being human; or Descartes vs. Arendt.

EC’s Nicole Dewandre presented a fine lecture on human values at the IoT & Built Environment conference on April 9th. 2013 in Rotterdam; on July 2016 she gave a TEDX-ULB-lecture concerning the changing definitions of humanity, ‘talking’ to Descartes and referring  to Hannah Arendt’s view of the relational self. A changing world requires a renewed thinking on what it means to be human in a hyperconnected era.

IoT & Prometheus, the Firebringer

on November 4/5 the Dutch Performance Group Urland will perform the 3rd. part of their trilogy: the Internet of Things cycle; Prometheus, the Firebringer. in the Theatre Rotterdam. What happens when Artificial Intelligence becomes self-conscious; when objects become addressable, who becomes master and who becomes slave? On November 4th. I will take part in the discussion afterwards: what is the impact of technology on the arts and – above all – our imagination?

tech & biology

fascinating lecture by MIT’s Neri Oxman on ‘Design and the intersection technology and biology’ at TED-2015. Imagine the possibilities for our immediate environment when structure and materials merge and create a sphere which adapts and transforms; imagine the possibilities when this development is linked to the increasing internet of things/people connectivity and what this implies for our way of building. Do we need a built environment as the only way to provide shelter and privacy?

smog free tower

After his first smog-project in Being, artist/designer Daan Roosegaarde – based in Rotterdam – now focuses on his own city. Supported by a crowd-funding action he plans and designed a 7 meter Smog-Free Tower in Rotterdam, to be completed in September 2015. After being presented in Rotterdam the tower will travel to other countries. Participants/partners that donate at least € 50,- receive an object containing the dust taken from the air; for € 250,- you can wear it as a ring: techno poetry………….. Let’s hope the tower will remain and/or others will follow……

“Technology will not save us”

A most interesting article published last month, on Sept. 27th.: “Technology will not save us“, by Michael Sacasas on “The Frailest Thing’.  “Entering the complex and messy realm of of human desires and cultural dynamics”, Sacasas argues that “technological determinism is the product of cultural capitulation. It is  symptom of social fragmentation.”  Referring to Ellul and Winner he states that “due to a focus on technological innovation our society is in thrall of technique.” (ital orig.) With regard to architecture this is in any case a most valid statement, as the recent EC-discussion has illustrated.

smart homes?

Yesterday, Jan.19th, the New York Times; the next article in a long row about our homes becoming ‘smart’. What usually is forgotten in all of these wishful-thinking business-oriented thoughts is that a home is more than the sum of bricks, mortar and technology. Our house is not a home because we can automate the lights and the refrigerator, but because we live in a sphere we call our own. Technology in our homes should focus less on practicalities and more on adaptability, experience, imagination.

Onlife

Tuesday, July 9th.2013; after the first presentation on Feb. 8th. 2013 a one-day conference chaired by Prof. Luciano Floridi on the EC’s Onlife Initiative Manifesto in Brussels to proceed, gather critical expertise to discuss matters further and draw policy ideas. One day of inspiring discussions on “what does it mean to be human in a hyperconnected era”; largely based on the work of Hannah Arendt. The urge/need to add architecture – as in build environment – to the core of the Manifesto was acknowledged; being human implies the need for private space, hence some kind of architecture. See for further content the Futurium website.

technocalyps

Op 24 mei a.s. zend Canvas, in de serie Virus, de documentaire ´Technocalyps´ uit van Frank Theys. Deze werd in 2008 uitgezonden, maar heeft nog niets aan waarde ingeboet. Uit de aankondiging:
“Technocalyps is een driedelige documentairereeks over het transhumanisme. Filosoof en beeldend kunstenaar/filmmaker Frank Theys laat ons kennis maken met wetenschappers die overtuigd zijn dat we een tijdperk naderen waarin de mens, zoals we die nu kennen, niet meer het intelligentste wezen op Aarde zal zijn. Theys voert zijn onderzoek doorheen de wetenschappelijke, ethische en metafysische dimensies van de technologische ontwikkelingen. Voor- en tegenstanders worden aan het woord gelaten over dit intrigerende maar ook onheilspellende toekomstbeeld. TechnoCalyps zal je kijk op het leven en de mens voorgoed veranderen.”
De serie is tevens integraal op dvd beschikbaar.

pachube

“for many of us now, ´home´ is an idea constructed from several places – we live and work in environments composited by networked technology from fragments that bridge huge geographical distances.” Aan het woord is Usman Haque http://www.haque.co.uk in een uitgebreid interview van 28 jan. 2009, getiteld Patching the Planet. Aanleiding is zijn initiatief tot Pachube http://www.pachube.com , ” a web service that enables people to tag and share realtime sensor data from objects, devices and spaces around the world, facilitating interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual.”
Het volledige interview: http://www.ugotrade.com/2009/01/28/pachube-patching-the-planet-interview-with-usman-haque/