Archive for the ‘Public Space’ Category

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World’s First Climate-Controlled City

July 16, 2014

Imagine a city where the temperature is always perfect and you never have to worry about a rainy day ruining your day’s plans. Sound like fiction? If you live in Dubai, a city-state already known for ambitious feats of engineering, a mini-metropolis with a thermostat is poised to become a reality.

Officials in Dubai last week announced plans to build the world’s first climate-controlled city. Dubbed the Mall of the World, the 48 million-square-foot complex will feature 100 hotels and apartment buildings, the world’s largest indoor theme park and the world’s largest shopping mall.

For years, oil was the commodity that kept the United Arab Emirates’ economic engine running, but tourism is now one of the UAE’s largest sources of revenue. In a country where summertime temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, officials hope the Mall of the World will beat the heat and serve as a year-round tourist destination.

Under the Dome

The Mall of the World is expected to accommodate some 180 million visitors annually, and every visitor can savor the sealed city for a week without ever stepping foot outside. Enclosed promenades 7 kilometers long, with trams for quick transport, will connect visitors to all the facilities and districts throughout the mall.

The Mall of the World’s centerpiece will be the cultural district, which will recreate the world’s most famous landmarks from London, New York and Barcelona. The cultural district will be enclosed in a massive, golf-ball shaped dome and play host to weddings, conferences, performances, and a host of other celebrations.

And if you party too hard in the Mall of the World, the wellness district is just a tram ride away. Visitors to the city will have access to more than 3 million square feet of holistic healing options, surgical facilities, cosmetic treatments and other health-oriented services.

When the weather is perfect outside, the mall’s retractable roofs will allow fresh air into the indoor city. Developers also added that the indoor city will incorporate the latest sustainable technologies to reduce its carbon footprint. You can watch the video below to get a virtual tour of the Mall of the World.

Planning a Visit

Officials have not released a timetable for constructing the Mall of the World, but Dubai Holding, the state-owned company behind the project, hopes the mall will be the main focus at the World Expo trade fair in 2020, which Dubai will host.

And how much does an indoor city cost? Well, officials also haven’t released that information.

All text and images via Discover

Also, just in case you think this is not possible:

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Sounds From Dangerous Places: Sonic Journalism | Peter Cusack

July 13, 2014

‘What can we learn of dangerous places by listening to their sounds?’

‘Sonic Journalism’ is the aural equivalent of photojournalism. It describes the practice where field recordings play a major role in the discussion and documentation of places, issues and events and where listening to sounds of all kinds strongly informs the approach to research and following narratives whilst on location.

Peter Cusack: Recent travels have brought me into contact with some difficult and potentially dangerous places. Most are areas of major environmental/ecological damage, but others are nuclear sites or the edges of military zones. The danger is not necessarily to a short-term visitor, but to the people of the area who have no option to leave or through the location’s role in geopolitical power structures. Dangerous places can be both sonically and visually compelling, even beautiful and atmospheric. There is, often, an extreme dichotomy between an aesthetic response and knowledge of the ‘danger’, whether it is pollution, social injustice, military or geopolitical.

Places visited include:

Chernobyl exclusion zone, Ukraine;

Caspian oil fields, Azerbaijan;

Tigris and Euphrates rivers valleys in South Eastern Turkey threatened by massive dam building projects;

North Wales, UK, where Chernobyl fallout still affects sheep farming practice; nuclear, military and greenhouse gas sites in the UK, including Sellafield, Dungeness, Bradwell, Sizewell, Thetford Forest, Rainham and Uttlesford

Hear some samples from Chernobyl HERE

All text and Images via Sounds From Dangerous Places

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Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture

July 13, 2014

What makes the city of the future? How do you heal a divided city?

In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving.

Ever since the mid twentieth century, when the dream of modernist utopia went to Latin America to die, the continent has been a testing ground for exciting new conceptions of the city. An architect in Chile has designed a form of social housing where only half of the house is built, allowing the owners to adapt the rest; Medellín, formerly the world’s murder capital, has been transformed with innovative public architecture; squatters in Caracas have taken over the forty-five-storey Torre David skyscraper; and Rio is on a mission to incorporate its favelas into the rest of the city.

Here, in the most urbanised continent on the planet, extreme cities have bred extreme conditions, from vast housing estates to sprawling slums. But after decades of social and political failure, a new generation has revitalised architecture and urban design in order to address persistent poverty and inequality. Together, these activists, pragmatists and social idealists are performing bold experiments that the rest of the world may learn from.

Radical Cities is a colorful journey through Latin America—a crucible of architectural and urban innovation.

Text and Image via VERSO Books

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What Happens When Digital Cities Are Abandoned? Exploring the pristine ruins of Second Life and other online spaces

July 13, 2014

I stand at the junction of several dusty, well-traveled roads. Passersby hurry through, chattering and laughing as they make their way from the city looming in the distance to the north, along the paths to the southeast, which branch out as the land grows less dense, winding through lakes and forests.

I haven’t been here in years, but it’s as familiar to me as if I’d been away only a few weeks. There are no familiar faces, and no one recognizes me. By memory, I make my way along the winding road and soon end up in a clearing by a lake. Trees bend over the water, dragging their tendrils across its mirrored surface. Birds chirp contentedly.

This is it; I’m home.

Sort of.

That’s because, in this case, “home” is actually “grove,” as in “a small wood.” It’s a term used in the text-adventure game I am currently playing, a Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) set in a vaguely Tolkien-esque world with touches of Greek mythology. I spent the better part of five years playing this game, all through high school and into college. It’s still running today, and it remains immersive to an astonishing degree, even compared with contemporary games—it has its own social mores, cultural life, history and folklore. Its political systems are complicated and well-developed, and to this day I still use some of the slang terms that were common. And it’s all presented via simple text on a screen.

Read full article at The Atlantic

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A Critique of Everyday Life

July 1, 2014

Henri Lefebvre’s magnum opus: a monumental exploration of contemporary society.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume One: Introduction. A groundbreaking analysis of the alienating phenomena of daily life under capitalism.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume Two: Foundations for a Sociology of the Everyday. Identifies categories within everyday life, such as the theory of the semantic field and the theory of moments.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume Three: From Modernity to Modernism. Explores the crisis of modernity and the decisive assertion of technological modernism.

Verso Books: Henri Lefebvre’s three-volume Critique of Everyday Life is perhaps the richest, most prescient work by one of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers. Written at the birth of post-war consumerism, the Critique was a philosophical inspiration for the 1968 student revolution in France and is considered to be the founding text of all that we know as cultural studies, as well as a major influence on the fields of contemporary philosophy, geography, sociology, architecture, political theory and urbanism. A work of enormous range and subtlety, Lefebvre takes as his starting-point and guide the “trivial” details of quotidian experience: an experience colonized by the commodity, shadowed by inauthenticity, yet one which remains the only source of resistance and change.

This is an enduringly radical text, untimely today only in its intransigence and optimism.

Text and Images via Verso Books

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Digioxide: A Pollution Sensor that Converts the Results into Digital Art

July 1, 2014

This project aims to raise public awareness of the environmental pollution by artistic means. Digioxide is a portable wireless device equipped with sensors of air pollution gases and dust particles that is connected to computer via bluetooth. This allows a person with digioxide to freely move around a city, seek out ecologically problematic places and turn their data into digital artworks.

More info via vtol

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Sam Songalio

June 28, 2014

Loving Sam Songalio

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Behold Broken Fingaz

June 21, 2014

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Israeli street artist crew, Broken Fingaz. Love them.

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The Strange and Surreal Beauty of Show Caves Around the World

June 21, 2014

austinirving

Human beings have been drawn to caves for hundreds of thousands of years, using them as shelters, burial sites, and places of worship since the beginning of mankind. Nowadays, many of these geological formations have been turned into “show caves”—natural caves managed by government or commercial organizations that have been modified to accommodate tourism. Los Angeles-based photographer Austin Irving has been documenting such caverns for years in her series Show Caves, traveling all over the United States and Southeast Asia to photograph these natural wonders turned into tourist attractions.

Irving’s images show the obvious evidence of human intervention in these underground spaces. Using a large-format camera, the photographer captures the grotesque beauty of show caves, depicting manmade additions like artificial lighting, gift stands, concrete paths, and steel doors standing in stark contrast with the natural rocks, craggy overhangs, and darkness of the caverns.

“What excites me about this subject matter is the fact that these natural spaces have been curated to cater to the physical needs of sightseers as well as our collective idea of what a cave should look like,” Irving says. Commenting on the tension between nature and clearly manmade utilitarian modifications like elevators and doors, she adds, “I’m just really drawn to this contrast between nature and what we have done to make it accessible for a money giving public.”

Text and Images via My Modern Met

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How Much is the Earth Worth? Putting a Price Tag on Nature’s Defenses

June 15, 2014

A group led by Dr. Robert Costanza has calculated the value of the world’s ecosystems…the group’s most recent estimate puts the yearly value at $142.7 trillion.

“I think this is a very important piece of science,” said Douglas J. McCauley of the University of California, Santa Barbara. That’s particularly high praise coming from Dr. McCauley, who has been a scathing critic of Dr. Costanza’s attempt to put price tags on ecosystem services.

“This paper reads to me like an annual financial report for Planet Earth,” Dr. McCauley said. “We learn whether the dollar value of Earth’s major assets have gone up or down.”

The group last calculated this value back in 1997 and it rose sharply over the past 17 years, even as those natural habitats are disappearing. Dr. Costanza and his colleagues estimate that the world’s reefs shrank from 240,000 square miles in 1997 to 108,000 in 2011.

:(

Read Full Article at the NYTimes

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Catalytic Coating Makes Pollution-Eating Billboards

May 29, 2014

I write in praise of air. I was six or five
when a conjurer opened my knotted fist
and I held in my palm the whole of the sky.
I’ve carried it with me ever since.

That is the opening stanza from “In Praise of Air” by British poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage.

There’s beauty to this poem that goes beyond the ideas it conveys and the careful craftsmanship of the writer. The work doesn’t just praise the air, it clears it.

Or, more accurately, the 65-foot-high banner upon which the poem is printed clears it. That’s because the material is coated with nanotechnology that chews up airborne pollutants.

In Praise of Air, a collaboration between Armitage and physical chemistry professor Tony Ryan, has been unfurled on a building at the University of Sheffield in the UK to bring attention to Ryan’s innovation.

Text and Image via TXCHNOLOGIST. Read full article at the TXCHNOLOGIST

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A Visual History of Satellites: The ‘extended urbanization’ of space.

May 23, 2014

Right now, there about 1,100 satellites whizzing above our heads performing various functions like observation, communication, and spying. There are roughly another 2,600 doing nothing, as they died or were turned off a long time ago.

How did each of these satellites get up there? And what nations are responsible for sending up the bulk of them?

The answers come in the form of this bewitching visualization of satellite launches from 1957 – the year Russia debuted Sputnik 1 – to the present day. (The animation starts at 2:10; be sure to watch in HD.) Launch sites pop up as yellow circles as the years roll by, sending rockets, represented as individual lines, flying into space with one or more satellites aboard.

Read Full article at CityLab

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The London Evolution Animation

May 14, 2014

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AirChat: Free Communications for Everyone

May 14, 2014

Airchat is a free communication tool, free as in ‘free beer’ and free as in ‘Jeremy Hammond must be freed’. It doesn’t need the internet infrastructure, nor does it need a cellphone network, instead it relies on any available radio link (or any device capable of transmitting audio – we even made a prototype working with light/laser based transmissions).

This project was conceived not only from our lessons learned in the Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian revolutions, but also from the experience of OccupyWallStreet and Plaza del Sol. We have considered the availability of extremely cheap modern radio devices (like those handhelds produced in China), to start thinking about new ways in which people can free themselves from expensive, commercial, government controlled and highly surveilled infrastructure.

AirChat is not only our modest draft or proposal for such a dream, but it is a working PoC you can use today. we hope you will enjoy it and we also hope that you too will be able to feel the beauty of free communications, free communications as in ‘free beer’ and free communications as in ‘free yourself and your people forever’.

All text and images via Airchat.

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Giant Machines Boring Tunnels Under London (…and in many other places)

March 31, 2014

By the end of 2014, London will have added 42 km of new underground rail tunnels as part of the Crossrail project. Here’s how the eight tunnel boring machines work.

These machines, manned by a 20-person crew, are working 24 hours a day under London’s streets.

Top Image: Crossrail tunnel-boring machine Victoria lowered into the shaft next to TBM Elizabeth at the Limmo site in London’s Royal Docks area. Courtesy Crossrail.

Text and Image via SINCANADA

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Reducing Congestion

November 16, 2013

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Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (PCVS-Polity Conversations Series)

October 1, 2013

Dispossession describes the condition of those who have lost land, citizenship, property, and a broader belonging to the world. This thought-provoking book seeks to elaborate our understanding of dispossession outside of the conventional logic of possession, a hallmark of capitalism, liberalism, and humanism. Can dispossession simultaneously characterize political responses and opposition to the disenfranchisement associated with unjust dispossession of land, economic and political power, and basic conditions for living?

In the context of neoliberal expropriation of labor and livelihood, dispossession opens up a performative condition of being both affected by injustice and prompted to act. From the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa to the anti-neoliberal gatherings at Puerta del Sol, Syntagma and Zucchotti Park, an alternative political and affective economy of bodies in public is being formed. Bodies on the street are precarious – exposed to police force, they are also standing for, and opposing, their dispossession. These bodies insist upon their collective standing, organize themselves without and against hierarchy, and refuse to become disposable: they demand regard. This book interrogates the agonistic and open-ended corporeality and conviviality of the crowd as it assembles in cities to protest political and economic dispossession through a performative dispossession of the sovereign subject and its propriety.

Text and Image via Politybooks

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1972 by Noritaka Minami

September 9, 2013

In the city of Tokyo, a building stands as an anachronism in relation to the surrounding urban landscape. The building in question is the Nakagin Capsule Tower designed by Kisho Kurokawa (1934 – 2007), who was one of the leading members of an influential architectural movement in the 1960s called Metabolism. The group’s aim was to formulate flexible designs that facilitate continual growth and renewal of architecture. As the first capsule apartment in history constructed for everyday use, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is considered an example that came closest to embodying the principles of Metabolism. Kurokawa designed the building with plug-in capsules to promote exchangeability and modifications to the structure over time, theoretically improving its capacity to adjust to the rapidly changing conditions of the post-industrial society. When the building first opened in March of 1972, it was advertised in the media to signal “the dawn of the capsule age.”

The irony presented by the story of the Nakagin Capsule Tower is the fact that it became the last architecture of its kind to be completed in the world. Furthermore, the building has never undergone the process of regeneration during the forty years of existence. Not a single capsule has been replaced since 1972, even though Kurokawa intended them to sustain a lifespan of only twenty-five years. The design in reality proved to be too rigid in adapting to the unforeseen political and economic developments in the years that followed its construction. With the building’s system in stasis without fulfilling its original mission of continual growth and renewal, it stands like a monument to a future that never arrived in the 21st Century.

Due to the pressures of the city’s real estate market, plans have been discussed for the Nakagin Capsule Tower to be demolished to make way for a conventional apartment complex. Yet, the building today has coincidentally assumed a new role in the city, becoming a poignant reminder of a path ultimately not taken. This project examines “the future” as imagined by Kurokawa in 1972 and its current condition through the medium of photography. Moreover, the photographs capture scenes within the Nakagin Capsule Tower at a time when its very future is in question. With the building as an embodiment of an architectural vision that was thought possible at that moment in history, the photographs reflect on the significance of that vision potentially disappearing today from the landscape of Tokyo as a crucial form of cultural memory.

Text and Images via NORITAKA MINAMI

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Walkie-Talkie Skyscraper Beam Melts Cars and Fries Eggs

September 9, 2013

Blinding rays of light from a skyscraper in the City of London are being blamed for melting vehicles below it.

Developers of 20 Fenchurch Street, better known as the “Walkie-Talkie” because of its distinctive shape, are investigating reports of the damaging glare, and a number of nearby car parking spaces have been suspended, say reports.

Businessman Martin Lindsay said he was distraught when he returned to find his luxury Jaguar XJ saloon with warped panels along one side.

The wing mirror and badge had also melted from the heat of the reflected sunlight, he claimed.
“They’re going to have to think of something. I’m gutted. How can they let this continue?” he told City AM.

Another driver has also come forward to complain of damage to his Vauxhall Vivaro van.

Eddie Cannon, a heating and air conditioning engineer, said: “The van looks a total mess – every bit of plastic on the left hand side and everything on the dashboard has melted, including a bottle of Lucozade that looks like it has been baked.”

The 37-storey skyscraper is still under construction. On Tuesday temperatures measured in front of the building reached 33C (92F).

In a joint statement, developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf, told the newspaper: “As a precautionary measure, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected.”

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The Rio 2016 Olympics: sun, sea and absolutely no swimming

September 9, 2013

The Olympic architects reveal that Rio 2016 will take over a lagoon site. But the water’s too polluted to swim – and many of the city’s communities do not fit into the glossy urban legacy plan.

One year after the London 2012 Olympics, the gates to the east London site have reopened to reveal the new Queen Elizabeth Park, the first tangible piece of the two-week sporting circus’ promised legacy. You would think the architects behind the Olympic masterplan might be able to breathe a sigh of relief: the games were deemed a success, and the “legacy communities” still remain safely on the drawing board, judgments withheld. But in the Holborn studios of Aecom, the Olympic team is as busy as ever – working on the next one.

“Rio 2016 is a whole different animal to London 2012,” says project lead Bill Hanway, who heads up the Americas section of the global giant’s 10,000-strong buildings and places division. “Brazil is still an emerging nation, and we’re having to compress what took nine years of planning for London into half that time for Rio.” Text by Oliver Wainwright. Continue at The Guardian

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Where do artifacts go when they are destroyed? | Journal #47 September 2013 | e-flux

September 7, 2013

Boris Groys
Becoming Revolutionary: On Kazimir Malevich

After all, what is revolution? It is not the process of building a new society—this is the goal of the post-revolutionary period. Rather, revolution is the radical destruction of the existing society. However, to accept this revolutionary destruction is not an easy psychological operation. We tend to resist the radical forces of destruction, we tend to be compassionate and nostalgic toward our past—and maybe even more so toward our endangered present.

Nato Thompson
The Insurgents, Part I: Community-Based Practice as Military Methodology
The US military is seductive and repulsive in its grandiose violence. But it is also a fruitful place to examine developing techniques for the manipulation of culture. Considering the sheer scale of the US military—with its colossal budget—it’s not a bad place to look for new ideas and new methodologies concerning tactics for “getting to know people.”

Amanda Boetzkes and Andrew Pendakis
Visions of Eternity: Plastic and the Ontology of Oil

If plastic appears irreducible—appears to be a constitutive basis, instead of having emerged from and subsequently effaced its earthly basis—then the challenge is to uncover what plastic so readily disguises. Plastic is a petroleum product that claims at least a quarter of all the oil extracted. More than this, though, it is through plastics that we begin to fathom the complete permeation of oil into every facet of cultural life.

Jon Rich
The Bachelor Century: Single Sinners Seeking God’s Job

A soldier in the battlefield kills indiscriminately—gunfire and stabbings directed at whomever happens to be present. In contrast, the target of the bomb in Hiroshima is entirely ethnic, akin to the way Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s chose his victims. It is a crime against the human race, or a part of that race, because the bomb acts without regard for the political views of its victims. To be murdered because you are American, or Japanese, or Kurdish, or Christian, or Muslim is fundamentally different from being targeted because you are a soldier.

Claire Fontaine
We Are All Clitoridian Women: Notes on Carla Lonzi’s Legacy

In the Italian feminist ultra-left of Lonzi’s time, a deep connection between knowledge of oneself—especially of one’s own pleasure—and satisfaction was regarded as the only way to reach autonomy. There was a vivid awareness that colonization operates through the mind and the body, and the only way to reach freedom was working on one’s own subjectivity.

Lars Bang Larsen
The Society Without Qualities

Money is the one thing that connects us and that we cannot truly have in common. In societies without qualities we can, in theory, have any number of things in common. However, after the decline of symbolic orders, it is an enormous effort to call them up and give them words and form. Remember, this is the desert of the real … So never mind good intentions, they won’t get us anywhere: when art addresses the future in (self-)skeptical ways, it refuses nostalgia and hope as sentimental compensations for an uncertain future.

Where do artifacts go when they are destroyed? | Journal #47 September 2013 | e-flux
Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle
Editorial

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What Urban Planners Can Learn From a Hindu Religious Festival

September 5, 2013

What they don’t tell you about Varanasi, probably India’s holiest city, is that in addition to being filled with sacred temples, mischievous monkeys and bearded ascetics, it’s also full of waste of all kinds: mountains of fetid cow and other, much worse kinds of dung, muddy tributaries of dubious origin, mounds of fast-decaying flowers, shards of shattered clay cups. As I left the utter squalor of Varanasi, a permanent and ancient city of four million, for a temporary religious celebration of even more people nearby, I could only imagine the enormous crowds, inescapable filth and utter chaos that it would produce.

It was January, and I was headed 80 miles west to the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, a Hindu religious festival in which tens of millions of pilgrims come together at the convergence of two real rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna, and one mythical stream, the Saraswati. They stay for all or part of a celebration—this year’s would last 55 days—that is the largest single-purpose human gathering on earth.

In the mythology of the Kumbh Mela, gods and demons fought for 12 days over a pitcher (kumbh) of nectar of immortality from the primordial ocean, and the nectar spilled onto the earth at four different places, including Allahabad. The gathering (mela) takes place every three years at one of the four locales in a 12-year cycle—a day of the gods’ time corresponds to a year of human time—with the largest (maha) celebration in Allahabad. The first written record of its occurrence dates to the seventh century A.D.

Excerpt from an article written by Tom Downey at the Smithsonian. Continue THERE

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Concrete Mushrooms

September 4, 2013

“Concrete Mushrooms” is a project initiated as an idea for research by two Albanian graduate students at Politecnico di Milano, and the purpose was to emphasize the appreciable assets of Albania such as bunkers which are vast in number and across all the rich and beautiful landscape of Albania. Apart all the studies done about the history of Albania, the reason of building the bunkers all over the country, how the people of Albania nowadays coexists with them, how and why do they use them, it is also thought of how the remaining bunkers can last their lives without being totally disappeared and can become the icon of a paranoid past transformed to the symbol of a bright future of the landscape of Albania. Bunkers seem to be happy of being born and living in Albania, and above all proud to be Albanians. But in fact their happiness masks an enormous sorrow of the past which would be recovered by their contribution to Albania.

Any of the “tourists” interested in adventures and nature, can enjoy natural resources of Albania by passing their nights in local at the same mobile cheap hostels without being obliged to carry their camping tents.
Cheap hostel – that’s what the future function of the bunker could be having the same commodity anywhere in Albania, there is not just one, there are supposed to be around 750 000 bunkers in Albania.

The priority of “Concrete Mushrooms” project is facing the symbol of xenophobia (bunker) with deliberate awareness for the purpose of inverting its meaning, the preservation of the memoir of a significant period of the Albanian history, giving bunkers value instead of having them as burden and as a result the promotion of an underdeveloped touristic sector such as Eco-Tourism which has an enormous potential at the same time growing the financial viability, social and environmental sustainability.
The project aims to create an institutional support for initiating the first steps of realizing it, the designed website will be a significant tool for any information related to the bunkers, to the implantation of network of transformed bunkers, the possible itineraries around them and great possibility for hunting and recording the number of the rooms of this huge hostel already built in Albania.

Production by Elian Stefa & Gyler Mydyti. Text and Images via Concrete Mushrooms

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Recover the Streets

September 4, 2013

Recover the Streets arises from the need to interconnect different European projects that work with urban art in their respective cities; the need to offer artists the possibility of interacting with other European creators, of improving their visibility and finding new expression formulas; the need to boost urban art as a regenerator of new city visions; to create participative processes that bring culture, and in this specific case, urban art, closer to population sectors that do not normally participate in cultural events.

Recover the Streets is a collaboration project between five European cities that, using urban art as a tool and common language, purport to interconnect artists and cultural agents from all these cities, promoting the exchange of artistic and social experiences; recovering, in each one of them, a debased space by means of a collaborative process that engages the social agents of the neighbourhoods where the activity takes place, and providing citizens with a new perception of urban art and its ability to activate social and cultural dynamics.
A project that will last for 8 months, which has united a total of six cities from different parts of Europe, where institutions and cultural agents have committed to promoting urban art, thus offering an open and diverse collaboration framework which has already given rise to sporadic collaborations outside the programme, among some of the cultural agents involved:

• Zaragoza (Spain): Sociedad Municipal Zaragoza Cultural
• Besançon (France): Association Juste Ici
• Toulouse (France): Mairie de Toulouse
• Colonia (Germany): Association artmx e.V / Cityleaks Festival
• Zagreb (Croatia): Association Centralna Jedinica

Know more HERE

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Playgrounds For Everyone: A community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds

September 4, 2013

Why Accessible Playgrounds?

Because kids in wheelchairs can’t play on playgrounds covered with wood chips. And children with muscular disabilities can fall out of swings that lack sides and backs. Or a child with vision or hearing problems can benefit from equipment specially designed for play alongside friends, siblings or any other child.

New federal requirements define playground accessibility as a civil right. And under those rules, playgrounds built or altered after March 14, 2012, are required to have wheelchair-friendly surfaces and equipment that helps kids with physical challenges move around.

You can Help HERE

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Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft

September 4, 2013

“Today urban space has become a mobile, monetized technology, and some of the most radical changes to the globalizing world are being written, not in the language of law and diplomacy, but rather in the spatial information of infrastructure, architecture and urbanism. Massive global systems — meta-infrastructures administered by public and private cohorts, and driven by profound irrationalities — are generating de facto, undeclared forms of polity faster than any even quasi-official forms of governance can legislate them — a wilder mongrel than any storied Leviathan for which there is studied political response.

One of these meta-infrastructures is the phenomenon of the free zone — a highly contagious and globalized urban form and a vivid vessel of what I have termedextrastatecraft. A portmanteau meaning both outside of and in addition to statecraft, extrastatecraft acknowledges that multiple forces — state, non-state, military, market, non-market — have now attained the considerable power and administrative authority necessary to undertake the building of infrastructure.

The zone — a.k.a., the Free Trade Zone, Foreign Trade Zone, Special Economic Zone, Export Processing Zone, or any of the dozens of variants — is a dynamic crossroads of trade, finance, management and communication. If, in the contemporary scene, diverse spatial types demonstrate the ways in which architecture has become repeatable and infrastructural, then it is the zone that demonstrates the ways in which urbanism has become infrastructural. Though its roots are ancient, dating back to the free ports of classical antiquity, only in recent decades has the zone emerged as a powerful global form, evolving rapidly from an out-of-way district for warehousing custom-free goods to a postwar strategy for jump-starting the economies of developing countries to a paradigm for glittering world cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. [...]“

An essay by Keller Easterling featured in Places. Read it THERE

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Totem and Taboo: Grindr remembers the Holocaust

September 4, 2013

“Totem and Taboo: Grindr remembers the Holocaust” is an online archive of Grindr pics of people using another architectural icon to meet people. Running since 2011, this incredible collection of amateur shots of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin provides another insight into spatial appropriations for casual sex purposes. As they state on their website:

“In an age when ignorance is prevalent than ever, Grindr, the latest most addictive gay obsession, has wowed its members in relentlessly promoting the memory of the holocaust. While the gay community is being under scrutiny for promoting hedonism and alienation, this tribute seems all the more compelling. Totem and Taboo […] asks nothing more but to harness the vibrant blogosphere to Grindr users’ innovative manoeuvres to keep the memory alive, fresh and attractive.”

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Japanese Masked Hero Comes To The Aid Of Tokyo Subway Users

September 4, 2013

In a green outfit with silver trim and matching mask, a superhero waits by the stairs of a Tokyo subway station, lending his strength to the elderly, passengers lugging heavy packages and mothers with baby strollers.

“Japanese people find it hard to accept help, they feel obligated to the other person, so the mask really helps me out,” said Tadahiro Kanemasu.

The slender 27-year-old has spent three months being a good Samaritan at the station on Tokyo’s western side. Like many in the city, it has neither elevators nor escalators and a long flight of dimly lit stairs.

Inspiration came from the children he met at his job at an organic greengrocer, which also prompted the color of his costume. He picked up the green Power Rangers suit and two spares at a discount store for 4,000 yen ($41) each.

Since Kanemasu can set aside only a couple of hours each day for his good deeds, he hopes to recruit others in different colored suits. Already he has inquiries about pink and red.

Hayato Ito, who works alongside Kanemasu at the greengrocer, said his kindness to others over the years meant his alter ego did not come as a complete surprise.

“There were hints of this from a long time ago but finally he flowered as a hero,” Ito said.

Kanemasu admitted he got off to a bit of a rocky start.

“When I first began, people basically said ‘Get away from me, you weirdo’,” he said. “Now they still think I’m weird but in a good way.”

($1 = 97.6850 Japanese yen)

Text by Tokyo Reuters. Via Huffington Post

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Introducing Culture Identities: Design for Museums, Theaters and Cultural Institutions

July 9, 2013

An inside look by designers and clients at graphic design’s main playground and proving ground–working for cultural institutions.

This book takes an inside look at graphic design’s main playground and proving ground—working for cultural institutions. One would be hard pressed to find another area of graphic design in which the work is so fresh and experimental and so often serves as a precursor for future visual trends.

Introducing: Culture Identities features outstanding poster campaigns, publications, and cross-platform corporate design for international cultural institutions by both young designers, who are striving to prove themselves creatively, and established studios, who are experimenting with new forms of visual expression. In the book, readers not only hear from designers who are especially active in the cultural field, such as Bureau Mirko Borsche, the New York-based studio 2×4, James Goggin, and Johannes Erler, but also from notables on the client side including MoMA, the Barbican, Van Abbemuseum, and documenta.

With its selection of striking collaborations between innovative designers and visionary cultural institutions, Introducing: Culture Identities presents the field of visual identities for cultural clients as a continuous dialogue that pushes the limit of what is possible creatively.

Text and Image via Gestalten

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VISUALIZING CARBON

July 9, 2013

For Antony Turner, pictures make a story come alive—and in the climate change story, one of the main characters is invisible. In 2009, together with artist/scientist Adam Nieman, he founded Carbon Visuals to help people “see” the carbon dioxide that’s trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Their strategy: Transform the mass (tons and gigatons) of carbon dioxide emissions we hear about so much into volumetric representations and then show them as 3-D shapes in familiar landscapes. Carbon Visuals has worked with governments, schools, corporations, and others to help them make sense of carbon footprints, comparisons, and sequestration targets. Changing the trajectory of the climate story, Turner believes, starts with getting the antagonist in our sights.

Via Conservation Magazine