rabbit hole I have seem to have fallen down, in terms of the applications of open source programming platforms to facilitate ubiquitous technology in architecture, doesn’t seem to have an end…..
I have been facedown in Python Books, Twitter Api Tutorials, Openframeworks, Arduino, Processing, Rhinoscript, C++ & Data Visualization books for the better part of a month now and still have no freaking idea where I am. Every one of these platforms is surprisingly simple to crack into initially, but they all require an intense background in programming languages (something I have been avoiding up until now during my architectural education for this precise reason) if you want to do any advanced / real time processing simulations.
My reason for avoiding these systems for architectural research was purely due to my fear of developing a skill set that any employer wouldn’t be able to utilize correctly or know how to use in an architectural project? What high strung principle is going to look at a project and decide that we needed to study human movements throughout the site using GPS tracking technology? Also which client was going to be stupid enough to pay for it?
The scripting base would be easily utilized to increase workflows and manage tricky geometry for facades and organic roof installations, but it would require that the management team be comfortable investing their time in this type of architectural modeling and also to require them to have a platform I was comfortable working on? (mainly grasshopper, python and rhino). Even then the specific freedom of I.T. is not something you find in the larger firms now a days due to their externally managed I.T..
Anyway, I have to get back to trying to find a way around the fact that only 2% of Australian’s use Geocoding in their tweets (a problem which is possibly due to the fear of publicly releasing personal information on social media, even though people will pay with their credit card on sites which repeatedly get hacked for their credit card data *coff *coff *PSN *coff).
Have a good week.
I don’t have time to edit.
I had another seminar with Laura Forlano as a part of Urban Design Masters class DEN511 yesterday (See previous post). She ran through her work but with more emphasis on defining the new subjects that have been created due to the merger of design and technology.
The definitions of:
While also providing examples of how these subjects relate to the relevant examples of:
During her talks about the works on the Institute for the Future (http://www.iftf.org/) the conversation in the class turned to the problems with our current economic climate and how it isn’t allowing the development of Ubiquitous computing (definition for ubiquitous computing). Because of the way current business models for technological hardware force us to purchase the latest and greatest rather then upgrading the technology we have.
The discussion quickly turned to how peak oil and sustainability movements would need to succeed in order for augmentation of the urban environment to occur, causing my mind to drift……. (The problem of resource management will be moot when we start mining nearby asteroids by pulling them into low Earth orbit http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2011/s3356948.htm)
The duality that human beings now live through having both their online and physical ‘selves’ is something that humanist philosophers, such as Hegel, Hume, Descartes & Kant, have been discussing at length for quite some time. So how would Kant describe the idea of two separate definitions for a single human being (the radical left wing blogger and the farther of two who works at a financial institute) ? And how are we going to handle it when those two identities are no longer possible? (I.E. as we migrate the digital environment completely into the physical? How are we going to merge these two personas again?).
I am going to force my friend Timother Javis (A PHD student at UTAZ) to answer this question for me in more detail then my 6 months of first year philosophy could possibly answer. Also might try and find some writing on schizophrenia in the digital age.
SIDE NOTE : Raspberry-pi is a great example of how Ubiquitous computing is progressing. Find it as Raspberrypi.org
I’ve figured I’ve found my career finally. The idea of Ubiquitous computing in architecture has lit a fire under me more then any beautiful building by Rem Koolhaas ever has. The seamless creation of the meat/machine interface at an architectural scale can only be a good thing for humanity. But people need to move away from focusing on the acquisition of data, as this scares the hell out of a lot of people who are paranoid about how their data is used online (like myself).
Anyone trying to sell this technology to the paranoid or ignorant should concentrate on how this data can be used to improve our lives now. The reason why this argument had to be made previously was due to how people weren’t actually putting their data online? This have been solved by Web2.0 and we should finally show them the ways the data they have been so closely guarding can change their lives for the better! (i.e. see my upcoming work on floodwarning on twitter, or hunt down Axel Burns’s webpage Mapping Online Publics (http://www.mappingonlinepublics.net/.
Now back to work on my portfolio. If I have time I’ll write a post about Forlano’s Sentient City vs Koolhaas’s Generic City.
I do not have time to edit….
Why is the first thought I have when I take a sip of my coffee is; “Have I checked into foursquare?”
This is thought I had after leaving a lecture with acclaimed academic Laura Forlano (Assistant Professor of Design at the ITT Institute of Design) today, speaking on the role of IT in supporting open innovation networks in urban environments.
Here’s the abstract on her work:
Designers emphasize the importance of working together in face-to-face settings in order to brainstorm and prototype solutions. However, the tools that they use (including post-it notes, information panels and photographs) are often digitized during the design process and transformed into presentations, books or physical objects. Based on a year-long qualitative study of design collaboration, this presentation explains the ways in which digital technologies enable new ways of understanding materiality. In addition, this presentation explores the kinds of digital technologies that might support the work of designers.
After showing a few examples of how public space can be appropriated by citizens to become productive workspaces, including a very provocative experiment on a Barcelona light rail car in an attempt to deter graffiti damage, she posed some questions to the audience about where we thought the synthesis between digital and physical spaces in design practices should go and why?
Question 1? What is the way might digital technologies reinforce the importance of place in the field of design?
The fact that humans are exponentially increasing their daily use of digital interfaces (Smartphones, Tablets, Wireless communications, RFID technologies) it is only natural to assume that the new specifications of what constitutes a successful public space are going to have to change to accommodate this dependency we have on digital interfaces.
When you observe how major cultural metropoleis such as Paris or Barcelona have already become successfully integrated with free Wifi, It goes to show just how isolated and backwards thinking Australia actually is. With no national broadband network, limited fiber-optic cabling and a completely outdated local infrastructure system, to nerds if feels like we’re operating with semaphore from a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!
Growing up in an age of digital computing, In Darwin, it is funny to see how quickly it has taken hold. During the last 20 years the Australian population has moved from fear, to acceptance then absolute and utter dependence. This rant continues on to a discussion on how we should change the QWERTY keyboard according to a new layout designed by John Lambie of Ideatron but I’ll leave that for another post.
Question 2? What kinds of materiality’s do digital technologies take on in the field of design?
The question brought a few examples of 3D printing to the floor and a few calls of interactive tabletops and augmented reality but no one was willing to move out of the objective/human scale and look at the city as a digital interface? During a recent class with Marcus Foth of Urbaninformatics he brought attention to a new Helsinki project in which they were developing an OS on a city/urban scale. In which any information about goings on in the local vicinity would be collected, processed, formatted and then output to a series of independent interactive touch screens that could be utilized by multiple users at once.
I feel like this is the kind of scale architects and designers need to be thinking about if they want to get serious about augmented human existence? The Internet was design to be implemented at a global scale? Removing the narrow-minded view of humanity being a local collective / tribe that is defined by its geographical location? We are a global population? Wireless communication has almost rendered racism by geographical location a moot point? Fear of digital technology as a detriment to the human condition has finally been dispatched as 50-60 year olds are now eagerly venturing forth to the apple store or to create accounts on facebook?
As to the materiality of digital technology, I believe that it is the interface that needs to be worried about now. The problem is screens; as they are the most expedient way of interacting with the digital world. Until we figure out ways that the screen can be removed from the equation of the meat/machine interface there is no point in talking about materiality of the digital world.
The digital world should be blended seamlessly with our own, as we move about our day geocoded location data should interact with interactive architectural surfaces that should be activated through RFID transmitters carried in our PDA’s!! The only good thing apple has done so far is get everyone used to the idea of removing the need for mechanical interaction when interfacing with a digital environment.
Question 3? What kinds of sociotechnical artifacts do design processes involve in the field of design?
I recently worked on a project with Crowd_Productions , A Melbourne based architectural studio run by Micheal Trudgeon, on a 1:1 scale office prototype made completely out of cardboard boxes. This office set up was then used as a conversation device as the clients came through and appropriated the space, moving them and drawing on the cardboard walls to indicated different design ideas and changes that needed to be made.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine how these cardboard boxes, through the use of XBee GPS’s logged into an Arduino processor, could have a digital manifestation in a digital environment. Allowing changes to be made to the digital model as well in real time, to allow changes to be incrementally measured and recorded for future analysis.
These types of sociotechnical artifacts, being the cardboard office, are very important in facilitating discussions with clients and allowing the clients to physically interact with the design process. As the clients still think parametric systems and scripted design responses are some sort of digital voodoo, conducted in dank dark pits filled with deleted facebook accounts , sequestered in the darkest regions of the cyberspace. (#Rant)
Question 4? In what ways do artifacts move from digital to physical at various stages of the design process?
Again this question provided a few timid comments from the audience about augmented reality and 3D printing / 3D cloud-point manipulation. Firms like Greg Lynn’s FORM, Grimshaw, Ghery Technologies, etc. have relied on this constant shift from digital to physical testing. Infact during my time at HASSELL there was a constant shift from physical model building and testing to Revit based BIM formats (the turn around times could have been increased through the use of a 3D printer and laser cutting platform but we can’t have everything). The fact that a lot of the people in the room seemed very comfortable with the fact that the change from physical to digital testing was now a standard part of the design process is a very comforting thing to see. As it showed how now the current architectural community has removed the word ‘exploration’ from the word digital.
What is enabled and what is constrained at various stages of the design process?
The only answer to this question would be the limited knowledge architects possess about the digital interfaces they rely on every day. The fact that the software and hardware is changing so rapidly (mainly so companies like Autodesk can charge us ridiculous fees to keep up to date with the latest ‘industry standards’) that nothing is able to sink in?
The unification of the various platforms is not going to occur any time soon, so the temptation to choose and specialize with a particular CAD platform is getting more and more necessary. Of course due to the didactic ebb and tide of the architectural landscape in terms of employment opportunities, specializing in a particular platform can mean a limited choice projects to work on in the future.
How does this encourage or discourage collaboration?
The idea of a central file, which most BIM software operates on, has forced collaboration. Which I think is a great change from sitting at your desk for hours and hours working on a single package with your headphones in. During my time on Trackstar there were constant communication between the team, BIM manager and lead architect on how the model was changing and progressing. Which to me seemed like a monumental benefit.
Do distinctions of physical and digital still matter?
Yes. The opportunity to actually touch something and interact with an object has been a subject of study for generations for a very particular reason. We all are not blessed with a perfect interior perspective, i.e. we can not imagine something exactly as it is.
There is also a very romantic quality about the architectural object. Holding a scale model of something in your hands as the personification of a single idea or a collaboration of hard work still has a primal effect on the architectural brain.
To surmise, all those years of getting picked on for playing D&D and video games are finally paying off! If I have to go to RMIT next year and get an IT degree so I can show people what can be architecturally accomplished when someone with a firm grasp on scripting and digital tech designs space I’ll be happy to do it.
P.S. I don’t have time to edit.
This video appeared on the Creators Project recently but the software and video has been at the forefront of every GDC (Game Developers Conference) reporter ever since Quantic Dream showed off the year old tech demo.
Quantic Dream, Headed by David Cage & Co-Founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere, are the studio behind Heavy Rain (which started as a similar tech demo called “The Casting” that can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zPE-b09R6sI) have released a 12 month old demo of their new motion capture and face recognition project “Kara”.
Not actually a game (yet), Kara is the story of an android that achieves sentience and is almost killed minutes after being born. The footage is being run live through Quantic’s PS3 Gaming engine and while being profoundly beautiful, gives developers a new insight into where games like Heavy Rain & L.A. Noir have taken CGI.
I’m just doing a bit of a creators project dump here. This was also an amazing article about having a ‘social idenfitication’.
As long as there are no lines or annoying public servants giving them out I’m ok with it.
Found this video on the creators project this weekend when I was trying to recover from the flu.
Absolutely amazing work by Andrew Thomas Huang.
The use of particle effects almost made me want to pick up Adobe Aftereffects again and try it out.