Thursday, 31 March 2011

AR Spaces - ArchiMaton

Visions and ideas are ephemeral and can be occasionally tightly connected to a location. A specific spot that triggers a vision, something connecting a thought and a place. This trigger very often carries emotions and is loaded with specific feelings that can bring a physical reaction, for example goos bumps in a ghostly sort of way.

Making this phenomena a working tool the environment can become once more a big playground with rather detailed and complex options and possibilities. This is interesting especially in an architecture context or even on a n urban level with, where space can be the media augmented by visions.

Image taken from mob-ility / A screen shot of the envisioned app grabbing the contextual information for inserting the vision.

Architecture student Sahar Fikouhi from the Bartlett has developed a augmented reality concept based around this notion of spatial narrative for the development of architecture visions. The idea is to use the AR layer to detect the context specification and develop directly in 3D a fitting structure. The Achi-Maton tool is not fully developed app, but a great sketch in it self creating this sense of goose bumps.

Sahar explains "It allows for real-time scanning and sketch design of architectural structures. The application consists of 4 main functions, including site analysis, programme analysis, design library and material library".

Image taken from mob-ility / A series of screen shots documenting the development steps.

Wanderlust - Stories to Go

Many different location based apps have surfaced recently making excellent use of the localising capacity of the latest generation of smart phones. However the trend is going through phases. everything from transport app to news feed now wants to use the current location for whatever. In the beginning there was a lot of excitement that it actually works and apps where pars. The check-ins came along and made it big with Brightkite and Latitude, then Foursquare and finally Facebook pushing the train. Now we're in a sort of location bubble with every app inside. This is not going anywhere, so better getting into a niche as things are still rolig.

Wanderlust is such a tool for the smart phone developed for a niche, however closely related to other specialised fields. Wanderlust (the making of) is a mobile story telling platform integrating with the cohort of Foursquare, making use of their massive database of check-ins. Via these location the narratives unfold. The clever concept of the Wandelust stories is, that they play at generic type locations instead of actual unique locations. The narrative relates to the type 'Bar' and this is not a specific bar, but just any bar you can find.

If the story starts at a 'Shop', off you go, into the next shop and the narrative unfolds. The location plays an important role in so far that it is used to determine the type of location you are in. In some sense this is location type hopping according to storyboard. The narrative will tell you where to go next to find the next part of the story and hear how this bloody mess is resolved (in the story obviously).

The platform is very helpful in finding the right place as it ties in with the Goole Maps routing service and finds the quickest way to get there. So it is hard to get lost, but it is especially hard to find an excuse not to play or listen in this case. Not even the platform provides an escape, it runs across platforms. Quite cleverly it is built as a webpage, using JQuerry, any browser capable mobile phone can load. No complaints, out you go, pull these stories in!

Tourism by Naomi Alderman: A chilling urban fantasy, beginning in a bar. Tech by Tom Chatfield: A thousand words of science fiction in one act, beginning in a restaurant. Ivy by Andrea Phillips: A dark and dreamlike fairytale, beginning in a nightclub or music venue. In The Shadow Of Her Tail by Matt Wieteska: An urban fantasy, beginning in a shop. South by Southwest by Adrian Hon: A homage to Hitchcock’s spy thriller North by Northwest set during SXSW 2011, beginning (of course) in a convention center.

If you have an ide for a story get in touch with the guys at @wanderlustapp.

Image taken from narrativenow / Wanderlust graphic.

Via roomthly

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

LinkedIN by Numbers

The professional version of facebook has now als reached the 100 million user mark and is still growing. LinkedIN the social networking platform for the professional world has published at the beginning of March 2011 their growth in numbers to make a good impression. Founded in 2003 in Santa Monica, California by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant, the platform has grown to be worth almost $ 3 billion and makes a revenue of over $ 160 million, this is up over 200% from the previous year 2009 at just over $ 80 million.

It was a niche market back the and probably still is. But once your big things settle and a niche can be good business. The main asset linkedIN really has is the content. All these details of businesses, jobs and positions as well as the real people behind it. They say that 73 of the Forbes 100 best companies are using linkedIN hiring systems. This means that the platform hosts a massive amount of details and hors unimaginable stock of knowledge on the worlds markets. These days knowing about the business connections is worth more than actually making business.

Regarding the numbers, there is one more number of the financial sector that is probably interesting. LinkedIN earns about $160 million, but its expenses are almost $150 million. It's actually expensive to know all these details. Presumably most of the cost goes into infrastructure.

In terms of the demographics, LinkedIN hosts over 58% male profiles and only about 42% female profiles. The main user group is between 25 and 50 years old, but the group of 18-25 year olds are also quite keen on the service with over 20%.

In terms of geographical distribution, as you would expect North America is LinkedIN homeland. with about 48% of all the users. The classic blindspots on the map are Africa, South America (except Brasil and Argentina), the Middle East and the Far East (except India). In terms of geographical gender distribution North America is doing better in terms of equality than every body else with 45% f and 55% m, where the Middle East with 23% f and 77% m is the most unbalanced market. However this is presumably not taking the numbers of users into account.

Through out the network the larger companies, over 1000 employees, are the most common. Also Smaller businesses tend to like the service, where medium sized businesses seem to be not that interested. As you would expect the leading branches are hightech 16% and finances 13% with agriculture covering the end with only about 0.4%. In terms of the job function academics are floating towards the top with around 10%, only the sales department is larger with 13%.

Interesting are aso the facts around the use and growth numbers. In terms of time of the day apparently there is a very high after lunch peak over all. During lunch and after lunch really seems to be the time web users find time for the sneaky break to check their social networking status, read a few blos and apply for a better job on inked in. The graph below also incudes the mobile user times and interestingly they mainly access the service after work and in the evening. However I imagine the graph to be slightly out of scale, the mobile users would be a lot smaller in numbers than the actual web users, but never mind. So if you really want this job you better apply before lunch.

linkedIN 2011
Image taken from / The linkedIN network by numbers compiled by xxxxx on 2011-03-22.

Via zioigor

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Protest in the Middle East - Inception

Over the last few month Europe realised that there are changes under way in the Middle East. Since December 2010 in a number of countries around the Mediterranean and the red sea people are protesting against their regimes, essentially asking for a changing of Government with fundamental changes for their society. In most cases the regimes are in place for thirty years or so and govern the countries in a totalitarian fashion not letting the large part of the population take part on any of the political processes.

Path of Protest_Guardian
Image taken from the Guardian / Interactive infographic depicting the protests in the Middle East on a timeline. Each icon links to a news coverage of the event. Click image for the interactive version.

These events are both culturally and politically very significant and were largely not expected. The protest in some countries have already lead to the toppling of the regimes as in Tunisia, and Egypt and there are ongoing protests in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Marocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. In Libya the protests have turned into a civil war between pro Gadhafi military and Rebel fighter causing some European countries together with the US to intervene and establish a no flight zone, essentially helping the Rebells by attacking the Gadhafi troops from the air.

The Guardian has put together an oerview of the events, covering the timespan from end of 2010 to Spring 2011 listing the events interms of news coverage. They have come up with a really interesting visualisation for this summary as a sort of blend of Google Place marked timeline with an Inception theme, very much in the style of Here + There by Berg but in a temporal context.

The bending of the time axis indicated the time flow as a linear progression dropping down from the top, vanishing under the viewers feet as if on a running machine or in a hamster wheel. However, there is something very engaging to this sort of visual, similar to the first person shooter perspective, the consumer is presented with an interpretation of the viewing field. It has this computerized navigation feel to it.

Image taken from Etheriel / City folding, with an onlooking Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb.

An other reference of course is the Inception theme, of last years Christopher Nolan Blockbuster staring Leonardo DiCaprio in a race inside the human mind against the cock touring different levels of dreams. One of the visuals for the film scenery was the folding of space, bending parts of the city of Paris.

The visual for a temporal, rather than a spatial representation, as use by the Guardian, has lesser boundaries for such folding concept. The developers Sheila Pulham who was recently involved with a number of data vidualisation for the Guardian and Garry Blight can play more freely with the projection of the future and make good use of effects such a perspective and blurring. The navigation however is solved with two handels, one to go back and forwards like a gear shifter and the other one as a slider across the top in the form of a horizontal timeline. Both are doing exactly the same and it is very unclear why they have chosen to add a second timeline in the 'traditional' horizontal orientation.

The verticality of the representation has a very convincing feel to it. It of course refers closely to the ideas of Hagerstrand and his time-space aquarium, where the time is plotted vertically, extending a 2d spatial plane into a 3d cube. The bending sort of implies more of a 'lived' version where the pure vertical option is rather abstract with the time coming from somewhere and never enduringly dropping down. In the folded option the time at least lies behind the observer, however it leaves open how this big pile of unwound time string piles up in the back.

Image taken from Etheriel / City folding, with an onlooking Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb.

Via information asthetics

Friday, 25 March 2011

Massified Research and Visualisation

Today at the conference in Oxford 'Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation' we will be presenting a paper. The conference is packed and there are waiting lists for all events. This is to say how popular the topic currently is. Of course Oxford is a great place, they have managed to cover a vast variety of topics and invite popular and well known key speakers. Nevertheless there is also the aspect of hype and coolness about the topic that plays an important role. For an outine of the conference see HERE.

Steven Woolgar has in his key note already pointed out the differences in the rais of the visualisation and surprised with a few in depth analysis of visualisations. From neural advertisement analysis to the translation of lectures in to animations and the viualisation of key strokes as colour and sound.

The paper presented by Tim Webmoor and myself is focusing on aspects of ethics and practices for online social research especially regarding the gray area in which it operates given the lack of covering academic protocols. The title of this contribution is 'Massified Research and Visualisation' and it is based on the forthcoming paper "Scaling Information in the Information Economy: Implications for Massified Research and Visualisation from Public API Feeds'. The abstract of the presentation can be found HERE.

Below you can find the presentation to click through.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation - Conference

The Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) is organising a two-day conference 'Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation' on 25-26 March 2011 at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
"The theme of the conference is the permeation of science and research with computational seeing. How does computer mediated vision as a mode of engagement with information as well as with one another effect what we see (or think we see), and what we take ourselves to know?"

The event is structured along three main topics: Changing Notions of Cognition, Changing Notions of Objectivity and Changing ontologies of scientific vision.

Rain at musicfestivals
Image taken from onlinejournalism blog / for a viral-friendly piece of visualisation, it’s hard to beat this image of festival rainfall in the past 3 decades.

Speakers include: Peter Galison, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Michael Lynch, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University, Steve Woolgar, InSIS, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and the summarising discussants are: Anne Beaulieu, Virtual Knowledge Studio, Paolo Quattrone, IE Business School and Fulbright New Century Scholar

I will be presenting a paper together with Tim Webmoore on ethics and visualisation of large scale dataset mined from the web, with a focus on twitter. We'll be using the NCL mapping project for examples, to develop an illustrated argument for ethics in this field. However, the aim is to use ethics to support this kind of research, using ethics and a clear position as a framework. We believe that such structures are of additional value to the research and researchers and ensure in the long term academic research quality and standards.

Abstract: In this paper, we examine some of the implications of born-digital research environments by discussing the emergence of data mining and analysis of social media platforms. With the rise of individual online activity in chat rooms, social networking platforms and now micro-blogging services new repositories for social science research have become available in large quantities. The change in sample sizes, for instances, from 100 participants to 100,000 is a dramatic challenge in numerous ways, technically, politically, but also in terms of ethics and visualisation. Given the changes of scale that accompany such research, both in terms of data mining and communication of results, we term this type of research 'massified research'. These challenges circle around how the scale of, and coordination work involved with, this digitally enabled research enacts different researcher-participant relationships. Consequently, much of the very innovative and creative research resulting from mining such open data sets operates on the boundaries of institutional guidelines for accountability. In this paper we argue that while the private and commercial processing of these new massive datasets is far from unproblematic, the use by academic practitioners poses particular challenges. These challenges are manifold by the augmentation of the capacity to distribute and access the results of such research, particularly in the form of web-based visualisations.
Specifically we are looking at the spatial and temporal implications of raw data and processed data. We consider the case study of using Twitter's public API or application programming interface for research and visualisation. An important spatial consequence of such born-digital research is the embedding of geo-locative technology into many of these platforms. A temporal consequence has to do with the creation of 'digital heritage', or the archiving of online traces that would otherwise be erased. To unpack these implications we consider how a selection of tweets can be collected and turned into data sets amenable to content and spatial analysis. Finally, we step through how visualisation transforms such vast quantities of tabular data into a more comprehensible format through the presentation of several visualisations generated from Twitter's API. These include what one of us has developed as 'Tweetographies' of urban landscapes, as well as examples of recent Twitter activity surrounding the disasters in Japan.
Such analysis raises issues of privacy and ethics in relation to academic ethical approval committees' standards of informed consent and risk reduction to participants. Such massified research and its outputs operate in a grey area of undefined conduct with respect to these concerns. For instance, what are the shifting boundaries of public and private space when using Twitter and other platforms like it? Are Twitter and other social media platforms' disclaimers as to privacy sufficient justification for academic and commercial use? Are the standards of social science research protocols applicable to research on and for 'the masses'?
To conclude, we discuss propose some potential best practices or protocols to extend current procedures and guidelines for such massified research.

Mountains out of Molehills
Image taken from Nora Oberle's blog / Another beautiful data visualisation. Even though in this case, the topic is not that hilarious- it’s about news coverage of scare stories. Remember tumours and cellphones or “killer wifi”?

Full conference programm to download HERE.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Just for the Fun of it

In sync on the dot with the beat, goes the graphic as the beautifully melancholic song by James Blake drags on. Its fascinating to watch the transformation of form, shape and colour in tune with a very rhythmic pice of music. This is nice because of its visionary combination and a serious attempt to imply importance on a level of playfulness popping dimensions.

The work is created by Yaniv Fridman with the title Unluck. As he discribes it "Messing around with C4D, just for the fun of it". Well what a mess and what a beautiful mess. But then, mess is usually beautiful and inspiring in a second attempt and paying with the potential it has to create additional work driving the development and leading on, messing is definitely worth it. You never know.

Book - Architecture: a Synoptic Vision

This publication is in many ways not really a book and as it says on the front cover, it is more of 'a Prospectus of Developments...'. It is not as big or thick as a book, but it most likely outweighs them all in one aspect, the timeframe it covers. Architecture - a Synoptic Vision summarises the developments in architecture from 1900 to today, where today is 2007. The prospectus is published by Birkhauser and includes a card a poster and a booklet.

Its the fascination with the past as the struggle to organise memories to make sense of the present that shapes the desire to redraw history. And in many ways this synopsis does redraw the past hundred years, in colour and blogs, with lines and words. The three authors Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard put their vision of the past forward as an 'example of an evolutionary history'.

Image by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard / Card showing the style and movement developments in architecture during the 20th century. Taken from 'Architectur : a Synoptic Vision' by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard, published by Birkhauser.

They note in the introduction the changes in how architecture is thought and practiced and how distinct movements have been lost in the course of the years to drown in the global distribution and the enormous availability of information. They note: "These differing views have marke contemporary discourse on architecture as a highly controversial and at the same time ideological exercise".

The large poster chart is one part of the publication and summarises in a downwards direction visually the development and different groupings in architectura style and theory. Structurally dominant are the three concepts of Modernism/Classicism, Dogmatic Modernism and Expressive Modernism. Where as Schinkel stands above the Dogmatic Modernism and Semper above the Expressive Modernism, the Ecole des Beaux-Art stands at the beginning of Modernism/Classicism. The three blobs are augmented in detail with names of architects practicing in the tradition of one of the three areas. For important figures milestones, key projects are also listed. So for example Kahn is represented with the Yale Art Gallery, New Haven Connecticut, 1951-53, as part of the Modernism/Classicism. Le Corbusier stand for the Dogmatic Modernism with for example Unite d'Habitation, Marseille 1946-52. And Hans Scharoun forms part of the Expressive Modernism with for example the Philharmonie, Berlin, 1960-63.

So far for the main body of the hundred year chart. It becomes more complicated in recent years, where, as the authors note: "The positioning of contemporary attitude, in particular, is speculative and can only be preliminary in nature because of the historical distance for a more thoroughly examined allocation is still missing".

As a result the recent thirty years are part of the same blob. Visually the three distinct streams merge into one, around the first and the second oil crisis (1972 and 1979 respectively) as the Reflective Modernism. At the same time though, the sub categories become many and smaller unnamed groupings of practices and architects form. so is Foster, Nouvel and Piano a blob, or Diener&Diener, Krischanitz, Maerkli and Snozzi for example. But of course aso features Herzog de Meuron or Sauerbruch Hutton, Kollhoff and Chipperfield. Any name you can think of in a current architecture landscape is put down on the time axis with a group indication.

Mies 1964
Image taken from MoMa / Brick Country House, project, Potsdam-Neubabelsberg, Plan
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (American, born Germany. 1886-1969) 1964. Ink on illustration board, 30 x 40" (76.2 x 101.6 cm). Mies van der Rohe Archive, gift of the architect. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In the accompanying booklet the authors discuss briefly the main characteristics of space styled topics over the period. The idea is to illustrate "humankind's interaction with built space" using archetypal buildings. The topic are 'the Centre' with Kahn and Schinkel, 'the Horizontal' with SANAA and Mies, 'the Third Dimension' with Loos and Hertzberger, as the three keys.

The thing with time is the constant struggle for order and there have been previously and there will be many other attempts to make sense of it all, bring history in order and paint one consistant picture. This can only ever be done from the current moment of being in retrospect with the whole rucksack of knowledge and experience, values and desires. In this sense each attempt is a very momentary and personal eg subjective one. However, this is not in any way diminishing the value of any of these attempts, on the contrary, it highlights the importants it has for the moment as well as the identity it creates. In some ways the interpretation of the past has to be interpreted as the image of the present.

This is a great publication and the poster should be pined up at every office entrance, of course with the office positioning its elve in the context of such a temporal framework. The playful integration of history as a stimulant for visions, definitely a creativity field manual.

Image by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard / Cover of Architectur : a Synoptic Vision by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard, published by Birkhauser.

Via Birkhauser, additional review can be found at Archidose.

Meyer, A., Kuhlbrodt, S. & Aeberhard, B., 2008. Architecture -- A Synoptic Vision Pap/Chrt., Basel: Birkhauser.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Tokyo Flows - Rest and Rush

Flows of people and cars, full streets and walkways, platforms and crossings represent a dynamic urban metropolis in flux. Tokyo the 24 hour city is the ultimate density symbol and reference for flow representation.

Through out the clip the individuals find shelter, escape the rush and break out, rest and jump back in. Opportunities are multiple. There is a group of friends chatting in between a large body of pedestrians staying as the mass shifts by. Or the individuals that find shelter from the flow in the shadow of some pillars dividing the mass of people streaming by.

Interesting how architecture suddenly plays a different role in this context of temporal representation in the form of a timeLapse. Corners, bends or obstacles turn into havens for a timeout. All this is beautifully framed by Joe Wiecha. The images are shot before the earthquake earlier this month and we hope that the metropolis and the whole of Japan soon finds back to its routines. Tokyo time lapse feature also HERE and HERE earlier.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Twitter Wave in Honolulu

The tsunami wave, generated by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake of the East coast of Japan on the 11 March 2011, spread through out the pacific threatening many coastal sections in different countries. The water fore strongest hit the Japanese coast shortly after the earthquake. All other countries had a little more time to evacuate and prepare. Hawaii, was one of the next destinations in the line of the wave. The arrival was expected by NOAA, the tsunami warning centre, around 13h17 the same day.

Looking at the activity on twitter during the tsunami we are on the search for clues about the relationship between twitter and an unfolding natural disaster. As an inspiration to serves the XKCD PhD comic 'Seismic Waves'.

In this close look at twitter activity related to the tsunami resulting from the earthquake, Anders Johanson has animated the messages for one hour before and one hour after the expected arrival time of the tsunami wave in Honolulu on Hawaii. The messages are collected through the usual NCL collection method and are focusing on actual geo located tweets that contain lat/long information. Johanson explains "At the time instant when each new tweet is posted, a bright red blob appears on the map, and this blob is then decaying in intensity and size. Re-tweets are shown as an arrow, pointing from the original source of information. Interestingly enough, the information wave has the same direction as the seismic wave. However, there are obviously way too few data points to enable a rigorous spatio-temporal analysis in this case."

IMage by urbanTick for NCL / The graph shows the number of geo located tweets sent per hour from Honolulu, on 2011-03-11, in a radius of 30 km on the day the tsunami resulting from the earlier earthquake in Japan was expected to reach the Hawaiian coast. In white are the overal tweets and in purple the tweets containing the key words wave, tsunami and earthquake or Japan. The first dotted line from the left is the expected arrival time of the wave on the coast of Hawaii at around 13h07 UTC. The second dotted line is the arrival time of the wave on the coast of Mexico.

The tsunami arrived in Hawaii and hit hard, causing damages estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars. On the twitter scape on the other hand, there is a slight increase of activity after the wave, but actually very little. However, as you can note in the graph above there are more tweets using the keywords related to the natural disaster unfolding than there are thereafter, especially after the wave arrived in Mexico.

UPDATE 2011-03-18

Processing the twitter data some further, the spikes on the keywords do fade out nicely in the hours afterwards. This time we are working with the larger data set containing all the located tweets including the geo located tweets. This data set differs from the one used earlier as that it included reverse geocoded locations, eg places, but not necessarily pure lat/long messages. This set contains some 260'000 messages as compared to some 20'000 geo located in the earlier dataset.

Looking at the event over longer period shows the pattern much clearer. There is a lot more activity around the expected tsunami wave and the dying out of the keywords can be observed in the following hours and days. However it also confirms that to some extend the purely geo located tweets, as a sub set, folow largely the same pattern and are not

Note, there is a baseline tweet containing the term 'wave' that we picked up as part of the collection. This is a weather boy just of Honolulu tweeting the current status of the water, wave and wind.

Image by urbanTick for NCL / The graph shows the number of geo located tweets sent per hour from Honolulu after 2011-03-11, in a radius of 30 km on the day the tsunami resulting from the earlier earthquake in Japan was expected to reach the Hawaiian coast. In white are the overal tweets and in purple the tweets containing the key words wave, tsunami, earthquake or Japan. The first dotted line from the left is the expected arrival time of the wave on the coast of Hawaii at around 13h07 UTC. The second dotted line is the arrival time of the wave on the coast of Mexico.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Japan 2011 Shifting Scales - Time and Space

The dramatic events of the last few days unfolding in Japan have definitely also had an impact on how we assess safety risk and stability. As the rescue and stabilisation operations are still in progress the full extend of the disaster is not as of yet to conclude. The scale of the destruction is massive, especially through the tsunami that followed the earthquake and which has basically washed away the whole North East coast.

Mappings are under way, from Google to open source projects. ABC news has put together, similar to the version of the Australian flooding, a before and after documentation. Etire villages and towns are flattened, the buildings simply gone. The force of the water can be seen in videos pushing houses down the road. An incredible force, something not imaginable and certainly not expected.

Japan 2011 tsunami
Image taken from Ann Fischer / Japan flag as a red ball with the tsunami wave rendered in 3d onto it. Data used from the NOAA image showing the expected wave hight.

The events have jumped out of scale very early on. The earth quake was the larges in Japan's recorded history. But in many other ways, is has also shifted scales. The dimensions with the multiplication of the earthquake and the tsunami and now, as a result the looming nuclear emergency.

On a very spatial scale the earthquake had shifted the whole of the Japanese coast line by some 2.4 meters. Who said the land is a constantly stable entity? It is unclear what the impact of this movement and remapping and redrawing the coast lines might be the simplest task. Infrastructure has definitely been hit hardest, the rigid installations of roads, train lines, bridges, pipes and cables. To what extend there will bean impact on navigation both on land and in the air is not as of yet clear. "At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass," said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Japan is located on the Ring of Fire, the falt line around the Pacific Ocean where constant earth movement result in hundreds of earthquakes a year. However this scale is ver unusual and the 2011-03-11 earthquake was the strongest ever recorded in the history of the country.
Because of the location Japan is putting in a lot of effort to be prepared, probably Japan is the best prepared nation on earth for the case of an earthquake. At this scale however things are a bit different, it is simply overwhelming and complications pile in.

This event of course also draws attempts to compare to earlier events and history is once more unrolled. There is a lot to uncover and the Japanese disaster history is long and the society pretty battered with events, in this sense a very strong nation always has been able to cope with the most dramatic of events.

Kobe earthquake 1995
Image taken from Wikipedia / The Great Hanshin earthquake, or Kobe earthquake, was an earthquake that occurred on Tuesday, January 17, 1995, at 05:46 JST (16 January at 20:46 UTC) in the southern part of Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. It measured 6.8 on the moment magnitude scale (USGS),[1] and Mj7.3 (adjusted from 7.2) on JMA magnitude scale.[2] The tremors lasted for approximately 20 seconds. The focus of the earthquake was located 16 km beneath its epicenter,[2] on the northern end of Awaji Island, 20 km away from the city of Kobe.

There are definitely two, that immediately draw up to this most recent one. The first one is the Kobe earthquake that destroyed the central part of Japan around Kobe on January 17 in 1995. The vast devastation included around 200'000 buildings the port of Kobe and large sections of an express way. The nation was unprepared and the disaster coincided with a economical down period making it even the more difficult to get the recovery on track.

The second event, also in relation to the unfolding nuclear aftermath of the distaster is the much older, but nevertheless very present, nuclear attack on Nagasaki and Hiroshima on August 9, 1945 and Monday, August 6, 1945 respectively. The attack not only destroyed with devastating impact the whole area, but contaminated the wider region. The impact reached far beyond structural damage and with long term effect through the radiation had vast social and psychological effects.

Japan 2011 and Nagasaki
Image taken from News Flick / Above: A destroyed landscape in Otsuchi village, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan. Below: Nagasaki following the August 9, 1945 dropping of the atomic bomb “Fat Man”.

All these events drag through parallels of disaster and trauma mix up the times and pull these events closer together ignoring the usually in linear fashion imagined timeline. Are we going in circles.

Of corse int his context another event is very present, the Chernobyl nuclear accident on the 26 of April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR. With Japan now struggling to bring the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was badly damaged during the earthquake under controle these memories and experiences come back to live. In fact telling from the government reactions through out the world, especially Germany and Switzerland, but also Russia and the EU, nuclear energy was considered save and sound. Probably it was secretly being promoted as the solution for many countries to the global warming and sustainability programs. No one really was in the game with a large majority to lobby against the very powerful nuclear energy consortiums. Many countries have only recently revoken legislations to abandonne nuclear energy, such as Germany or Italy in 2008. Most countries are now however, revising and revisiting their active plants and plans for new ones. The recent events in this sense were a sudden wake up call with a good stirrup of settled perspectives and believes.

Clearly this goes way beyond just Japan. The impact on many levels from economy to energy are global. Technology is save and well developed but only to some extend. Nuclear energy production has changed since and because of the Chernobyl disaster, but still a large number of reactors currently running are dated, were built in the seventies and eighties. The earthquake has also, according to calculations by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 10 centimeters. Similar movement was reported also from the 2004 Chilenian earthquake in a National Geographic article. "should have shortened an Earth day by 1.26 millionths of a second, according to new computer-model calculations by geophysicist Richard Gross of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. For comparison, the same model estimated that the magnitude 9 Sumatra earthquake in December 2004 shortened the length of a day by 6.8 millionths of a second." The Japan earthquake should be in about the same league. Even though this sounds very dramatic experts point out that such changes are part of the constant movement and changes of the planet. These measurements are based on mathematical models and not actual measurements. The changes are presumed to be much too small even for satellites to pick up.

Nevertheless, the fact and especially the idea of the ground moving and with it changing the duration of the day as our basic rhythmic unit is really disturbing. It again points out that there are more interconnections apparent with each event than we usually are capable of perceiving and willing to take into account. In this sense the ongoing development of the disaster in Japan is definitely active on many scales with the power to shift these scales. Rigid structures are moved, ground is shifted, areas contaminated, towns erased. More over, security is destroyed, routines buried and safety washed away. A lot of lives have been lost bringing with it great human tragedies. Whole towns are destroyed and large urban areas such as Tokyo with around 35 million people at risk from the nuclear fall out of the badly damaged power plant.

This sudden dimension shift on spatial but definitely also temporal scales are are considerable part of the extend of the disaster for the individual as much as society, the town as much as the city and the nation as much as the world.

For support and donations Google has installed a central webpage for Japan 2011 support as one of many ways to help.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Word Count the Library - Google Ngram Viewer for the Google Books Stock

How do terms compare in usage over the centuries. With the Ngram Viewer now available on the Google Labs the massive stock of scanned books as part of the Google Book project becomes available for search. It allows for the graphing of terms according to the frequency they are used per year. The data ranges from 1800 to 2000.

Image taken from Google NGram / Comparing the two search terms decades of the century. Interesting how the different decades peak some decades after. Some decades have a shifted or even two peaks, like for example the 'nineties' that peak already around 1920. Of course the continuos fascination with the sixties is visible, but also te thirties cling on.

Google has grouped it into several corpora, groups of books. Most of them related to different languages, currently these are English, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Russian, and Spanish, but also samples like the 'Corpora Million', where no more than 6000 books per year are samples for the result. There are of course difficulties with punctuations and muti words. Generally the search field is case sensitive and punctuation is treated as individual tokens. More details on this on the Google Ngram page.

Image taken from Google NGram / Comparing the search terms month, year, day, hour and week. The different time units are used differently with the word day leading the table throughout, diving however very low around 1960 where it almost was overtaken by the term year. Have things slowed down? Surprisingly the month and the week, both in planning terms very important words are nowhere compared to the terms, year and day.

However, the results are quite tricky to interpret even though things might look very cear through the simplicity of the graph. Google has managed to make it look very simple and clean, each term is shown as a graph with time on the horizontal x axis and frequency on the vertical y axis. It has to be taken into account however, that there are changes in the usage of words, for example 'the Great War' vs 'World War I'. Even more important is the fact that more and more books are written. This of course influences the results. Google points out that there is only a catalogue of around 500'000 English books before the 19th century. This means, that a search term can have a stronger peak early on than it would have later o, since this one book has more of an impact on the sample as a whole.

Image taken from Google Ngram / Comparing the two search terms rural and urban. As you would expect the word rural dominates and the urabn term only really comes in in the last century with a dramatic peak during the 70ies.

It is a great way to explore different terms especially in combinations. Even term that have a similar meaning can show a dramatic diversion on the graphs over time. Basically it show how trends in language change. Of course also the birth of terms can be observed as some terms only apear after a certain period or after the object has been invented as for example visible in this graph showing the terms used for different rooms in a house or flat. The invention of 'living' in architecture around 1900 brought along the terms 'living room' and 'dining room'.

If your are not satisfied with what you can get fromt he graphs, Google has some of the datasets available for download (or HERE for the two Billion Timeseries) and you can have a go at visualising and searching it yourself. Note the file structure thought.

Image taken from Google NGram / Comparing the two search terms twitter and facebook. This is of course ridiculous since both terms were invented after 2000, surprising however how twitter makes a dramatic appearance during the 19 hundreds.

Via The Atlantic

Jean-Baptiste Michel*, Yuan Kui Shen, Aviva Presser Aiden, Adrian Veres, Matthew K. Gray, William Brockman, The Google Books Team, Joseph P. Pickett, Dale Hoiberg, Dan Clancy, Peter Norvig, Jon Orwant, Steven Pinker, Martin A. Nowak, and Erez Lieberman Aiden*. Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science (Published online ahead of print: 12/16/2010)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Book - From City to House - Teaching Architecture

How to teach architecture? How to teach design and an understanding of context? Architecture is not something that happens isolated, architecture with it the building is always placed in the context of a fabric either rural or urban.

Architecture is different to other subjects in the sense that it involves a mistic combination of science, art and social components. The subject is widely regarded as a creative education, but on the other hand admired for technical skills as well as engineering knowledge. Furthermore, since most projects involved humans as users or inhabitants there are social aspects being pored into the mix. In short from the distance it looks very much interdisciplinary, a job for an al-rounder.

However, in recent years the profession has to some extend been dragged into an identity crisis, increasingly under pressure from different disciplines. After almost a century as the successful merge of scientist and artist, the architect has become a widely criticised and blamed professional. This has largely to do with changes in perception and values in the built environment and the increased pressure of sustainability issues. There has been a great deal of specialisation in many areas, technically and practically. A lot of specialists areas have managed to establish themselves within the domain of the building or the built environment. These are mainly related to the high degree of engineering in areas of structure, material, energy as well as manufacturing and management.

At the same time the image has shifted from the locally respected professional some architects have shot up to international stardom together with the concept of iconic architecture and buildings. In this bi-problematic context the question of architectural education is a dramatic one. How to teach architecture, how to lead a new generation of architects to find an identity and establish a sense of practice in a increasingly perceived as more and more complex context?

At the ETH's chair of architecture Dietmar Eberle this question has been extensively investigated and the reflection together with the planning for a new structure has lead to a publication "From the City to the House: a Design Theory" which was published by GTA Verlag. The book is published as a bilingual English - German publication.

He outlines the demands of architectural education as the ability to 'design on different levels, scales and in different disciplines simultaneously'. This builds on a "broad background of knowledge wich is distinguished by an interest in everyday life and experience". Eberle makes it very clear in his introduction that he does not see architecture as an art with the argument that acording to him " art lies claim to create a counter-world, the essential brief of architecture is to create useful worlds".

The didactics and method offered in architecture education at the Eberle Chair are founded on five key topics Place, Structure, Shell, Programm and Materiality. Also Eberle puts a lot of emphasis on the context, hence the book title, but the city as the context for the building leads through the book. Te didactic is linearly built to investigate on topic after the other as exercises, always combining the previous topics with the newly added on. This process ends with the ninth exercise that will combine all five topcis.

So far the introduction of the book, the really interesting and part worth looking into is the detailed documentation of the exercises using a mixture of student projects and essays. The wealth of ideas, test and concepts presented is amazing. Everything is very well presented and of course fits in exactly with the book structure. This creates a symbiosis very beneficial for the topic at hand. It is always good to have well documented case to present for making a point. And in this case this is definitely a striking argument.

After more than seven years of teaching at the ETH there is plenty of good material to showcase and it is a pleasure to not only scan but really to dive into the book and the many examples. A few of the indicated as illustrations with tis post.

However there are definitely more aspects to the teaching of architecture and there are other points to make. For examples as presented in another publication from the ETH from the Chair Angelil 'Cities of Change: Adis Abba' or the Harvard yearbooks and many more being published as communication from architecture school. Nevertheless this publication here is astonishingly consistent and complete and definitely a good starting point for the architect as a craftsman.

City to House
Image taken from ETH ARCH Chair Eberle / Book cover.

Eberle, D. & Simmendinger, P., 2010. Von der Stadt zum Haus. Eine Entwurfslehre
From City to House. A Design Theory
2nd ed., Zurich: GTA Verlag.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Earthquake Japan - in Need for Time

The devastating earthquake that hit Japan earlier on 2011-03-11 was with around 8.9 magnitude the biggest in the recent history. Even though Japan is probably the best prepared country on the world this is a dramatic shock for the nation and the whole region.

The earthquake hit at 02:46:23 PM local time and was probably a aftershock of an smaller quake on March 9th that increased the tension in this already unstable region. The epicentre of the earth quake was located of the east cost of Japan about 200 km in the pacific. The closest metropolitan region is Sendai, but also Tokyo is only just over 300km away.

Image taken from mapLarge / The dots show the earthquakes logges on March 11 2011 surrounding the devastating 8.9 magnitude quake. Colour indicate time of report with dark being old, bright is new.

The movement of the pacific plate was described by experts on BBC news as several meters causing a massive tsunami wave rippling out through the pacific, of course first hitting Japan, but threatening all countries on its shore. Mainly Haiti was directly in line with the main force of the tsunami.

tsunami 2011
Image taken from BBC News / Direction and expected height of the tsunami caused by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan. The dotted line indicates expected times for the wave to travel.

Rescue and suport team around the world are on standby to be flown in if requested by the Japanese Government. Aid is being prepared and numerous charities. Online help and aid systems are coming up or are already running. Google has put up a platform for finding or reporting a missing person and the ushahidi open source mapping platform has released a specific platform for Japan. USGS is providing them maps and details on the earthquakes. For details see the list. NOAA provides the information on the tsunami in the pacific region. A live kml for Google Earth can be downloaded HERE, provided by USGS. Also earth quake related app for the iPhone or iPad are trending HERE.

Image taken from ushahidi / Ushahidi platform for the 2011 Japan earthquake in March 11th. The red dots show the number of logged messages, informations and requests. The open source mapping intends to help by enabling to log info directly from the ground.

Even though Japan is well prepared and equipped the extend of this combination of tsunami and earthquake is devastating. In terms of architecture the regulations are very strict and buildings dealt well with the impact. Nevertheless, some serious damage has been reporte on infrastructure, most prominently issues with nuclear power plants, most of which have been shut down preventive.

In a sense all of these map conveys the temporal aspect as discussed in an earlier post. All that counts at the moment is time for Japan. The sooner they can get a hand on things the better. It is about evacuating injured and trapped individuals, secure and maintain infrastructure, supporting people in need and then it is also about rebuilding. Of course these are different time scales but things are running in parallel at the moment. This disaster is likely to have a long term impact, leaving scars in the public memory. Very similar to the also devastating Kobe earthquake.

With the recent natural disasters in Haiti (earthquake), Pakistan (flood), Christchurch (earthquake), Indian Ocean Tsunami (tsunami) having grabbed large scale medi attention this time will be no different not least because Japan is very well connected both politically and in terms of media. Mahups and especially social networking platform will be, actually already are, flooded with related content.

If you are interested in how you can help Good is running a good list that they intend to update as news come in.

Links via BBC, Map Room Blog, Good, Google Maps Mania

Mapping Distance on Time - Paris Crunch

As we all know from experience, maps generally focus on the physical quality of the space. They follow the box like idea of pace a a container with objects and chart these features one after the other in metric separations. Creating a mesh of abstract relationships.

How frustrating this can be in practice everyone has probably experienced. Taking the bus from Euston station to Kings Cross to connect to the Eurostar to Paris can be a lot longer than simply walking the distance, since practically always the bus will get stuck on Euston road in traffic.

Very similar with London tube stations, almost always one stop trips are quicker to walk, especially in central London. By the time you have reached the platform and afterwards marched back up to the surface again you have walked a lot further through tunnels and up and down stairs, than you would on street level.

Such representational concepts were developed as for examples by Dicken and Lloyd. They mapped out the impact of the new European High S[eed Rail Network. The map showed how London and Paris moved closer together as a result, putting them closer than London to some of the larger cities in the UK. Some more on Mapping Distance and Time in an earlier blog post HERE.

UK time map
Image from strange maps / Dicken and Lloyd 1981

The time it takes to travel from one place to the other is in everyday practice often a lot more important than how far it actually is. The cultural concept of being on time plays an important role herre. Since we are living together in this city every individual has to arrange his or her needs around the general practice. The bus leaves at this time, the first tube opens then and shuts down after midnight. The density of inhabitants inflicts a strict agreement.

With the density there are also transport mode internal differences occurring. Congestion at peak times can dramatically change the journey times. Traffic jams or free flow times are something the everyday experience teaches inhabitants over time.

Paris time map
Image from Xiaoji Chen's blog / The map of central Paris drawn according the time requirements. Mode of transport from left to right, bicycle, metro, car.

Xiaoji-Chen, a MIT student, looked into this problem and has developed a map representation that changes according to the time required. She explains: "In these distorted maps of Paris, the distance between a spot and the city center is not proportional to their geographical distance, but the cost taken to get there."

To develop the tool processing was used, with Open Street Map data. For the connection data she used Google Directions,

Xiaoji-Chen also visualised the differences between the modes of transport, as car, bicycle and walking with obviously shrinking maps as a result. It is fast by car, yes, but as Xiaoji-Chen points out the carbon emission is of course higher, so she introduces this additional information, telling the user also how much carbon this mode produces. In this way the mode of transport for a journey can have on the map a number of different factors included in the decision making process. This is the new thing, the extended map. A map enabled to take multiple factos into a account. This extends the abstract and objective map into the realm of experience, definitely a great development.

Paris time map
Image from Xiaoji Chen's blog / The emissions for the car journey.
Paris time map
Image from Xiaoji Chen's blog / The emissions for the metro journey.
Paris time map
Image from Xiaoji Chen's blog / The emissions for the bike journey.

Via arkinet

Thursday, 10 March 2011

China From China

Joe Nafis has produce a great showreal timeLapse focusing on the own the work does for chinatimelpse of course in China. They are based on Shanghai and obviously feature the city prominently, but include some other tuff too, where they experiment with different style and techniques. You wont find the tilt shift missing in here.
Since China is the raising economic county there is a lot activity currently, some of it reflected here. For examples the Expo 2010 and the UK pavilion by Thomas Heatherwick. The in advance much hyped building was discussed controversially after the opening of the exhibition.

UK pavilion Shanghai 2010
Image taken from Thomas Heatherwick / View of the UK pavilion together with the topographies it sits in.

For more of Joe's great timeLapse stuff visite his vimeo page, where he covers a number of other Asian cities.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Lighting trails - Visualising urban Wi-Fi

There are a lot of hidden treasures to be found in the city. Being this some historic relicts, a great view across to a place all of a sudden becoming a landmark or a lovely coffee place. One can also find inspiration, patience or pleasure in many ways and colours. The city is a truly amazing digging place.
The thing with finding is that there is more to the way of finding than the way of searching. Some things just don't want to be found, you run into them.

20 December, 16.51
Image taken from Ti.Mo on flickr / Walking the pole at night in Oslo, tracing the Wi-Fi quality.

However, in this case the desired thing, if it is one, is invisible. It requires an invention to actually make it visible. The waves of the wireless network swirling the urban spaces are no where to be seen other than on the display of your gadget in the form of four stacked arches. This is sort of point information concerning just the immediate location. And if you have ever tried to catch a signal in an awkward spot, you must have experienced how much difference one side step can make, or half a pirouette, wonders.

The guys over at touch have invented the ultimate light painting rod to visualise exactly these waves. This is not coming out of the bue though. There is some history to this. In short, they where earlier experimenting with RFID working on the nearness project, together with berg. In a next step they used a similar approach, on much small scale, to visualise the transmitter field of the RFID reader. In this sense the visualisation of the Wi-Fi is some sort of large scale, real world implementation. They also experimented with the visualisation of Wi-Fi earlier. This new very much hands on approach works amazingly well in terms of the images it produces. I guess this is the nice thing with finding the treasure, you get to give it an image, you can brand it.

20 December, 15.54
Image taken from Ti.Mo on flickr / Detail of the rod with LED lights and loads of wiring.

They explain "we built the WiFi measuring rod, a 4-metre tall probe containing 80 lights that respond to the Received Signal Strength (RSSI) of a particular WiFi network". As they take the rod for a walk the light indicate the signal strength vertically. Amazingly the fluctuations in signal quality are dramatic, making it possible to differentiate changes on a step by step basis. It would be quite cool to attempt a surface modeling. Maybe as a section by section path across could generate a leveled view? As a distant relative of this tool the pole land surveyors use comes to mind with the red and white markings. In reference to one point the profile of the topography is charted. Similarly this could be implemented here. As it looks on some of the photographs they are using a visualisation software on the laptop to record the measurements. Seems to be built with processing, maybe this can be reused if they simultaneously record the location via GPS for examples. Maybe it could even be developed into a mobile application using a mobile device as the flashing light, being this the iPhone or the iPad as for example shown in light paintings developed by berg as part of the making future magic project.

In a way the landscape the rod is making visible is not too disimilar from the New City Landscape (NCL) we developed from twitter messages. Both are providing an interface between real world and virtual world.

The photographs used here were shot in the Grünerløkka area in Oslo. The lighting works really nicely against the backdrop of dark buildings and white tones of the snow cover. As they point out in some of the write ups there is a fascinating relaionship to the architecture around in terms of scale. The super human size of four meter matches about one story of a building picking up the architectural line and stepping out of the human reference. This gives it a more objective relevance, looking very meaningful.

20 December, 17.01
Image taken from Ti.Mo on flickr / Visualisation of a cross country cross section.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Floods - Changes Over Time

Australia has only just recently suffered the worst flooding in years, with large areas of the East Coast under water. Brisbane was hit very hard with high waterlevels over days.
ABC-News has put together a coverage story showing in detail the impact of the flooding before and after. It is a sort of time warp representation between two given dates. Click HERE for the slider version 01 and HERE for the slider version 02.

The visualisation is based on date from the nearmap service. They are providing detailed resolution time aerial maps, just like google maps does but with an integrated time slider. Google offers a similar tool in Google Earth to see older imagery, but nearmap offers more and much shorter timespans between the dates. So it happens they also have imagery ready from right during the flooding.

Rosalie Village [Click for original nearmap]

Cleverly the imagery is overlaid and allows to drag the before stage to reveil the after, showing water everywhere. Of course the images line up perfectly with the difference of what happend to the place in the mean time.

Milton (Lang Park) [Click for original nearmap]
Milton (Lang Park) (before flooding)
Milton (Lang Park) (after flooding)

Floating pallets in Rocklea industrial estate [Click for original nearmap]
Milton (Lang Park) (before flooding)
Milton (Lang Park) (after flooding)

In the original representation this obviously has the wow effect for discovering whats underneath and then covering it up again. This is great interactive visualisation. The fasciantion lies in the hidden part.

HMAS Diamantina in 'dry dock' at South Bank [Click for original nearmap]

Two men in a floating 'spa' in Chelmer [Click for original nearmap]
Milton (Lang Park) (before flooding)
Milton (Lang Park) (after flooding)

Via infosthetics

Monday, 7 March 2011

Book - [on farming]

'Bracket : architecture, environment, digital culture' is a new book seriespublished by Actar with the first one [on farming] published in summer 2010. The series is a collaboration between InfraNet Lab and Archinect. The publications are designed by thumb. The edited series is based around a specific topics, but works with contributions. Each edition starts with an open call for entries.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Image taken from bracket / Cover of the Old Farmers Almanac no 103. The Old Farmer’s Almanac can be accessed online for the most up todate weather forecasts.

The publication is an Almanac, a yearly publication. For this topics one important reference is of course the 'Old Farmers Almanac' the yearly planting and weather forecast guide for farmers published since 1792, and this is how the edition starts. With this the connection between farming, science, landscape and urbanism.

Farming has been a trending topic for the past six years in landscaping, urban design and architecture. This is partly nostalgic, but there are many practical or sustainable interests involved too. Even though farming is no longer farming, the topic is on a wide range of issues woven into the current discussion of urban planning not least because of the blurred boundaries between rural and urban or the larger cale infrastructural linkages between the two.

Microcosmic Aquaculture
Image taken from bracket / Microcosmic Aquaculture Bittertang (Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich). We imagine a future where the vast and deep expanses of the ocean will teem with overabundant floating gelatinous reefs. Humans will be nourished physically and aesthetically be encouraging new floating worlds of reefs that sustain large quantities of harvestable wild and captive fish. Farming in this project is not viewed as a monoculture but the creation of a new ecology where wild and captive wildlife are ’raised’ and their aesthetic potential is enjoyed by future divers and fisherman. From Bittertang, Antonio Torres currently tastes new flavors and Michael Loverich explores frothiness in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

This is outlined by Charles Waldheim in his introduction 'Notes towards a history of agrarian urbanism'. The discussion is structured into six chapters: tiling/seeding, grafts/hybrids, plots/allotments, harvest/yield, ploughs/combines and crop rotation/sequencing. Overall there is a strong focus on design and the discussion thereof. In fact the publication really wants to be a design almanac.

With the extended mix of projects and writings this new format can really contribute a slightly different format. It is not a magazine and not a book, but sort of manages to get the best of both. With the open call there is a broad range of perspectives covered ont he topic, but with its extended content projects are not reduced to just three renderings and image captions. There is room for a proper discussion here.

In this sense the contributed project cover all areas, ranging from Globalisation issues gobalgalisation, to faming in urban areas Nomadic Allotments, the harvesting of the oceans Microcosmic Aquaculture Bittertang or the colonialisation of the skies Cloud Skippers.

Microcosmic Aquaculture
Image taken from bracket / Cloud Skippers
Studio Lindfors (Ostap Rudakevych and Gretchen Stump) Cloud Skipping is about harvesting the resources of earth’s atmosphere. By harnessing the tremendous energy of the jet stream, Cloud Skippers imagine a community of adventurous pioneers who leave the surface to drift amongst the clouds in machine-like dwellings designed for gliding. Studio Lindfors explores the contours of imagination.

The next bracket edition wil be [goes soft], on: "racket 2 invites the submission of critical articles and unpublished design projects that investigate physical and virtual soft systems, as they pertain to infrastructure, ecologies, landscapes, environments, and networks. In an era of declared crises—economic, ecological and climatic amongst others– the notion of soft systems has gained increasing traction as a counterpoint to permanent, static and hard systems." However call for submission has closed now. Editors will be Neeraj Bhatia and Lola Sheppard. The jury for Bracket 2 includes Benjamin Bratton, Julia Czerniak, Jeffrey Inaba, Geoff Manaugh, Philippe Rahm, Charles Renfro.

White, M. & Przybylski, M., 2010. Bracket 1. On Farming, Barcelona: Actar.

Glass the Future of Tomorrow - Backwards

The future is probaby the topic of the month here. Not only on the blog but deeper. We started the last week already with a vision of the future, so it goes in the tradition to continue on this.

Was the 'We are the Future' a more social one, this one here is material based. Its all about glass. Well this is not new, have we already had this back in the nineties, the big boom in the glass industry with new products and a new acceptance in architecture. Glass and with it light was desired in single family homes, but in housing in general.

This new vision takes on the consumer electronic industry and combines it with the built environment. This combination functions via the material, glass as the omni present element. As the hero of the story wakes up the glass turns from dark to transparent and only then he steps up to the massive tv screen, to check the latest news, actually he looks at the traffic camera, presumably on his way to work. A classic, his wife (or is it partner in this case?) is still in bed and he goes into the kitchen makes breakfast. Note the large red pepper he takes out of the fridge, what sort of breakfast is he gona cook? Also keep an eye on the pan, at some point it looks like a soup. Anyway, the story takes an interesting twist starting with the two girls, his daughters (or her daughters) an one of them carrying the pink football boots. This is the hint that in this commercial the producers have worked very hard on the role models. Just after that, and the video call to gran, actually this reminds definitely of the new iPad clip currently playing on, the wife, partner, whatever enters the kitchen and waves good by, she is off to work. She takes the car, she is navigate the traffic, actually the car does and communicated it via some glass panel (sort of transparent Knight Rider). So things are slightly different, before everything falls back into place, she is working in fashion, guess an generally aceptable profession for females.

This has now brought us slightly off track from the actual vision. Even though these social role models are an important part and on the way we have touch up on a series of other ones. In parallel there are some hints and references to earlier attempts at at the same technology implementation. There is the iPhone echoing through most of the interactions, but there is aso the windows table, the surface project.

As pointed out on Archidose two of them are 'An Eco-House for the Future' by Dillier Scofidio and the Kramlich Residence and Media Collection (1997) by Herzog and de Meuron. Maybe in terms of the setting we could even get further back into the sixties and quote Superstudio, but the spatial interaction combination is definitely related to a whole bunch of science-fiction movies such as Blade Runner with the large billboards.

Is it a sort of back to the future thing? As archidose puts it: "Just because we can make something doesn't mean it should infiltrate our lives." In this context maybe it is a fun because it coud be a dream come true, but not quite yet, still dreaming and this could turn into a nightmare.

Note at the end, he is waiting in bed for her to finish watching some astronomy documentation in HD 3D with the girls. He is reading glass obviously as she turns the glass of the window dark and switches off the lights. And the roles are reversed, he sleeps in the front and she is at the back. Not into routines and habits this couple, everything very flexible and spontaneous representing the ultimate freedom and independence. However, the overall tone of the clip transports a rather different tone, everything is highly connected, organised and clean - routine pure.

Via Archidose