Project Stimmungsgasometer, by Richard Wilhelmer, Julius von Bismarck and Benjamin Maus, is a giant smiley face that changes based on the mood of Berlin citizens. When they are collectively “happy” the light is a smile, and when they are not, it is a sad face. Input comes from facial recognition software (contributed by the Fraunhofer Institut) that takes in video from a strategically placed camera. The obtained mood data are then stored on a server and processed by the smiley on the screen to visualize the emotions in real-time.
Kind of hilarious, a bit weird, and somehow already feeling like its showing its age (though as I understand it, it was a temporary installation back in 2008). Data-driven artwork is already boring — that is, taking dataset x and applying it to artwork parameter y. Somehow I feel like Cory Arcangel had something to do with wrecking this for everyone, in the best way possible.
Thinking about ways to animate the intangibility of the city still seems like a good idea though.
The Design Exchange (DX) is Canada’s design centre and museum with a mission to promote the value of design. We are an internationally recognized non-profit educational organization committed to promoting greater awareness of design as well as the indispensable role it plays in fostering economic growth and cultural vitality. We build bridges by improving communication between various design disciplines, educators, businesses and the general public through programs, exhibits, lectures, and workshops.
A quick three days at Martha Street Studio finished up with the opening for our exhibition, All the Stories We’re Not Telling About Winnipeg. The show features a series of posters made by participants from our workshops and created in response to the stories they collectively wrote.
The exhibition runs until January 5, 2012!
We have to extend an incredibly huge thank you to everyone at Martha Street Studio for facilitating this residency and exhibition. We were floored by the support we received there and were lucky enough to host some exceptionally great Winnipegers at our workshops.
Needless to say, we had a great time — and below is how it all came together.
Arriving in Winnipeg late Sunday night, we were met with our first taste of winter for the year. It seemed like the right introduction to Winnipeg. This residency and exhibition is all about exploring the narratives that are (and are not) circulated about the city of Winnipeg, and perhaps any story of Winnipeg should indeed begin with the winter.
Suzie from Martha Street Studio picked us up at the airport and gave us a quick driving tour before we settled in at MAWA‘s apartment. Monday morning, we headed in to Martha Street Studio and got started right away sorting through the materials and work spaces available to us.
Among many things, we also got (re)acquainted with silk screening, which is now officially one of our favourite things to do.
Place Pulse, a sort of rating system for locations within a city, enables pedestrians to form a database of their opinions and findings. More importantly, this project allows participants to share information with those who might have a part in future urban development. Five cities are currently available to rate through Place Pulse: Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Boston, and New York.
“Place Pulse, by the Macro Connections group, is a website that puts the full force of science behind fuzzy things like how safe or rich or unusual a city seems, and it does it in the least likely way: by crowdsourcing people’s ratings of streets, using geotagged images, and turning those answers into hard, eminently crunchable numbers.”
This project should be a helpful tool in determining “aesthetic capital”, but the question of superficiality appears. Place Pulse could garner usable information for the remodelling of urban commercial spaces, parks, roadways, and structural facades, but can not hope to solve the pressing problems of crime and poverty. I’m aware that the purpose of the project is not to tackle these social problems, but it’s possible that Place Pulse could plug in to other social efforts for urban improvement.
On the final day of our ATTC Calgary residency, the billboards launched. We headed out in the early afternoon with Randy to document them all.
Alongside highways, on the sides of buildings in the downtown core, and mixed in with other urban-fringe architecture. The billboards stood deeply embedded and clearly removed from the landscape, at times being rotated amongst advertisements, and in other instances, acting more directly as annotations to the site of installation.
As a final trajectory of ATTC Calgary, these billboards were installed around the city noting a series of cyclical narratives. Using the phrasing, “…and then the city…” each billboard features a different statement that referenced an overarching narrative or perhaps a brief moment in time about the city, read either internally or externally. These billboards are aimed at creating a space for a momentary discussion around the possibilities in narratives themselves, which is centred on one’s personal connection, history, and knowledge on the city.
In total, TRUCK had secured us seven billboard locations spread throughout Calgary, concentrated in the downtown core and in the city’s industrial edge.
Last night, in front of city hall, we had a conversation about the ways we want to shape our city.
In the midst of rising tensions around existing city services and new infrastructures, there seems to be a renewed wish for not just more public dialogue with the city, but a dialogue based on transparency and vision.
We haven’t been seeing that kind of dialogue, so we thought we might try to have our own.
Charlie Crane was faced with the task of photographing one of the most secretive and perhaps the most censored countries in the world. It took a year of trying to obtain permission to bring his camera to North Korea, and even as he got there, he was faced with incredibly tight restrictions. As digging deeper would be nearly impossible, Crane chose to go another route, and photographed exactly what he was permitted to see. As a result, this work is of the strongest I’ve seen.
The following images are from tourist sites around the city of Pyongyang, North Korea.