[iDC] Invitation

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Mon Sep 25 13:19:41 EDT 2006

Dear all,

While there is a no-announcement-policy on this list, I think it is
appropriate to send you the formal invitation to the Architecture and
Situated Technologies symposium that we are discussing on this list of
The Institute for Distributed Creativity for the past three months. 
Almost 300 new subscribers joined the list over the past four months:

Trebor Scholz

The Center for Virtual Architecture at the University at Buffalo, the  
Institute for Distributed Creativity, and The Architectural League of  
New York present:

October 19-21, 2006
@ The Urban Center & Eyebeam
New York City


A 3-day symposium bringing together researchers and practitioners  
from art, architecture, technology and sociology to explore the  
emerging role of "situated" technologies in the design and  
inhabitation of the contemporary metapolis.

Organized by Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz, and Mark Shepard

Participants: Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Richard Coyne, Michael Fox, Anne  
Galloway, Charlie Gere, Usman Haque, Natalie  Jeremijenko, Sheila  
Kennedy, Eric Paulos, Karmen Franinovic, Mette Ramsgard Thomsen,  
Kazys Varnelis

Contact: Jessica Blaustein - blaustein at archleague.org

Since the late 1980s, computer scientists and engineers have been  
researching ways of embedding computational intelligence into the  
built environment. Looking beyond the model of personal computing,  
which placed the computer in the foreground of our attention,  
"ubiquitous" computing takes into account the social dimension of  
human environments and allows computers themselves to vanish into the  
background. No longer solely virtual, human interaction with  
computers becomes socially integrated and spatially contingent as  
everyday objects and spaces are linked through networked computing.

Today, researchers focus on how situational parameters inform the  
design of a wide range of mobile, wearable, networked, distributed  
and context-aware devices. Incorporating an awareness of cultural  
context, accrued social meanings, and the temporality of spatial  
experience, situated technologies privilege the local, context-  
specific and spatially contingent dimension of their use.

Despite the obvious implications for the built environment,  
architects have been largely absent from this discussion, and  
technologists have been limited to developing technologies that take  
existing architectural topographies as a given context to be augmented.

At the same time, to the extent that early adopters of these  
technologies have focused on commercial, military and law enforcement  
applications, we can expect to see new forms of consumption, warfare  
and control emerge.

This symposium seeks to occupy the imaginary of these emerging  
technologies and propose alternate trajectories for their development.

What opportunities and dilemmas does a world of networked "things"  
pose for architecture and urbanism? What distinguishes the emerging  
urban sociality enabled by mobile technologies and wireless networks?  
What post-optimal design strategies and tactics might we propose for  
an age of responsive  environments, smart materials, embodied  
interactions, and participatory networks? How might this evolving  
relation between people and "things" alter the way we occupy,  
navigate, and inhabit the city? What is the status of the material  
object in a world privileging networked relations between "things"?  
How do distinctions between space and place change within these  
networked media ecologies? How do the social uses of  these  
technologies, including (non-) affective giving, destabilize  
rationalized "use-case scenarios" designed around the generic consumer?

Through a combination of presentations, discussions, and performative  
design scenarios organized around the notion of "encounter" with the  
city, this symposium will explore how architecture might contribute  
to the development of situated technologies, and how a critical  
engagement with these technologies might extend architecture beyond  


Architecture and Situated Technologies is a co-production of the  
Center for Virtual Architecture, The Institute for Distributed  
Creativity, and the Architectural League of New York, as part of the  
League's celebration of the 125th anniversary of its founding.

Architecture and Situated Technologies is supported by the J. Clawson  
Mills Fund of the Architectural League and is supported in part by  
the School of Architecture and Planning and the Department of Media  
Study at the University at Buffalo.


The Center for Virtual Architecture at the University at Buffalo
The Center for Virtual Architecture's research is located at the  
intersection of architecture, new media and computational  
technologies. We are interested in the possibilities offered by  
computational systems for rethinking human interaction with (and  
within) the built environment. Our focus areas include learning  
environments, design environments, responsive architecture and  
locative media. Computational technology provides both a means and a  
medium for this research: an operative paradigm for conceptualizing  
relations between people, information, and the material fabric of  
everyday life.

The Institute for Distributed Creativity
The research of the Institute for Distributed Creativity (iDC)  
focuses on sociable media and media theory with an emphasis on social  
justice. Its mailing list is a vivid discoursive platform for the  
social implications of emerging forms of networked sociality. The iDC  
is an international network that combines collaborative research,  
events, and documentation.

The Architectural League of New York
The Architectural League of New York is an independent forum for the  
presentation and discussion of creative and intellectual work in  
architecture, urbanism, and related design disciplines. Founded in  
1881, the League promotes excellence and innovation in architecture  
and urbanism by furthering the education of architects and designers,  
and by communicating to a broad audience the importance of  
architecture in public life. Through an active schedule of programs,  
the League provides a venue for contemporary work and ideas,  
identifies and encourages the work of talented young architects,  
creates opportunities for exploring new approaches to problems in the  
built environment, and fosters a stimulating community for dialogue  
and debate. All of the League's work is shaped by its ongoing  
commitment to interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and international  
exchange, and by its concern for the quality of architecture and city  
form as critical components of a vital and dynamic culture.

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