Panel: The Art of Software Cities
The final chapter in Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities from 1961 is entitled “The Kind of Problem a City Is.” Jacobs accounts for the relations between urban development strategies and the progression of science. Through statistical material, science in the 20th century became capable of managing cities as comlex organisms. Unfortunaltely, urban planners at the time did not know much about the actual interactions making up the organism. Jacobs stresses that urban planners need to think in processes that explains the general by the specific rather than in statistical information that oppresses both the process and the specific. Today, digital media changes the cityscape with media facades, urban screens, mobile screens, computer generated architectural forms and so on. However it is not only media that is introduced to the city but also software. A distinct characteristic for software cities is that the representations of media are always connected to underlying computational processes that change the complex life forms of the city. Understanding software cities we must compare the city with the software at a specific level. The presentation will seek to do this by including the architect Christopher Alexander’s idea of a ‘pattern language’ (that has been much more influential in software design than in architecture) and argue that we must look beyond the form and spectacles software imposes and begin to pay attention to the activity it fosters. The presentation will present a view on the patterns of software cities and furthermore reflect on the accessibility of software cities as a public domain. In what ways does software in cities responds to our life?
- Christian Ulrik Andersen is associate professor and chair of Digital Aesthetics Research Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark . He researchers within digital aesthetics, software cities and computer games. Together with Søren Pold he is the editor of a new book: “Interface Criticism – Aesthetics Beyond the Buttons”. He is also a researcher in Centre for Digital Urban Living, Aarhus Universit.
- Søren Bro Pold is Ph.D, Associate Professor of digital aesthetics at IMV, University of Aarhus, Denmark, part of DUL and founding member of DARC (Digital Aesthetics Research Center. He has published in Danish and English on digital and media aesthetics – from the 19th c. panorama to the interface, e.g. on electronic literature, net art, software art, creative software, urban interfaces and digital culture. Together with Christian Ulrik Andersen he edited the anthology “Interface Criticism – Aesthetics Beyond the Buttons” (2011). darc.imv.au.dk digitalurbanliving.dk
Full text (PDF) p. 80-85