Signal Space
Atmospheres of Communication

Atmospheres of Communication

Communications have often been understood as bound up with media devices. Wireless communication, however, presents distinct ways of understanding media as it exceeds the devices, interfaces, and wires through which we typically conceive of the medium of communication. Working initially with Marconi’s transmission of wireless signals between Cornwall, England, and Newfoundland, Canada, this chapter charts...
Telepathically Urban

Telepathically Urban

Proposals for ubiquitous computing have taken a variety of forms, from “utility fogs” to “pervasive networks.” This chapter considers smart dust as a hypothetical and actual proposal made for pervasive computing in an urban context. Proposals for smart dust have been developed in the form of tiny wireless sensors that could be released en masse,...
Automatic Sensation: Environmental Sensors in the Digital City

Automatic Sensation: Environmental Sensors in the Digital City

This paper discusses the use of environmental sensors, wireless networks and mobile media as technologies of sensation in the city. While these devices enable a “digital city,” in many respects they appear to be immaterial, operating beyond sense. Drawing on two case studies developed by the Digital Cities project in Montreal, the paper considers how...
Ephemeral Systems in Silicon Valley

Ephemeral Systems in Silicon Valley

This photo-essay documents fieldwork conducted in Silicon Valley in 2005, which contributed to the book-length study on electronic waste, Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics. Published as “The Quick and the Dirty: Ephemeral Systems in Silicon Valley” in “Ephemera,” Thresholds, Issue No. 31 (Cambridge: MIT Department of Architecture, 2006; ISSN: 1091-711x), 26-31.  
Paper Mountains, Disposable Cities

Paper Mountains, Disposable Cities

Paper, that disposable medium, constitutes the bulk of material found in landfills. This essay investigates the printed matter that turns up in one particular landscape, the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York City. Fieldwork at the landfill was conducted in 2001 while participating in the “Landfill to Landscape” competition with Rios Clementi Hale Studios. First...
Machines Fall Apart: Failure in Art and Technology

Machines Fall Apart: Failure in Art and Technology

Technological failure is often considered to be central to the logic of innovation. Artists working with technology at the inception of widespread post-war automation, including Jean Tinguely and Gustav Metzger, focused particularly on machines geared toward failure. At the same time, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), an organization founded to enable collaboration between artists...
Airdrop

Airdrop

The far distance between sky and ground gives way to a space full of anxiety and conjecture. Supplies and leaflets scattered from the upper altitudes arrive inexplicably, as heavenly debris, meteorites, a threatening hail. Like pennies from heaven, airdrops occur in many guises, from food to fleas, from prosthetic limbs to exploding decoy frogs, the...
Residue in the E.A.T. Archives

Residue in the E.A.T. Archives

This research report, “Residue in the E.A.T. Archives,” documents work undertaken while I was Researcher in Residence with the Daniel Langlois Foundation Centre for Research and Documentation (2004). The project area, “From Outside Art to E-waste: Translating the Research Environment of E.A.T.,” focused both on the relationships between art, technology and materiality within Experiment in...
Leaflet Drop: The Paper Landscapes of War

Leaflet Drop: The Paper Landscapes of War

This essay investigates the use of leaflets as a tactical weapon of war. The paper was first presented at “Casting Doubt,” a conference held at the University of Rochester, New York, in 2003. The full essay is available to read online at Invisible Culture (2004). This research later developed into a short artist’s book, Airdrop...
Noise in the Information City

Noise in the Information City

The information city, like an updated version of the garden city, presents an encompassing vision of an ideal metropolis. Instead of harmonious integration with a green landscape, this speculative and actual city fuses with the organic flow of information technology. Yet in the process of wiring our cities toward a new urban connectivities, we discover...
The Television in the Garden

The Television in the Garden

Published in the architectural zine, loud paper, this essay traces the establishment of the Arcadia Arboretum in Los Angeles, and later the filming of the television episode Fantasy Island within the Arboretum in the late seventies and early eighties. Each “fantasy island” begins within the same physical landscape, but is built up through different media...