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March 01, 2006

An electronic ghetto within the emerging information city


Data and Media Black Holes

Today reading in the train: Beyond Blade runner: Urban control, the ecology of fear by Mike Davis. An excerpt I liked:

Perhaps, as William Gibson suggests, 3-dimensional computer interfaces will soon allow post-modern flaneurs (or ‘console cowboys’) to stroll through the luminous geometry of this mnemonic city where data-bases have become ‘blue pyramids’ and ‘cold spiral arms’.

If so, urban cyberspace - as the simulation of the city’s information order - will be experienced as even more segregated, and devoid of true public space, than the traditional built city. Southcentral LA, for instance, is a data and media black hole, without local cable programming or links to major data systems. Just as it became a housing/jobs ghetto in the early twentieth century industrial city, it is now evolving into an electronic ghetto within the emerging information city.

Why do I blog this? what I like there is (1) this idea of embedding virtual data flows in reality (through light/displays, as in this project or this one for example), (2) the notion of electronic divide: there’s going to be ghettos without data holes.

This is connected to Usman Haque’s paper about Invisible Topographies quoting Antony Dunne:

Humans have only recently begun contributing to the cacophony with their pagers, medical devices, television broadcasts and mobile phones. This abundant invisible territory, a topography that is altered in shape and intensity by both natural and human-constructed landscapes, has been called “hertzian space” by industrial design theorist Anthony Dunne. He has observed that hertzian space is often ignored by designers saying, in Hertzian Tales, that the “material responses to immaterial electromagnetic fields can lead to new aesthetic possibilities for architecture."

[The image above is] an example of such idea (I can’t find the source of this, can you help me? author(s)? project?). [blogged by nicolas on pasta and vinegar]

Posted by jo at March 1, 2006 08:18 AM