Thursday, 22 July 2010

urbanTick at Strelka - Virtual vs Real

The urbanTick blog will be written from Moscow for the coming week. I will be involved in a workshop at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design.
The workshop goes under the title 'AG: Virtual Versus Real' and we will be investigating the interface between the virtual social networking activity and the real world location. The workshop will integrate mapping, programming and visualising.

From the website 'Virtual reality is becoming a part of the factual everyday life. In the video game Second Life one can build an ideal house, watch an on-line lecture by Zaha Hadid, and even visit offices of established architectural bureaus. Facebook allows us to follow schedules of designers and architects, and Twitter even makes them as close as your friends.
What is the influence of virtual spaces on real ones? How are design and architecture of the virtual space different from those of the real space? In this session we will discuss how Internet influences our society and the city environment, what happens in on-line gaming and social networks, and what practical benefits they can bring?'

Image taken from New Scientist / The mood of the nation at midday and 11 pm EST (Image: Alan Mislove/Sune Lehmann/Yong-Yeol Ahn/Jukka-Pekka Onnela/J. Niels Rosenquist, 2010).

This is a very hot topic currently and a lot of great visualisations have been produced and a couple of research projects are using it already as a data source. The Tweet-O-Meter and the New Landscape Maps developed here at CASA are only one of them. Another research project is the 'Puls of the Nation: U.S. Mood Throughout the Day inferred from Twitter' currently discussed in the New Scientist.

In the context of Moscow this will be very interesting since the underground network actually has coverage for the mobile phone network. So it is possible to tweet from underground. This will definitely change the landscape. Influenced by this contextless black tube space and the monotony of commuting are the best breeding ground for virtual interaction and remote social networking.

Moscow Metro Map
Image taken from bonCherry / Moscow Metro Map.

With the workshop we want to look closely at these phenomenon and work out in detail the conditions in the urban fabric that allow for this virtual-real interface and the implications for architecture. For a long time the virtual worlds have fascinated architects and it is established practice in the conception of architecture. However, in the use of architecture this has only been discovered.
The workshop will cover mapping of the urban context according to virtual activity and involve programming and practical real world exercise. The strategy is explorative based, since we don't know yet about the finding but it will go beyond a merely virtual assemblage of information.
The New Landscape maps are a starting point but we really want to learn something aout the tactility of the physical location and investigate the conditions and changes this practice brings for architecture. The workshop is run by Daniel Dendra together with Imannuel Koh and myself.

So if you happen to be around in Moscow just pop in and see what we are doing, Strelka is located directly in the centre of Moscow on the island Balchug just opposite the Kremlin.

Since Strelka is a new school, headed by Rem Koolhas and his OMA/AMO team, they put in a lot of effort an have managed to put together a very impressive line up of big names for lectures. There is Peter Cook, tonight actually, Odile Decq, Colin Fournier, Bjarke Ingels, Michael Schindhelm, and many more.

Image taken from Wikipedia / River Moskva, downtown Moscow, 1852 map.

Recently with the New City Landscape maps there was a lot of taking around this topic on this blog. This will continue with two additional sets of maps coming up. First set with the cities of Moscow, Barcelona, San Francisco and Sydney. This will be followed by a set with Jakarta, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and Toronto.

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