Netlab Conversations on the State of the World: Pedro Gadanho

On Tuesday, May 15, Columbia's Network Architecture Lab launches the first in a series of Conversations on the State of the World with a discussion between Pedro Gadanho, curator of contemporary architecture at New York's Museum of Modern Art and Netlab director Kazys Varnelis.

Coming to MoMA from Lisbon, architect, curator and writer Pedro Gadanho holds a masters in Architecture from the University of Oporto, a masters in Art and Architecture from Kent Institute of Design in the UK, and a Ph.D. in Architecture and Mass Media from the University of Oporto, where he has was also a professor of Architecture.

He is the editor-in-chief of Beyond, Short Stories of the Post-Contemporary and was the curator of international shows such as Space Invaders, for the British Council, London, and Pancho Guedes, An Alternative Modernist, for the Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel. He is the author of Arquitectura em Pœblico (Dafne, 2011), and the co-organizer of the 1st International Conference on Architecture and Fiction: Once Upon a Place.

He maintains a blog at Shrapnel Contemporary. Extending the Netlab's Discussions on Networked Publics, Conversations on the State of the World will go beyond the parameters of contemporary discourse on architecture to seek an understanding of the critical drivers in world change and to understand what role architects and designers can play in the rapidly changing world.

The event takes place Tuesday, May 15, 2012,

6:30-8:30pm at Studio-X NYC,

180 Varick St., Suite 1610

Free and open to the public. No RSVP required.

Terminal Condition Final Projects

Some images from the final projects in Terminal Condition, the Spring 2012 Netlab studio that I taught with Leigha Dennis, in which we set out to rebuild the Port Authority Bus Terminal, while plotting what the city of 2070 might be like.   

The Netlab’s take on the New Aesthetic, with Leigha...

The Netlab’s take on the New Aesthetic, with Leigha Dennis, Jochen Hartmann, and Robert Sumrell. #new-aesthetic

"For the first eight years of our marriage, [Michelle and I] were paying more in student loans than..."

“For the first eight years of our marriage, [Michelle and I] were paying more in student loans than what we were paying for our mortgage. So we know what this is about.

And we were lucky to land good jobs with a steady income. But we only finished paying off our student loans—check this out, all right, I’m the President of the United States—we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago.” -

—President Obama in North Carolina today on why Congress has to act to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling (via barackobama)

“check this out all right, I’m the President of the United States.”

(via slavin)

Some nice preliminary work by Anthony Sunga toward the final....

Some nice preliminary work by Anthony Sunga toward the final. The Port Authority Bus Terminal as an extension of the High Line and stadium for the Cyborg Olympics 60 years from now.

See more work soon at Studio-Varnelis-Sp12 

telegeography: Skype’s continuous international traffic growth...


Skype’s continuous international traffic growth has been remarkable. In 2005, Skype generated about 8 billion minutes of international Skype-to-Skype traffic. By 2011, Skype’s call traffic grew to 145 billion minutes. While this is modest compared to the 440 billion minutes of international calls routed via telephone companies in 2011, Skype is clearly by far the world’s largest provider of international voice communications.

Source: TeleGeography Report & Database

Security Theater

Over at the New York Times, Matt Ritchel asks why we still have to take out our laptops at security screenings even though many of them are scarcely bigger than tablets. The TSA refuses to explain, citing security concerns. After rejecting a series of possible lines of reasoning, Ritchel finds an anonymous security expert who is willing to tell him that it is nothing more than "security theater," an effort to make us feel that something is being done to protect us. 

The feebleness of this effort aside—after all, who really feels the TSA is effective at anything besides the catching the most primitive efforts, building long lines at the airport, and existing as a form of republican social welfare—it points to something that I allude to in the Situated Technologies Pamphlet I just completed with Helen Nissenbaum.

Network culture clearly has a drive toward openness and transparency. The freedom of sharing and ease of building upon information encourages that. At the same time, there are plenty of individuals and institutions with power who see that freedom as something for the Muppets of the world while they themselves hide behind the curtains. To them, our own haplessly naïve transparency is something to exploit from their citadels, be they in the government or in finance. In turn, we have to hope that those in power won't abuse it too badly, that taking out laptops at the security line as a ritual is the worst of it.     

We're still early in all this and just as the Democrats adopted civil rights as a mission in the 1950s, one day these issues may be taken up by political parties. Until then, it's not just up to power to stay vigilant, it's up to us to stay vigilant of power.

Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects

I am delighted to announce that the last of the Situated Technologies Pamphlets Series has been released today. Titled "Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects," this pamphlet consists of a conversation between NYU media, culture, communication and computer science professor Helen Nissenbaum and myself on the topic of privacy under network culture.

It was a great honor to be a part of this series and to get a chance to get to know a brilliant scholar of network culture. I'm deeply grateful to series editors Trebor Scholz, Mark Shepard, Omar Khan as well as Rosalie Genevro and Gregory Wessner at the Architectural League and Jena Sher, who did a brilliant design. Most especially, I'm grateful to Helen, who expanded my thinking about the issue, and about network culture in general, greatly. You may download the book here, or purchase an on demand copy here

The topic of privacy under network culture is a huge one, and just during the time since we finished editing the book we read about the brief life of the iPhone app Girls Around Me and about the NSA's construction of a massive surveillance facility in Bluffdale, Utah that will be able to store and parse virtually any transmissions taking place over the Internet.

The Network Culture book, which is moving slowly but surely, ends with a discussion of issues of privacy and control. Rather than being a sideline or something that designers don't need to think about, privacy is crucial to us as I hoped to highlight by choosing the image by photographer Michael Wolf for the cover to underscore how longstanding questions of transparency have been to architecture.  

If you're intrigued, then come to the Architectural League's Beneath and Beyond Big Data event on April 28th from 2 to 5pm at the Cooper Union's Rose Auditorium. Helen and I will be there in conversation with Trebor as will a host of other designers and thinkers associated with Situated Technologies. -

Please take a look and let me know what you think. 

Taking A Walk Into the Lives Of India's Street Kids

Taking A Walk Into the Lives Of India's Street Kids:

On City Walk, a tour of how street children live in India, run by street children.

Yurika Sugimoto produced this graph of Manhattan Retail Rent in...

Yurika Sugimoto produced this graph of Manhattan Retail Rent in $PSF for our spring studio.

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