Demo or Die! — Orit Halpern

Demo or Die!

Computer immersive environments and biopolitics 

Seek – Life in a Computerized Environment 

What does it mean to be critical?

A history of senses in relationship to cybernetics 

  • Frogs / aerial views / virtual systems / smart cities
  • Smart cities — the global business utopia — Incheon
  • Ubiquitous computing is about apocalypse 
  • How did bandwidth come to equate life itself…?
  • Performative architecture 

How as Sensing = Smartness? Smartness = Networked Stupidity? Networked Stupidity = Value

Historical Genealogy of Contemporary Responsive Environment 

  • Science of communication and control in the animal and the machine 
  • Norbert Wiener — statistical behavirou of plane bombers
  • “The Human Use of Human Beings” 
  • Cybernetics 
    • Behavioural — black box
    • Probabilistic
    • Anticipatory
    • Data Rich
  • What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain
    • sui generous – experimental esptemology
    • McCulloch – machines for making thought 
    • Beginning of computer vision
    • Informatic overload – all processing cannot occur in the brain
    • The eye speaks to the brain already highly organised
    • The eye becomes ‘autonomous ‘ in some sense – a Turing Machine 
    • Optic nerves don’t transmit data – they transmit 
    • “Information is not a measure of what you say, but what you could say” – the potentiality of the media / medium is the message
  •  The idea of vision —> sense as intellect
  • Autonomous perceptual field —> mobile observer 
  • Gyorgy Kepes (taught a course with Moholy Nagy in Chicago on camouflage) 
  • Kepes assumes scale gives us a new objectivity — sustaining the image allows us to ‘get over the eye’ — the machine has a perfect visual experience 
  • Better design is about capacity 
  • Actioncy — modelling the act of perception itself 
  • Sensing = Process = Knowledge 
  • The focus on environment 
  • Vanderbeerk Movie Drome 
  • “artist in resident of the world, but we don’t know where to apply” – Vanderbeek 
  • Architecture Machine Group 
  • Aspen Project – Naimark – “This is a way to live…” – the world as interface
  • Entebbe Mock-up 1976
  • Demo or Die — Microworlds – Testing Computing to develop responsive urban design from The Architecture Machine 1970. The demo 
    • “… said things to this machine they would probably not have said to another human, particularly a white planner or plot: to them the machine was not black, was not whte, and surely had no prejudices.”
  • Software Exhibition — Jewish Museum 
    • The Gerbils (mongolian) were 
    • The computer didn’t work / the software / fell apart
  • Negroponte — radical nihilism of the gerbils — was corrected by the “soft machine” version
  • Critical Design / Art —> opening the way to 
  • Demo or die —> doing work for companies as test subjects… 
  • Vanderbeek – “dedicate my work to the extraterrestrial whales”
  • Linking technical practices to the encountering forms of other worlds, other animals, etc. 
  • Alternate architectures for post-cybernetic worlds

Questions

  • Multimedia and multi-sensory working as an expectation – that you can translate ‘your concept’ in some way into various media
  • The question of scale – how supply chains are reflected in object design 
  • Political question – Sudong City – mobilise our nervous energy 
  • Separation between risk and uncertainty (there is an end in one case, and none in the other) … Manipulation of those kind of futures being written into all of our lives.
  • The split between the technology developers and humanities on the science side. Designers not being up on the ways that the political-sociological has been critiqued. Teaching design as constraint driven — not in terms of what we might like to do // History gives the sense of alternatives…

Note

  • The demo or die culture // user fixing the company’s software // relational aesthetics // the positivity of the prototype // everything is a demo-prototype // life as an experiment // the inability to do anything — Link to the power that we have, as creators, to do anything (research exhibition)
    • Also a good word for this might be ‘render’ culture (that starts with a model and can always be remodelled) 

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