[ISEA2011] Panel Statement: George Ka­todry­tis – Telegenic Ur­banisms: click the image to en­large and zoom in

Panel Statement

Panel: Through the Roadblocks: Technology and Orality

The Ara­bian Penin­sula and the Gulf is home to some of the world’s most con­tro­ver­sial set­tle­ments that have grown into major eco­nomic and global hubs fol­low­ing rapid trans­for­ma­tion. A can­vas for global and no­madic cross­roads; north-south im­mi­gra­tion pat­terns and east- west trad­ing axes bi­sect a tab­ula rasa of hues, ex­treme cli­mates and strange topogra­phies, pro­vides a com­plex ma­trix of in­ter­con­nec­tiv­i­ties. These post-colo­nial cities of the 21st cen­tury have grown out of new tech­nolo­gies, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and mega in­fra­struc­tures that have brought about dra­matic mor­pho­log­i­cal and eco­log­i­cal changes. This is the fu­ture state of world ur­ban­ism – pre­scrip­tive and full of vi­sual drama­ti­za­tion. This form of ur­ban­iza­tion also shows a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the fab­ri­ca­tion of an image. The ex­plo­ration of places through im­agery is a con­tem­po­rary phe­nom­e­non. As the tech­nol­ogy in the pro­duc­tion of im­agery of un-built or newly built ar­chi­tec­ture has be­come more so­phis­ti­cated, its image be­comes an end in it­self and can now be trans­mit­ted across the globe in­stan­ta­neously. Coastal neck­lace set­tle­ments, sand and sil­i­cone, pix­e­lated pat­terns, land­scape and ren­der farms, frac­tal and para­met­ric for­ma­tions, sim­u­lated Sim­C­i­ties, dy­namic for­ma­tions, mas­ter plans and spec­u­la­tive de­vel­op­ments are now pro­ject­ing new satel­lite ur­banisms. This spa­tial and urban ap­proach em­pha­sizes en­claves but also ex­clu­sive­ness. We are now plan­ning and de­sign­ing cities by gaz­ing down on the ac­tion from heav­ens. Re­con­nais­sance tech­nolo­gies turn into spec­ta­cle and ‘telegenic’ fan­tasies ad­dress­ing mass tourism. Sim­u­lated panora­mas and im­agery of un­fin­ished pro­jects give rise to an ex­cit­ing promise and fan­tasy. In ef­fect dig­i­tal im­agery and tech­nol­ogy is shap­ing the fu­ture of cities. After all we are all no­mads in­hab­it­ing an image.

Prof. George Ka­todry­tis is an ar­chi­tect in­volved in prac­tice, teach­ing and re­search. He is cur­rently As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor of Ar­chi­tec­ture at the Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity of Shar­jah, UAE. He stud­ied and taught at the Ar­chi­tec­tural As­so­ci­a­tion in Lon­don and he has been a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor at var­i­ous schools around the world. He has built a num­ber of pro­jects in Eu­rope and the Mid­dle East as well as pub­lished widely on con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture, ur­ban­ism, cul­tural the­ory and dig­i­tal media. The work ad­dresses the ‘city’, es­pe­cially as it is evolv­ing in the 21st cen­tury. He has adopted dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and script­ing as tools for es­tab­lish­ing new for­mal and per­for­ma­tive mod­els in ar­chi­tec­ture.  katodrytis.com