Thursday, January 24, 2008

Robotic Ecologies Seminar and Workshop 2008

The 2008 "Robotic Ecologies" spring seminar and workshop kicked off last night. This semester 12 students from architecture and engineering will be collaborating with 6 PhD. students from UVa’s Virginia Center for Computer Music (VCCM). The seminar will meet jointly with Professor Matthew Burtner's seminar "Emergent Interactive Structures in Music". The students will be collaborating on the design and fabrication of "performative spatial and acoustic instruments that sense, compute and interact to/with emergent atmospheric inputs." This semester the seminar will meet in Campbell Hall's super high-tech IATH Viz Lab (Ex. C) and workshops will take place in the our new dedicated space within the CNC Fabrication Lab.

PICTURED ABOVE > Last night, after some brief introductions, the seminar attended a fascinating performance by the Autonomous String Performing Instrument at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Belmont. The A.S.P.I. was created by Troy Rogers, Scott Barton and Steven Kemper.
Thanks also to Peter Traub for introducing us to his ItSpace sound and social networking installation.
Photo Above: The creators of the A.S.P.I. bot > Scott Barton (left), Troy Rogers (right), and Steven Kemper (not shown) - photo by M.Maki.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Visions of the Future (or just sexy versions of the recent past?)

The top four images are some well-known utopian/dystopian visions for how technology and the physical realm might co-exist in the future. These projects were a response to the political, ecological and social conditions of their time. Superstudio (continuous, pervasive, ubiquitous, free, minimal, open, meditative, formless, networked and infinite), Archigram (machinic, plugged-in, gadget-driven, superstructure enabled, socialist high-tech, episodic, pop), Dr. Strangelove's techno-bunker (bunkered, exclusive, clandestine, inbred, disconnected, paranoid, virtual), Buckminster Fuller's project for New York (isolated, protected, exclusive, hub, static, conditioned, inter-dependent, disconnected).

The bottom four images were also discussed in the seminar last night. They are examples of contemporary projects that suggest an entirely new set of ideas that might guide the future of our cities and landscapes. Descriptive words that were used to describe these projects were: Soft, Intelligent, Indeterminate, Networked, Interactive, Emergent, Atmospheric, Responsive, Bio-mimetic, Real-time, Information-driven, Sustainable, Smart, Metabolic ... How will these various ideas organize themselves to define our future physical environments? What are the politics underlying their potential manifestation both physically, ecologically and socially? (credits: watanabe japan, obuchi uk, decoi usa, eth zurich)