mercredi 30 septembre 2009

# China's government tries to surpress uncertainty

Tomorrow (Thursday 1st of October) will be celebrated the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China on Tienanmen square. You think that this kind of gigantic event is constrained by the same uncertainty of the weather than your garden barbecue, well this is not true anymore.
To know more you can read this New York Times article about how China's government is trying to control the weather by using technology to make "pregnant clouds" give birth of rains before their arrival on Beijing. Chemical rockets and plane full of dry ice, salt and silver iodide are being used to that purpose.

# Ecole (M.Turnheim, N.Simon, G.Colette-Turnheim, A.Delaroiere & G.Lucas)

A little post for our talented friends of Ecole who just released their website. Ecole is a Paris based young office founded by Max Turnheim and Nicolas Simon, both architects, in 2008, joined afterward by Gala Collette-Turnheim, photographer and graphic designer (author of the superb Wonderland below, assembling the entire Lewis Caroll's book on twelve panels) and then by Aure Delaroiere and Geraldine Lucas, architects as well. The office shares his time between architecture, industrial design and graphic design...Good luck to them for the future !

# dpr-barcelona (Ethel Baraona Pohl + César Reyes Nájera)

dpr-barcelona is apparently a new blog which motto is beyond books/between art, science and architecture and although there are not a lot of articles yet, I definitely recommend to read them especially the one on Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin, the paper architects...

mardi 29 septembre 2009

# Lebbeus Woods' Underground Berlin

The easy way to distinguish people who are using the net to self-publish themselves and other who are using it to communicate ideas is pretty much observable in the generosity of the information. Lebbeus Woods is definitely part of this second group and he published two weeks ago a storyboard/synopsis about a movie he wrote called Underground Berlin.
You can see it on his blog and read this Underground Research Station under Berlin being explored by Amelia and Leo and you may even notice the famous experiment chair that was used by Terry Gilliam in 12 monkeys...

lundi 28 septembre 2009

# The Endless house of Frederick Kiesler

Last year, I was walking around and I stopped totaly randomly in front of The Drawing Center in SoHo. The ongoing show at this time (june 2008) was about the Endless house of the Austrian architect Friederick Kiesler. It's a reflection of the house as continuous surface.

“What are you my colleague architects and engineers doing? How do you use your super power given to you by the universe? Why do you remain routine draftsmen, cocktail sippers, coffee gulpers and making routine love? Wake up, there’s a new world to be created within our world.” (Frederick Kiesler).

check this out:

more: here and here .

# AVATAR exhibition in Bartlett

AVATAR's (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research) work will be exhibited in Bartlett starting tomorrow (September 29th) evening.
AVATAR is a research laboratory about the influence of technology on architecture design ,lead by Neil Spiller and mixing Bartlett students and professors such as Nic Clear, Marcos Cruz, Tobias Klein, Bob Sheil or Yorgos Loizos.

"...Narratively and aesthetically, AVATAR considers itself uniquely skilled and positioned to posit new aesthetic systems and codes of representation for architecture, interior design, multimedia design and graphic design. The most important paradigm shift sustained by new media and technologies, with their consequent ubiquity, is that of the liberation of the user from stylistic and spatial dictates of aesthetic fascists like architects, politicians and planners..."
Neil Spiller, 'Radical Experimentation as Research', 'Protoarchitecture', AD, 2008.

Tuesday 29 September - Saturday 3 October 2009
The Lobby Gallery, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1 0QB
MArch Architectural Design and MArch Urban Design Annual Show 2009
The MArch Show is an annual celebration of masters’ design work at the
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
The exhibition will be formally opened on Tuesday 29 September from 5.00pm. A bar will be run in celebration and all are welcome.
Exhibition open to the public:
Tues 29 September, 5.00pm-10.00pm
Wed 30- September - Fri 2 October, 10.00am-7.00pm
Sat 3 October, 10.00am-4.00pm
For information please call +44 (0)20 7679 4815

Thanks Yorgos !

# The belly of an architect by Peter Greenaway

Peter Greenaways's 1987 Belly of an architect is in the direct line of Zoo and The cook the thief his wife and her lover in the fascination he seems to have for the image
The architect is Stourley Kracklite, American who comes to Rome to organize an exhibition about Louis-Etienne Boullee, his object of extreme fascination. The movie depicts the process of his paranoia supported by the dramatic setting of Rome (and especially of Victor Emmanuel II's monument/the typewriter).

dimanche 27 septembre 2009

# Crash by James Graham Ballard

I'm currently re-reading JGB's Crash so I thought I could share some quotes ! (picture from David Cronenberg's movie)

"Vaughan unfolded for me all his obsessions with the mysterious eroticism of wounds, the perverse logic of blood-soaked instrument panels; seat-belts smeared with excrement, sun-visors lined with brain tissue. For Vaughan, each crashed car set off a tremor of excitements in the complex geometries of a dented fender, in the unexpected variations of crushed radiator grilles, in the grotesque overhang of an instrument panel forced on to a driver's crotch as if in some some calibrated act of machine fellation."

"Trying to exhaust himself, Vaughan devised a terrifying almanac of imaginary automobile disasters and insane wounds, the lungs of elderly men punctured by door handles, the chests of young women impale by steering columns, the cheeks of handsome youths pierced by the chromium latches of quarter-lights. For him these wounds were the key to a new sexuality born from a perverse technology."

samedi 26 septembre 2009

# Trans Europe Express by Martial Marquet

Here is Marksor's diploma project in the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture presented in june 2009.
For the second time of boiteaoutils' life, I want to apologize for presenting one of our project here, which is somehow a way of hijacking the readers' interest. I just want to say that I am the one who wanted to publish Martial's project and he did not ask for anything...
Now that those things are said, I'd like to introduce this project which proposes to use Paris' "intramuros" railway to increase density of the city. He takes advantage of this site for using digital manufacturing machines on trains to operate each structural element which can thus be as specific and non standard as desired...

vendredi 25 septembre 2009

# International Architecture Symposium in Paris

L'enjeu Capital(es)
Les metropoles de la grande echelle

A huge event on October 1st and 2nd will take place at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Including the following personalities who will take part of 2 hours debats :

Pier Vittorio Aureli (DOGMA), Peter Eisenman, Luca Galofaro (IaN+), Vittorio Gregotti et Bernard Tschumi.

Andrea Branzi, Adriaan Geuze (West 8), Neven Sidor (Grimshaw Architects), James Wines (Site) et Ken Yeang (TR Hamzah et Yeang)

Hernan Diaz Alonso (Xefirotarch), Ben van Berkel (UN Studio), Yusuke Obuchi et Theo Spyropoulos (AADRL) Makoto sei Watanabe et Alejandro Zaera-Polo (FOA).

Rem Koolhaas (OMA-AMO), Kengo Kuma, Brendan MacFarlane (Jakob+MacFarlane), Thom Mayne (Morphosis) et Dominique Perrault.

Those lectures/debats will be live projected in several french schools of architecture and on internet.

link to the events site : here

# Lectures @ Ecole Special d'Architecture

Kathryn Gustafson
architecte paysagiste américaine,
agence Gustafson Porter Landscape, 19 h.

Mimi Hoang, Eric Bunge
architectes américains, 19 h.

Cédric Libert
architecte, agence Anorak, Bruxelles, 19 h.

Atelier Bow-Wow
agence d’architecture japonaise, 19 h.

Carine SMuts
architecte, CS Studio,
Le Cap, Afrique du Sud, 19 h.

graffiti artiste américain, 19 h.

Han Tumertekin
architecte turc, agence Mimarlar, 19 h.

Kresimir Rogina & Vinko Penezic
architectes, Croatie,
agence Penezic&Rogina, 19 h.

Karsten Huneck et Bernd Trümpler
architectes, OSA Londres, 19 h.

lectures start at 7PM.

École Spéciale d’Architecture

254 boulevard Raspail 75014 Paris

jeudi 24 septembre 2009

# Ecology as a new opium for the masses by Slavoj Žižek

Here is a lecture of Slavoj Žižek Ecology as a new opium for the masses (referring to Karl Marx's consideration for religion) about the system we're living in and what makes ecology being the new level of capitalism which is proving once again how much adaptive it is. This lecture was held in November 2007 in the Tilton Gallery (NYC).

2/10 - 3/10 - 4/10 - 5/10 - 6/10 - 7/10 - 8/10 - 9/10 - 10/10

Thanks Eduardo !

# Cities and the New Wars conference in Columbia

...I love New York...This Friday (September 25th) and Saturday (September 26th) will be held an amazing conference in Columbia University about Cities and the New Wars. It is organized by The Committee on Global Thought and Saskia Sassen.
Check the schedule out:

Friday, September 25, 2009

1:00pm - 6:45 pm
Wood Auditorium, Avery Hall

1:00 - 1:30 Introduction

Saskia Sassen
Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Member, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.

1:30 - 3 Geographies of Terror

Chair: Saskia Sassen

Arjun Appadurai
Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Stephen Graham
Professor of Human Geography and Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Cities and Regions, University of Durham.

Jessica Stern
Professor of Law and Affiliate, the Belfer Center's International Security Program, Harvard University.

3-4 War and Displacement

Chair: Elazar Barkan, Center for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University.

Les Roberts
Associate Clinical Professor of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and former Director of Health Policy at the International Rescue Committee.

Karen Jacobsen
Associate Professor at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, and Academic Director of the Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

4 - 4:15 Break

4:15 - 5:15 Economic Violence

Chair: Yasmine Ergas, Center for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

Sudhir Venkatesh
William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology and Director, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University.

Claire Cutler
Professor of International Law and Relations, University of Victoria, Canada.

5:15 - 6:45 Urban Spaces as a Technology of War

Chair: Claire Cutler, Law and International Relations, Victoria U.

Eyal Weizman
Architect, Profesor and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College. Member, architectural collective "Decolonizing Architecture" in Beit Sahour/Palestine.

Peter Marcuse
Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Presevation at Columbia University.

Partha Chatterjee
Professor of Anthropology and Member, Committee on Global thought at Columbia University and, Professor of Political Science at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Calcutta, India.

6:45 - 7:30 Reception

Saturday, September 26, 2009
11:00am - 7 pm

The Dictionary of War Project

The concepts will be presented in 20-minutes time slots, in alphabetical order and without a break; they are recorded in a television studio setup, encoded in real-time and published on the internet.

11:00 Cold war planning - Jennifer S. Light (Northwestrn University)
11:30 Information - Ted Byfield (Parsons, The New School for Design)
12:00 Not-not- war - Rosalind C. Morris (Columbia University)
13:00 Pigeon - Gediminas Urbonas (MIT, Visual Arts Program)
13:30 Re-appropriating the city of fear - Fiona Jeffries (CUNY, Graduate Center)
14:00 Marketing War - Danny Kaplan (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
14:30 Annexpression - Tony Conrad (University of Buffalo, New York)
15:00 The Wall - Richard Sennett (New York University and London School of Economics)
15:30 Urban Warfare - Gar Smith (Environmentalists Against War)
16:00 Virtuous War - James Der Derian (Brown University)
16.30 War Games - Ashley Dawson (CUNY Graduate School)
17:00 Explosion Implosion: war in our time - Susan Crile (Artist, New York)
17.30 When a riot becomes a war - Suketu Mehta (New York University)
18:00 Wounded Cities - Ida Susser and Jan Schneider (CUNY Graduate Center)

mercredi 23 septembre 2009

# BLDG BLOG's day in Storefront

This saturday (september 26th) will be held a very cool architecture day in the Storefront for Art and Architecture celebrating BLDG BLOG book. For people who still don't know Geoff Manaugh, here is his iconeye manifesto.

Here is the schedule
3:00pm: Karen Van Lengen

3:30pm: Jace Clayton (live interview)

4:00pm: Richard Mosse
Interview with BLDGBLOG

4:30pm: Mason White
InfraNet Lab

5:00pm: Patrick McGrath (live interview)
Interview with BLDGBLOG

5:30pm: Lebbeus Woods
Interview with BLDGBLOG

6:00pm: Alan Rapp

6:05pm: Geoff Manaugh

6:30pm: Drinks

8:00pm: End

# Pike loop; Gramazio & Kohler's robot in the Storefront

Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler will be presenting their robot that we don't introduce anymore (for uninformed people or Harvard students, you can see R-O-B work on this former post) at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC between September 30th and November 15th. The installation will not be set at the storefront itself, but rather in the public space on Pike Street between Division Street and East Broadway. We will then see if after several year, this robot learned from its experience or keep on doing the same thing over and over again...

mardi 22 septembre 2009

# History of art by Glenn Beck on Fox News

Remember this funny gentleman who was talking about the Insurrection coming few weeks ago ? Here he is again, helping us to understand how communism ideology is spread all over the place in New York and even more since Obama is President of the US. Thank you Fox News for this History of Art which could be digested by this great sentence from Mr. Glenn Beck saying that "really beautiful things can come from very ugly places" !
For you to avoid his crazy zoom in zoom out on Diego Rivera's fresco at the Rockfeller Center (which by the way was immediately destroyed) here it is in a big format.

# What is the goal of French Ministry of National Identity ?

What is the French Ministry of National Identity really about ? This part of the Immigration ministry pretend to promote French Identity... But what the f... is this identity ?
Here is the official text written on the official site about the ministry's goal:

4. Promouvoir notre identité. L’identité française est à la fois l’héritage de notre histoire et l’avenir de notre communauté nationale. La Constitution de la Ve République, à son article premier, affirme que "la France est une République indivisible, laïque, démocratique et sociale. Elle assure l’égalité devant la loi de tous les citoyens sans distinction d’origine, de race ou de religion". La promotion de notre identité est une réponse aux communautarismes et vise à préserver l’équilibre de notre Nation. L’immigration, l’intégration et l’identité nationale sont complémentaires. Elles sont même intimement liées. C’est parce que la France a une identité propre dont elle peut être fière qu’elle a les moyens d’intégrer des immigrés qui respectent nos valeurs et qu’elle peut organiser de façon sereine l’immigration. Telle est l’ambition de ce nouveau ministère : lutter contre l’immigration irrégulière, organiser l’immigration légale en favorisant le développement des pays d’origine afin de réussir l’intégration et de conforter l’identité de notre Nation.

translation: To promote our identity. French identity is both the heritage of our history and the future of our national community. Vth Republic's Constitution, in its first article, affirms that France is an indivisible republic, secular, democratic and social. It ensures amongst the law the equality of every citizen not matter their origins, their race or their religion. Our identity's promotion is an answer to communautarism and tend to preserve our Nation's equilibrium. Immigration, integration and national identity are complementary. They are even absolutely linked to each others. It is because France has its own identity that it can be proud to have the means of integration of migrants who respect our values and that it can organize immigration in a tranquil way. That is this new ministry's ambition, to fight against irregular immigration, to organize legal immigration by favoring the origin countries' development in order to succeed the integration and to comfort our Nation's identity.

For those who did not threw up yet, you can read a former article I wrote back in January about Edouard Glissant and Patrick Chamoiseau's great article they wrote in reaction of the creation of this ministry by Sarkozy's government (first by Brice Hortefeux, then by Eric Bresson).

# Carceri d'Invenzione by Piranesi

Le Carceri d'Invenzione is a serie of etchings drawn by Giovanni Battista Piranesi between 1745 and 1750. It creates a fictitious environment of prisons, an eligible Kafkian of Borgessian space lighten by a very intriguing light coming in those subterranean labyrinths.

dimanche 20 septembre 2009

# SWARM /// Interview of Roland Snooks

Third and last interview for this SWARM thematic. This one is of Roland Snooks from Kokkugia. Roland speaks about his research about multi-agent strategies in his studio and in the schools he is teaching (Columbia, Pratt, Sci-Arc, UPenn, RMIT...)

You are using swarm/network intelligence as a process of creation. Would you say that it is a form of loss of control from the architect ? If it is the case why would you think it is relevant in our era ?

Designing through complex systems, in particular through multi-agent design methodologies, does not represent a loss of control in the design process, however the nature of design and authorship changes. It is a shift from invention of form to the orchestration of processes. Within highly volatile algorithmic design processes topology and dimension are not directly controlled, however the formal and organisational characteristics, which are tied to the internal behavior of the algorithm are controlled through an iterative design process.

Swarm intelligence is based on a neighborhood negotiation; how do you make that happen as a designer ?

Swarm Intelligence involves the encoding of design intent at the local level through seeding agents with behaviors. It is the interaction of these behaviors that generates a collective intelligence and complex order. Consequently it shifts not only the operation of the design process, but also the design intent to the micro scale.

What are the political impacts of such a process ?

Agent based systems do not have any a priori political bias, however the distributed nature of the process offers the opportunity to use this design methodology in a more inclusive or democratic way. The interaction of a diverse set of individual desires are capable of self-organising into a coherent whole without homogenizing its constitutate parts.

Would you say that we are heading towards an interactive ubiquity ? May you tell us a short story about it ?

It is not the interactive aspect of swarm algorithms that are the focus of Kokkugia’s projects or academic research. We are less interested in applying these algorithms for their real-time interactive possibility or for the simulation of reality. Instead we are intrigued by the possibilities these techniques offer for generating new situations and emergent order.

samedi 19 septembre 2009

# SWARM /// Interview of Francois Roche

This is the second interview of the Swarm thematic about R&Sie(n)'s work and research.

Interview Leopold Lambert / september 17th

Short stories from an acephala body / f. Roche

You are using swarm/network intelligence as a process of creation. Would you say that it is a form of loss of control from the architect ? If it is the case why would you think it is relevant in our era ?

This notion has to be used carefully, to avoid a direct and reductive analogy between bird, ants and humans. The swarm intelligences work in the nature at the condition to reduce and limit the inputs, but contradictorily, humans are known to de-multiply inputs and outputs, between their perception and the illusion of their perception and the paranoia of the both…

The first who introduce for me the politic hypothesis of Swarm intelligences was Ilya Prigogine in his book ''the end of certainty’, where his thermodynamic analyze showed the opposition between Newtonian and Entropic scientific approach.

- In the Newtonian one, people consider the trajectories of particles as the way to describe a system, where everything has to be in the spectrum of predictability and forecast.

- In the thermodynamic one, people consider the whole system as a permanent and endlessness research of equilibrium and disequilibrium. The knowledge of its disorder, with the calculation of the value of entropy is not only describing it’s convulsively and the dynamic exchange, but it s integrating the non reversibility of the movement as the acceptation of the arrow of time. In this case each particle cannot be entirely predictable in their individual trajectories, and their relationship, their contingent and reciprocity behavior are able to be analyzed and described as a protocol of transformation, of dynamic metamorphosis. By this way the freedom of the system has to be qualified in his mutation with the criteria of exchange linked to internal and external environnement.

In the first case we are talking about determinism and master-planning, where everything has to be fixed, predicted and redacted, and in the second we are manipulating uncertainties, permanent adaptation, and reactive mutation according to the inputs within and around the system.

The swarm intelligences notion could be linked as the second law of thermodynamic > While a system can undergo some physical process that decreases its own entropy, the entropy of the universe (which includes the system and its surroundings) must increase overall.

If we consider the swarm as a pure protocol of neighborhood exchanges, we are reproducing again a new version of closed biotopes, with more complexity, but without entropy. At the contrary, if swarm intelligences become a strategy, a vector to resolve a dynamic conflict (as obstacle for bird), its internal logic will be intrinsically embedded in the reason of the confrontation and the agents of disequilibrium will force the system to react.

We cannot, by this way dissociate swarm intelligences to the final purpose (to avoid the obstacle). We cannot dissociate the emerging aesthetic to the recognition of ‘’causalities and dependencies’’ inputs and outputs. That is for us the first point. Swarm intelligences as to be contradictorily functionalized, or more targeted…

Ilya Prigogine demonstrated not only the importance of this permanent entropy as a factor of knowledge, he also compared the policies, the politic of the both system. On one way, the permanent research of equilibrium and disequilibrium could be compared to a democratic situation, and on the other, at the opposite, the determinism of positioning of each particle (each citizen) can be the expression of a frozen situation, as monarchy or autocracy, or the worst fascism.

But it s not innocent if Antonio Negri, in the Multitudes reactivated this notion, in it s political and social organization term, but he never tried to define the toolings, the protocols which could be able to apply this physiological and ideological approach in a human social contract and organization…


Swarm intelligence is based on a neighborhood negotiation; how do you make that happen as a designer ?

That is the unknown path we tried to borrow. What could be the data, the inputs we could used to define this individual and neighborhood protocols of exchanges. Could we use naively some cellular automata process and justify that this logic of life and death could be a mimesis of swarm intelligences social meanings. Of course not. That is tricky, naïve and ridiculous.

To take an example: Lsystem describe the mimicry of the branching of the nature but it s never describe the permanent logic of re-adaptation of the growing, of the photosynthesis exchanges and the research of the equilibrium of trees, as incremental and recursive process. We are exactly on the same borderline. Swarm intelligences cannot be reduced to a morphological toolings or computational exercises. It has to be a part of the research, but it cannot be the core of it, still less its technoid alibi. Swarm intelligences is a tool for political and social transformation, its voluntary reduction to a ‘’geek’’ attitude will burn its potential.

For example, in the ‘’Ive heard about’’ experiment, we have first tried to re-question the emission of the desires and own the desires is able to be collected to start in a second step a neighborhood protocol.

We know that the human pheromones (vector of sharing knowledge) are missing or so weak, that we cannot distribute an instantaneous and collective informational network so easily. On another way, we could suspect the language and the notion of ‘’libre arbitre’’ to be too easily influenced and manipulated (Spinoza show us how this notion could become, contradictorily our own lever of slaveness).

To start a protocol of swarm intelligences, we have first to develop the factor and vector of exchanges from something which could be shared…

One way we tried was to analyze the multiple disorder of the human secretion, the body chemical emission, and to introduce a balance between language as the expression of our personal contradictions in the public space and the neuro-biology as a direct analyze our chemical body…Some things between consciousness and pre- consciousness…negotiating the schizophrenia between the vector of the emission of ‘’ libre arbitre’’ (free will) and the chemical secretion of ’’le corps acéphale’’ (body acephala), ‘’le corps chimique, neurobiologique’’. (Concentration of Cortisol, Dopamine, Adrenaline, Melatonin…).

We have developed a nano-particle interface (see pictures) to re-read this chemical aspect with a safe intrusive system (without syringe and blood collect) by analyzing the composition of the air coming from the breathing.

The protocol is:

NANOCAPTEURS INTERFACE – Nanoreceptors, n. (physics, from nanos, 1nm = 10-9 m) -1. Nanoparticles (NP) used to capture and detect the presence of a chemical substance in a particular atmosphere. -2A. Nanoreceptors can be inhaled, making it possible to “sniff” the chemical state of the human body. -2B. Functioning: Like pollens, they are concentrated in the bronchia and attach themselves to the blood vessels. This location makes it possible for them to detect traces of stress hormones (hydrocortisone) carried by the haemoglobin. As soon as they come into contact with this substance, the phospholipidic membrane of the NP dissolves and releases several molecules, including formaldehyde (H2CO) in a gaseous state. The molecules rejected by the respiratory tract are detected using cavity ring-down spectroscopy (C.R.D.S.). This is a method of optical analysis using laser beams programmed to a particular frequency, making it possible to measure the density of air-borne molecules. The wavelength used for the detection of formaldehyde is around 350 nanometres. -3. Consequently, the nanoreceptors are becoming the pheromonal re-reading of the chemical body, as one of the vectors of the negociation between neighbourhood.

This chemical aspect in real time, could work as a substitute of the missing pheromone….

What are the political impacts of such a process ?

We will see…. First it s how this work of three year ago, in a lost territories of Paris, is becoming a subject of research in US as Pratt…I could be afraid if you are not going further, beyond of post-parametric process…

Would you say that we are heading towards an interactive ubiquity ? May you tell us a short story about it ?

Interactive is a word I try to never use. What interest us is to increase the possibility of MPD (multiple psycho disorders) to deliver an other negotiation between fiction and reality. As Alice in Wonderland, where mathematic become the support of illogic, or which appears as illogic (Lewis Carroll as mathematician)

In this case ‘’interactive’’ is something which articulate our paranoia (psycho production) with our biology (physio production)

# SWARM /// Interview of Valerie Chatelet

Valerie Chatelet is the publication director of Interactive Cities, published in 2007 by HYX. You can download her own article from HYX website.

You are using swarm/network intelligence as a process of creation. Would you say that it is a form of loss of control from the architect ? If it is the case why would you think it is relevant in our era ?

Valerie Chatelet: What is pretty fascinating in emergent processes in human situations without any centralized or voluntary organization, is not really their intelligence, but much more their absurdity. We keep calling intelligence patterns which emerges at a superior level from the one where were taken the decisions, even when those patterns are fatal. We are the heir of a fascination for emergent processes which take their roots in the origins of computer science and simulation possibilities. This fascination is still persisting nowadays, in particular for the architects, by the omnipotence that provides the enormity of flux we potentially succeed to manipulate.
Although if anthill are magic/intelligent in their mechanism despite its composing individuals’ simplicity, what emerges from human society is more about traffic jams, congestion phenomena, pollution, resources waste, stock exchange crisis, public space privatization, urban spreading or scattering.
The point is not to simulate those processes, neither to reproduce them but on the contrary to come out of those emergent absurdity. There are thus two intervention hypothesis: the structure or the awareness. Structures which could be architecture works are imposing themselves in a centralized way and find their legitimacy in the fact that they allow to go beyond the emergent phenomena’s insufficiency. What is new nowadays is the move offered to architecture to design, not anymore structures which organize and solve emergence’s anomalies, but to design devices allowing people to become collectively aware of these phenomena and to modify their behaviors in order to avoid their absurdity.

Swarm intelligence is based on a neighborhood negotiation; how do you make that happen as a designer ?

Valerie Chatelet: I struggle to allow people to go beyond the neighboring negotiation and to establish tools which allow them to choose depending on their interests on the one hand, and on the other hand, depending on a sharp awareness of aggregation of behaviors, not only of their neighbors, but of further away people as well.

What are the political impacts of such a process ?

Valerie Chatelet: Huge! In a first time, it surely is a re-legitimacy of politic but which should on a longer time basis, make the representation politic as we know it disappear. However, I prefer not to anticipate too much since it is nowadays too difficult to get those impacts.

Would you say that we are heading towards an interactive ubiquity ? May you tell us a short story about it ?

Valerie Chatelet: Sure! It seems to me that ubiquitous interactivity is ineluctable. Nevertheless, it won’t universal, neither in its geographical and spatial diffusion, nor in its shapes, on the contrary of what seems to think most of ubiquity thinkers and apostles. There will be as many ubiquitous interactivities that we have cultures and societies nowadays.
The story I am thinking about is the one which was recounted in an old Wired magazine about the traffic management in Singapore. Everything is perfectly controlled there, space is full of sensors and technology and traffic jams have disappeared which makes the inhabitants very satisfied. This article’s author was concluding that Singapore’s most important achievement was not so much in the technologies which have been developed and which was existing in the same way in the United States, but more in the administration’s power and its capacity of coordinate itself which was totally unimaginable at this time in the States, for technical issues just as much as its social status.
Two big directions are growing: the decisions’ automation starting from live captured data depending on the experts’ knowledge or the devices development allowing a collective awareness to emerge and to modify behaviors without controlling them.
I believe in mirrors, not in automatism.

jeudi 17 septembre 2009

# Pratt lectures

Pratt lectures poster has been released for Fall 2009 semester. As observable we have Francois Roche coming on October 15th, Wolf Prix on October 29th and Geoff Manaugh on November 5th.

# SWARM /// Multitude by Antonio Negri & Michael Hardt

Here is the wholeness of the chapter called Swarm intelligence in Antonio Negri & Michael Hardt's wonderful book Multitude published in 2004.

When a distributed network attacks, it swarms its enemy: innumerable independent forces seem to strike from all directions at a particular point and then disappear back into the environment. From an external perspective, the network attack is described as a swarm because it appears formless. Since the network has no center that dictates order, those who can only think in terms of traditional models may assume it has no organization whatsoever-they see mere spontaneity and anarchy. The network attack appears as something like a swarm of birds or insects in a horror film, a multitude of mindless assailants, unknown, uncertain, unseen and unexpected. If one looks inside a network, however, one can see that it is indeed organized, rational, and creative. It has swarm intelligence.

Recent researches in artificial intelligence and computational methods use the term swarm intelligence to name collective and distributed techniques of problem solving without centralized control or the provision of a global mode. Part of the problem with much of the previous artificial intelligence research, they claim, is that it assumes intelligence to be based in an individual mind, whereas they assert that intelligence is fundamentally social. These researches thus derive the notion of the swarm from the collective behavior of social animals, such as ants, bees, and termites, to investigate multi-agent-distributed systems of intelligence. Common animal behavior can give an initial approximation of this idea. Consider, for example, how tropical termites build magnificent, elaborated domed structures by communicating with each other; researchers hypothesize that each termite follows the pheromone concentration left by other termites in the swarm. Although none of the individual termites has a high intelligence, the swarm of termites forms an intelligent system with no central control. The intelligence of the swarm is based fundamentally on communication. For researchers in artificial intelligence and computational methods, understanding this swarm behavior helps in writing algorithms to optimize problem-solving computations. Computers too can be designed to process information faster using swarm architecture rather than a conventional centralized processing model.

The swarm model suggested by animal societies and developed by these researchers assumes that each of the agents or particles in the swarm is effectively the same and on its own not very creative. The swarms that we see emerging in the new network political organizations, in contrast, are composed of a multitude of different creative agents. This adds several more layers of complexity to the model. The members of the multitude do not have to become the same or renounce their creativity in order to communicate and cooperate with each other. They remain different in terms of race, sex, sexuality, and so forth. What we need to understand, then, is the collective intelligence that can emerge from the communication and cooperation of such a varied multiplicity. Perhaps when we grasp the enormous potential of this swarm intelligence we can finally understand why the poet Arthur Rimbaud in his beautiful hymns to the Paris Commune in 1871 continually imagined the revolutionary Communards as insects. It is not uncommon, of course, to imagine enemy troops as insects. Recounting the events of the previous year, in fact, Emile Zola in his historical novel La Debacle describes the “black swarms” of Prussians overrunning the French positions at Sedan like invading ants, “un si noir fourmillement de troupes allemandes.” Such insect metaphors for enemy swarms emphasize the inevitable defeat while maintaining the inferiority of the enemy-they are merely mindless insects. Rimbaud, however, takes this wartime cliché and inverts it, singing the praises of the swarm. The Communards defending their revolutionary Paris against the government forces attacking from Versailles roam about the city like ants (fourmiller) in Rimbaud’s poetry and their barricades bustle with activity like anthill (fourmilieres). Why would Rimbaud describe the Communards whom he loves and admires as swarming ants? When we look more closely we can see that all of Rimbaud’s poetry is full of insects, particularly the sounds of insects, buzzing, swarming, teeming (bourdonner, grouiller). “Insect-verse” is how one reader describes Rimbaud’s poetry, “music of the swarm”. The reawakening and reinvention of the senses in the youthful body-the centerpiece of Rimbaud’s poetic world- takes place in the buzzing and swarming of the flesh. This is a new kind of intelligence, a collective intelligence, a swarm intelligence, that Rimbaud and the Communards anticipated.

mercredi 16 septembre 2009

# The metropolis and common life by Michael Hardt & Neil Smith

Before writing a post on Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's swarm vision in Multitude, here is an important event. Michael Hardt will have a public conversation with Neil Smith called The metropolis and common life tomorrow in New York following the publication of Hardt and Negri's new book called Commonwealth.
Here is the introduction text:

On Thursday, September 17th (7PM), at Abrons Art Center in the Lower East Side, Michael Hardt will be speaking on the publication of “Commonwealth,” his latest book co-authored with Antonio Negri. When Empire appeared in 2000, it defined the political and economic challenges of the era of globalization and, thrillingly, found in them possibilities for new and more democratic forms of social organization. Now, with Commonwealth, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri conclude the trilogy begun with Empire and continued in Multitude, proposing an ethics of freedom for living in our common world and articulating a possible constitution for our common wealth.

Drawing on scenarios from around the globe and elucidating the themes that unite them, Hardt and Negri focus on the logic of institutions and the models of governance adequate to our understanding of a global commonwealth. They argue for the idea of the “common” to replace the opposition of private and public and the politics predicated on that opposition. Ultimately, they articulate the theoretical bases for what they call “governing the revolution.”
Michael Hardt will be in dialogue with Neil Smith, renowned critical geographer, about the social relations of the metropolis as they function as the site for the production of common life, the site of hierarchy and exploitation, and the site of antagonism and revolt.

"The Metropolis and Common Life"
Michael HARDT and Neil SMITH in dialogue on the themes of "Commonwealth," Hardt and Negri's newest book.
THURSDAY, September 17th
7PM (doors at 6PM)
Henry Street Settlement
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street)
New York, NY 10002

# SWARM /// Netlogo

Netlogo is a computer software gathering a lot of various simulations of interactive behaviors following several moving simple rules. It is literally an experimentation laboratory since a lot of variants affect those behaviors in various combination.
Obviously you can write you own script for it, but a large library of simulations is already available exploring the fields of art, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, mathematics, networks, social sciences and system dynamics.
I particularly like this one, called rebellion which simulates a illegitimate authority (here in blue) suppressing agents of the rebellion (here in red) by putting them in jail (here in black) in front of quiet people (here in yellow). There are numerous variants to be set and observe the change of behavior.

mardi 15 septembre 2009

# Hofatelier Elvira by August Endell

The Hofatelier Elvira by August Endell in 1898 is a German version of Art Nouveau. It was a photography studio founded by Anita Augspurg and Sophia Goudstikker and was the first German company created by women.