Forced Exposure

Yesterday evening, I received the news that I my proposal for Networked (a networked_book) about (networked_art) was accepted. The other finalists who will be writing essays will be Anne Helmond, Patrick Lichty, Anna Munster, and Marisa Olsen. This is really exciting for me. I’m fascinated by the opportunity to let one of my essays loose to be rewritten by the networked art public. This chapter will also feed the work I’m doing for my book on network culture, so it’s a good kick in the pants for me too. Thanks so much to Jo-Ann Green and Helen Turlington of, all of the members of the advisory committee, and the NEA for their support of the project.

Below is my (very slightly edited) proposal. I’m thinking that I’d like to put the project on the net early on, to solicit all your input even as its being sketched out, so you’re likely to hear a lot more about it soon.  


Forced Exposure:[1] Networks and The Poetics of Reality


The real has come to dominate cultural production, both high and low (those categories are more blurred than ever, if not nonexistent)—from reality television to blogs to MySpace to YouTube to the art gallery. But the new poetics of reality is not the same as the old model of realism. First emerging in the eighteenth century—especially in the form of the novel—realism was part of a new fascination with everyday—as opposed to courtly or idealized—life that also manifested itself in the newspaper. Associated with this was the rise of the authorial voice, the seemingly objective narration of the novelist or journalist. Authors constructed a reality assembled according to codes of “realism” for the public. Today, however, both novel and newspaper are in rapid decline, losing sales dramatically. So, too visual art now turns to reality-based forms of production. The codes of realism are being replaced by new codes of reality, constructed around immediacy, self-exposure, performance, and the remix of existing and self-generated content, using readily-available technology to directly engage the audience. But when I discuss realism as coded, I do not mean to say that “reality” media is not coded. Throughout the essay I will identify the codes deployed in “reality” media, be it reality TV, amateur-generated content, or professional “art.”

It is crucial to expand the boundaries of this investigation to go beyond just art that is produced for a small community to cultural production as a whole, high and low, online and not (if anything is not online today in some form). Thus, I am interested not only in what is on but also what is on television, on YouTube, or in the gallery. Looking only to cultural production found on the Internet ghettoizes that cultural production, isolating and thereby limiting our understanding of the impact of networks and easily accessible, powerful digital technology on culture as a whole. Network culture is not limited to technological developments or to “new media” but rather is a broad sociocultural shift much like postmodernity was in its day. Writing merely about the impact of these technologies by looking only at networked art today would be like looking only at video art to understand the impact of the television. In other words, although maturing digital and networking technologies are inseparable from contemporary culture—as the spectacle of the television was from postmodernity—they must be read within a larger context.

Along with the broadening of the influence of networks and digital means of cultural production past the scene, the turn to realism is very different from the sort of work done by the first generation. Artists such as Vuk Cosic, Jodi, Alexei Sholgun, and Heath Bunting made art that (often deliberately) resembled the graphic and programming demos found on cassette tapes and in computer magazines of the 1980, before computers left the realm of user groups and became broadly useful in society. Instead, the impact of digital technology and networks is much more pervasive and diffuse. Mark Leckey, to take one example, would not normally be seen as a net artist, but his work is thoroughly informed by the cultural turn I am looking at. His goal, as expressed in the video for his Tate prize nomination, describes the poetics of network culture in a nutshell: “to transform my world and make it more so, make it more of what it is.” Over the last few years, amateur-generated content has proliferated on the Internet, particularly in video sharing site YouTube and photo sharing sites like Flickr as well as on blogs. This essay will examine the rise of amateur-generated content as a form of cultural production while reflecting on its use by artists like Oliver Laric, who treats amateur videos as found media loops, or Daniel Eatock, who directly solicits contributions from his audience and posts them to his site. In this genre, as in network culture as a whole, we can see a key difference from postmodernist art: instead of the postmodernist promotion of a populist projection of the audience’s desires, today we have the production of art by the audience, a further blurring of boundaries between artist and public. 

[1] The title is an oblique reference to Forced Exposure magazine and the earlier DIY ethic and informal networks of subcultures, which would be covered as “prehistory” of this piece. I’d be delighted if people recognized it, but since they probably won’t, this should alleviate the mystery:


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network city course spring 2009

Today I start teaching at Columbia again.
Below is the Syllabus for the spring 2009 Network City course. Counting a one-year pilot as "The Infrastructural City," Network City has been a key part of my teaching for a decade now. I intend Network City to follow the Infrastructural City just as The Network Culture book (title, anyone?) will follow Networked Publics. 
This year I revised the course a bit. For one, I got rid of readers. I kept LeGates and Stout’s City Reader for years, even though I was annoyed that they had made four revisions, each one less serviceable than the original. I suppose this is a move on the part of publishers to extract more money from students who would otherwise be able to sell their used copies. Also, I dislike abridged texts and prefer students to see the text in the original context. So it is. On a related note, I am stressing a set of classic texts by sociologists and writers on urbanism. These should be essential reading for anyone working on the city.
Network City
Kazys Varnelis, Ph.D. [[email protected]]
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. 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, such cities form the core of global capital, producing the geography of flows that structures economies and societies today.
But 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 post-Fordist 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.
This course is offered by the Network Architecture Lab (

The term project will be 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 a narrative you have written yourself. The book will be designed simultaneously as a printed, bound object and for the NetLab web site. Design is integral to the term project.
Plagiarism of any sort will result in immediate failure. Exemplary books are at
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,
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).
* denotes classic reading that demands special attention.

Introduction: Towards Network City
The First Network Cities
* Ronald F. Abler “What Makes Cities Important,” Bell Telephone Magazine, March/April. (1970).
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.
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, 1-24.
* Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control ,” October 59 (Winter 1992), 73-77.
* Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.
Fordism and the Decongested City
* David Harvey, “Fordism” in The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1989), 125-140.
* Harvey Molotch, “The City as a Growth Machine,” in John R. Logan and Harvey Luskin Molotch, Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1987), 50-98.
Robert M. Fogelson, “The Central Business District: Downtown in the 1920s,” Downtown, 183-217.
Peter Galison, “War Against the Center,” Grey Room 4,Summer 2001, 6-33.
Albert Pope, “The Open City,” Ladders (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 14-54.

Office Building as Corporate Machine
* William H. Whyte, “Introduction” and “A Generation of Bureaucrats,” The Organization Man, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956), 3-13 and 63-78.
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)
Spiro Kostof, “The American Workplace,” America by Design (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 69-134.
Reinhold Martin, “The Physiognomy of the Office,” The Organizational Complex, (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003), 80-121.
Peter Rowe, “Corporate Estates,” Making a Middle Landscape (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991), pp. 149-181.

The Suburban Field
* David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character, abridged and rev. ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), 3-65.
* Herbert J. Gans, “The Vitality of Community Culture,” The Levittowners. Ways of Life and Politics in a New Suburban Community (New York: Random House, 1967), 185-219
Victor Gruen, “Cityscape and Landscape,” Arts and Architecture 72 (September, 1955), 18-19, 36.
Mario Gandelsonas, “Scene 6. The Suburban City,” X-Urbanism: Architecture and the American City (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 30-35.  
Spring Recess

The Emergence of the Network Enterprise
* David Harvey, “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation,” The Condition of Postmodernity, 141-172.
* Manuel Castells, “The Network Enterprise” in The Rise of the Network Society, 2nd edition,(New York: Blackwell, 2000), 163-296.
* Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,”
“Office Landscape,” Progressive Architecture, (September 1964), 201-203.
“Bürolandschaft, U.S.A.,” Progressive Architecture, (May 1968), 174-177.
Abalos and Herreros, 197-211. (second half of chapter)
Malcolm Gladwell, “Designs for Working,” The New Yorker, December 11, 2000, 60-70. 
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.
Dan Graham, “Gordon Matta-Clark” in Gordon Matta-Clark (Marseilles: Musées de Marseilles, 1993), 378-380.
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,”
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.
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), p. 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.
Martin Pawley, “From Postmodernism to Terrorism,” Terminal Architecture, 132-154.
Kazys Varnelis, “The Centripetal City: Telecommunications, the Internet, and the Shaping of the Modern Urban Environment,” Cabinet Magazine 17.
The Clustered Field: Postsuburbia to Edgeless Cities and Beyond
* 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.
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).
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.
Robert E. Lang and Jennifer LeFurgy, “Edgeless Cities: Examining the Noncentered Metropolis,” Housing Policy Debate 14 (2003): 427-460.
New Places, New Selves
* Marc Augé, “Prologue” and “From Places to Non-Places,” in Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, (New York: Verso, 1995), 1-6. 75-115.
Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, “Place: The Networking of Public Space,” Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008), 15-42.
Hans Ibelings, “Supermodernism,” Supermodernism (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1998), 55-102.
Brian Holmes, “The Flexible Personality. For a New Cultural Critique,” Transversal,

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Goodbye Icons; Hello Infrastructure

Blair Kamin is contributes to a growing chorus of voices about the end of the architectural icon, noting that infrastructure is the new focus under the Obama administration. But Kamin is critical: although he advocates infrastructural funding, he observes how little is being spent on it under the Obama administration. Still, he suggests, the very fact that this debate is happening today is positive. Again, Kamin is right. I’m still working on a white paper on the lessons that The Infrastructural City has for us today, but for now I’m convinced more than ever that we need to very carefully think re-envision infrastructure, not just build more of the same or, worst of all, turn it into a new architectural fetish.    

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delicious links for 01.25.09

I’m usually awful about following through with any ideas for series on this site. Still, ever in search of content, I thought I’d put up some of the delicious links that I’ve made.

You could largely visit to the same effect, but I’m going to make a small effort to edit these and comment on them.  

Los Angeles Times: Solar energy’s darker side stirs concern

A refreshing look at the problems with green technologies. There’s no free ride. 

Strangeharvest: The Ruins of the Future

Sam Jacob on why the architecture of the last decade embodied its time so well. Smart and chilling. "Tomorrows visitors to todays (or yesterdays) iconic buildings will feel the swoosh of volumes, the cranked out impossibility of structure, the lightheadedness of refection and translucencies. They will marvel at buildings that hardly touch the ground, which swoop into the air as though drawn up by the jet stream. They will feel stretched by elongated angles that seem sucked into vanishing points that…

The New Atlantis » Is Stupid Making Us Google?

Badly thought-out piece about the impact of network culture on intelligence. The author believes that education is in crisis and blames post-structuralist theory for it but can’t seem to explain what the crisis is or how reading books is better than using the Internet. Nicholas Carr’s original piece shouldn’t be tarred by association. Instead of focussing on academe, the right-wing author of this piece would have been better off limiting his analysis to how conservative thinking has embraced stupidity as a strategy (for example: Rush, George W., the dumbing down of John McCain, and Caribou barbie).   

Wither Web 2.0 Social Networking? and My 2 Cents.

Trouble with making social networks pay looms ahead.

iGov – The Atlantic (January/February 2009)

On the existence of open APIs in the Government.

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in praise of trees


cell phone tree at hunter mountain

I went skiing at Hunter Mountain in upstate New York for two days this week. It was a long-needed break for my wife and myself. We had a great ski instructor, Peter Dunh,am, and after just a couple of hours instruction, were skiing the advanced slopes with confidence. And, just to prove that the Infrastructural City is relevant anywhere, the top of the mountain was marked by a cell phone tree.

Warren Techentin’s essay on our new relationship with trees changed my view of cell phone trees. I’ve stopped thinking of them as cop-outs or disguises. After all, they rarely hide. Inadvertently, perhaps, the cell phone tower has turned from a disguise into something else: whereas the antennas of old symbolized the specialized nature of telecommunications in our lives, cell phone trees celebrate the augmented nature of our reality. 

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Goodbye, Capitalism

Polymeme brought me to this post by Ethan Zuckerman, about the irrationality of newspaper advertising in a pay-for-performance world. I was interested to hear mention of the Berkshire Eagle, which was the local paper when I was growing up. In a nutshell, Zuckerman suggests that in an advertising world in which performance can be measured, the high costs of ads doesn’t support the expenditures required to publish the Eagle or, for that matter, the New York Times. Now it’s worth mentioning that the Berkshire Eagle is, as far as newspapers go, a hold-out of real local news in a relatively intelligent part of the country and that localism may go a long way to explaining the high cost of the ads. Still, Zuckerman has a good point: earlier models of cultural production don’t pay anymore. 

But new models of cultural production don’t pay either. Although new models of cultural production employ a certain number of people, as Zuckerman points out with regard to his own online citizen media venture, the efficiency they create means they can run much more leanly than previous models and still reach the same audience numbers.

This sounds great, but what happens to the other jobs? Unfortunately, they aren’t needed anymore. New models of cultural production have streamlined them out of existence as effectively as the most ruthless downsizing strategies of the 1980s did to blue-collar jobs.

So now what? If employment in industry is long gone, is in free fall in finance, real estate, and construction, and is rapidly contracting in cultural production on what basis do economies exist?

My sense is that the long boom was not just the product of speculation. Rather, much of that speculation came out of a collective belief that technologies was leading to new efficiencies. This helped fuel the boom as some corporations were able to take advantage of that condition. But now what? The efficiency is largely there (unless you really think we need video teleconferencing, which I’ve had on my machine for three years now and used all of twice), the jobs have been eliminated, but the growth is gone. Is there any way to restart it? 

This is a fundamental theoretical problem with Network Culture and I’m afraid I don’t see an easy answer out there.

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slow but steady

The inauguration was the big news of the day, as a result I didn’t get around to blogging.

Instead, I watched the inauguration (of course), dealt with two purportedly sick children (their schools would have said they were sick, but they hardly seemed it) and worked on putting together my spring courses and prepared for the Network Culture book by doing some reading.

So far it seems that my reading is paying off handsomely. More later.

The big news, however, is that The Infrastructural City is now back in stock at Amazon. I’m so delighted with the attention that the book has received so far. Keep the orders coming! You can find a great post on Barry Lehrman’s chapter of the book at Pruned.


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Network Culture at Penn

As always, I am teaching and running the Netlab at Columbia this spring but I’m honored to also be teaching at a course at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Architecture.
My research goal with this course is to make a major advance on the draft of the network culture book. There is more explanation below, but the course is meant to look at network culture from all angles, not merely as a phenomenon of new media. Throughout, I have kept to my role as a historian, working to ensure that the course is neither enthusiast nor luddite, but rather a sober assessment of the contemporary condition. 

University of Pennsylvania
School of Design
Department of Architecture
Architecture 712 006: Network Culture. The History of the Contemporary
Spring 2009
Professor: Kazys Varnelis
Lectures/Seminars: Mondays 9-12, Furness 306
The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to a 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 is a cultural dominant that connects 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.
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. 
Students will also be asked to keep a social bookmark diary of their research at
Presentation: 30%
Students will present original research on architecture and network culture in week 11 of the course. Students will present either individually or in teams, depending on enrollment. Non-architecture students may make arrangements with the instructor.
Book: 50%
The term project will be a research book, exploring a topic related to the subject matter. The book will be an original study on a topic selected with the agreement of the instructor and should constitute a contribution to knowledge. Students should envision this as a potentially publishable work. Material should not be formulated as a traditional research paper, but rather students should tell a story through the designed and composed sequence of images and texts lead by an original narrative. The book will be designed as a printed, bound object and published through a print on demand service. Design is integral to the term project. Plagiarism of any sort will result in immediate failure.
There is one textbook. Kazys Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008).
Other readings will be available separately.


Mizuko Ito, “Introduction,” and Kazys Varnelis, “Conclusion: The Meaning of Network Culture,” Networked Publics, 1-13 and 145-163.
Network Theory
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.
Albert-László Barabási, “Small Worlds” and “Hubs and Connectors,” Linked: The New Science of Networks (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2002), 41-63.
Nicholas Carr, “From the Many to the Few” and “A Spider’s Web,” The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008), 127-149 and 185-210.
Freedom and Control
Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control ,” October 59 (Winter 1992), 73-77.
Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,”
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, “Capitalist Sovereignty, Or Administering the Global Society of Control,” Empire (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 325-350.
Fordism and Postfordism
David Harvey, “Fordism” and “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation,” in The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1989), 125-172.
Ash Amin, “Post-Fordism: Models, Fantasies, and Phantoms of Transition,” Ash Amin, ed., Post-Fordism: A Reader, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), 1-39.
Antonio Gramsci, “Taylorism and the Mechanisation of the Worker,” in “Americanism and Fordism,” Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, (New York: International Publishers, 1980), 306-307.
Mary McLeod, “’Architecture or Revolution’: Taylorism, Technocracy, and Social Change,” Art Journal 43, no. 2 (Summer 1983), 133-147.
Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review 146  (July/August 1984): 53-92.
Hal Foster, “Postmodernism: A Preface,” in Hal Foster, ed., The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983), ix-xvi;
Jean François Lyotard, “Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?” Postmodern Conditon: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1984), 71-84.
Place, I. Nostalgia for Non-Places?
Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, "Place: The Networking of Public Space," Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008), 15-42.
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.
Ignasi de Sola-Morales Rubió, “Terrain Vague,” Cynthia Davison, ed. Anyplace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 119-123.
Spring Break
Place, II. Maps and Things

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,
Bruno Latour, “On Actor Network Theory: A Few Clarifications,” Soziale Welt 47 (1998): 360-81,translated version,
Culture, I. Networked Publics and Production
Adrienne Russell, Mizuko Ito, Todd Richmond, and Marc Tuters, “Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Participation,” Networked Publics, 43-76.
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.

Geert Lovink, “Blogging: The Nihilist Impulse,” Eurozine (2007),

Culture, II. Dissemination and Influence
Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail,” Wired, October 2004,
Clay Shirky, “Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality,” Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet.
Malcolm Gladwell, “The Coolhunt,” New Yorker (March 17, 1997), 78-88,
Grant McCracken, “Who Killed the Coolhunter?”
Duncan J. Watts and Peter Sheridan Dodd, “Influentials, Networks, and Public Formation,” Journal of Consumer Research (December 2007), 441-458.
Architecture of Network Culture Festival
Student Presentations
Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008, 56-63.
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,
Warren Neidich, “Resistance is Futile,” Artbrain. Journal of Neuroasthetic Theory 4,
Politics, Urbanism, and Globalization
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.
Saskia Sassen, “Electronic space and power,” Journal of Urban Technology 4 (1997): 1-17.
Stephen Graham, “Communication Grids: Cities and Infrastructure,” in Saskia Sassen, Global Networks. Linked Cities (London: Routledge, 2002), 71-92.


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rss frustration or, spoken into the void

Apparently, an undocumented "feature" of upgrading to Drupal 6 is that the path for RSS feeds changed, so those of you who were reading the site through RSS (which is likely most of you) have been are quite behind and have missed a couple of dozen classic posts.

The easiest way to do this is going to be through classic blog view, e.g.

Many apologies on the part of my content management system.

Thanks to Nicholas Nova for pointing this out. 

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what could have been

The news from Ireland is dim and grimmer. It looks like it’s leading the way in the collapse. It’s sad to think of all of the people who will lose their jobs and their homes there, here, and elsewhere.

But the missed opportunities are sadder to me. Instead of a bubble economy that produced the vertiginous architecture of emptiness that Sam Jacob so eloquently wrote about, a decade without significant work marked only by horrific mcmansions, the excess funds of the bubble could have been used for something far more interesting. The sacrifices were going to come, but for what? Then the sacrifices that people are experiencing now would have been worth something. 

If only we could agree that during the next moment of insanity, we will acknowledge its insanity and do things that have lasting significance and value, works that reflect our time. Maybe Dada Capitalism could be the next movement (an aside… this is what comes up on Google for "Dada Capitalism")? 

Instead of absorbing into itself, a Dada Capitalist architecture would look out into the world, creating architecture fiction, a term that Bruce Sterling coined after reading this brilliant piece on modernism by J. G. Ballard, to suggest that it is possible to write fiction with architecture.  

This is very much like what Robert and I developed for our AUDC studio last fall although sadly were ignorant of the theoretical work by Sterling and Ballard at the time. It might have explained what we were up to for our students although our approach was to turn not so much to science fiction as to ecstatic realism, taking Werner Herzog as our model. In the end, the work wound up being somewhere in between science fiction and documentary film. It’ll be up soon, I hope.   

So in the future, lets ditch architect as pseudo-engineered performance, be it for form’s sake or for an empty Whole Foods greenness. Instead take risks again, let’s make ecstastic architecture and architecture fiction, let’s re-imagine the world.

For inspiration, take this nest by Benjamin Verdonck, a Dutch artist. More here, including photos and video of Verdonck living in the nest. The last time I was in the Netherlands, in 2003 or so, there was a sense that the architecture movement of the 1990s was finished. I imagine little has changed since then.

What if the young Dutch architects had pursued something like this? I think they would be leading the way again. 

man nest by benjamin verdonck     

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