‘What can we learn of dangerous places by listening to their sounds?’
‘Sonic Journalism’ is the aural equivalent of photojournalism. It describes the practice where field recordings play a major role in the discussion and documentation of places, issues and events and where listening to sounds of all kinds strongly informs the approach to research and following narratives whilst on location.
Peter Cusack: Recent travels have brought me into contact with some difficult and potentially dangerous places. Most are areas of major environmental/ecological damage, but others are nuclear sites or the edges of military zones. The danger is not necessarily to a short-term visitor, but to the people of the area who have no option to leave or through the location’s role in geopolitical power structures. Dangerous places can be both sonically and visually compelling, even beautiful and atmospheric. There is, often, an extreme dichotomy between an aesthetic response and knowledge of the ‘danger’, whether it is pollution, social injustice, military or geopolitical.
Places visited include:
Chernobyl exclusion zone, Ukraine;
Caspian oil fields, Azerbaijan;
Tigris and Euphrates rivers valleys in South Eastern Turkey threatened by massive dam building projects;
North Wales, UK, where Chernobyl fallout still affects sheep farming practice; nuclear, military and greenhouse gas sites in the UK, including Sellafield, Dungeness, Bradwell, Sizewell, Thetford Forest, Rainham and Uttlesford
Hear some samples from Chernobyl HERE
All text and Images via Sounds From Dangerous Places
Film offers us a powerful tool to shift awareness and inspire action. It offers a method to break our dependence on the mainstream media and become the media ourselves. We don’t need to wait for anyone or anything.
Just imagine what could become possible if an entire city had seen just one of the documentaries above. Just imagine what would be possible if everyone in the country was aware of how unhealthy the mainstream media was for our future and started turning to independent sources in droves.
Creating a better world really does start with an informed citizenry, and there’s lots of subject matter to cover.
From all the documentaries above, it’s evident that our society needs a new story to belong to. The old story of empire and dominion over the earth has to be looked at in the full light of day – all of our ambient cultural stories and values that we take for granted and which remain invisible must become visible.
But most of all, we need to see the promise of the alternatives – we need to be able to imagine new exciting ways that people could live, better than anything that the old paradigm could ever dream of providing.
And all of this knowledge and introspection, dreaming, questioning, and discovery is essential for a cultural transformation that addresses root causes. This knowledge is vitally necessary. Taken together, this knowledge, which is documented throughout the 500+ documentaries on the Films For Action website, will lay the foundation on which the next paradigm will be built, post empire.
So take this library of films and use it. Host film screenings, share these films with friends, buy and give copies to your elected officials and school faculty. Get this information out in to your community and you will be laying the foundation for a local movement for mass societal, environmental and economic change.
All text and Image via Films for Action. See the films THERE
Nearly fifty years have passed since Richard Feynman taught the introductory physics course at Caltech that gave rise to these three volumes, The Feynman Lectures on Physics. In those fifty years our understanding of the physical world has changed greatly, but The Feynman Lectures on Physics has endured. Feynman’s lectures are as powerful today as when first published, thanks to Feynman’s unique physics insights and pedagogy. They have been studied worldwide by novices and mature physicists alike; they have been translated into at least a dozen languages with more than 1.5 millions copies printed in the English language alone. Perhaps no other set of physics books has had such wide impact, for so long.
Why Accessible Playgrounds?
Because kids in wheelchairs can’t play on playgrounds covered with wood chips. And children with muscular disabilities can fall out of swings that lack sides and backs. Or a child with vision or hearing problems can benefit from equipment specially designed for play alongside friends, siblings or any other child.
New federal requirements define playground accessibility as a civil right. And under those rules, playgrounds built or altered after March 14, 2012, are required to have wheelchair-friendly surfaces and equipment that helps kids with physical challenges move around.
You can Help HERE
“Totem and Taboo: Grindr remembers the Holocaust” is an online archive of Grindr pics of people using another architectural icon to meet people. Running since 2011, this incredible collection of amateur shots of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin provides another insight into spatial appropriations for casual sex purposes. As they state on their website:
“In an age when ignorance is prevalent than ever, Grindr, the latest most addictive gay obsession, has wowed its members in relentlessly promoting the memory of the holocaust. While the gay community is being under scrutiny for promoting hedonism and alienation, this tribute seems all the more compelling. Totem and Taboo […] asks nothing more but to harness the vibrant blogosphere to Grindr users’ innovative manoeuvres to keep the memory alive, fresh and attractive.”
Impact: Earth! is a visual and user-friendly impact calculator, developed and hosted by Purdue University. The original Earth Impact Effects Program is still available to calculate the effects a given distance from an impact. It uses exactly the same algorithms to estimate the impact effects. You can also try out a version of the original program that is still under development to map the effects of an impact somewhere on Earth. Note this site requires the Google Earth plug-in and is still being tested.
“The future of” is a participatory book project initiated by Crap is good which tries to provide an insight into the future role of architecture. Realizing the problematic nature of the simple question ‘What is the future of Architecture?’ we feel it is still somehow relevant in describing the architectural practice of today.
Every architectural attempt starts by making a representation of an imaginative situation or design, which will happen, or could happen in the future. In many cases an architectural design remains a future plan, and in times of economical and political crisis, the question of what comes next, gains relevance. So, while architects shape the future, this book is concerning about the future of architecture.
Awkward_NYC, or The New York City Map of Awkward Social interactions in Public Spaces, is a collaborative online map for reporting social accidents and small interpersonal traumas that occur unexpectedly in public spaces. The map pinpoints sites in the New York Metropolitan area where misunderstandings, outbursts, physical altercations, arguments between friends or strangers, and romantic spats or break-ups have occurred. These mishaps are characteristic of the human urban experience– they’re unsettling, often comic, strangely powerful mini-narratives and dramas that would otherwise go untold, but may linger in memory for months and years, as we move through the same urban landscapes, day in and day out.
Anyone can add a story to the map; the project is fully web-based and participatory. The map taps into the confessional, voyeuristic, narrative impulses that typify online behavior and subverts the notion of mapping as reductive, objective, and authoritative. As stories are added to the map, a series of data visualizations depicting the emotional terrain of the city will be generated.
Text and Image via Awkward_NYC
TAAK is an international platform that develops innovative art projects and educational programmes relating to social issues such as ecology, urbanisation, social design and human rights. TAAK places topics of public interest on the agenda and develops innovative strategies and perspectives for a changing world. Art and culture shape and express values that can unite different groups in society. By using art to mobilise artists, commissioners, citizens and organisations around specific themes, TAAK investigates how new types of social initiatives and citizenship may arise.
“Surveying a vast range of topics and practices—from humans as dominant geomorphic agents, to forces and time scales that challenge the very limits of an anthropocentric worldview—Making the Geologic Now argues for the central place of a geological imaginary in contemporary culture. From metaphor to material, the “geological turn” in art, design, architecture, and poetry, a result of the increased presence of geological realities in everyday life, is shown to be a catalyst for new considerations of how the human and non-human, the ecological and the ethical, are increasingly intertwined. The volume’s engaging selection unpacks the layers of our urgent relationship to the geologic, with its deep time and prospective futures, from our destruction of coral reefs and the storing of nuclear waste, to meteoritic dust that fall on us daily, and the hundreds of man-made satellites now in geostationary orbit around the earth.” ~ João Ribas, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center
Download Book HERE iNTERACTIVE WEB-BOOK HERE: GeologicNow.com
With Art.sy, a visitor can enter an artist, artwork, artistic movement or medium into a search bar and the site will generate a list of artists and works that have been deemed related in some way. “There are a lot of people who may know who Warhol is, but they have no idea who Ray Johnson is. The ability to make those connections is what this is about,” said Cwilich, Art.sy’s Chief Operating Officer, on a recent segment of The Takeaway with John Hockenberry.
The endeavor is a true collaboration between computer scientists and art historians. (This is even evident in Art.sy’s leadership. Cleveland, Art.sy’s 25-year-old chief executive officer, is a computer science engineer, and Cwilich is a former executive from Christie’s Auction House.) To create a Web site that could generate fine-art recommendations, the Art.sy team had to first tackle the Art Genome Project. Essentially, a number of art historians have identified 800-and-counting “genes,” or characteristics, that apply to different pieces of art. These genes are words that describe the medium being used, the artistic style or movement, a concept (i.e., war), content, techniques and geographic regions, among other things. All the images that are tagged with a specific gene—say, “American Realism” or “Isolation/Alienation”—are then linked within the search technology.
Text and Image via The Smithsonian. Continue HERE
Compose a simple musical score in a tweet, which can be saved on your account and replayed. At this point, Tweetphony has ended. Listen to Tweetphonies HERE
Smart Urban Stage is a global online project dealing with the future of the city. We ask pioneers from metropolises around the world to question the urban status quo. The results are visions, ideas and solutions for sustainable lifestyles, modern social systems and forward-looking developments in the fields of architecture, design and technology. The worldwide event series ’smart urban stage’ is exhibiting ideas and solutions of forward thinking future makers.
According to Nextdoor: Nextdoor is a private social network for your neighborhood. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors—and only you and your neighbors—to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.
Hundreds of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.
“Very few people are being promoted into the humble, hard-working positions which make Wikipedia work.”
– Robinson Meyer via The Atlantic
Earlier this month Wikipedia held its annual summit in Washington, DC. Afterwards, The Atlantic summarized the event in an article outlining how Wikipedia is slowly running out of admins to edit the site’s content. A trend is emerging. Fewer people are applying, and the current editors are slowly leaving. The long-term future has a flicker of uncertainty. To spark some discussion, I surveyed four artists and writers about the decline. We can all speculate what effects a decline in editor participation will have on Wikipedia as a global knowledge-base, but what are the implications for artists who use it as a tool for research and making work?
Excerpt from an article written by Jason Huff, Rhizome. Continue HERE
The Rosetta Disk fits in the palm of your hand, yet it contains over 13,000 pages of information on over 1,500 human languages. The pages are microscopically etched and then electroformed in solid nickel, a process that raises the text very slightly – about 100 nanometers – off of the surface of the disk. Each page is only 400 microns across – about the width of 5 human hairs – and can be read through a microscope at 650X as clearly as you would from print in a book. Individual pages are visible at a much lower magnification of 100X. The outer ring of text reads “Languages of the World” in eight major world languages. We have now engineered a special numbered edition of the Rosetta Disk, shown in the image below, that can be yours as a gift for joining The Long Now Foundation as a Lifetime Member. Proceeds support the Rosetta Project and our work to build the largest open, publicly accessible collection of resources on the world’s languages.
Text and Image via Rosseta. More info HERE
A film by by Scott Oller.
Brian Joseph Davis collects faces. Specifically, he collects the faces of fictional characters on The Composites, his blog of police sketches driven by reader suggestions. We talked with Brian about his motivations and process, and we followed him through the creation of one of our own favorite faces.
An exploration of speculative architectures of the New York trade in Air Rights. All images presented in a book produced in winter 2011 – AIR FUTURES.
Architectures are used to influence investors in the Air Futures Company, NY,
to invest in a commodity that ultimately has no intrinsic value.
Text and Image via Theo Games Petrohilos.
Finally you can enjoy the spectacle of social media without bothersome interactions, in the fashion of modern, broadcast media.
Stockholm Resilience Centre advances research on the governance of social-ecological systems with a special emphasis on resilience – the ability to deal with change and continue to develop.
The aim is to create a world-leading transdisciplinary research center that advances the understanding of complex social-ecological systems and generates new and elaborated insights and means for the development of management and governance practices. The new center will advise policymakers from all over the world, and develop innovative collaboration with relevant actors on local social-ecological systems to the global policy arena.
“In order to solve the great environmental problems of the world, we need to change course. Our hope is that the Stockholm Resilience Centre will contribute essential knowledge that is needed to steer development onto a sustainable path,” says Johan Rockström, Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre.
“We want to build a unique transdisciplinary research environment where innovative ideas can flourish. By combining new forms of cooperation with a holistic perspective, we hope to generate the insights that are needed to strengthen societies’ and the ecosystems’ capacities to meet a world which spins faster and faster,” says Carl Folke, Science Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Text and Images via Stockholm Resilience Centre
Innovative drinking fountains are being installed in Calgary. Linked to the drinking water system through fire hydrants and designed to have their workings exposed, the fountains have three distinct design “characters” suggesting different gathering around water: “strangers” (or the “dating fountain”), “family” (set up like an family picture with bowls at different heights and the dog bowl), and “group”. Each fountain also has taps to fill bottles and dog bowls.
This initiative was developed by the City of Calgary UEP department through the WATERSHED+ art program, the fountains were designed by Sans façon and built by the municipal fabrication workshop.
Text and Images via WATERSHED+
WATERSHED+ is an innovative and unique public art project hosted by Utilities and Environment Protections department of the City of Calgary. Learn more HERE
According to Merecedes Benz: The Avant/Garde Diaries is a digital interview magazine that documents personal views on the avant-garde.
Rather than labeling people avant-garde, we try to see through the eyes of people, who we admire for what they do. For each article we ask contributors from the creative field to introduce someone or something they consider to be ahead of time and explain why. The result will be a compendium of various, very personal perspectives that disclose new ways of thinking and spread inspiration.
Corresponding to this digital platform, festivals will be hosted in metropolises around the world. Each event will be curated by an expert from the creative industry, showcasing his or her personal view on avant-garde. For information on upcoming and past events please check the Event category on this site.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society works to integrate contemplative awareness and contemporary life in order to help create a more just, compassionate, reflective, and sustainable society.
Contemplative practices, including prayer, meditation, yoga, and many contemplative arts, help individuals regain balance and calm in the midst of challenging circumstances. This state of calm centeredness provides effective stress reduction and can also help address issues of meaning, values, and spirit. Contemplative practices can help people develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and concentration, reduce stress and enhance creativity. In time, with sustained commitment, they cultivate insight, wise discernment, and a loving and compassionate approach to life.
“Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity.” —Herman Melville, Billy Budd.
In Japan, people often refer to traffic lights as being blue in color. And this is a bit odd, because the traffic signal indicating ‘go’ in Japan is just as green as it is anywhere else in the world. So why is the color getting lost in translation? This visual conundrum has its roots in the history of language.
Blue and green are similar in hue. They sit next to each other in a rainbow, which means that, to our eyes, light can blend smoothly from blue to green or vice-versa, without going past any other color in between. Before the modern period, Japanese had just one word, Ao, for both blue and green. The wall that divides these colors hadn’t been erected as yet. As the language evolved, in the Heian period around the year 1000, something interesting happened. A new word popped into being – midori – and it described a sort of greenish end of blue. Midori was a shade of ao, it wasn’t really a new color in its own right.
Excerpt of a paper via Empirical Zeal. Read it HERE. Part 2 HERE
D:GP begins with the supposition that the heavy carbon economies inherited from industrialization have reached an unsolvable impasse, and must at their core must be redesigned, reformed and replaced. Furthermore, as it is now amplified by planetary-scale computation, industrial modernity is now so radicalized that its ubiquity is matched only by its imminent dissolution. But other conditions are possible. They have to be. Computation does not (necessarily) replace what comes before it, but under the right circumstances it can and does, and under more rarified conditions still, it should. Deep systemic crises invite three interrelated and apparently opposing responses: modernism, inertia and fundamentalism: fight, hide, and flight, accordingly. Toward this D:GP recognizes the emergence of another, alternative modernity. Where industrialization provided heaviness, expansion, production, and consumption, our successor modernity is one of lightness, contraction, subtraction and restoration. It is an interfacial modernity not of identity and maximalization, but of externality and transference. Where industrialization was a modernity for tabula rasa, today a subtractive modernity curates a world that is infinitely full. Its radicality is not drawn from the historical or geographic momentum of a “new world,” but rooted in the precarity of globalizations that are as irresolvable as they are interconnected.
The Center for Design and Geopolitics is a think-tank based at Calit2 and the University of California, San Diego devoted to using Art and Design to develop new models for how planetary-scale computation transforms political, urban and ecological systems. D:GP was founded in 2010 by Visual Arts professor, Benjamin H. Bratton.
Text via D:GP
Last year The Economist published a special report not on the global financial crisis or the polarization of the American electorate, but on the era of big data. Article after article cited one big number after another to bolster the claim that we live in an age of information superabundance. The data are impressive: 300 billion emails, 200 million tweets, and 2.5 billion text messages course through our digital networks every day, and, if these numbers were not staggering enough, scientists are reportedly awash in even more information. This past January astronomers surveying the sky with the Sloan telescope in New Mexico released over 49.5 terabytes of information—a mass of images and measurements—in one data drop. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), however, produces almost that much information per second. Last year alone, the world’s information base is estimated to have doubled every eleven hours. Just a decade ago, computer professionals spoke of kilobytes and megabytes. Today they talk of the terabyte, the petabyte, the exabyte, the zettabyte, and now the yottabyte, each a thousand times bigger than the last.
Some see this as information abundance, others as information overload. The advent of digital information and with it the era of big data allows geneticists to decode the human genome, humanists to search entire bodies of literature, and businesses to spot economic trends. But it is also creating for many the sense that we are being overwhelmed by information. How are we to manage it all? What are we to make, as Ann Blair asks, of a zettabyte of information—a one with 21 zeros after it?1 From a more embodied, human perspective, these tremendous scales of information are rather meaningless. We do not experience information as pure data, be it a byte or a yottabyte, but as filtered and framed through the keyboards, screens, and touchpads of our digital technologies. However impressive these astronomical scales of information may be, our contemporary awe and increasing worry about all this data obscures the ways in which we actually engage it and the world of which it and we are a part. All of the chatter about information superabundance and overload tends not only to marginalize human persons, but also to render technology just as abstract as a yottabyte. An email is reduced to yet another data point, the Web to an infinite complex of protocols and machinery, Google to a neutral machine for producing information. Our compulsive talk about information overload can isolate and abstract digital technology from society, human persons, and our broader culture. We have become distracted by all the data and inarticulate about our digital technologies.
Excerpt of a paper written by Chad Wellmon, at The Hedgehog Review. Continue HERE
The idea behind Don’t Flush Me is to allow NYC residents to help reduce the amount of pollution in the harbor. Some 27 billion gallons of raw sewage is dumped into the harbor every year. This comes from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) that open when the sewer system is overloaded. The idea is to enable residents to understand when the overflows happen and reduce their wastewater production before and during an overflow event.
What happens when you type in your search item? Find OUT
Drama, by Timo Kahlen, is generated as the viewer plays and re-plays the film, to create individual and always different endings based on chance outcomes of the film’s miniature drama, a struggle of life and death, always different, again and again.