Sunday, 27 November 2016

Questioning the smart city

Here's an interesting piece from two years ago in the Guardian  -- with a link to a critical talk by Rem Koolhaas.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Taking shape

After the interim reviews on Friday, and looking at the models, maps, and drawings, I have a much clearer idea of layout and locations. The expanded story outline I sent earlier in the week will need some tweaking, but it's all to the good: James's drone port, for instance, is going to feature much more in the story, and Alina's therapeutic spa may serve a more interesting purpose than an escape route.

I hope and expect to have a first draft of the full story within the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, comments on my outline, or queries about any aspect of the project that I might be able to help with, would be very welcome.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Site Plan, apologies for the delay in uploading. This is where my project sits onsite

Thursday, 17 November 2016

PhD awarded in graphic novel format

Columbia University awarded a doctorate in education to Nick Sousanis for Unflattening, a graphic novel about the relationship between words and pictures in literature.

"The primacy of words over images has deep roots in Western culture. But what if the two are inextricably linked, equal partners in meaning-making? Written and drawn entirely as comics, Unflattening is an experiment in visual thinking. Nick Sousanis defies conventional forms of scholarly discourse to offer readers both a stunning work of graphic art and a serious inquiry into the ways humans construct knowledge."

Behind the scenes look:

video lecture:

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


Just in terms of keeping everyone updated:

I have taken a few steps back over the last couple of days as I have been struggling to justify the need for a standalone data bank on the water without first addressing any other future RDM development. I also think it would be more interesting in terms of 'urban fabric' to investigate possibilities for RDM expansion into and around the existing warehouse buildings on the site. I don't think this has rendered the data bank obsolete, however I would like to integrate it into a more considered masterplan for the entire site. Elin and myself are beginning to share ideas on this.

I have been looking into the issues surrounding education under capitalism and also some theories on what universities might be like in the future particularly focusing on their hierarchy, function and educational culture in a post-capitalist society. I am interested in how the universities of today are governed from a hierarchal perspective compared to how they might be run in the future. This could influence the architecture, both literally and symbolically.

I am working on two graphical diagrams explaining existing and proposed governance and economic motivators within universities informed by the texts that I've attached to this post. The diagrams are drawn from the perspective of someone moving through the existing and proposed systems. The plan is to take that individual and use him/her within my building proposal. As I'm doing this I'm trying to work on a masterplan for the RDM site and think about spaces within a building proposal. I've been quite stuck with it all, but I'm hoping this will help me move forward.

Hopefully I'll post these diagrams tomorrow.

Links to texts below:

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Would you marry an algorithm?

I was well impressed by the studio's symposium presentation. The mappings brought new insights and the exhibition showed real panache. And it has made me think again about the story. I have some quibbles with the timeline and some of the ideas, but these very questions show up possible sources of conflict and tension.

For example, the robot marriage law. I can't see this happening in this context, because it implies that robot personhood is already recognised. You can't have marriage rights unless you have rights in general. And robot personhood, in turn, would immediately imply that some robots and other AI systems are slaves.

But I can see why some people would already (2086) be arguing for just that recognition, however disruptive it would be. The anticipatory algorithms of the AI breakthrough envisaged in Steve's earlier post  would give a very strong impression of empathy. Combine this with the already (in 2016) well-known tendency of human beings to anthropomorphise, and the surprising capacity of human beings to form emotional attachments to robots (and not just humanoid robots but, in the best-known case., bomb-disposal robots), and you have a ready-mixed explosive cocktail.

This would be countered by strong philosophical arguments, as well as by some strong language (don't click if you find sweary stuff offensive!) I can't see robot marriage being legal, but I can see some 'faith' or 'philosophy' groups celebrating it nonetheless. Perhaps the tranhumanists would conduct a ceremony, and humanists find themselves on the same side as religious conservatives in denouncing it as a sham.

Lots more to think about!