Ambient Informatics at Cooper Union

If you live in NYC, or if you’re visiting next week, don’t miss urban futurist Adam Greenfield’s free lecture in the Great Hall of the Cooper Union, “The City Is Here For You To Use: Urban Form and Experience in the Age of Ambient Informatics.”

Monday April 9, 2007 6:30pm
The Great Hall of the Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street, betw. 3rd & 4th Aves, NYC
Free to the public

The Cooper Union School of Art is the only private, full-scholarship college in the United States dedicated exclusively to preparing students for the professions of art, architecture and engineering. The Great Hall is where Abraham Lincoln, with a single speech, transformed himself from an obscure candidate with no chance of becoming president to the hope of a nation. The space itself merits a visit. And it is the perfect setting for Greenfield’s talk on the collaboration between architecture and computing:

Over the past few years the “computer” has begun to disappear into the fabric of everyday life, its power to collect, store, process and represent information diffusing into the objects and surfaces around us. Things as ordinary and seemingly familiar as running shoes, elevators and lampposts have been reimagined as networked devices, invested with unexpected new abilities. Meanwhile, the phones we carry have become ever more powerful “remote controls for our lives.”

Proponents and enthusiasts argue that no domain of human behavior will be untouched by this transformation, but relatively little thought has been given to specifically how these changes might unfold at the scale of the city. How will the advent of a truly ubiquitous computing change our urban places—both the way they’re built, and the way we live them? In this new talk, everyware author Adam Greenfield tries to wrap his head around this dynamic set of conditions, to clarify what’s at stake and to offer some potential frameworks for building humane and livable cities in the age of ambient informatics.

Adam Greenfield is a writer, consultant, and instructor in Urban Computing at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunication Program. His 2006 book everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing, has been acclaimed as “groundbreaking,” “elegant,” and “soulful” by Bruce Sterling, and “gracefully written, fascinating, and deeply wise” by Wired’s Steve Silberman. Before plunging entirely into futurist consulting and writing, Adam was lead information architect at Happy Cog.

Adam’s Cooper Union presentation will be followed by a panel discussion exploring these issues, with participants whose work lives at the very edge of this change: Glowlab’s Christina Ray; Soo-In Yang and David Benjamin of New York architectural practice The Living, and area/code principal Kevin Slavin.

The talk is hosted by The Cooper Union School of Art and The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, and organized by Mike Essl, Assistant Professor, School of Art and Emily Roz Saskia Bos, Dean, School of Art.

[tags]adamgreenfield, ambientinformatics, cooperunion, art, architecture, computing[/tags]

3 thoughts on “Ambient Informatics at Cooper Union

  1. Adam Greenfield’s talk at SXSW last year was an inspiration – lucid and persuasive, as is his book. He is thinking about things that will be seen as prophetic down the road, and draws (implicitly) on some of the best, equally prophetic, thinkers of yesteryear – Deleuze and P.K. Dick, to name just two. Deleuze wrote an essay called “The Society of Control” and his pal Foucault Discipline and Punish, laying the groundwork (along with Virilio, bien sur) for inquiry into power and networking. Now the surveillance society has moved ever more creepily into the infrastructure and interstices of public space. Soon your refrigerator will refuse to open if you’re not nice to it, as we see in Dick’s Ubik (if memory serves). If you live in the big apple (“don’t mind the maggots”), try to see this talk. I will envy you from the cultural wasteland of an unmarked stretch of beach in southern California.

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