[ISEA2011] Panel: Mark Shep­ard – Pa­thetic Fal­lac­ies and Cat­e­gory Mis­takes: mak­ing sense and non­sense of the (near-fu­ture) Sen­tient City

Panel Statement

Panel: Hybrid Spatial Experiences

As com­put­ing leaves the desk­top and spills out onto the side­walks, streets and pub­lic spaces of the city, we in­creas­ingly find in­for­ma­tion pro­cess­ing ca­pac­ity em­bed­ded within and dis­trib­uted through­out the ma­te­r­ial fab­ric of every­day urban space. Ar­ti­facts and sys­tems we in­ter­act with daily col­lect, store and process in­for­ma­tion about us, or are ac­ti­vated by our move­ments and trans­ac­tions. Ubiq­ui­tous com­put­ing evan­ge­lists her­ald a com­ing age of urban in­fra­struc­ture ca­pa­ble of sens­ing and re­spond­ing to the events and ac­tiv­i­ties tran­spir­ing around them. Im­bued with the ca­pac­ity to re­mem­ber, cor­re­late and an­tic­i­pate, this near-fu­ture “sen­tient” city is en­vi­sioned as being ca­pa­ble of re­flex­ively mon­i­tor­ing its en­vi­ron­ment and our be­hav­ior within it, be­com­ing an ac­tive agent in the or­ga­ni­za­tion of every­day life in urban pub­lic space. This talk will un­pack some of the tacit as­sump­tions, la­tent bi­ases and hid­den agen­das at play be­hind new and emerg­ing urban in­fra­struc­tures.

  • Mark Shep­ard is an artist, ar­chi­tect and re­searcher whose post-dis­ci­pli­nary prac­tice ad­dresses new so­cial spaces and sig­ni­fy­ing struc­tures of con­tem­po­rary net­work cul­tures. His cur­rent re­search in­ves­ti­gates the im­pli­ca­tions of mo­bile and per­va­sive media, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies for ar­chi­tec­ture and ur­ban­ism. Re­cent work in­cludes Hertz­ian Rain, a vari­able event struc­ture de­signed to raise aware­ness of is­sues sur­round­ing the wire­less topog­ra­phy of urban en­vi­ron­ments through telem­atic con­ver­sa­tions based on sound and bod­ily move­ment; Sen­tient City Sur­vival Kit, a col­lec­tion of ar­ti­facts, spaces and media for sur­vival in the near-fu­ture Sen­tient City; and the Tac­ti­cal Sound Gar­den (TSG), an open source soft­ware plat­form for cul­ti­vat­ing vir­tual sound gar­dens in urban pub­lic space. His work has been ex­hib­ited at mu­se­ums, gal­leries and fes­ti­vals in­ter­na­tion­ally. In 2009, he cu­rated To­ward the Sen­tient City, an ex­hi­bi­tion of com­mis­sioned pro­jects that crit­i­cally ex­plored the evolv­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween ubiq­ui­tous com­put­ing and the city. He is the ed­i­tor of Sen­tient City: ubiq­ui­tous com­put­ing, ar­chi­tec­ture and the fu­ture of urban space, pub­lished by the Ar­chi­tec­tural League of New York and MIT Press.