Fall Appearances

I have a very full schedule this fall, with six talks, five of which are outside of the New York area. It’s a great privilege to be invited to participate in so many incredible venues and I hope this gives me a chance to see old friends and make new ones in the various locations I will be visiting. 

24 September, Lūžio taškas (Breaking Point), Palanga, Lithuania

09 October, Image.Architecture.Now, Julius Shulman Institute, Woodbury University, Los Angeles

12 October, Once Upon a Place, 1st International Conference on Architecture and Fiction, Lisbon, Portugal

14 October, Who Owns Images, panel discussion with Geeta Dayal, Thomas Demand, and Sam Thorne, Frieze Talks 2010, London, England

07 November, Datacity, Amber Conference, Istanbul, Turkey

18 November, Design and Existential Risk, Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY

Last but not least, the New City Reader, a collaboration with Joseph Grima and many amazing individuals and networks in the form of a print newspaper starts October 5 at the New Museum. This is a sneak preview. More soon.

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The Saddest Ship Afloat

Is there a sadder ship afloat than the Democratic party?

The groundswell of support for "Hope" and change has turned against them. Why? Barack Obama, class clowns like Larry Summers and Rahm Emmanuel, and the DNC should really lead a sing-along to Led Zeppelin’s immortal song "Nobody’s fault but mine." Take a look at this piece from PBS Newshour and Patchwork Nation, which identifies where the Tea Party movement is the strongest. Turns out that support it is in those areas in which the housing boom soared the highest and crashed the hardest. It’s easy for these "liberals" to poke fun at the beer-drinking, ATV and jet-ski riding crowd in their exurban homesteads, but this could have been a source of support for the Dems. Instead they decided to put all their cards in supporting Wall Street and the financial sector since, after all, that is where they come from, that is who funded them, and that is all that mattered to them. Of course now that Wall Street is turning against its former allies—perhaps to extract another round of concessions from the Republicans—a mid-term rout is in progress. What a fiasco!  

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What is our Antiquity?

I often think of TJ Clark’s observation that "Modernism is our antiquity. … the forms of representation it originally gave rise to are unreadable." This statement makes clear the way that modernity—the process of the modernizing a world not yet fully modern—is lost to us.

It’s hard to tell precisely where the break happened. Is it when Ernest Mandel’s late capitalism takes over? Or is it a bit later, when progress has collapsed? After all, it’s hard to see the Great Society as a postmodern program. A couple of years later, 1968 is the definitive break: product of the dashed hopes of postwar modernism, an early cry of the culture of overaccumulation, an upheaval toward postmodernity. 
 

Network culture, I would like to suggest—and I think that in his talk on atemporality Bruce Sterling does this as well—has a certain affinity to modernity in that it is not yet complete.

For all the talk of the generation currently entering college being born digital, this simply isn’t true yet. My sense is that pervasive locative and mobile technologies as well as the spread of non-computer Internet browsers is necessary for this and they only become everyday with the 2007 launch of the iPhone.

It’s at that point, let’s say some ten to fifteen years from now—coincidentally a time when we might have recovered from the crisis of overaccumulation that we find ourselves in—that something quite new will come to pass and that world will be as unrecognizable to us as ours will be to it.   

[1]



[1] . T.J. Clark, Farewell to an Idea (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 3.

 

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Network Culture Fall 2010

My latest syllabus for the Network Culture course as I am teaching it this term at Columbia.

Columbia University
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
A4515: Network Culture. The History of the Contemporary

Fall 2010 Professor Kazys Varnelis
Lectures/Seminars Wednesday 11-1,
408 Avery

Description

The purpose of this seminar is to come to an advanced historical understanding of the changed conditions that characterize our networked age. We will explore how the network is not merely a technology with social ramifications but rather serves as a cultural dominant connecting changes in society, economy, aesthetics, urbanism, and ideology. As a history of the contemporary, the seminar is organized around a series of topics tracing a genealogy of present-day culture.

Topics to be addressed include network theory, changing concepts of time and space, the rise of networked publics, contemporary poetics, new forms of subjectivity, and methods of control. Throughout, we will make connections between architecture and this insurgent condition.

Requirements

Participation: 20%

Each class will consist of a presentation by the instructor on selected themes, followed by an in-depth discussion in seminar. Students are expected to prepare all readings in order to facilitate a discussion in which all students participate. Active participation by all students in each session is required.

Tumblr: 20%

Each student is expected to maintain a tumblelog on tumblr.com and to post at least twice a week. Beyond mere reblogging of information pertinent to the course, the tumblelog will form a record and commentary upon their research during the semester.

Curatorial Project: 60%

The term project will be a curatorial project, exploring a cultural topic related to the subject matter with a written and visual component.

Both design and scholarship are integral to the term project. A carefully curated and designed work will be accompanied a 2,500 word essay on the curated material.

Plagiarism of any sort will result in immediate failure

Reading

Readings will be available on-line

01

09.08

Introduction

02

09.15

An Overview of Network Culture

Manuel Castells, "Informationalism, Networks, and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint. In Castells, ed. The Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2004), 3-45.

Gilles Deleuze, "Postscript on Control Societies," Negotiations, 1972-1990 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 73-77.

Kazys Varnelis, "Conclusion: The Meaning of Network Culture," Networked Publics, 1-13 and 145-163.

03

09.22

Postmodernism and Periodization

David Harvey, "Fordism" and "From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation," in The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1989), 125-172.

Fredric Jameson, "Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," New Left Review 146 (July/August 1984): 53-92.

Optional:

Hal Foster, "Postmodernism: A Preface," in Hal Foster, ed., The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983), ix-xvi.

04

09.29

Network Theory

Albert-László Barabási, "Six Degrees of Separation," "Small Worlds," and "Hubs and Connectors," Linked: The New Science of Networks (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2002), 25-63.

Nicholas Carr, "From the Many to the Few" The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008), 127-149.

Optional:

Mark S. Granovetter, "The Strength of Weak Ties," American Journal of Sociology 78 (May 1973), 1360-1380.

Duncan J. Watts, "The Connected Age," Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003), 19-42.

05

10.06

Time

Jean Baudrillard, "The End of the Millennium or the Countdown," Economy & Society 26 (1997): 447-55.

Jean François Lyotard, "Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?" Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1984), xxiii-xxv.

Jeffrey Nealon, "Once More, With Intensity, Foucault’s History of Power Revisited," Foucault Beyond Foucault, 24-53.

Bruce Sterling, "Atemporality for the Creative Artist," http://www.transmediale.de/en/keynote-bruce-sterling-us-atemporality

transcribed: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/02/atemporality-for-the-creative-artist/

 

06

10.13

Special Class

Special Surprise Guest

 

07

10.20

Space

Michel Foucault, "Docile Bodies," Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.

Georg Simmel, "The Metropolis and Mental Life," Georg Simmel, On Individuality and Social Forms: Selected Writings, ed. Donald N. Levine (Chicago, 1971), 325-339.

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, "Capitalist Sovereignty, Or Administering the Global Society of Control," Empire (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 325-350.

Marc Augé, "Prologue" and "From Places to Non-Places," in Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, (London; New York: Verso, 1995), 1-6. 75-115.

Hans Ibelings, "Supermodernism," Supermodernism (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1998), 55-102.

Optional:

Kazys Varnelis, interview with Hans Ibelings, to be posted online.

Kazys Varnelis and Marc Tuters, "Beyond Locative Media: Giving Shape to the Internet of Things," Leonardo 39, No. 4 (2006): 357-363.

Jordan Crandall, "Operational Media," Ctheory, http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=441.

Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchen, "Code and the Transduction of Life," Journal of the Association of American Geographers 95, no. 1 (2005): 162-80.

 

08

10.27

Publics

Yochai Benkler, "Chapter 1. Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge" and "Chapter 4. The Economics of Social Production," The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 1-28 and 91-127.

Chris Anderson, "The Long Tail," Wired, October 2004, http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html

Clay Shirky, "Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality," Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet. http://www.shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html

Bill Wausik, "My Crowd. Or Phase 5: A Report from the Inventor of the Flash Mob," Harper’s Magazine (March 2006), 56-66.

Bill Bishop, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 1-77.

Optional

Selections from Michael J. Weiss, The Clustered World: How We Live, What We Buy, and What it All Means About Who We Are (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 1999).

Malcolm Gladwell, "The Coolhunt," New Yorker (March 17, 1997), 78-88, http://www.gladwell.com/1997/1997_03_17_a_cool.htm

Grant McCracken, "Who Killed the Coolhunter?" http://www.cultureby.com/trilogy/2006/06/who_killed_the_.html

Duncan J. Watts and Peter Sheridan Dodd, "Influentials, Networks, and Public Formation," Journal of Consumer Research (December 2007), 441-458.

 

09

11.03

Poetics

Geert Lovink, "Blogging: The Nihilist Impulse," Eurozine (2007), http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2007-01-02-lovink-en.html

Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction (New York: Lukas & Sternberg, 2002), 7-48.

Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), excerpts.

Jordan Crandall, "Showing," http://jordancrandall.com/showing/index.html

 

10

11.10

Subjectivity

Kenneth J. Gergen,"Social Saturation and the Populated Self," The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 48-80.

Brian Holmes, "The Flexible Personality. For a New Cultural Critique," Transversal, http://transform.eipcp.net/transversal/1106/holmes/en

Warren Neidich, "Resistance is Futile," Artbrain. Journal of Neuroasthetic Theory 4, http://www.artbrain.org/neuroaesthetics/neidich.html.

Nicholas Carr, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?," Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008, 56-63.

 

11

11.17

Control

Joseph A .Tainter, "Introduction to Collapse," The Collapse of Complex Societies, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 1-21.

Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, "The Californian Ideology," http://www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk/theory-californianideology-main.html.

Saskia Sassen, "Electronic space and power," Journal of Urban Technology 4 (1997): 1-17.

Alexander R. Galloway, "Physical Media,"Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 29-53.

 

12

13

11.24

12.01

Research Week

Conclusion

 

Some Books to Consult on Design and Presentation:

Allen Hurlburt, The Grid: A Modular System for the Design and Production of Newspapers, Magazines, and Books (New York: Van Norstand Reinhold, 1978).

Enric Jardí, Twenty-Tips on Typography (Barcelona: ACTAR, 2007).

Josef Muller-Brockmann, Grid Systems in Graphic Design (Zurich: Niggli, 2001).

Timothy Samar, Making and Breaking the Grid. A Graphic Design Layout Workshop
(Beverly, MA: Rockport, 2002).

 

 

 

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Book Updates

I updated my book in progress yesterday, uploading new versions of the introduction, chapter one, and chapter two. Read it here

My book, presently titled Culture in the Age of Networks. A Critical History takes on a seemingly impossible task (I am drawn to those, apparently): how to periodize the contemporary. During my education as a scholar, postmodernism was a topic of heady debate. If some of that debate was blather, it also helped us understand our milieu. Today, however, such discussions are all but non-existent. We do talk a great deal about the impact of technology or the economy, but in doing so, we compartmentalize discussion and debate to our detriment. This book sets out to understand the outlines of our culture as a whole. 

The introduction elaborates that argument in much more detail.

Chapter One "Time. History under Atemporality" addresses the question of atemporality, a matter that Bruce Sterling and I have bounced around between us in detail via our two blogs. It also serves to ratchet the book deeper into its methodological argument. Take a good look at it. As Bruce suggests in a talk on atemporality "This is a problem in the philosophy of history." Yes, that sounds onerous and I suppose it is, but we live in onerous times. 

Chapter Two "Space: Pervasive Simultaneity and the Financialization of Everyday Life" looks at the changes in space. For just as time is being called into question, so is space. Both modernity’s abstract, gridded space and postmodernity’s hyperspace are being overridden by the space of the network. This chapter looks at manifestations of network space, in particular, the spread of simultaneity from something that takes place in mass media to something that takes place in everyday life as well as the techniques of financialization that value space in new ways.

It’s a bit painful to watch my progress. I had hoped for a draft by the end of last year, then by the end of the summer. Now I’ve set my sights for the end of this year. It may still be possible. The first two chapters correspond to spring and summer of this year which suggests a completion date of December 2011, but Iam optimistic that it’s going to be much, much earlier. These were difficult chapters to write and involved me digging into a huge swath of information. Moreover, they set the scene for the book in ways that I hadn’t expected. I don’t pretend that the final four chapters won’t have surprises, but I think it likely that they will move considerably more rapidly, especially since I have drafted parts of them for other audiences (e.g. my essay for Turbulence’s Networked project forms the core of the poetics chapter). 

So today I’ll be sitting on my porch, working on the chapter on Publics. Since I’ve already drafted a bit of it, I’m about 1/4 of the way through already which is a considerable relief. So onwards … to try and get a handle on just what we mean by "networked publics."  

 

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On Black Swans and Realism

A couple of weeks back the Planet Money podcast hosted Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan. Click here for the interview. I have not read Taleb’s book, although I am likely to now, but I am baffled by how the real estate crisis and the crash of the market could be considered a hard-to-predict or rare event. In that, Taleb seems like an apologist for the neoliberal school of thought which is in love with totalizing arguments: "There is no alternative" or "Nobody could have predicted it." So sorry, but there are alternatives and plenty of us predicted it long in advance. Look, I only have a basic training in economics, but it was a good one, and it was obvious to me that the market was out of whack. Unless somehow more training in economics leads to diminishing returns, the idea that the crash was a black swan seems bizarre, even delusional.

But again, I have not read Taleb’s book and much of what he said in the Planet Money interview made a great deal of sense. Although I enjoyed the show, it seems like the interviewers, who tend to be free-market apologists, did not want to hear what Taleb had to say, which is that the Obama administration is completely out of touch with the will of the people. Nobody wants to prop up the financial system anymore. If I were Obama, I’d begin by firing Larry Summers, Rahm Emmanuel, Timothy Geitner, and the whole rotten crew. But I would’ve never hired them in the first place. It’s going to be tough to do a 180 but it’s either that or—barring a real black swan (or perhaps a candidate so Right wing that he or she is unelectable by a majority)—the Republicans take the midterms and have the next presidency locked up. 

I know that some of my readers have expressed the wish that I would come out and say that everything will be ok soon and that the boom of the last decade will be back. But with the neoliberal bag of tricks exhausted, I just don’t see how that can happen. If the Great Depression is too upsetting a model (and inaccurate, after all, we have YouTube to entertain us, they didn’t), then take Japan since the asset bubble popped in 1991 or, heck, take the United States from 1966 to 1996, my formative years. It’s not my fault that the economy is the way it is (if it were, I’d be a lot richer, like Obama, Summers, Emmanuel and Geitner) and I don’t take great pleasure in predicting the Great Recession will not end soon. But I was very much alarmed by all of the people going around talking about the boom as if it were the greatest thing since slight bread. Now they wonder why their real estate investments went awry. I guess black swans are the answer…    

Still, I hope that these same individuals listen to Taleb and understand that extrapolating short-term trends is nonsense. I am not sure how we will dig or if we will dig ourselves out of this hole. It could be that this is a terminal crisis for capitalism, which will be replaced by some new economic system. I am not sanguine about that prospect either for instead of socialism we could well have a (happy faced) neo-fascism (after all, we have YouTube).    

In sum, do give the interview with Taleb’s a listen, but be skeptical about the black swan. Instead of black swans, maybe it’s better to hunt for the Owl of Minerva, who as Hegel reminds us comes out at twilight to paint her grey on grey when a form of life has grown old… Ask yourself where the owl is flying now. 

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On the Hole in Space

Chatroulette—a site that pairs you with a random person somewhere on the Internet so that you have a webcam conversation—has been in the news lately. But let’s compare it for a moment to another project, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s "Hole in Space," which took place for three days in November 1980.

In this "public communication sculpture," the artists turned two walls, one at Los Angeles’s Century City Shopping Center and another at New York’s Lincoln Center, into two-way audiovisual portals. Video cameras transmitted images from each site to the other where they were beamed, full size onto walls. Microphones and speakers facilitated audio transmissions. You can get an idea for this in the video below. 

Hole in Space lasted three nights. During the first night, encounters were casual and accidental. Many of the first visitors did not believe it was live or thought that the ghostly black and white spectres on the wall were actors on a nearby set. Disbelief soon gave way to the creation of a new social space, to the invention of games and the telling of jokes. As word spread, separated friends and family made arrangements to meet through the portals on the second evening. On the third night, after Hole in Space was featured on television news, so many people attempted to participate in this shared human experience that traffic ground to a halt and the experiment was forced to end by the authorities. Incredibly, Galloway and Rabinowitz’s project is all but forgotten today.

In the original video, one woman asks why is it that this wasn’t done twenty years ago, i.e. 1960.

50 years after the possible date for the first hole in space, Rabinowitz and Galloway’s work remains a hole not only in space, but in time. We have video chat (how often do we use it?) and chat roulette, but we don’t have holes in space. Why is that?  

AUDC proposed WIndows on the World in 2004, an extension of the Hole in Space with even grander ambitions but less expensive technology, but apparently our proposal was too boring to be funded. 

The Netlab is going to try again with this in 2010, likely very soon. Stay tuned.

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Games Without Frontiers

War has changed in network society. Of course, we are familiar with the asymmetrical networked warfare taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then there’s the emerging cyberwar, which recently ratcheted up as Google complained it was the victim of cyber attacks originating in China. The new issue of the Atlantic has more

But there’s also economic warfare. What we see now is hardly a typical recession from which we will recover in the next year. On the contrary, part of a prolonged condition that will define this decade. Obviously, much of it is the product of astonishing foolishness on the part of governments, corporations, and individuals, all of whom seem to have been so hopped up on prozac that they thought that the good times would never end and that they could continue with their profligate policies for all eternity. As symbols of the old new economy are dying (goodbye and good riddance Hummer, sorry Athens—home of the 2004 Summer Olympics—and Dubai), and the crisis is crippling US cities and states (look at what’s happening in Los Angeles, for example), we should ask if there isn’t a touch of new war in all this.

Now I don’t mean to turn to conspiracy theory, but I want to use this as an opportunity to suggest that our current economic crisis has its roots not just in rank stupidity and blind greed but also in other, murkier, conditions. Two seemingly opposed but complimentary plots come to mind. The first is China’s. Back in 1999, two high-ranking officials of the Chinese military wrote a book called "Unrestricted Warfare." You can find excerpts at Cryptome. In this book, which is commonly understood to have been written to be read by the military, the first Gulf War was given as an example of how war had changed to become less directly violent, but also more pervasive (remember Peter Gabriel’s song?). China’s response against an adversary with technological superiority would be to pursue unrestricted warfare. In particular, economic war becomes part of the scenario. Here’s a quote:

…in this era of economic integration, if some economically powerful company wants to attack another country’s economy while simultaneously attacking its defenses, it cannot rely completely on the use of ready-made means such as economic blockades and trade sanctions, or military threats and arms embargoes. Instead, it must adjust its own financial strategy, use currency revaluation or devaluation as primary, and combine means such as getting the upper hand in public opinion and changing the rules sufficiently to make financial turbulence and economic crisis appear in the targeted country or area, weakening its overall power, including its military strength. In the Southeast Asian financial crisis we see a case in which the crisis led to a lowering of the temperature of the arms race in that region. Thus we can see the possibility that this will happen, although in this case it was not caused by some big country intentionally changing the value of its own currency. Even a quasi-world power like China already has the power to jolt the world economy just by changing its own economic policies. If China were a selfish country, and had gone back on its word in 1998 and let the Renminbi lose value, no doubt this would have added to the misfortunes of the economies of Asia. It would also have induced a cataclysm in the world’s capital markets, with the result that even the world’s number one debtor nation, a country which relies on the inflow of foreign capital to support its economic prosperity, the United States, would definitely have suffered heavy economic losses. Such an outcome would certainly be better than a military strike.
   

Is it conspiracy theory to suggest this is something the Chinese are thinking about? The Pentagon doesn’t think so: they recently held a war game to investigate the consequences of economic warfare against the United States. More recently, US arms sales to Taiwan prompted Chinese military leaders to call for economic countermeasures.

Now, the effects of such a war in a globally-linked economy aren’t clear and China could well wind up hurt in the blowback. It might be interesting for the Chinese military leaders to talk to the ghost of France’s President Charles de Gaulle, who tried a similar move back in the 1960s by converting dollar reserves to gold only to find himself ousted during the events of May 1968. (N.B. I never knew that the origins of the Peter Gabriel song are in a European television game show that was also inspired by de Gaulle).   

In the US we also have an economic civil war of sorts that has been waged by members of the Republican party. "Starving the beast" is a policy that conservatives developed in the 1980s in which they hoped to realize their desires for a smaller federal government by forcing cuts. This could only be accomplished, they argued, by cutting taxes significantly so as to "starve the beast" and provoke governmental downsizing. See this article in the Independent Review, for more. Unfortunately for the conservatives, the beast didn’t starve, it was stoked, it simply borrowed more money and our current economic crisis is very much the result. Massive cuts loom, but so do continued expenses that likely will only be fundable by increased taxes.

Playing with economies for ulterior motives is a dangerous measure, but one that I think we’ve hardly seen the last of in network society. All we can hope for is that we start talking about such madness in public and that, just as Herman Kahn’s provocation that we think the unthinkable and contemplate life after nuclear war ultimately brought us to the process of détente, this too will lead us to stop playing silly games.  

 

 

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Network City 2010

Today marks the start of the tenth year of Network City. This may be my favorite course.

 

Network City
Kazys Varnelis, Ph.D. [kv2157@columbia.edu]
Avery 115, Tuesdays 11-1
 
“Cities are communications systems.” – Ronald Abler
 
This course fulfills the Urban Society M.Arch distributional requirement.
 
Network City explores how urban areas have developed as ecosystems of competing networks since the late nineteenth century.
 
Networks of capital, transportation infrastructures, and telecommunications systems centralize cities while dispersing them into larger posturban fields such as the Northeastern seaboard or Southern California. Linked together through networks, today such cities form the core of global capital, producing the geography of flows that structures economies and societies today.
 
Networks, infrastructures, and property values are the products of historical development. To this end, the first half of the course surveys the development of urbanization since the emergence of the modern network city in the late nineteenth century while the second half focuses on conditions in contemporary urbanism.
 
A fundamental thesis of the course is that buildings too, function as networks. We will consider the demands of cities and economies together with technological and social networks on program, envelope, and plan, particularly in the office building, the site of consumption, and the individual dwelling unit. In addition we will look at the fraught relationship between signature architecture (the so-called Bilbao-effect) and the contemporary city.
 
Throughout the course, we will explore the growth of both city and suburbia (and more recently postsuburbia and exurbia) not as separate and opposed phenomena but rather as intrinsically related. Although the material in the course is applicable globally, our focus will be on the development of the American city, in particular, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles.
Each class will juxtapose classic readings by sociologists, urban planners, and architects with more contemporary material. Readings will be available online.
 
This course is offered by the Network Architecture Lab
(http://networkarchitecturelab.org).



Project
 
The term project will be one chapter within a research book, exploring one architectural, infrastructural, or urbanistic component of the Network City.
 
Material should not be formulated into a traditional research paper, but rather assembled as a dossier of information that tells a story through the designed and composed sequence of images and texts lead by an analytical narrative you have written yourself.
 
Design is integral to the term project. All work is to be carefully proofread and fact checked.
Citations are required, using the Chicago humanities footnote method. Please ensure that all images are properly credited.
 
The book will be designed simultaneously as a printed, bound object and for the Netlab web site. A layout grid will be provided.
 
Plagiarism of any sort will result in immediate failure. Exemplary books are at http://networkarchitecturelab.org/teaching/seminars/network_city.
 
A Brief Bibliography of Books regarding Design and Presentation
 
Kimberley Elam, Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004).
 
Allen Hurlburt, The Grid: A Modular System for the Design and Production of Newspapers, Magazines, and Books (New York: Van Norstand Reinhold, 1978).
 
Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. The Planetary Emergence of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (New York: Rodale, 2006).
 
Enric Jardí, Twenty-Tips on Typography (Barcelona: ACTAR, 2007).
 
Josef Muller-Brockmann, Grid Systems in Graphic Design (Zurich: Niggli, 2001)
 
Robert Sumrell, Superbrutalism: An Architecture for Muzak, http://audc.org/superbrutalism/index.html
 
Timothy Samar, Making and Breaking the Grid. A Graphic Design Layout Workshop (Beverly, MA: Rockport, 2002).
 
Tomato, Bareback: A Tomato Project (Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press,1999).
 
Discussions on Networked Publics
 
Students are asked to attend the Discussions on Networked Publics series, taking place this semester at Columbia’s Studio-X on February 9, March 25, April 13, and May 4.
 
These panels examine how the social and cultural shifts centering around new technologies have transformed our relationships to (and definitions of) place, culture, politics, and infrastructure. Our goal will be to come to an understanding of the changes in culture and society and how architects, designers, historians, and critics might work through this milieu.


* denotes classic reading that demands special attention.
 


1
1.19
Introduction: Towards Network City
 
2
1.26
The First Network Cities
 
* Ronald F. Abler “What Makes Cities Important,” Bell Telephone Magazine, March/April. (1970), 10-15.
 
Robert M. Fogelson, “The Business District: Downtown in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950, (New Haven: Yale, 2001), 9-42.
 
Anne Querrien, “The Metropolis and the Capital,” Zone 1/2 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986), 219-221
3
2.02
The Metropolitan Subject
 
* Georg Simmel, “The Metropolis and Mental Life,” On Individuality and Social Forms, ed. David Levine, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 324-339.
 
* Ernest W. Burgess, “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project,” The City: Suggestions for Investigation of Human Behavior in the Urban Environment, ed.Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925), 47-62.
 
* Louis Wirth, “Urbanism as a Way of Life,” In American Journal of Sociology 44, July 1938, 1-24.
 
* Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.
 
Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control,” October 59 (Winter 1992), 73-77.
4
2.09
Office Building as Corporate Machine
 
Special Presentation by Michael Kubo, MIT on the RAND Corporation
 
* William H. Whyte, “Introduction” and “A Generation of Bureaucrats,” The Organization Man, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956), 3-13 and 63-78.
 
* Norbert Wiener, “What is Cybernetics?” The Human Use of Human Beings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950), 1-19.
 
* John D. Williams, “Comments on the RAND Building Program,” memorandum to RAND Staff, December 26, 1960 (RAND M-4251).
 
Abalos and Herreros, “The Evolution of Space Planning in the Workplace.”Tower and Office: From Modernist Theory to Contemporary Practice (Cambridge: Buell Center/Columbia Book of Architecture/The MIT Press, 2005),177-196. (first half of chapter)
 
Reinhold Martin, “The Physiognomy of the Office,” The Organizational Complex, (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003), 80-105, 114-121.
8
3.09
The Return of the Center
 
* Jane Jacobs, “Introduction,” The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Vintage Books, 1961), 2-25.
 
* Rem Koolhaas, “’Life in the Metropolis’ or ‘The Culture of Congestion,’” Architectural Design 47 (August 1977), 319-325.
 
* Sharon Zukin, “Living Lofts as Terrain and Market” and “The Creation of a ‘Loft Lifestyle” in Loft Living (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1982), 1-22, 58-81.
 
Richard Florida, “The Transformation of Everyday Life” and “The Creative Class,’ in The Rise of the Creative Class (New York: Basic Books, 2002), 1–17, 67–82.
 
David Harvey, “The Constructing of Consent,” A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005), 39-63.
 
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,” http://www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk/theory-californianideology-main.html.
 
Optional:
 
Bert Mulder, “The Creative City or Redesigning Society,” and Justin O’Connor, “Popular Culture, Reflexivity and Urban Change in Jan Verwijnen and Panu Lehtovuori, eds, Creative Cities. Cultural Industries, Urban Development and the Information Society, (Helsinki: UIAH Publications, 1999), 60-75, 76-100.
 
Dan Graham, “Gordon Matta-Clark” in Gordon Matta-Clark (Marseilles: Musées de Marseilles, 1993), 378-380.
9
3.16
Spring Recess
 
10
 
3.23
The Global City and the New Centrality
 
* Saskia Sassen, “On Concentration and Centrality in the Global City,” Paul L. Knox and Peter J. Taylor, eds., World Cities in a World-System (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 63-78.
 
* Ignasi Sola-Morales, “Terrain Vague”, in Anyplace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 118-123.
 
* Castells “The Space of Flows,” The Rise of the Network Society, 407-459.
 
Sze Tsung Leong, “Readings of the Attenuated Landscape,” Michael Bell and Sze Tsung Leong, eds., Slow Space (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1998), 186-213.
 
Optional:
 
Martin Pawley, “From Postmodernism to Terrorism,” Terminal Architecture, 132-154.
11
3.30
The Clustered Field: Postsuburbia to Edgeless Cities and Beyond
 
* Robert Fishman, “Beyond Suburbia: The Rise of the Technoburb,” Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia (New York: Basic Books, 1987), 182-208.
 
Rob Kling, Spencer Olin, and Mark Poster, “Beyond the Edge: The Dynamism of Postsuburban Regions,” and “The Emergence of Postsuburbia: An Introduction,” Rob Kling, Spencer Olin, and Mark Poster, eds. Postsuburban California: The Transformation of Orange County (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), vii-xx, 1-30.
 
Selections from Michael J. Weiss, The Clustered World: How We Live, What We Buy, and What it All Means About Who We Are (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 1999).
 
Robert E. Lang and Jennifer LeFurgy, “Edgeless Cities: Examining the Noncentered Metropolis,” Housing Policy Debate 14 (2003): 427-460.
12
4.06
The Tourist City
 
* Robert D. Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” Journal of Democracy 6 (1995): 65-78
 
* Melvin M. Weber, “Order in Diversity: Community Without Propinquity,” Cities and Space: The Future of Urban Land, ed. Lowden Wingo, Jr. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1963), 23.
 
Wolfgang Scheppe, Migropolis :Venice / Atlas of a Global Situation (Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2009), excerpts.
 
Paul Goldberger, “The Malling of Manhattan.” Metropolis (March 2001), [134]-139, 179.-
 
Bill Bishop, “The Power of Place,” The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 19-80.
13
4.13
Conclusion
 
Kazys Varnelis, “The Centripetal City: Telecommunications, the Internet, and the Shaping of the Modern Urban Environment,” Cabinet Magazine 17.
 
Mitchell L. Moss and Anthony M. Townsend, “How Telecommunications Systems are Transforming Urban Spaces,” James O. Wheeler, Yuko Aoyama, and Barney Warf, eds., Cities in the Telecommunications Age: The Fracturing of Geographies (New York: Routledge, 2000), 31-41.
 
 
 
 

 

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