Archive for the 'Generative Design' Category

Apr 06 2012

uDrift: TweetDeck Mapping Assignment Demo

Tweetdeck GPS linking site, research objects/places, with assignment

This is an example of a 6-part Tweet assignment using TweetDeck’s GPS and camera app to link Tweet instructions/comments with a demonstration project that could be for disciplines such as urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture, art, and design; as well as for theoretical topics and discussions dealing with mapping layers, semiotics, graffiti, street life, and urban occupation. On the left Tweet #2 is illustrated in TweetDeck running on an Andriod handset; Center is a composited two-part screen shot illustrating a full TweetDeck message of text, image, and map; Background; the full set of Tweets collected on a laptop running TweetDeck by using the class #udrift hashtag. Additionaly, on the right, a SketchBook drawing made on the street is attached to demonstrate the use of specialized apps.

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Apr 04 2012

uDrift(ing) layers in Google Earth

Two urban drifts (flans) composited into Google Earth

4.18 mile urban drift 4 April (Caixa Forum, Squat, Princesa)

Urban drift 3 April

The composite of two urban drifts (flânerie or dérieves) begins to indicated the potential of overlaying urban walking data as place research for class design, spatial relationships, proximity, and location identity. Google Earth allows each layer to be turned on and off for specific tracking — GPS photo data is not yet converting; but I’m still working on that — The 4 April uDrift began at an exhibition of Goya at La Caixa Forum and from there I Tweeted images and with GPS locations (see #udrift.)

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May 31 2011

Virtual Microscope

67x Diatoms. Fluorescence Microscope

1083x Diatoms. Fluorescence Microscope

The Virtual Microscope

I have been using microscopes and SEMs over the past ten years for the morphological study of barbs and thorns for connecting, hooking, and linking devices potentially useful in design projects. In relation to design, I began drawing frames and skeletal-like building structures based on the silica bones of sponges and diatoms. Access to powerful microscopes has been a problem when teaching that limited the introduction of microscopy into design classes. One option is the virtual microscope. The Virtual Microscope site listed provides a selection of “slides” for SEM and light microscopes and has an easy to use desktop viewer — the two images above are from the viewer; I captured them shortly after downloading. The link below is an article on the use of the virtual microscope at the Open University for distance science learning.

Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning
Volume 26, Issue 2, 2011 Pages 127 – 134

The role of the virtual microscope in distance learning
Peter Whalley; Simon Kelley; Andrew Tindle

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Apr 08 2011

INC — Revisit: Neocyborg Gun in eXistenZ

YouTube Preview Image

Jude Law uncontrollably gnaws cooked and sauced “mutant reptiles and amphibians.” Flesh chewed off, Law trapped in an osso buco-like rapture —Skeletal parts slightly dripping juices, shedding skin, pulled apart; sometimes pulled from his mouth. “I find this disgusting, but I can’t help myself” he says. A bionic pistol unassembled; it’s a prop. Pieces set on the table. Parts cooked in a Chinese restaurant’s special. Emergent, from an unknown logic (but who cares). Law intuits an assembly, snaps and clicks the organistic gun together. Decides who to kill. Not Allegra. • The pistol looks like its designer loved space invader sets/props a la 1950s TV and crossed them with submerged biosystems for a masterpiece of prop design and STL fabrication. But more — a reverie of product emergence through biological visualization — tactics of form from life systems. David Cronenberg 1999 theory. Frightening: sort of. Hysterical: sort of. Sublime (in a Burkian sense): totally. Uncanny: nth degree. A sublimely uncanny moment of biodesign witnessed in cinema consistent with neocyborgian embodiment and emergence. Could this be cognitively infectious? extended?

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Mar 28 2011

INC & Game-Based Learning #17 — Drawing with Satellites

Get Tired I. Concentric Circles GPS Drawn on Edinburgh from Drawing with Satellites

In previous posts I have discussed aspects of layering Google Earth maps with strategies from iPhone games, information production, GPS locations, and alt-cultural archiving. These are intended to advance appropriated game tactics for tracing urban graffiti and studying urban squats as ways to game-study city structure through the Benjaminesque transposition of flâneur into smartphone blogger and street-wise student. These posts have help fuse ideas from posthuman theory with ideas for urban design studios and architectural research for future e-learning classes. And so do the implications of “Drawing with Satellites.”

A few days ago I received a publication I ordered and had forgotten about. And, it has further lessons for ways of plotting and experiencing urban space. It’s a handsome little book documenting a project run by Chris Speed, Esther Polak, Ross Cruickshanks, and Karlyn Sutherland for second year architecture students at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. “Drawing with Satellites” is, in its quiet, minimal, and beautiful design, a technological transfer of urban routes into cartographic lines. Drawings, not sketches, these GPS tracked city walks oscillate between minimalist fine-line plots and abstract, yet expressive, portraits of urban movement overwiring living, functioning city spaces.

Student’s worked in groups and accompany their GPS maps with brief descriptions of their conceptual strategies for generating routes they would (mostly) walk as satellites tracked their steps. To various degrees, groups developed strategies with algorithmic-like rules. The group drawing “New Town Old Town Spiral” wrote, “Start from the Missoni Hotel. Walk to the first junction, turn right, walk two junctions, turn right, walk three . . . and so on.” While their algorithm did not produce a spiral, it did produce an interesting portrait of urban movement with a lesson non-linear dynamics; something involving precision formula meets non-linear city. Luckily, the students were flexible adapting their rules and their drawing illustrates a long urban meander across, around, and through Edinburgh. Another group drew concentric circles on a map and then walked their line as best they could through Edinburgh’s decidedly non-concentric spaces. The finished drawing is beautiful with strange over-trackings that seem to translate to dead-end streets as cartographic loops, forcing the rewriting, retracking of routes to complete a the circle-inspired but actually zig-zaggy concentric non-circles — a kind of city space line narrative and movement.

These drawings pack a lot of information, only you the reader has to revisualize and manifest it. They embed and encode information, sequential movement, alternative cartographies, digital flâneries, game strategies — they are moments in time precisely documented in space with instruments in the student’s hands communicating with multiple satellite stations miles above the earth. The clarity of their CAD-and-plotter line is an historic tag to their 21st-century gestation. Nevertheless they join thousands of years of mapping traditions and stories about cities. They are hybridized between students and devices, post-cyborgian, they are telling us there is a view of the city from smartphones and handheld GPS devices that have never been possible before. They are cognitive extensions of architectural thinking, place, time, and movement. And, as noted several times, they are beautiful.

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Mar 18 2011

INC & Game-Based Learning #16 — Game of Life Screens

iPhone Screen Shots — Game of Life

As territorial colonization the Game of Life seems a way to study 2D pattern and border situations from generative space since it activates spatial occupation and randomly closes it down again. In the process Life articulates spaces with binary conditions of alive or dead. I think this usefully links with, and is relevance to, both game design space development and to patterns of people / traffic movements within cities. I’m wondering if the digital-flâneur can be hypothetically tracked through such visualization.

These eight iPhone screen shots illustrate:
Screen 1: my drawing of an “X marks the spot”
Screen 3: cells almost dying
Screen 5: recovering population
Screen 8: temporary population success and colonization

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Mar 14 2011

INC — Posthuman & Animal Rights Barcelona Protest

Animal Rights. 13 March 2011, Barcelona

Arriving back in Barcelona today from Edinburgh, where I had read “Is ‘The Posthuman’ Educable? On the Convergence of Educational Philosophy, Animal Studies, and Posthhuman Theory,” the first thing I came upon, at the corner near my flat, was fresh (chalked on the sidewalk) animal rights graffiti. Helena Pedersen’s essay had a strong impact on me over the weekend (thank you Sian), and Saturday I had spent several hours downloading references from her paper to better understand and situate the long evolving (and ongoing) battles to recognize animals as planetary co-intelligences with safeguards and rights correspondent with cognition demonstrated in recognition, fear, affection, logic, and memory. The issue of animal rights struck me so forcefully because I’ve been thinking about urban reforestation as well as extended cognition, and Systems Theory in relation to synthetic biologies, AI, and hybrid systems for architectural and urban environments as bridging cellular life forms embedded in urban features and structures. And, here was a demonstration (literally on the streets where I live), embodying several generations of protest and theory. The graffiti on my corner, I found repeated a block away, and a friend caught the graffiti in a section of the city several miles away. The idea that graffiti was well within the bounds of the flânerie had earlier been an easy jump, though I had never considered the course of a protest imprinting the urban flâneur in this way. Nor I had considered that via historic cyborg and posthuman theory, current movements were continuing the fight that shall ultimately articulate sentient, neo-prosthetic environments tracing back to feminism and animal rights.

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Mar 04 2011

Game-Based Learning #14 — Dokobots Info

I just emailed the Dokobots office in San Francisco hoping to make a contact for some questions involving ways the game could be played as an e-learning host in the sense of class narrative assignments being driven through a location that students know or visit. Or on a more rigorous scale, for students to use Dokobots in an asynchronous class situation where they are dispersed around the globe and Dokobots becomes part of their app suites.

Here is a description from the developer’s website describing Dokobots:

“Combining a scavenger hunt with traveling characters and collaborative storytelling marks a departure from traditional location-based games based on check-ins. “We love apps like Gowalla and Foursquare, but we wanted to make a game that was about more than just check ins,” says Dokogeo co-founder Zach Saul, “You can still play every time you’re out and about, but Dokobots encourages the players to share their experiences in addition to the places they go.”

“Sharing fun entries is easy as the app seamlessly integrates with social networks, email, and the web. “People have these robot pen-pals that keep them up-to-date as they travel,” adds Dokogeo co-founder Dan Walton, “and the game becomes a network of people sharing stories surrounding the Dokobots’ experiences.”

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Mar 03 2011

INC & Gamb-Based Learning #13 — Shape Grammars

Generative Patterns for Emergency Planning

Working to develop the section text on shape grammars I decide to revisit a project I did a few years ago that used generative branching with small cubes as leaves to create patterns to suggest village planning. The 3D branching can conform to landscape contours while keeping an overall pattern intact — maintaining social spaces gathered from traditional villages and thus avoiding militarylike planning that often follows a natural disaster. This was intended as the beginning of a study to be carried out almost immediately after natural disasters (following rescue, first-aid, and water and food distribution). The idea was to develop e-Learning programs for rapid implementation by local citizens using Google Earth to quickly design temporary village sites with schools, elder/child care, and emergency routes while maintaining traditional village or town circulation patterns and thus elements of pre-disaster social structure.

The graphic here, top, illustrates generative forms based on tree growth but where the cubes represent a settlement site; center, the patterns superimposed on a landscape; and bottom a selected shape grammar developed with schools, pathways, community center, and individual shelter locations.

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Feb 27 2011

INC — Toward a Generative Nature via Derrida & Wolfe

Cary Wolfe quoting Derrida
with [my inserts] for appropriating the text as life description for generative design where iterability serves as computational iteration:

‘“organized by a code, even an unknown and nonlinguistic one, it [the code, script, mark/writing—DD] is constituted in its identity as a mark by its iterability, in the absence of such and such a person, and hence ultimately of every empirically determined “subject.” . . . The possibility of repeating and thus of identifying the marks is implicit in every code [here think generative stl model—DD], making it into a network [un grille] that is communicable, transmittable, decipherable, iterable for a third, and hence for every possible user in general. To be what it is, all writing [design as writing—DD] must, therefore, be capable of functioning in the radical absence of every empirically determined receiver in general.15”

Herein lies the radically posthumanist dimension of writing-as-difference. . . . Moreover, those effects and relations are at once material, bodily, external, institutional, technological, and historical — they exist in all the specificity and heterogeneity of what Derrida calls their “iteration.” [Their generative ontology—DD] Hence Derrida argues that “this pure difference, which constitutes the self-presence of the living present, [embedded algorithmic nature—DD] introduces into self-presence [generative technology/author intent—DD] from the beginning all the impurity putatively excluded from it [the generative design—DD]. The living present springs forth out of its nonidentity with itself and from the possibility of a retentional trace [being in nature—DD]. It is always already a trace [nature—DD].” And what this means, in turn, is that “the trace is the intimate relation of the living present to its outside [nature—DD], the opening to exteriority in general.”17’

Wolfe, Cary. 2010. What is Posthumanism? Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press. Location 471-484, Kindle App on iPad.

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