Indexical Landscapes Symposium @ Art Center College of Design, October 29

Aerial Photo Calibration Targets, via the Center for Land Use Interpretation
Aerial Photo Calibration Targets, via CLUI 

I was delighted to have been invited to serve this semester as a visiting critic in the fantastic Media Design Practices program at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA. I’ll be leading a six-part “Critical Frameworks” writing workshop on “indexical writing” — and hosting events during my two on-site visits, in late October and mid-November. I’m particularly excited about the “Indexical Landscapes” symposium I’ve organized for October 29 (I’m giving a solo lecture on this same theme at ArtCenter on Thursday, November 19). You can find info here, here, and here.

Indexical Landscapes

Thursday, October 29, 6 to 9pm
The Wind Tunnel Graduate Center for Critical Practice,
950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105
[via MDP ArtCenter]

Our streets stream data from embedded sensors, our metropoles splinter into districts defined by delivery logistics or crime data, while our contested zones yield their secrets to drone surveillance. Our cities and metropolitan regions are code-spaces, algorithmic landscapes, with layers of data and informational networks laid atop, and often spilling over, their traditional geographic boundaries. “Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City,” a concurrent exhibition in Art Center for Design’s gallery, will feature projects that explore these new forms and practices of digital urbanity. Yet even without their datified dressings, our landscapes have long been shaped using techniques and technologies that render them “intelligent” and intelligible – either to we humans who inhabit them, or to the various tools we use to cultivate, navigate, and operationalize them. So many of our landscapes – from factory farms and container ports, to libraries and factories, to airwaves and railways and codifed urban “zones” – materialize, and even render perceptible, the logics behind their own organization, management, and use. This panel discussion examines myriad such “indexical landscapes,” those spaces shaped to refer to their own organized content and operative logics.


Emily Bills, Participating Adjunct Professor and Coordinator, Urban Studies Program, Woodbury University:
“The Telephone Builds Los Angeles”

Jesse LeCavalier, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, New Jersey Institute of Technology:
“Landscapes of Fulfillment”

Mark Vallianatos, Policy Director, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College:
“Coding & re:coding Los Angeles”

Lorie Velarde, Geographic Information Systems Analyst, Irvine Police Department:
“Using Geography to Find Criminals”

Jason Weems, Associate Professor of American Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Riverside:
“The City, A Slaughterhouse View”

Richard Wheeler, Adjunct faculty, Graduate Media Design Practices: Field, ArtCenter College of Design:
Viewing the Landscape Through Data”

with Tim Durfee, Professor, Graduate Media Design Practices Program, ArtCenter College of Design, on the Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City exhibition, co-curated with Mimi Zeiger 


Walmart Logistics, via FCDC
Walmart Logistics, via FCDC

Emily Bills received her PhD in the history of architecture and urban planning from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Her work on telephone infrastructure and Los Angeles received a Graham Foundation Carty Manny Award. She’s also received fellowship and grant support from the Smithsonian, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Huntington Library, and the Society of Architectural Historians. Recent curatorial projects include Pedro E. Guerrero: Photographs of Modern Life, Catherine Opie: In & Around L.A., and Héléne Binet: Fragments of Light. She is currently working on a book about Marvin Rand. Emily is Coordinator of the Urban Studies Program in the College of Transdisciplinarity at Woodbury University.

Jesse LeCavalier is an award-winning designer, writer, and educator. His book, The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment, is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press in 2016. In 2015, he was the recipient of the New Faculty Teaching Award from the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). He was the 2010–11 Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan and a Poiesis Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU. His research has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the BMW Foundation. LeCavalier’s work has appeared in CabinetPublic CultureArt PapersMonuJAE, and Architectural Design.

Mark Vallianatos is Policy Director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, where he works on and teaches about land use, transportation, streets and food policies.  Mark is interested in the history and potential of policy to reflect and to shape ‘how we should live.’ He serves on zoning advisory committee to the re:code LA process and is researching the policy history of two Southern California icons: food trucks and detached, single family houses.

Lorie Velarde is a GIS Analyst with the Irvine Police Department in Irvine, California and an instructor in the spatial analysis of crime.  During her 29-year law enforcement career, she has designed and implemented a department-wide geographic information system (GIS), instructed over 30 law enforcement courses, and published in the area of geographic profiling.  She holds a Master of Science degree in Criminology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Ecology, a California State Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and California Department of Justice Certification in Crime and Intelligence Analysis.  Lorie has received several awards for her work, including the prestigious International Association of Chiefs of Police/ChoicePoint Award for Criminal Investigative Excellence and 2011 Southern California Crime and Intelligence Analyst Association’s Crime Analyst of the Year.

Jason Weems is Associate Professor of American art and visual culture at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Barnstorming the Prairies: Aerial Vision and Modernity in Rural America, 1920-1940 (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) and is currently working on the intersection of art and archaeology in the Americas. He is also curator of the 2015 exhibition “Interrogating Manzanar: Photography, Justice and the Japanese American Internment.” He recently has held fellowships from the Hellman Foundation, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, the Terra Foundation, ACLS, and the Universities of California and Michigan.

Richard Wheeler is an artist. He investigates locations, tools, methods, and cultures of observing, representing, and interacting with the world around us.

Chicago Stockyards, via Wikimedia
Chicago Stockyards, via Wikimedia
via Mark Vallianatos
via Mark Vallianatos

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