Station Identification

David Korowicz, quoted in Dan Hill’s “Dark Matter, Trojan Horses”

“Just as we never consider the ground beneath our feet until we trip, these glimpses into the complex webs of inter-dependencies upon which modern life relies only come when part of that web fails. When the failure is corrected, the drama fades and all returns to normal. However, it is that normal which is most extraordinary of all. Our daily lives are dependent upon the coherence of thousands of direct interactions, which are themselves dependent upon trillions more interactions between things, businesses, institutions and individuals across the world.” 

And… from Dave Egger’s “The Circle” 

“She thought of the foxes that might be underneath her, the crabs that might be hiding under the stones on the shore, the people in the cars that might be passing overhead, the men and women in the tugs and tankers, arriving to port or leaving, sighing, everyone having seen everything. She guessed at it all, what might live, moving purposefully or drifting aimlessly, under the deep water around her, but she didn’t think too much about any of it. It was enough to be aware of the million permutations possible around her, and take comfort in knowing she would not, and really could not, know much at all.”


The Betteridge Boast/Boost

I’m shamed into blogging more regularly by Mr Betteridge’s post:

“Keeping writing a blog is hard work, and takes commitment, and it’s very easy to drift out of that commitment. One of the reasons that I decided to start trying to write 500 words a day is because I believed that making this kind of commitment was good for me. But it was also an attempt to avoid pouring too much of a my energy into things like Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks which – while fun, and generally positive – don’t feel like they have the permanence of my own space. This blog is older than Facebook, and I like that.”

Well… strictly speaking, I don’t quite own my own words right now, I’m hosted on – but this blog (in its many incarnations) is older than facebook too…

*checks sidebar* – It’ll be 14 years old this summer! Blimey…

Thanks for the prod, Ian – I’ll try me best.

Wanadoo’s designers wanna blog

With so many stories in the media about individuals being sued for blogging, and big corporations cracking down on their blogging employees, it’s heartening to find big Euro-ISP Wanadoo have set up Pixelbox for their designers, researchers and developers to share their interests.

From their ‘about’ page:

"We intend to raise the profile of design across the Wanadoo Group,
drawing together design professionals from across Wanadoo’s European
businesses, Orange, France Telecom, Pages Jaunes and the wider design industry. We seek to create a vibrant design
community from these interests – sharing expertise, curating our
knowledge and sharing work, ideas, inspiration and initiatives."

Very cool.

UPDATE: Just found out from one of the designers there who is a friend of ours that they are incentivised for posting to the blog! Her bonus is tied to how much she posts…! Fantastic!!!

Walking City: 21st Century Mirrorworlds remix


^ Comparison of YRM/Tom Carden’s  ‘Destinations’ (Detail) with Ron Herron/Archigram’s ‘Walking City’ (reversed out-of-black by me)

Congratulations to Tom Carden on getting a piece selected for the architecture section of The Royal Academy’s prestigious Summer Exhibition this past year. It’s called ‘Destinations’ and is a beautiful simulation of passenger movements through an airport terminal over a day. 

Many things notable about this: that an artifact that is a simulation of flow through architecture is included in a celebration of the aesthetics of architecture, that these complex simulations of ‘people weather’ are not only working tools of large-scale architectural practice, but also now boundary objects that communicate to wider audiences, and that as David Gelertner put in his mid-90’s book MirrorWorlds, that now we have the power to make magic mirrors of what might be, how does that inform our actions – as architects, designers and citizens.

I was fortunate to sit down and have a chat with Tom this week in London, where we talked about simulation, visualisation, cities and agency and if those sorts of fields fascinate you, too, I recommend subscribing to his blog, Random Etc.

The other thing that struck me about Tom’s image was it’s superficial resemblence to Ron Herron’s iconic Walking City – appealing, as it’s an image of that peculiar 21st century transient city: the airport and it’s inhabitants – walking…

See also: Rodcorp’s "life in the walking city" [via Anne G. to whom I apologise for the non-ironic utopian, technological, democratic discourses I hope she keeps reading 😉

Unravelling of the press

Apologies: a couple of things on weblogging and the liberalisation of publishing.

Rushkoff thinks that the “real threat of blogs” (sounds like an advert for pesticide: ‘protect your crops from the real threat of blogs’) is that they represent unpaid cultural production:

“I believe the greatest power of the blog is not just its ability to distribute alternative information – a great power, indeed – but its power to demonstrate a mode of engagement that is not based on the profit principle.”

Food for thought from 3QuarksDaily:

“Can we just reinforce what we believe by reading only those blogs and web press that agree with us, up to the point where our beliefs cascade away from any doubts and are reinforced. Long ago, Jack Snyder and Karen Ballentine argued that pathological politics (in their paper, an agreessive nationalism) was enabled by a segmented media market and poor or absent norms in the press.

Historically and today, from the French Revolution to Rwanda, sudden liberalizations of press freedom have been associated with bloody outbursts of popular nationalism. The most dangerous situation is precisely when the government’s press monopoly begins to break down.(4) During incipient democratization, when civil society is burgeoning but democratic institutions are not fully entrenched, the state and other elites are forced to engage in public debate in order to compete for mass allies in the struggle for power.(5) Under those circumstances, governments and their opponents often have the motive and the opportunity to play the nationalist card.”