Reading Design (2013–)

26 October 2017, dusan

“Reading Design is an online archive of critical writing about design. The idea is to embrace the whole of design, from architecture and urbanism to product, fashion, graphics and beyond. The texts featured here date from the nineteenth century right up to the present moment but each one contains something which remains relevant, surprising or interesting to us today.

Reading Design is not a magazine or a journal and many or most of the texts here will have been published before. They might be papers, transcriptions of lectures, articles, essays, academic texts, photo essays, sketches or blog posts but the aim is to collate these texts in one place to build a resource which we hope will become invaluable to designers, academics, researchers, professionals and all those with any interest in design at all. It is a library of design which we hope is able to use the enormous capacity of the internet in a way in which it is not currently being used.

Reading Design is a non-profit making venture aiming to make pivotal texts available to all and to provoke, delight, enlighten, inspire, inform and occasionally infuriate.”

Editor-in-chief: Edwin Heathcote
Associate editor: Krisztina Heathcote

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Simon Sadler: The Situationist City (1998)

29 August 2017, dusan

“From 1957 to 1972 the artistic and political movement known as the Situationist International (SI) worked aggressively to subvert the conservative ideology of the Western world. The movement’s broadside attack on “establishment” institutions and values left its mark upon the libertarian left, the counterculture, the revolutionary events of 1968, and more recent phenomena from punk to postmodernism. But over time it tended to obscure Situationism’s own founding principles. In this book, Simon Sadler investigates the artistic, architectural, and cultural theories that were once the foundations of Situationist thought, particularly as they applied to the form of the modern city.

According to the Situationists, the benign professionalism of architecture and design had led to a sterilization of the world that threatened to wipe out any sense of spontaneity or playfulness. The Situationists hankered after the “pioneer spirit” of the modernist period, when new ideas, such as those of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, still felt fresh and vital.

By the late fifties, movements such as British and American Pop Art and French Nouveau Ralisme had become intensely interested in everyday life, space, and mass culture. The SI aimed to convert this interest into a revolution—at the level of the city itself. Their principle for the reorganization of cities was simple and seductive: let the citizens themselves decide what spaces and architecture they want to live in and how they wish to live in them. This would instantly undermine the powers of state, bureaucracy, capital, and imperialism, thereby revolutionizing people’s everyday lives.

Simon Sadler searches for the Situationist City among the detritus of tracts, manifestos, and works of art that the SI left behind. The book is divided into three parts. The first, “The Naked City,” outlines the Situationist critique of the urban environment as it then existed. The second, “Formulary for a New Urbanism,” examines Situationist principles for the city and for city living. The third, “A New Babylon,” describes actual designs proposed for a Situationist City.”

Publisher MIT Press, 1998
ISBN 9780262193924
ix+233 pages
via heimitokunst, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Reviews: Andrew Hussey (LRB, 1999), Notbored (n.d.), Andy Merrifield (Harvard Design Mag, 2000), Rosemary Wakeman (French Polit Cult Soc, 2000), James L. Penner (TDR, 2001), Sarah Deyong (J Society Arch Hist, 2001), Benedict Seymour (Mute, 2004), Natasha Gershfield (Manchester School Arch, 2010).

Publisher
WorldCat

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Jennifer Gabrys: Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (2016)

28 July 2017, dusan

“Sensors are everywhere. Small, flexible, economical, and computationally powerful, they operate ubiquitously in environments. They compile massive amounts of data, including information about air, water, and climate. Never before has such a volume of environmental data been so broadly collected or so widely available.

Grappling with the consequences of wiring our world, Program Earth examines how sensor technologies are programming our environments. As Jennifer Gabrys points out, sensors do not merely record information about an environment. Rather, they generate new environments and environmental relations. At the same time, they give a voice to the entities they monitor: to animals, plants, people, and inanimate objects. This book looks at the ways in which sensors converge with environments to map ecological processes, to track the migration of animals, to check pollutants, to facilitate citizen participation, and to program infrastructure. Through discussing particular instances where sensors are deployed for environmental study and citizen engagement across three areas of environmental sensing, from wild sensing to pollution sensing and urban sensing, Program Earth asks how sensor technologies specifically contribute to new environmental conditions. What are the implications for wiring up environments? How do sensor applications not only program environments, but also program the sorts of citizens and collectives we might become?

Program Earth suggests that the sensor-based monitoring of Earth offers the prospect of making new environments not simply as an extension of the human but rather as new “technogeographies” that connect technology, nature, and people.”

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2016
Electronic Mediations series, 49
ISBN 9780816693122, 0816693129
x+357 pages
via publisher

Reviews: Etienne S. Benson (Am J Sociology, 2017), Matthew W. Wilson (Cultural Geographies, 2017).
Interviews: Rorotoko (2016).

Author (with links to related articles)
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (6 MB)