Posts tagged with "Social media":

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Bot creates mesmerizing art out of satellite photos of U.S. census tracts

A Twitter bot created by New York–based artist and urban planner Neil Freeman is producing serial images of every census tract in the United States. Operating under the account @everytract, the project will eventually publish satellite photos of the entire country. The account's feed—a stream of landscape photos cut out along census tract boundaries placed against a white background—initially appears pretty monotonous. The bot posts every image with the census tract's government identification number and location, but includes no other information or commentary, and the satellite imagery is familiar to anyone who has ever used Google Maps. Image after image of Southern California suburbs seems to confirm the banality of American neighborhoods, but after scrolling through dozens of images, the photos get defamiliarized and nuanced differences start to become more apparent. Repetitive patterns emerge only to be broken by strange landscape anomalies—an open mine, perhaps, or an artificial oasis in the Mojave Desert. As the bot shifts from one state to another, the images shift from the green forests of the south to the tan deserts of the west to the white snowdrifts of the north. The posts become artifacts that testify to the incredible variety of American settlements. Because census tracts are designed to have comparable population sizes, the images vary wildly in scale, showing the range of densities across the country. "I was playing with the project of a book that included satellite images of every tract at the same scale," Freeman said, "but I abandoned it when I realized that for the smallest tracts to be visible, the largest ones, in rural Alaska, would have to be wall-sized." Freeman also said that the project highlights the geographic idiosyncrasies of every state: "Only about a hundred tracts in Arizona cover the vast majority of the state’s land, so if you blinked, you missed them. It’s really a very urban state. Arkansas, on the other hand, was small town after small town." Freeman, who has been creating similar work that combines data-sorting algorithms and urban planning for years, said that the root of the listing concept came from poet Allison Parrish’s 2007–2014 project , which posted every word in the English language. Freeman began the @everytract project this spring, and it will progress alphabetically through the states, posting every half hour and is scheduled to run for another three years and ten months. The account is currently making its way through Los Angeles, California.
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White supremacists are haunting traditionalist architecture Twitter accounts

British magazine New Statesman recently published an article on the troubling links that tie Twitter accounts that cover traditional architecture to racist and xenophobic figures from across the web. As the article describes, some social media accounts that at first seem to simply celebrate historic structures have a tendency to veer into rhetoric that praises European culture over others and aggressively denies the impact of non-white or non-Christian people on Western design. One of the accounts profiled in the piece follows many ethnocentrist figures and has a followership that sharply denounces any attempts to include or even acknowledge global influences. This is not the first time that neo-traditionalist architects have been tied to fascists. The accounts frequently post drawings from Leon Krier, the traditionalist architect who studies the work Albert Speer, the chief architect of the Nazi Regime. Philip Johnson was famously a Nazi sympathizer, despite being openly gay, something that would have gotten him sent to a concentration camp in Hitler's Germany. Even Le Corbusier, that icon of modernism, apparently did not see much wrong with fascist regimes—they may have appealed to his desire for an authoritarian, top-down remake of society. The accounts covered by the Statesman piece emphasize a division between historical and modern architecture, pitting the former against the latter to argue for the humanity and timelessness of the styles of yesteryear. This division is increasingly out of step with the contemporary architecture world where firms like Tod Williams Billie Tsien borrow from traditional compositions and materials to create innovative designs. Contemporary architecture critics get as riled up by decadent modernist design fails as they do by traditionalist debacles. Post-modernism is being preserved and lauded around the world, and modern and traditional designs are not stylistically at war anymore. Ultimately, it may be the conflict that these accounts are nostalgic for, not the architecture.
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Why is Maximalism taking over the world?

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s maximalist vision of domestic bliss involves saturating every corner with color, texture, and pattern. Their traveling installation of housewares by Seletti, in collaboration with their magazine TOILETPAPER (mounted this past December by Fondation Beyeler in Art Basel Miami Beach as Maze of Questions, and in New York’s Cadillac House this spring as TOILETPAPER Paradise by Visionaire), covers a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with images that are both seductive and absurd—blood-red nail polish on disembodied women’s fingers, cloudlike kernels of popcorn floating through space, and large-scale spaghetti noodles—on ostensibly every available surface, embracing both an Italian postmodernist and a 1950s American-housewife nostalgia.

The installation coincided with Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard’s dystopic department store installation, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, a February “happening” in collaboration with Red Bull, the lifestyle brand formerly known for its energy drinks. Melgaard created a derelict department store and stuffed it not only with clothes designed in reference to a few of his favorite things (Bash Back!, a pro-queer activist group, for example, or Chris Kraus’s landmark novel I Love Dick) but also with selections from his own wardrobe, piled like heaps of garbage for the public to take, Hunger Games-style.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Yayoi Kusama’s ongoing Hirshhorn Museum retrospective features an array of her iconic Infinity Mirror Rooms, in addition to The Obliteration Room, a seminal 2002 work in which viewers are given dot stickers of various colors and sizes to cover the interior of an all-white home—refrigerator, tables, chairs, sofa, and all. Over the course of the exhibition, the interior becomes an increasingly vibrant, pulsing collage.

These four distinct artists share a common aspiration for the absolutely maximal, which, contrary to the abstract, discrete gestures of minimalism, creates an extremely personal alternative physical landscape. Art bleeds into the design sphere, taking into account the space in which it is shown: in all of these cases, the familiar environments of the domestic or commercial space.

Both museums and non-art brands alike have caught on to the allure of maximalism, its immersiveness and, perhaps more importantly, its interactivity; more than ever, viewers are invited to do the unthinkable and lay their hands on the art. Social media is also certainly complicit in this maximalist resurgence, thanks to Instagram and the prevalence of the #artselfie. Apart from its widespread free publicity and appeal to sheer vanity, the #artselfie offers a kind of tactility in the digital age. Visitors physically insert themselves into the composition of a work and take its visual properties home with them to keep. Particularly in an era in which two-dimensional work is readily available on screens, it’s the maximal that encourages the public to make a physical, often emotional, connection to a work of art.

The other function social media serves for the rise of maximalism is its inherent ability to widen one’s worldview. For younger artist and designers who grew up as so-called digital natives, the internet offers both infinite surface area for their mood boards and instant access to the visual history of the world, regardless of era or location. “For them, history is a treasure trove,” Chicago Architecture Biennial cocurator Mark Lee said in a recent Artforum interview. “They don’t feel shame or guilt to retrieve from it.”

Two young designers experiencing a meteoric rise (and who happen to share a studio) are Misha Kahn and Katie Stout, whose respective practices—both rough-hewn, eccentric, and often displayed within textured, oozing, psychedelic environments—mix kitsch and pop culture with astute art-historical references. When naming his sources of inspiration, Kahn often takes out his phone as a visual aid, naming Eskimo carvings, Gwen Stefani, and Pee-wee’s Playhouse among them. And for Stout, Dolly Parton, Raymour & Flanigan, and Charlotte Perriand are equally influential on her body of work. The world of maximalism embraces imperfection and provocation, banishing isolation and passivity on both the part of the work and the viewer. The source material is both art history and personal history, untidily accumulated and repackaged—once more, with feeling.

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The San Francisco BART system’s brutally honest social media responses

San Francisco’s BART recently received nationwide attention from the likes of New York Magazine and Gawker for its new and improved Twitter account. No, it’s not because the transit system finally figured out how to correctly use Twitter (slow clap), but because BART has made the radical decision to be honest and upfront with its riders (er, another slow clap). In response to particularly terrible service with multiple hour-long delays, @SFBART tweeted: “BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality.”

Perhaps the gesture would mean more if the majority of the tweets weren’t apologies for bad service, or if, as SF Weekly reported, that BART is engaging in campaign tactics to convince San Franciscans to pass a $3.5 billion bond for funding this November.

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You Like Us! You Really Like Us! AN’s Facebook Community Surpasses 500,000 Followers

  facebook Earlier this afternoon, The Architect's Newspaper gained our 500,000th Facebook friend, a major milestone in our growth. For an independently owned publication that started as a local print tabloid, the expansion of our readership in print, online, and through social media in the United States and around the world has been thrilling to watch. We're so grateful for your support. But more importantly, we are happy to be a part of increasing the public's awareness of architecture, design, planning, urbanism, and landscape architecture. That's what keeps us working so hard every day. For those of you who can't get enough AN, consider following and sharing us on social media: Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Thanks again for your interest and support!
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Datagrove weaves a tangled electronic web at ZERO1’s Art + Technology Biennial

Fabrikator

Use of cell phones is strongly encouraged for tech devotees flocking to Silicon Valley's 'social media whispering wall'

As its name implies, Datagrove is literally a grove of data or a "social media 'whispering wall,'" if you will, that aggregates locally trending Twitter feeds and parrots them out of speakers and LCD displays woven into the digital branches of the installation. Nonprofit art/technology network ZERO1 commissioned the installation from San Francisco–based experimental design company Future Cities Lab for its Art + Technology Biennial in San Jose, CA, now on view through December 8, 2012. The theme of this year's Biennial is "Seeking Silicon Valley," which seems like a particularly appropriate place to plunder data normally hidden away in smartphones and amplify it for all to hear using custom sensors, text-to-speech modules, LEDs, and LCDs capable of responding directly to people in the immediate vicinity.
  • Fabricator  Future Cities Lab
  • Designer  Future Cities Lab
  • Location  San Jose, CA
  • Date of Completion  September, 2012
  • Materials  LEDs, LCD panels, IR sensors, Arduino, plywood, polypropylene, acrylic. galvanized steel
  • Process  Digital modeling (Rhino, Grasshopper, Firefly, Rhinocam), CNC milling, laser cutting, vacuum forming, heat slumping
In order to "render the invisible aspects of Silicon Valley visible," Nattaly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson, the principals of Future Cities Lab, created a lattice structure interwoven with Twitter trending technology by Onehouse, IR sensors, TextSpeak's Text to Speech Module, LEDs by Super Bright LEDs, and Sparkfun's WiFly Shield and LCD panels that translate geo-located data feeds into light and sound. "As one approaches the installation a series of infrared sensors trigger the sensing pods to light up, which, through a series of embedded speakers, whisper to you the trending information like...Have you heard about...Oracle, or Have you heard about ...Olympics," said Gattegno. Before weaving everything together, Gattegno and Johnson first tested all of the materials individually while also developing "physical prototypes of the interactive sensing pods containing all the electronic components." After a series of tests they decided the best way to house the electronics was to seal them in vacuum formed 2-ply acrylic shells which they wove into a larger structure made from bent acrylic tubing and galvanized steel conduit. "The acrylic is heated and molded in a series of custom CNC milled jigs while the steel is bent over another set of custom jigs," Gattegno said. "Although made up of two material systems, the acrylic and steel interlock in a very deliberate way, structuring each other and suspending the sensing pods within them." All of the electronics, both the acrylic-shelled pods and the systems they operate with—the text-to-speech synthesizers, motion sensors, LCDs and LEDs—are part of an Arduino-based micro-controlled system produced and engineered in-house at Future Cities Lab's San Francisco workshop. The components were then secured to a base made from CNC milled plywood and polypropylene and installed onsite in the courtyard of San Jose's historic California Theater, creating a gathering place for the geographically disparate and disconnected Silicon Valley. The longer you view or interact with Datagrove, the easier it is to make sense of the data. Gradually, you discern patterns and begin to detect a natural cadence from what initially seems like a tangled web of Silicon Valley's verbal overflow.             Photographs by Peter Prato. Additional assistance from Ripon DeLeon, interns Osma Dossani and Jonathan Izen, assisted by David Spittler.
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@MikeBloomberg: #SocialMedia is Complicated! SMH

Mayor Bloomberg was in Singapore last Wednesday to accept the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize for sustainable planning, but it was the mayor's comments on social media got the most play in The New York Times and the New York Post. “I think this whole world has become a culture of 'me now,' rather than for my kids later on," he was quoted as saying. "Social media is going to make it even more difficult to make long-term investments. We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day, and it’s very hard for people to stand up and say, ‘No, no. This is what we’re going to do’ when there’s constant criticism and an election process.” Indeed. Two of the projects that Lee Kuan judges called out were conceived in a pre-social-media atmosphere: the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The third example, "re-purposing the right of way" (i.e. bike lanes and pedestrian plazas), evolved under the glare of social media. But as the mayor said in the speech, the High Line was just one court decision from being torn down when his administration took over in 2002.  One can't help but wonder how much easier activist mobilization might have been if social media were around. Instead, activists relied on community outreach and coverage in print media to save the endangered rail bed. Though Brooklyn Bridge Park began with traditional community mobilization, by the time park officials got around to proposing a hotel and residential towers within the park's boundaries,  opponents had found plenty of friends on Facebook. But among the three initiatives/projects cited in Singapore, none played out in social media more than the bike lanes. Interestingly enough, it's here that the mayor got the most support. If you can find the wordy "No Bike Lane on Prospect Park West Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes" Facebook page, compare its closed group of 288 members to the 3,397 'likes' on Transportation Alternatives public page.  Transportation Alternatives has another 4,081 following them on Twitter under the handle @TransAlt. Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes isn't on Twitter. It’s not difficult to understand the mayor’s concern. In the last month alone, social media has had a profound effect at the city’s pubic hearings and meetings. The young bucks from the AIDS Memorial Competition nearly upended the land use process for the Rudin’s plan for St. Vincent’s when they tapped into Architizer’s 450,000 Facebook fans to hold the competition mid-ULURP.  Normally quiet sub-committee meetings of Community Board 2 had to scramble to find more room for the NYU 2030 Expansion Plan after Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) digitally got the word out.  And the very staid—and sometimes dull—Design Commission meeting turned into a sideshow when Save Coney Island informed their 5,300 Facebook friends of the time and place of the meeting. Regardless of how the mayor (with his own 240,000 followers on Twitter) feels about social media, it's here to stay. Even though the city closed down Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street continues to make its presence felt online, where they plan flash demonstrations held all over town. The question is: how does the city integrate this vital new participation into the process? There are platforms on NYC.gov that allow citizens to see what's going on, but few to interact. Researchers at NYU's Polytechnic Institute have been developing Betaville, an online, open-source platform where residents can do a 3-D fly-through of proposed projects and make comments. At the GVSHP kickoff meeting to oppose the NYU2030 expansion plan, one gray-haired woman said to another gray-haired woman that there was just too much gray hair in the room. As the various CB2 subcommittee meetings progressed through the month of February, more and more students who opposed the plan began to show up, as did their NYU professors. How did they get the younger turnout? Word of mouth, flyers, and, of course, social media.