Archive for December, 2011

City Games

This public intervention by Chevvy may be unrecognisable from games such as foursquare and “Pacmanhatten” in terms of technology but this is a mere extension of the thought excersize put forward by people like area/code and others about public gaming.

Perhaps the simplest example of this premise is Geocaching which is basically a real-world outdoor treasure hunt in which people use their GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled phones to find small boxes containing log-books – all over the world. This technology is not exactly new but the idea of taking virtual activities into a real world scenario is just beginning to take hold. More and more companies are creating more and more advances and fully immersive experiences with the aid of both GPS and newer technologies such as VR projection and Augmented reality (again though peoples’ phones with services such as Layer).

Of course, these games are little more than computer enabled role-playing games like we’ve seen for years. Dungeons and Dragons is like Layer before smart-phones, the principle is the same: an augmented reality in which you can create your own worlds. Except now with no added stigma.

For one of my projects last year I was asked to imagine a world where something about society was changed or augmented. I chose to focus on augmenting that reality to produce a world where everyone was constantly plugged in, always receiving data from their surroundings which could be displayed to them. This could come in the form of advertisements, directions and ofcourse, games. Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, creator of the Layer AR App said that “space is no longer exclusive” well in the future this may not be true but what is true now is “space is what you make of it.”


Vertical Circulation

The National Film Theatre in London really forms an axis for me, for years it has formed a meeting place between two great interests in my life: Film and sport. I spent a lot of time on the South Bank as a child and I remember sitting and watching the skateboarders for hours at a time. Maybe this is why I have such a love of the Hayward Gallery, because of its association with that freedom of movement and stark concrete reality. Earlier today I was watching a documentary on 4OD about the filming of so called “Underground Sports” videos for youtube and quite apart from seeing the brilliant talent of these four guys from four different disciplines the point that rung true for me was its closing statement: “With skills like these, nothing stays impossible for long”. Seeing these guys navigate areas is like watching something from a different world, your perspective changes to suit these new movements. 20 foot drops become graceful descent and ordinary access such as stairs are background to the capabilities of these athletes.

Pictured is a photograph from Phillepe Ramette, a French artist working in and around Paris and reading an article in Fubiz today perfectly represented the approach of parkour and skateboarding to transform an impossible problem into a graceful solution. It also forces you to imagine a world in which the current boundaries of human movement do not apply; void spaces in place of stairs; compact vertical buildings; doors on third floors. Access to anywhere creates the issue of where does the inside, the safe and the secure, begin and the outside end. Reflecting the availability of information, the built environment could be instantly within your reach, you could see cities with no need for walls but rather a series of interlocking spaces. I sound like an Adidas advert…

The Best Made Plans

Spent today immersed in the design report and fell back on my cheat sheet that I inherited last year. Below are links to both the PDF and the video that Duberly Design Office have created to finally answer that question on everyone’s lips: Just exactly how many variations are there of a 3×4 grid? It’s reoccurred throughout history like “is Elvis still alive?” or “how much DID Jerry pay for that one coat that looked good on him or whatever?” and now we know. 892 variations. I don’t know the mathematics behind it but if you’re interested the link to that is also to be found here.

With a 3 by 4 grid comes 892 responsibilities

The video is like staring into the eye of a computer, a computer that really wants to kill you.

Books for Christmas?

Another lovely day with the family. Finished opening presents this morning and more left-overs. I finally got a chance to get stuck into the marvelous BLDGBLOG book I was given yesterday. It’s a real reminder of the idea that an architect should know everything about everything, that an architect that isn’t fully rounded with a knowledge of politics, films, art and culture isn’t anything at all. A while ago my Humanities lecture my lecturer was discussing the architecture of Alfred Hitchcock and after talking about it for a good 5 minutes he looked around and checked who had actually seen the film he was talking about. I and about 4 others put their hands up…

This evening I went to see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, the new David Fincher film, with my family. I haven’t read the books having always viewed them as pretty mainstream rubbish but I was surprised by this film. It was incredibly harsh in a number of ways: The story, set in snow-swept Sweden, reflects the dark and brooding nature of those long isolated winters and has a great “who-done-it” aspect with all the family being potential murderers and all living on a wooded island in the Northern territory. It really is a shame that some absolutely shocking scenes of sexual violence taint the experience. These are not your usual scenes of insinuated perversion where a door closes and you hear some disturbing but not revolting intonations as to what is going on. I won’t go into detail but I was really quite shocked and nauseated. What was particularly bad taste about these scenes IS the fact that these scenes aren’t necessary and seem to have been left in not for story-telling reason but for some “saw-like” perverse shock factor. I really think that having this stuff off-screen would have enforced that idea of brooding danger that you really feel on the island with its figures and gun-shots in the mist. Also with subjects such as associations with Naziism and other much brushed over periods of Swedish history would have been cemented with that off-camera danger and disgust. Still, terrific performance from Rooney Mara as Lisabeth and you really do get why she’s so bloody messed up by the end. Would recommend for DVD so you can skip some scenes and also would recommend not watching with you Nan…

Only one more sleep!

Merry Christmas everybody, enjoi these overly cold Christmas card designs, shout out to Rasmus Pikk, you are my hero bro

Design Reporting for duty

For the first time in my life I am keeping up with my bibliography WHILE doing my work. It feels like a serious corner has been turned…

Everything is permanently “In Progress”

Visualising Helsinki

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