Cities are constant recipients of relational forces created by media and technology. Beyond physical space, virtual spaces are created by the interactivity of actors and information, data and communication, highly mediated elements generating non-built, non-tangible forms of urbanity and data environments. These realms live in different layers of accessibility from (and impact over) real-time realities, augmented spaces (Manovich) living among us and influencing the way cities are lived and utilized. Another level of mediation occurs at the level of immaterial production (Lazzarato), when same levels of interactivity promote the re-definition of labor into an intangible spectrum of services, knowledge and creativity. The Knowledge Worker and the ‘Creative Class’ (R. Florida), now proving fragile species in times of economic turmoil, when “…present worldwide market, labour and economy conditions are subject to constant change and evolution, in rather unpredictable manners. Global exchange of information and knowledge, added to the facilitation of supra-national movement, have allowed cities to function apart from National State ties and to act more like independent entities, in regards to financial markets, trade and business…” (1)
The Seminar aims to identify different actors in the mediation process of the city, particularly in what refers to the real of contemporary artists, urban hackers and para-architects dealing with media and the city, but also in what refers to ubiquitous aspects of everyday technology such as mobile telephony and ICT (Internet Communication Technologies), presently impacting all social spheres both at the cultural, political and anthropological levels of society. ‘Wiki’ collaborative modes and ‘Smart Mob’ (H. Rheingold) organizational strategies and Indymedia collectives, not only lead to physical manifestations in real space - such as the so-called ‘Flash Mobs’ - but also enable bottom-up, edge-in social innovation in times of financial hardship and environmental consciousness. How are these platforms envisioned by designers today in search of social impact in the city? What are architects to learn from the field of contemporary art at the level of capacity to mediate with different actor in the city? And especially: how can designers learn from the latest field of digital techniques and prototyping, in order to allow collective authorship to come into the realm of collaborative design? During the course of the Seminar such strategies will be implemented at a practical level to envision interventions in the real-time space of the city.
(1) Armando Montilla: ‘The Abhittipura Project: Service Provided = No Border ’ in Paul Thomas and Roy Ascott (Editors) “Consciousness Reframed 2002: Non-local, non-linear, non-ordinary”. Conference Proceedings. Perth: Biennial of Electronic Arts Perth (BEAP), 2002.
“…In Digital Nouveau, the holistic view of architectural design embraces a range from product design …[…]…to cities…[…]…to structural system…[…]…and so the total ‘Art Work’…[…]…is achieved in a perfect visual fetish for the screen. When it comes to what promises to be the built, one can imagine a fluid landscape where a new variety of soft Parkour would need to be implemented, as Digital Nouveau antagonizes with hard-line surfaces, which have permitted this urban navigation practice to appear in our cities. But what I am even more interested is the new mediation of space permitted by DN practices. Spatiality breaks free from conventions as angles become irrelevant factors, and the fluidity of space arranges itself in ways to envelope the user…[…]…Digital allows for space to become interface. Beyond its visual representation, the premise of users being able to access parametric protocols and intervene in physical space gives a new dimension to what augmented space as described by Lev Manovich could mean in real-space environments. As technological advances and electronic interaction breaks the barrier between creator and user, what digital practices will increasingly allow is for new dimensions in the practice of architectural design and its effect in our cities. The promise of nanotechnology and the capacity of software to become semantically and data-conscious smart, where budgeting, construction cost, environmental efficiency, energy use, material behavior and aesthetic qualities can all be screen-captured in one shoot is not that far out in the future. Parametric techniques and 3D printing with rapid prototyping will stage the marriage between smart industrialized and customized in situ pre-fabrication/installation and environmental/cost-effective techniques. Digital Nouveau means the first step of immaterial production having an impact into material production with no third-party interference. As art and technology, science and aesthetics all come together in this festive Gesamstkunstwerk of design, Digital Nouveau will evolve into the Nouveau Materiality.”
Armando Montilla: “Pulsation in Architecture: Revisiting the Vector, the Digital Nouveau and the Nouveau Materiality” in Design Book Magazine n. 1. Damir Sinovcic (Editor) Miami: Liquid Design & South Florida AIA (American Institute of Architectsw) Chapter. March 2009 .