The World Atlas of Boston
Like the rest of the United States, Boston too is made up of fragments of other countries, shaped by the immigrants, students and travelers who came here and brought a little part of their homes along with them. Cities and towns across the US, like Greece Town, New York, Delhi, California, and Warsaw, Indiana are a testimony to the historical connections between the US and other parts of the world. Moreover, these links are manifested today in everyday life, as flows of information instantly collapse distances and superimposes the map of the city with remotely located experiences.
The World Atlas of Boston is a project that maps different parts of the World over the city of Boston through stories collected from its community of international students and immigrants. By using a combination of video conferencing, face-to-face interactions, postal communication and geo-located media the process of collecting the stories and curating them explores the notion of layering a remote experience of another city, over the immediate experience of being in Boston.
This projects attempts to create a way to experience the rest of the world by traveling through Boston, using a smart phone and a series of Travel Logs to explore the city and its connections with the world. The first edition of the project focuses specifically on India, exploring the historical, political, cultural and spatial connections between India and Boston through the stories of the Indian community at Harvard.
Boston's past has always had a central role in America's history. However, Boston's more recent past of the 20th century has often been overshadowed by old stories of colonial times and even the Civil War. Modern Monuments is a project that enables this 20th century history to surface as relevant and valuable to the city's identity. Both visitors and residents are invited to become architectural enthusiasts, as they explore this era's rich architectural history. A modern-day pilgrimage transforms local buildings into important monuments, creating an experience that takes these enthusiasts beyond the everyday and into new perceptions of the built environment.
Red Light Green
In Paris, invisible City
Bruno Latour evokes traffic lights' rhythm and their sequence in time and space. Urban flows and motions have inspired the title of this project, which also refers to a children's game in which moving is alternately allowed and prohibited, authorized and tabooed. At a party, in the studio or in the living room, it is acceptable and safe to let the body engage with sound and rhythm, in simple words, to dance. My project aims at extending that interior space out to the street, or to bring the street into the personal and private space, by encouraging people to dance on the street, notably at bus stops, where their time and attention are available. First, people randomly chosen in the streets and bus stops are asked 5 questions: what are their favorite dance moves? / what are the steps? / what is the best music to execute those steps? / their names. / if I can take a picture of them.
Names, steps and pictures are used to produce a sticker and a poster, both inspired from media that are found on the street. A phone number is also indicated on the sticker/poster for people to call and obtain the music that goes with the steps. Calling this number will allow them to listen to the music while trying out the steps. Stickers are not meant to be stuck on the walls, but to be peeled off the surfaces where they are to be found (bus stops, street signs, pay and display machines…). They are detachable and portable, and therefore can travel to other places of the city, or to people's private spaces. Posters, also contain detachable parts meant to be ripped off and carried away. Passers-by therefore go from author, to performer, to curator and finally can reclaim authorship of the steps, reinvent them as they wish.
Maynard Hayden-Leon and Viridiana Rios
Sound envelops us everywhere we go. Silence is a myth. Unheard voices. Background music. Ambiant noise. Environmental acoustics. Every space is defined by an extensive and oft overlooked soundbed. This project is a journey between these realities. Destination is Cambridge. Using experimental field journalism, we cased the sounds of eight locations around the city, interviewing people, gathering their thoughts, and inspecting their sonic environments to create an audio installation. The installation --an briefcase filled with audio vignettes-- will be located in various locations at Cambridge containing brief sonorous collages of the selected spaces. The public is invited to plug their own headphones into the installation and immerse themselves in the mixed reality of the brief-cased sounds of Cambridge.
Today, we feel extremely uneasy when disconnected from technology. Who would even think about stepping out the door without a smartphone in hand? This discomfort extends past the idea of phone as appendage- technology, whether we are aware of it or not, has become our addiction. We can no longer function without it. Take a white noise machine, for example. It's only function is to create noise, a constant buzzing, that lifts its listener out of reality and into dormancy. It's a cycle we can't escape. We accepted technology- now we must live with the consequences. Now, we can't even fall asleep without heightening the white noise that is constantly buzzing around us.
For my project I am interested in bringing attention to this peculiar relationship we've formed with our devices. We can't even focus without a constant white noise. This project will be a white noise playlist for the conscious. It is for those individuals who have accepted their addiction and have no plans for rehabilitation. This is a project for those people who can never unplug.
An Inclined Plane
An Inclined Plane is a material and a digital project. It's a networked, low-tech architecture initiative. We track and think about provisional, hybrid architectural materials, technologies and practices: informal cities and settlements, temporary structures, democratized engineering, tactical interventions in the built environment, hacker and DIY design, and more.
We're also in the early stages of designing and creating low-cost, collaboratively-produced ramp-access structures in cities and communities where larger-scale infrastructure doesn't exist (which is to say: almost everywhere around the globe). We're collecting examples, hoping to share knowledge, and working on modular possibilities for ramps-for wheelchair users, people using wheeled gear, anyone learning to walk or having trouble using steps. We're interested in "universal design"
solutions, but we're far more interested in small-scale, site-specific ways to make our environments more accessible, for more users, more of the time.
Just as the "inclined plane"
is a classical example of a simple machine
- an elegant design that alters the behavior of force-the project also seeks and collects sites that call out for simple ramp elevations: where stairs or other barriers inhibit literal passage, or where an alternate vantage or platform might change the experience of a physical (or political, or cultural) site.
For centuries, camera obscuras, or simply cameras, have recorded split second moments for photographers. We know exactly what to expect from our cameras. This has allowed us to capture and revisit experiences through photographs. However, these experiences are individual to the photographer, and they are confined to the exact times and locations of photographs. Moreover, to share experiences, photographs have to be explicitly shared. In contrast, the camera lucida is camera that captures part of the aggregate photographic experiences of photographers that have passed through a space. By photographing with the camera lucida rather than the camera obscura, one contributes to the growing shared experience and receives an unexpected part of that experience back.
No Dance Allowed -- Exploring Dance in Public and Semi-Private Spaces
This project examines the right to dance in public and semi-private spaces in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and by extension, the United States. In the project's initial run (for an early May presentation), members of Freshman Seminar 35s: Movement and Meaning: Dance, Culture, and Identity in the 20th Century will perform in a small dance ensemble in Cambridge's Winthrop Square in a piece that explores the relationship between "dance" and "pedestrian movement." This, and future performances, will be videotaped and tagged on an interactive map hosted on the project's website. This project is a response to events that occurred in 2011 in which dancers were arrested for "performing" at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, in addition of various laws and regulations the prohibit dance in public spaces across America.
The City-Collective is a representation of urban landscapes viewed through the medium of video material pulled from the web. The project is a juxtaposition of emotion and motion embedded within the shared memory index of the web. As such, The City- Collective constantly changes its narrative, adjusting to the fluctuation of content up- loaded or deleted by the web’s users. The project transforms representation; it rejects the singular designer, showcasing the multiplicity of perspectives that exist within open source structures.
The City-Collective arises from a desire to look at any city in the world through the com- parative lens of a uniform search guidelines created by the designer. This series of rules returns a shifting palette of material that indexes how a city is represented on the open web at any particular moment. The City-Collective is a co-production between human and machine, a project that challenges digital structures as a means of indexing memory, tracing cultural references, and sharing experiences. Ultimately, The City-Collective proposes a new-curated collective production that transforms how we interact with media, from contemplative reception to active participation, from one author to a curated shared authorship.
Architectonics of Emptiness
The project is looking to evaluate shapes of voids within wireless networks in which we all have been unconsciously immersed. By intertwining three layers of meaning project seeks to render the emptiness as a physical object of simultaneous resistance and luxury, materializing spatial narrative of our era frantically focused on filling even the smallest existing gap.
Layer1 - Poetics / Research
Nature doesn't exist anymore! At least as a space where we can isolate ourselves from all human and made-by-human stimuli. Even if we dislocate ourselves in environment untouched by human hands, we will stay within perimeter of invisible networks, signals and data flows. If our urban and natural environment became one homogeneous artificial body, can we recreate nineteen century poetics of dislocation into natural emptiness by finding and occupying invisible gaps inside the networks that intrusively pervade our environment?
Layer2 - Resistance / Design
Every time when we try to locate ourselves using GPS, at least three satellites are working for us. We are just borrowing fraction of omnipotent gaze that is unceasingly casted upon us. Entering the void we are becoming invisible to the system. Spreading the network of voids within data network it is possible to create space of collective invisibility. By spatializing bit-torrents logic we could hack the global panopticon and hide inside untrackable counter-data chunks.
Layer3 - Desire / Fabrication
Referring to Faraday Cage Principle which revealed that electric charge exists on the outside of a charged conductor, but has no effect on anything enclosed by it, the project proposes wrapping up the void into the metal surface in order to block all other electrical signals. Immediately after the void has been covered, it becomes material object of desire, rare piece of solitude and invisibility that floats in exuberant and dense reality. Yet, is it possible to become invisible by invisible means? Especially when the metal in which our personal piece of emptiness has been wrapped is a 24 carat gold.
Stretched between utopia and dystopia, between occupation and gentrification, between squatting and luxury, fraction of emptiness wrapped into the golden shell encapsulates the moment of our time. Emptiness becomes precious relic of our emerging future.
This website works as a virtual tour of the Boston Subway, mapping locations as part of a fictional post-apocalyptic universe. In Redline Apocalypse, the sun has become deadly; mankind has retreated underground, and built new cities in the cavernous Boston subway system. Redline Apocalypse tours those cities, in an interactive experience that includes recordings, video, and still pictures. Are you ready to explore the impossible Red Line?
This Is Framingham
This is Framingham: is a commercial about the multiple identities of a small town outside of Boston – as represented through image culture. The advertisement caters to would be homeowners by packaging the town like products in the nearby Natick mall, as a "brand." Yet in reality, it exists as a mosaic of affiliations with historical narratives, schools, organizations, products, religious denominations, and cultural heritages. All leaving visible traces imbued with symbolic value, and often in competition through systems of architectural and advertising iconography played out in the physical environment and online. By subverting a conventionally one-dimensional framework for selling: this project pits idealized claims against "lived" realities, by allowing counter narratives to weave through and reveal a more multifaceted view of Framingham.
Global Mash Up
"Global Mash Up" is an online, real-time photo documentary about cities. Using the top trending topics from twitter as search tags, images are pulled from the Flickr database and shown in a random sequence. Different locations are played back simultaneously on a matrix of screens, which also give the viewer the option of switching channels by entering the names of different places. The outcome is visceral, unpredictable, and different every time one visits the site. It is a participatory media whose subject matters and contents are created by unknowing participants on the web.
Some Reflections on Weather