W01-1 Nashid Nabian and Carlo Ratti-Living Architectures

Mediator: Brandon Cuffy bcuffyl@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
In the context of the increasing reciprocity between self and place afforded by digitally embedded environments, notions of limits and regulations of this data aware environment arise. In the article “Living Archiectures”, synergistic relationships with our environment were presented from the 18th century automa to the now customary nature of wireless network connectivity. In our discussion, the social ramifications of such an environment such as the digital divide were discussed as possible implications for demographic delineation due to “non-sensor actuated citizens.” However, the notion of embedded urban environment predicated on data harvesting from normative urban behavior arose as a possible solution to concerns of a digital divide among different aged citizens. Briefly the concept of “the right to disengage” from the pervasive digital sensory environment arose. This view was proposed in tandem to inquire as to whether individual autonomy in such a ubiquitous sensory environment was still achievable.
Questions:
1. Does the concept of the "sensor-actuated citizen" exclude certain demographics from access to real time data harvested from digital devices?
2. Similar to the Futurist cities of the future, can a 100% sensor actuated environment with embedded real-time data be seen as a digital utopia?
3. Is the concept of autonomy still possible in a fully realized sensor embedded urban environment?
Summery of Discussions:
Relevant Examples Cited in the discussion
- The electrification of Paris -
- This topic raised questions of the regulation of public space?
- Difficult task of erasing your digital paper-trail. (i.e – deletion of your facebook)
- Autonomy in the digital age becomes more difficult as information posted on internet platforms is difficult to erase entirely, due to multi-tiered process involved in deleting information and the rapid transfer of information beyond your control
- Extreme digital environments in dark Science Fiction
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W01-2 Mark Shepard-Sentient City Survival Kit-Archeology of the Near Future

Mediator: Krista Palen kpalen@gsd.harvard.edu

Abstract:
What does one need to live in a the near future sentient city? Professor Mark Sheppard explores this question through The Sentient City Survival Kit, a design research project that probes the social, cultural and political implications of future ubiquitous computing for urban environments. The article briefly examines cultural and philosophical barriers to attributing sentience to the inanimate, and discusses a cross section of non-human sentience in science fiction literature. The fictional dystopic sentient city future (“what happens when the (sentient) toaster gets bored of making toast”) is contrasted with the real world Lower Manhatten Security initiative and the potential for ominous/ inevitable consequences such as computer generated false positives/negatives generated from pattern matching and data mining of human faces is highlighted. The ‘survival kit’ uses critical design practice as a method of creating objects and uses archeological guidance to examine their implications on the society that creates them.

Questions:
1. How do you think the theoretical tensions, such as the logical fallacy, in our society facilitate or hinder the creation of a sentient city?
2. What are the mechanisms by which these systems gain our trust result in distrust? Do you trust those who are collecting data on you? (Not discussed)
3. What are the implications of a project such as the MIT serendipity project, in terms of the loss or requirement for randomness in our lives? (Not discussed)

Summery of Discussions:
  • Author’s point on the philosophical tensions may be a stretch in terms of applicability. Most current examples of ubiquitous digital interfaces are not modelled on this idea of sapience.
  • Use of imitated human responses, may communicate in a way that is more likely to generate a behavioral response from a human. Example given was study done to see how long people could hold a Furby upside down while it cries out as if in pain. People were not able to hold it for a long time.
  • Most projects that that have come out of the sentient cities course in the past that focus on this type of imitated emotion tend to be more novelty based and lack dimension and potential for broader use.


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W01-3 Nashid Nabian and Carlo Ratti-City To Come

Mediator: Carlos Felix Raspall Galli craspall@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
Predictions of a digital world replacing the physical space, adventured during the 90s, have proven false and are currently being replaced by a model that center its focus in the interaction and overlapping of both digital and physical planes.
In this framework, contemporary urban condition can be understood and analyzed as a cybernetic system, in which citizens/users and information networks are heavily interconnected. Reading and acting in the city are no longer individual and isolated faculties, but they constitute a collective feedback loop.
Users and networks sense the city in real-time using three modalities: viral-sensing (looking at systems not originally intended to evaluate the city, such as reading cell phone use, online activity and shopping footprints), smart dust (accessing centralized networks designed specifically to measure a specific urban aspect like traffic or security) and crowd-sensing (collecting geo-localized information voluntarily shared by citizens on the web using twitter, facebbok, youtube flickr, etc).
Actuating in the real-time city is done in two ways: by means of physical actuators embedded in the city, which can affect color, shape, sound, temperature, and by behavioral change in the users, that are connected to real-time information published in the net.
Questions:
What is the future for architectural, landscape and urban design, a material practice by tradition, in a world where digital information and matter are tightly interconnected? How should the designer of the real-time city adapt to this new conditiony? What skills should he/she develop?
Summery of Discussions:
  • The discussion started by suggesting the possibility of a design practice solely engaged in the virtual world.
  • It moved to hypothesis that designers of the real-time city should work mostly on problems related to infrastructure and interfaces.
  • The traditional idea of architecture as dealing with the organization of matter and creation of density was put into question as current design problems are instead turning to the augmentation of performance of space and the creation of events.
  • The example of intelligent buildings that integrate sensors and actuators for optimal performance opened a fourth possible trajectory for the profession.

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W02-1 Dana Cuff - Immanent Domain Pervasive Computing and the Public Realm

Mediator: Stacy Morton smorton@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
As digital technology emerges in the public sphere, it raises four distinct implications that hold the potential to change our definition about space: 1 restructuring of environments as recreated, 2 visibility, 3 erosion of public versus private space, and 4 public life within a heavily surveillance city.
  1. There is a strong distinction between cyberspace (defined as dematerialized space) and the cyburg (spatially embodied computing or an environment saturated with computing capabilities). As computing becomes more pervasive, we will begin to exist simultaneously within both; thus our urban environment will occupy a new status and role in everyday life.
  2. Visualization technologies provide access to “what was once opaque, knowledge where there was previously ignorance, bringing close what was once remote…”. Pervasive computing thus takes what was once inaccessible and makes them visible through invisible, miniaturized sensors.
  3. New technical advances have been accused of allowing the public realm to infect privacy (ie. “cell yell”) and vice versa (ie. medical databases linked to national identity); causing an erosion between the boundaries of public and private. With the invention of the web cam and surveillance cameras, security interest of the state has enforced a negative consequence for individual privacy.
  4. Embedded tiny computers into the urban fabric provides both security and real-time data information making the public realm more public than it ever was (ie. D-Tower), but at the same time causes concern that we may not know who is observing our actions, emotions, histories, or reactions.
Urban planners and architects must offer three linked guiding principles: information, choice, and control in order to provide a successful urban environment in simultaneous existence with digital technology.
Questions:
  1. There’s a large safety issue when it comes to immersive environments; what if someone gets their hands on information retrieved from individuals? How do we design networks that gather sufficient data yet are not specific enough to put an individual’s personal information in danger?
  2. What are the implications of having the entire city public with little private space other than the home? Will we lose the monumentality or centrality of city centers/plazas?
  3. What is the tipping point of digital technology environments invading your private space?
    • Will you allow a stranger to know your likes/dislikes about movies? Clothing choices? Religion?
    • Will you allow a stranger to know your history of movements through the city? History of hobbies? Dating history?
    • Will you allow a stranger to know where you are located presently? Where you are heading?
    • Will you allow a stranger to view you on video while in a store? In a park? On the street? In school?
Summery of Discussions:
The discussion addressed the degree to which the boundary between public and private space is acceptable. Where we were once able to lose ourselves within a crowd in an arcade, the opposite has occurred due to the implications of technology. Where we could once escape in a crowd, we are now singled out. Some ideas of appropriate and successful ways to integrate technology within the public sphere include:
  • Giving the user the ability to opt out of the network
  • User identified as a member of a unified group instead of an individual
  • If the user participates, they receive benefits that others who don’t participate wouldn’t be able to receive
  • The user is able to sense who is viewing them and therefore know how to situate themselves to get out of view

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W02-2 Antoine Picon - Towards A City of Events - Digital Media and Urbanity

Mediator: Paul Cattaneo cattaneo@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
Antoine Picon's article on the developing trends of what he refers to in his title as "a city of events" elaborates on the arrival of a digital age in the history of the urban concept and vision. In this arrival, Picon is specifically interested in the increasing digital mediation of space and time, ultimately leading to what he repeatedly refers to as the “city of events.” His analysis of the city's physical deformation, the fluctuation of its activity spaces and the sprawling of its boundaries into the periphery, begin the conversation on the digital media city by positing that forms of digital culture come concurrently with the urban; he suggests that the digital city transcends understandings of "dispersal or urban concentration" (33) or “the constraints of locality” (34) via “delocalized, far-ranging systems,” (33). In mapping the emergent notions of individual experience in the city, Picon argues, we are able to approximate and track the “happening-spectacle,” (37) and to therefore engage this delocalization and the event in space. Through the inextricable bonding of experience and description, the event is, he argues, a vehicle for the collection and communication of sensation and ambience that is ultimately a new framework for mapping the city. Arguing for a spatial delineation of the urban defined by, essentially, a type of data set, Picon places mapping and the digital media of the contemporary city at the forefront in understanding the construction of a new framework for the extents and boundaries of urban belonging, as well as the model for the citizen of such an emergent landscape.
Questions:
  1. How does "living in an eternal present," (41) challenge our notions of historical progression in the city and how does Picon argue that this is problematic for the inhabitants of the city?
  2. Picon positions the city of the "happening-spectacle" (37) as the consequence of a lineage of historical attempts to find new ways to see the physical city. Is the new conception of the event and its subversion of traditional mapping a liberation for the individual in this city and how so?
  3. Picon ends his article with a discussion on the obstacle and opacity. Is there a paradox here between the "scintillating giant texture" (41) he mentions and the boundaries which, he argues, are necessary for urban transaction?
Summery of Discussions:
Here is where you provide a summery of discussions
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W02-3 William Mitchel - Intelligent Cities

Mediator: Stephanie Lin slin1@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The applications of ubiquitously embedded intelligence offer an abundance of possibilities to designers and urban planners. Urban intelligence and the "cyborg condition" have been developing since the earliest cities, as artificial physiologies and artificial nervous systems emerged over time to augment human capabilities and allow the city to sense and respond like an organism. Digital communications networks, software, and sensors allow urban systems to become more interconnected than ever before. The City Car is a proposal by the MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities group of how urban mobility in the form of a modular, efficient public-personal transportation vehicle can respond to and inform patterns of energy and space usage, and create sophisticated levels of feedback between its users and resources. This prototype when implemented at a large scale could result in sustainable efficiencies and economic benefits.

Questions:
1 Questions of transparency (Picon)-- what is the right amount of transparency such that immediate access to data does not simply displace traffic or parking problems? Should opacity and delay be designed into the system and/or is there a right scale of implementation? Might the system work best when not everyone has access to the same information?

2 What kind of impact would this proposal have on public life? Is this privatized-public system a kind of withdrawal from the public sphere, or do you think that this system would effectively coexist with public transit and decrease the use of private vehicles? What if this were integrated with a social networking system in which reservations/exchanges of cars can happen between users, without a middle man/agency?

(3, not discussed) Do parking stacks really solve the "1-mile" problem? Are getting to/from city car stacks lessening the distance one has to travel to/from destination/starting points? What about during parking shortages. Is the parking bidding/urgency system the best way to create hierarchy for those who need to park?

(4, not discussed) How to answer the supply and demand problem? How to 'deploy' vehicles to where there is more need? What kind of intelligence and infrastructure is required for that? (iPhone app detects need, etc)

Summery of Discussions:
Discussed issues in the limiting of access to information. A first come first serve system? Or, a value-based incentive system for access to information. For example, one can sacrifice privacy for more access to other people's activity; those who choose to keep activity private will have less access to traffic and parking information.
Idea of getting rid of the software that manages activity and let users manage themselves; one way of creating incentive for public access to activity.

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W03-1 Malcom McCullough- New Media Urbanism

Mediator: Peter Zuroweste pzurowes@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The design challenge of pervasive computing demands new emphasis on ambient, embodied, and habitual experiences. This emphasis connects the younger field of interaction design with the more venerable disciplines of the built environment. In terms of knowledge representation its central problem becomes location modeling. This turn from the universal aspects of computing to its situated practices becomes both a defense of architecture and an agenda in urbanism. To complement more particular research compiled in this journal issue, this paper offers a connective overview of that position.
Questions:
Early in the text, McCullough eqautes the sensation of New Media Urbanism to Walter Benjamin's "state of distraction," which was a critique of the disconnected ontology of the 20th century urbanite. If McCullough's situated computing functions only on the periphery of our awareness, positioning itself within the walls of traditional architecture, does it in fact allow for an interactive ecology, the building of community, or does it compund with existing sources of urban alienation and further erode our body/city relationshp--our physical identities?
Summery of Discussions:
The discussion following the mediated reading of this text was centered around anticipating the role of the body in a city embedded with ambient computing. Particularly, it was posited that as computing exits cyberspace and situates itself into the traditional architecture of our cities, public space may undergo a renaissance at the expense of a more volatile body-city relationship. That is, urban ambient computing could facilitate rich networks of sentient, interactive ecologies, but relinquishing fundamental processes of daily urban life (e.g. transportation logistics, habits of consumption)--and allowing them to depart from the physical sphere of our bodies and into a non-visible layer of computational infrastructure--presents risks concerning the already unstable nature of our psychological and corporeal identities.
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W03-2 Malcom McCullough- On the Urbanism of Locative Media

Mediator: Carolina Soto csoto@mit.edu
Abstract:
Locative media is transforming the way in which we interact within the urban environment. Information technologies have evolved from our more traditional idea of media constrained to interior spaces, to a new form of tangible computing populated with place-based content that has moved into the urban space.
In his 2006 article, Professor McCullough argues that the new paradigm of ubiquitous computing has transformed the way in which we understand and interact with media. This transformation in turn has multiplied the possible ways in which we interact with other people and with the urban space. Therefore, information technologies should not be considered an agent of cities’ obsolescence. On the contrary, by moving into the urban space, and by enabling the generation of place-based content, locative media is linking places with a new layer of information and making people aware of the potential interactions in the urban space. As a result of this, personalized content, bottom-up economies, and micro-scale connections are emerging and our traditional top-down conceptions of space and culture may render obsolete.
Finally, the author states the necessity of reflecting on how information technologies will transcend the scale of the individuals and start influencing architecture, urbanism, geography and consequently culture.
Questions:
  1. How can the contextual design of information technologies evolve from the scale of individual tasks to the scale of urbanism architecture and geography? How do we envision this scaling will affect the cities?
  2. The author has a very positive and optimistic focus on locative and pervasive media, but do these technologies imply risks for the users? Which are they?
  3. How do we make locative technology socially inclusive?
Summery of Discussions:
The discussion in class mainly focused on questions two and three.
Regarding question number two, the risks discussed in class were mostly referred to the consequences of technology over the individual. Pervasive locative media could generate a numbed user, constantly bombarded by omnipresent information. It could also result in the citizens’ loss of control over their own decisions. While deceptively led to believe they are in control of their decisions, in fact they are just being manipulated by specifically tailored marketing built with profiled information.
Regarding the technology’s inclusiveness, some of the possible paths discussed to accomplish it were: generating systems that require the lower amount of technology and achieve the highest penetration, embedding technology in space, and designing systems where possession of technological devices is not a requirement. Finally, pointing to the inclusion of other communities that may be reluctant to participate (e.g. women) one of the key goals named was transparency. This transparency includes: the way in which his/her information is utilized and communicated to third parties should be explicitly revealed to the user beforehand, giving the user control over this transparency, allowing the user to engage and, in the same way, completely disengage at any moment.

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W03-3 Rheingold H.-Introduction to Smart Mobs The Next Social Revolution

Mediator: Jun Wang jwang2@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The introduction chapter of the book Introduction to Smart Mobs The Next Social Revolution summed up visions Rheingold developed back in 2000 about the transformative power that smart phones possess when they are connected to the Internet and how it will shift human behaviors. He discussed the potential in smart phone enabled online social networks, its derived form of services. The examples put forward were primitive and not as successful as more recent, better articulated ones, but illustrate his abilities of figuring out the trend given that this article was written 11 years ago. Just like he had anticipated, Internet powered smart phone nowadays engage in political campaigns, news tracking, fast payment and location-based matchup. He also discussed the condition of the coming into being of an online reputation system already active on online shopping platforms like Ebay and Amazon and asking questions about whether it breached the drawbacks of information asymmetry of everyday life or create s an inescapable monitoring that doesn’t give you a second chance. He also expressed concerns about the danger in the loss of privacy and how uniformly free access to information might expose us to criminal conspiracies like terrorism.
Questions:
Knowing how amazing it is for someone to imagine what it would be like in 10 years, what does it mean to people like use who are already immersed in the conditions being described, how can it help us from where we are now moving forward.
Summery of Discussions:
What can we learn from the article is the power of anticipation. We can not predict the future but we can intellectually imagine the tendencies. As designers it will help us, and it is also our responsibilities to imagine what could happen after the implementation of a specific design, its positive and negative consequences. It will help the design to be more successful when outcome could be evaluated prior to their actual happening and prevent it from being jeopardized by malicious utilization.

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W04-1 Mark Weiser-The Computer of 21th Century

Mediator: Brad Crane bcrane@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
Mr Weiser speaks in this anticipatory text about the movement of computers to our periphery stating, "whenever people learn something sufficiently well, they cease to be aware of it." What makes this remarkable is that in the most recent census of 1989 only 15% of American homes had personal computers. Weiser points explicitly to two frameworks, or, problematics of his ubiquitous computing future: location and scale. He addresses the first saying "little is more basic to human perception than physical juxtaposition so ubiquitous computers must know where they are. In addressing the issue of scale he imagines a world where three sizes of cheap and efficient devices offer a pervasive environment. The tab a small "badge-sized" computer provides the personal awareness and identity functions (phone); the pad, a letter sized computer of intended to be a "scrap computer" that can be grabbed or used anywhere without individualization (tablet); finally, the board, a wall-mounted device to facilitate largest scale / group interactions (?). In addition to devices his vision requires software for ubiquitous applications, and a pervasive network to tie them together. He anticipates accurately the progression of hardware essentially naming the iPad I am writing this on now. But also points out the subsequently realized struggles of software, connectivity, and interactions that will be (are) limiting factors to his vision. Through a antidote of a person living in this imagined future he essentially provides the script for much of the speculative computer work done in the past twenty years, foreseeing an interactive world filled with data and personalized awareness. Strangely, he sees all of this as an answer to information overload that we are now only to familiar with, equating using a computer in the future (now) as refreshing as taking a walk in the woods. I wonder what his information overload looked like in 1991, the year the world wide web was introduced?
Questions:
  1. Anticipating the future of the further ubiquity of computing we might see the tablet computer as the next paradigm to be wholly accepted. Is acceptance all that is left as a barrier between our present reality and the fruition of Weiser's vision?
  2. Who do we feel are the prophetic voices of the current moment? Now that information is so easily attained, disseminated, and critiqued, is it even possible to make such anticipations?
  3. It seems that we are at a point where computation is at our periphery and our focus. In designing devices the goal is now consolidation and an undermining of Weiser's issue of scale. Do we still desire to collaborate physically or has the community of collaboration also been also partially consolidated into the periphery of our experience?
Summery of Discussions:
Historically, the text provides the framework for the transition of digital information to the physical world. particularly it lays the groundwork for Hiroshi Ishii and his work with tangible computing in the Tangible Media group at the MIT Media Lab. The text also works as a guidebook on interaction design demonstrating the relationships and reliances of sensors, actuation, data, and the physical world necessary. Professor Nabian pointed out that if students are interested in responsive environments this text should be key in their research. Finally, a brief dicussion of the differences between mainframe computing and cloud computing. As functionality is centralized, how do they two differ? One way is that physically cloud computing is decentralized and relies on the network of server farms known as the Internet. Secondly, that the relationship of data with users has gone from shared access to customized personal resource, despite it's ubiquity.
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W04-2 Hiroshi Ishii-Tangible Bits

Mediator: Nikola Bojic nbojic@gsd.harvard.com
Abstract:
Richness of manipulation with physical instruments has been lost due to the rapid flood of digital technologies, generally based on Graphical User Interface (GUI). In this text authors are trying to revive multi-sensory experience in digital environment by proposing Tangible User Interfaces (TUI). Technological binding of tangible and digital worlds produced idea of Tangible Bits which should bridge the gap between the worlds through graspable objects and ambient media as manipulation points of digital information. Authors proposed three main concepts of Tangible Bits: interactive surfaces, the coupling of bits with graspable physical objects, ambient media for background awareness. Those three concepts served as a framework for developing projects (metaDESK, transBOARD, ambientROOM) which were finally tending to change the world itself into an interface. Authors have developed term phicons in order to describe physical icons - objects and instruments that are sensed by an array of optical, mechanical, and electromagnetic field sensors embedded within the one particular surface. Phicons are key objects for manipulating any digital data (metaDESK– digital geospace and 3D models; ambientROOM –digital data which produce changes in physical ambience, transBOARD – digital writing and drawing, as well as transferring data).
Questions:
Since this article is written in 1997, and therefore could be considered as historical, could we detect and track technologies that have appeared in the end of nineties and today are being well known and globally commercialized? Also could we detect technologies which didn’t gain success in future implementation?
Summery of Discussions:
Article provides comprehensible historical overview on technologies development of physical user interface. Physical interaction and augmentation are undoubtedly became omnipresent topics in our era. Although slightly different from the first concepts, it is possible to track line of influence from first experiments to iPhones or augmented reality projects of nowadays. Many of those technologies which were developed and commercialized in the meantime, (transBOARD or project is great example), today are shifting from still expensive commercial environment into environment of open source software and hardware hacking (augmentation, IR code, “wee remote whiteboard project”). Therefore, by reviewing this article it is possible to establish interesting line which could lead us from lab in scientific environment, over global commercial market; back to new “lab”, tremendously changed in its scientific and social agenda.
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W04-3 Lev Manovitch -The Poetics of Augmented Space Learning from Prada

Mediator: Lauren Matrka lmatrka@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The 1990's were interested in virtual space/ virtuality. The 2000's shift interest to augmented space/ augmented reality: a physical space filled with electronic and visual information, where data is constantly being extracted from or delivered to the physical environment.

Examples of technologies that construct augmented space:
  1. Video surveillance: translate the physical space and its dwellers into data
  2. Cellspace technologies: delivering data to mobile users. A physical space filled with data that can be retrieved by a user using a personal communication device.
  3. Computer/ video displays: publicly located screens that display data/ information to passerby

Augmented space provides an opportunity to architects to take into account the layers of contextual information that will overlay the built space they create. This is not a completely new challenge to architects. Architecture has exhibited an overlaying of text and images in architectural space before and has previously incorporated different symbolic systems in one spatial construction.

Koolhaas's Prada Store in New York City is an example of how architecture can deploy technology in the built environment to augment space in a way that enhances/ highlights certain aspects of a user's experience.

Questions:
1. Typically, cultural institutions follow the industry, as research is driven by the opportunity for profit. Can this situation be reversed? Can cultural institutions (or any setting outside of the commercial market) play an active roll in the development of augmented space research?
2. What is the role of the architect in the production/ deployment of augmented space?
Summery of Discussions:
Regarding question one, discussion addressed current developments in cross reality where physical sensor networks converge with online virtual worlds (such as second life) and provide an arena for open-ended experimentation with available data sources. But there is still the issue of needing to push the system one step further to close the feedback loop by actuating the physical environment.
Regarding question number two, discussion proposed an expansion or redefinition of the architectural practice. Do architects shift from the traditional practice of form-making to the authoring of systems? A more active role in the control of a system (access, retrieval, dissemination, etc.) can perhaps give the architect more power/ agency in redefining the consumption of space.
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W05-1 Gordon Pask- Architectural Relevance of Cybernetics

Mediator: Justin student email
Abstract:
Pask claims that Park Guell in Barcelona is the most cybernetic of structures in existence and that architects are essentially cybernetic thinkers. He says this about architects because they buildings they design are, at their core, deeply thought out systems and not just static structures. Clearly the human part of a building is dynamic, but the structural part must be thought of as constantly regulating the human dynamic within.
Questions:
Why is Park Guell the most Cybernetic structure in existence?
Why are architects thought of as being essentially cybernetic thinkers?
Summery of Discussions:

Barcelona Park is most cybernetic structure in existence:

Ant pheremones, curved space - people react to curved, plastic space. people become ants.

arakawa gins = architecture can create eternal life - you won't have to die if architecture operates. You won't die if you live in one of our houses. Shaped like a snail

Architects as cybernetic / system thinkers:

Corbusier - architecture as a machine.

First system is classical architecture of setting proportions with rest of structure designed around it.

Logic of operation - provide an input, you get an output defined by the logic of the input.

System is sub-mechanisms. Architecture as a machine for habitation can fit into idea of systematic thinking.

Algorithmic design and setting up systems. Authorless system, just about designing the framework vs. blueprints and just building an object (alphabet to algorithm - book).

Systems based on similarities. this leaves out a key part of architecture, finding differences and what is abnormal.

We have goals of creating a system where the goals can change, but we have yet to reach this point.

metabolists - think about large scale things like cities as organisms.
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W05-2 Usman Haque- The Architectural Relevance of Gordon Pask

Mediator: Pablo Roquero proquero@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The article goes over some of the most significant designs of Gordon Pask (1928-96), one of the early proponents and practitioners of cybernetics, to show how his work can be of high relevance for contemporary architecture and design.
Through an overview to four of his projects - The MusiColour Machine (1953), The Self Adaptive Keyboard Instructor (1956), Self-evolving chemical computer (1958) and The Colloquy of Mobiles project (1968) - the article explains Paskian strategies and how these allow us to “consider architectural systems in which the occupant takes a prime role in configuring and evolving the space he or she inhabits" stating that this bottom up approach "enables a more productive relationship with our environments and each other”.
Therefore “developing ways in which people themselves can become more engaged with, and ultimately responsible for, the spaces they inhabit. It is about investing the production of architecture with poetries of its inhabitants”.
Questions:
Is the idea of a self adapting and evolving system something we want to rely or depend on? Who really has the control over these systems?

Summery of Discussions:

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W05-3 Osman Haque-What is interaction

Mediator: Hyuny Tek Yoon hyoon1@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The article is about the definition of interaction.
He explains the meaning of interaction with three different views.
1. A design-theory view
Interaction is not the special province of computers alone.All man-made objects offer the possibility for interaction, and all design activities can be viewed as design for interaction. Interaction is a way of framing the activity of design. Interaction is a key aspect of function, and function is a key aspect of design.
2. An Human-Computer Interaction view
Canonical models of computer-human interaction are based on FEEDBACK structure. Information flows from a system through a person and back through the system again.
3. A System-Theory View
Sometimes designers use the word of interaction to describe systems that simply react to input.Reaction and interaction are totally different. Interaction is dynamic system. Dynamic system has following characteristics, which are closed loops, self-regulating system like steam-engine-governor by James Watt.
4. Type of system
Multi self-regulating systems nest some self learning systems for adjusting goal. Multi self-regulating system can be design by combination of simple-regulating systems, which are reacting, regulating, learning, balancing, managing and entertaining, conversing.
Questions:
Can we define, find, and design self-regulating closed loop system in the real world?
If we can, is there example?
Summery of Discussions:
1. A designer do not design the rule itself, a designer creates the system people can create the rule.
2. Some game environment already have the system which gamers can create their own rule inside the game.
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W06-1 Carlo Ratti and Anthony Townsend-Social Nexus

Mediator: Ling Fan lfan@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
This article discusses the potential future development for smart urban system. Compared with the top-down smart city project such as Masdar in UAE and New Songdo City in South Korea where smart technology were used to optimize urban system for maximum efficiency, the authors suggest a real smart city should be bottom up. With proper technical and political support structure, people can achieve sociability that tackle urban problems more effectively than centralized governances. In this smart urban structure, corporations and politicians function in to scale and sustain a larger sustainable that supports grassroots innovation runs on. The authors concluded the essay by proposing a bottom up view of how city develop, therefore, personal devices works collectively could empower people tor live their life as smartly as possible and then make their extended community and city smarter.
Questions:
1. How to define the purpose of a bottom-up system? What's the role for authority at the such context. What I have in mind is the Occupy Wall Street is also one of such action that develops in a more mature society with better intellectual and technical base for bottom-up system. What's the civic society system in this kind of bottom-up social environment?
2. Will it be a problem that the people with more accessibility to smart urban system have just more power to decide the system? How this system can still be equal and open to everyone?
Summery of Discussions:
Here is where you provide a summery of discussions
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W06-2 Mark Wigley_Network Fever

Mediator: Sumona Chakravarty schakrav@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
Mark Wigley's paper 'Network Fever' describes how the contemporary discussions about 'networked' urban design and architecture are an echo of the pioneering thinking around networked systems propogated by Buckminster Fuller and Marshall McLuhan in the early sixties. The article talks about the Delos convention organized by Constantinos Doxiadis and Jacqueline Tyrwhitt and the dialogue that emerged from these events. McLuhan's visionary talk at the first convention on networks as an extension of human biology and the next stage in evolution sparked the discussions at the convention. His ideas also resonated with Fuller's work on designing world wide dwelling services networks based on telephone networks. Over the next decade the members of the convention like Doxiadis, members of CIAM and Team 10, Koichi Tonuma, Kenzo Tange and Archigram expanded on McLuhans ideas on networks as prosthetics and Fuller's on networked design. Some of the key ideas that emerged were the concept of a network as a web rather than a grid, the idea of a global network, Doxiadis' work on growth as movement from one node in the network to the other and the use of computation in architecture. Although most of these ideas were mostly only polemical and did not extend into real world designs, the author stresses on the value of this speculative thinking and emphasizes its influence on architects and designers today. As in the sixties, the author states, even today the 'Network Fever' is centered around the powerful possibility of a space that is not merely occupied by networks or superimposed by them, but a space that is "replaced by that of overlapping networks, within which physical space only appears as a fragile artefact of effect."
Questions:
What is the value of polemical and speculative thinking in terms of our own class projects and how can we think about the models that emerged from the Delos convention when designing the extreme visions for our projects?
Summary of Discussions:
The class criticized the authors claim that present discussions about networks are mere echoes of the past. The contemporary ideas about networks go beyond the idea of physical space as a "fragile artifact or effect", to the concept of marrying bits and bytes and this shift in networked thinking creates the possibility of translating some of the mere speculative thinking of the sixties to real world designs today.
The class also discussed the significance of the Delos convention as a seven day cruise, talking about the metaphorical implications of water and its structure (or the lack of it) when applied to the networked principle.
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W06-3 Anthony Dunne_Hertzian Space

Mediator: SOOBUM syou@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The writing explores the links between the material and immaterial that lead to new aesthetic possibilities for life in an electromagnetic environment. Oftenly, the radio space is confused with virtual space such as cyber internet space that is only a metaphor that spatializes what happens in computer distributed around the world. But it's not true. The radio space is a real, existing, and physical field which is spread everywhere and surronding us. This radio field is always changing and moving very similar to climate.
The most interesting example of dealing with electromagnetic environment is that a building should be far from electronic objects such as aerials creating harmful magnetic field to human body. This is very similar to the set back law for sunlight in urban environment which affects greatly to the outlines of cities and the shapes of buildings.
Questions:
Mostly, he describes the electromagnetic field as a new kind of pollution harmful to people. In that sense, the concept of Herzog's building that protects someone inside the building from threats of outside in terms of both function and meaning might be similar to the medieval city wall or castle. However, these buildings are too defensive and exclusive to the surrounding environments. Can we think the isolated building type is proper to modern urban condition where openess and transparency are dominated value?
Summery of Discussions:
Here is where you provide a summery of discussions
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W07-1 Steve Mann and Jason Nolan and Barry Wellman-Sousveillance-Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments

Mediator: Sookyung schun@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
This paper discusses “sousveillance” as a wearable computing device for data collection in surveillance environments. There are a lot of different wearable computing devices based on different kind of responses and different collection of data. The new kinds of information in a social surveillance situation allow the juxtaposition of sousveillance.
Surveillance is observers. And observers are everywhere and organizations tried to build technology invisible due to creation of pervasive ubiquitous technologies, so appearance of observers disappeared into the buildings, objects and bodies. Meaning of “sousveillance” is the inverse panoptic technologies to give individuals observe organization and as a form of “reflectionism” which is about relocating or disorienting the tools against the organizations and observing the organizations.

Surveillance represents centralized mainframe computers in large hierarchical organizations whereas the goal of wearable computing for sousveillance is for individuals developing personal empowerment and interactions between small groups. (Person to person interactions) So the mobile individual devices allow transforming the modern techniques of surveillance into techniques of sousveillance in order to watch the watchers.
This paper started with issue about asymmetrical nature of surveillance society and tries to find the necessity and importance about the meaning of sousveillance in one-side surveillance society. There are five performances.

Five performances are based on how people respond to wearable computer. Sometimes the camera is hided and sometimes the camera is revealed. The degree of public acceptance of being videoed is different such as if data collection is performed by ordinary people, it is often accepted. However, it is less accepted when the data projectors reveals surveillance officials even though they reveals what the sousveillers are recording. The only acceptance is done when surveiller and sousveiller find common ground in both doing “coveillance”

This paper argues that if individuals were surveilling the surveillance as an act of liberation, it will bring the balance between surveillance and sousveillance. Also, in such a coveillance society, the actions of all may, in theory, be observable and accountable to all.
Questions:
  1. How public bring their technologies of surveillance, in other word, how they could use existing dominant power structure?
  2. If everyone were surveilling the surveillance, the surveillance would be neutralized or does it create another hierarchy?

Summery of Discussions:
Networking and personal observation are inherent social structure and we are not able to avoid this structure. That is, people cannot get out of the fact that someone is surveilling the surveillance. So, it keeps create another degrees of asymmetrical environment.
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W07-2 Selected Articles from Thomas Y. Levin - Ctrl Space

Mediator: Sneha Khullar skhullar@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The All-Seer: God's Eye as Proto-Surveillance
In this article the author reflects on how symbolically the meaning of ‘eye’ evolved from a tool of seeing to surveillance. Schmidth points out at the semantic multi·dimensionality of the word eye in the French language: voir (vision), salloir (knowledge) and poulloir (power) which have the same stem. This reveals the dual structure of vision, a connection to reason as well as the control of power, to illumination but also the illumination of reality and therewith its surveillance.
The text describes the transition of the orthodox meaning of eye. The divine eye got its power associations in the historic painting of the Seven Deadly Sins by Hieronymus Bosch. In Roeseler’ painting as eye became a tool for visual punishment. By Feremy Bentham, this concept was introduced in the prison (in the architecture realm) as a panopticum.
The author argues that today in this age of cybernetic technology, the new practice of observation and survellience has become omnipresent. God is being replaced as the paradigmatic world observer by increasingly perfected techniques of illustrating the visible and invisible reality.
The eye of power
In this text Michel Foucault states Bentham’s Panopticon as ‘an event in the history of human mind’. He describes it as not merely an architectural design with a building in form of a ring and a central tower but as a conceptual discovery representing power. Panopticon was a political idea where technology of power was designed to solve problems of surveillance by easy and effective exercise of power. Foucault elaborates it as unique humanitarian model of universal visibility, where power is established through transparency. He also introduces the concept of perfect surveillance being summation of malveillance implying ‘everyone watching everyone’.
Questions:
In the context of how the meaning of 'the eye' or 'seeing' has transformed historically, what does it broadly associate with today?
How can the balance between transparency and surveillance be mediated?
Summery of Discussions:
- surveillance becoming integral to our physical environments
- people becoming inert to such environments
- issue of surveillance of surveillance
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W07-3 Selected Chapters from Antoine Picon - Digital Culture in Architecture

Mediator: Hailong hwu1@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
What is the relation between digital- shape cities and industry-shaped city?Several ideas had been brought before, such as 1. urban life that regaining its peacefulness with electronic intercourse taking over physical circulation; 2. Sprawl and other more radical forms of dispersion; 3. New urban society with declining physical basis.However none of them seem to be correct in current reality, according to the author, and he proposes three characteristics that distinguish the digital age cityThe first one regards the more and more individual nature of urban life;A second emergent feature has to do with the rapid development of virtual spaces;Third, the importance of occurrences and events as defining elements of urban life and the prospects of urban development.Finally, the author proposes the “A SPLINTERED CITY” within the process of Double process of local fragmentation and global connection.
Questions:
The author mentioned "the end of history" in the article, What is the problem of “the end of history”? What the extreme version of the end of history?What can we do with this condition?
Summery of Discussions:
The traditional city was full of events, but they were counterbalanced by a lot of resistance, beginning with the inertia of built objects and spaces. In this suspended state of perpetual present, a fundamental lack of inertia. A world that is over-sensitive to micro-change, a world without inertia. We may, therefore, have to reinvent a conception of digital media not only as tools for immediate interaction but as means to promote delay, even opacity
It’s very provoking to think about design as media to obstruct physical and information flow to make necessary buffer and trace in order to preserve most ancient human experiences and notions.


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W08-1 Warren Sack-Picturing the Public

Mediator: Steven Y.N. Chen sychen@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
The use of metaphor and analogy in the representation of the public sphere has been utilized throughout the 20th century. With the emergence of the internet and the advanced programming language, Warren Sack describes the evolving metonymy that disparate metaphors have contributed to our understanding of the discourse of the public sphere. Beginning in the 1920s, Sack observes a narrative approach with Walter Lippmann. Lippmann compares the idea of public opinion to a union of the set of pictures in the minds of individuals. Beyond Lippmann and with a more statistical approach to understanding the public, Sack lists the other disparate analogies that have been used to describe the public: a physical system or mass, a thermodynamic system, an ecology, an organism and a network. With the advent of modern transportation and communication technologies in the latter half of the 20th Century, the networked metaphors take on a more significant meaning. As a consequence, John Dewey contends that these new connections established by modern technology form and divide coalitions of people into differing publics. Noortje Marres provides a critical stance towards the views of Dewey and Lippmann and posits that these metaphors have been relatively weak until they are coupled with technologies of representation that can extend their meaning into more process oriented descriptions. Marres offers to address the representation shortcomings by offering a new metaphor – “object-oriented democratic politics” – which borrows internet programming language to associate a process to a specific object. Sack demonstrates this example as a way to imbue additional meaning and agency in the metonymy of the public sphere in an internet age.
Questions:
1. Almost 5 years have elapsed since the article was written in 2007. Is there a more apt equivalent to how we can describe the public sphere akin to the “object-oriented democratic politics” as offered by Marres?
2. In an age where social networking has provided a crucial platform as an instrument for organizing publics, (i.e. especially in organizing protest movements such as the “Arab Spring” and “Occupy Movement”) the metaphor of the network has itself become a process of organization and negotiation. Can the metaphor and instrument be one of the same?
Summary of Discussions:
<did not discuss in class>
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W08-2 Bruno Latour-From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public

Mediator: Anne Schmidt aschmidt@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
We are accustomed to a concept of democracy, which focuses on a type of representation, i.e. the representation of the people or of the interests of people whose conflicts are resolved in parlament. The new concept of the political discussed in this text does not ignore th e representational strategies of art and science. Instead of searching for more democracy only in the realm of professional politics, attention is being drawn to the new atmospheric conditions of democracy, to a complex set of technologies, interfaces, platforms, networks and media that allow things to become public. In other non-Western traditions, in political philosophy, in web-based spaces etc., many other ways of reacting politically are very common, of which parliaments are only a part. So why not try an 'object-oriented democracy' and 'get back to things'? Within the res publica, the focus until now has been on the how and not on the what – the matter-of-concern – that allows for politics.
Latour introduces a new approach, by suggesting to directly address the latter rather than the matters of fact. Where objects used to be looked at as a literally matters-of-fact, this is false, or at least too narrow of a view on the matter. He points out that it has always been ‘things’ that brought people together, because things divide. It is time to go back to things.
Questions:
What if objects themselves can gather, spread and claim issues, turning each other into matters of concern?
How can we get involved in Dingpolitik?
Summery of Discussions:
(Did not discuss in class)
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W08-3 Marc Tuters and Kazys Varnelis-Beyond Locative Media Giving Shape to the Internet of Things

Mediator: Sara Hendren shendren@gsd.harvard.edu
Abstract:
Tuters and Varnelis trace the rhetoric and positioning of the locative media field—finding it a generative outgrowth of the short lived "net art" of the 1990s, but also in danger of limiting its concerns to the subjective user, excluding important research via objects, structures, and socio-political practices. Locative media, they observe, hasn't been so concerned to see itself primarily as art (as had net art, with its insistence on resisting utility and maintaining a critical stance).

In fact, its practitioners have been open to blurring the line between business development/sponsorship and artistic practices. The authors acknowledge the inherent danger there (in creating "shopping-driven locative spectacle," to quote Geert Lovink); but they're more concerned with the orientation that has dominated locative media: that it either annotates space (demystifying by adding data that reveal something more about place) or phenomenologically traces time (using technology to stimulate, re-enchant physical practices like city walks), but that all of these activities are oriented around the experience of the human subject.

Not only does this often, citing Coco Fusco, "substitute connectedness for real engagement," it leaves out examinations of the "history of globalism, networks, dissent, and collective actions." The authors suggest instead that locative media would best situate itself as "a conceptual framework for tracing technological objects and their social impacts." They suggest "applying the strategies of locative media to create...an awareness of the genealogy of an object in the matrix of its production."

Questions:
How do we measure interactivity as real "engagement" and not mere "connectedness"?
If locative media practices are useful, when are they art? Does it matter whether there is protected space for artists to work as artists? These questions plague all artists whose work is research- social-practice based.

Summary of Discussions:
(Did not discuss in class.)
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