Architectonic · Human-ities · Public Space · Theory

Demographers Discover The Fundamental Law Governing the Growth of Cities

The discovery of a law governing the growth of cities means that future urban populations can now be forecast in advance. When you live in a city, you can sense its pulse, experience its pace of life and get to know its unique character. It’s almost as if a city is a living, breathing entity in its own right.

That may be little more than the fantastical imaginings of city dwellers who tend to humanise all things inanimate. And yet, there is much demographic evidence to show that cities have their own unique identity, even though they are made up of millions of seemingly independent individuals.

One test of the idea that cities are coherent entities is the ability to predict their future characteristics based on their past behaviour. Text and Image via MIT Technology Review. Continue THERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Social/Politics

The Art of Not Being Governed. An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia

For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround them—slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an “anarchist history,” is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states.

In accessible language, James Scott, recognized worldwide as an eminent authority in Southeast Asian, peasant, and agrarian studies, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination. He redefines our views on Asian politics, history, demographics, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and redefines state-making as a form of “internal colonialism.” This new perspective requires a radical reevaluation of the civilizational narratives of the lowland states. Scott’s work on Zomia represents a new way to think of area studies that will be applicable to other runaway, fugitive, and marooned communities, be they Gypsies, Cossacks, tribes fleeing slave raiders, Marsh Arabs, or San-Bushmen.

The author of several books including Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott is Sterling Professor of Political Science, professor of anthropology, and co-director of the Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Review by Yale University Press

Design · Digital Media · Fashion · Film/Video/New Media · Motion Graphics · Performativity

No Image, Commercial Breaks

The No Image Commercials were originally conceived as a back-story for the girlfriend character (played by Busy Gangnes) in the No Image performance who mysteriously dies. The idea was to imagine this character as having a career as an actress and so she lives on in these commercial sequences. We drew from the narrative this idea that she committed suicide because she was tired of being a stay at home girlfriend. We wanted the commercials to reflect the sensibility of the stay-at-home mom.

We find that commercials targeting this demographic are very depressing. They speak to a solitary female and suggest all of the things that are lacking or need improvement in her life. You aren’t happy enough, your house smells bad, your hair doesn’t have enough bounce. We wanted to use the language and production value of high end commercials to promote these thoughts. To achieve this we worked with a team of directors, animators, photographers, stylists, and hair + makeup artists who were well versed in the language of commercials.

Artist/photographer Shinichi Maruyama and his team captured the high speed camera live action footage. Stylist Alice Bertay created a house wife inspired by typical Hassidic clothing. Co-director Jonathan Turner created all of the camera movement and 3d animation while co-director Alan Bibby assembled the pieces into the final composition and added the final coat of polish. Finally Busy Gangnes created the soundtrack, attempting to use the emotional effect of a new age sound aesthetic to pull at your heart strings and encourage the consumer to take the pill.

The Pharmaceutical Commercial references an amalgamation of commercials targeting everything from ant-depressants to Glade air fresheners. We were most interested in an existing commercial that presented a dilemma between the comfort of being inside and the dangerous, allergy-filled outside. Only a drug could help you bridge the gap. We thought this really connected with the depressed girlfriend character and her dilemma with her relationship. She was seemingly stuck inside and powerless to get out. The product the commercial is selling helps the consumer straddle that line in a state of harmony (or confinement). The room setting, designed by Shawn Maximo, incorporates objects from past, present and future Yemenwed projects. This helps to tie it further into the narrative taking place as viewers can see the similarity between the items on stage and in the commercial.