Categories
Presentations

Language and Communication Protocols

I co-organized and moderated “Protocols as Language and Communication” with artist Jesse Chun, media scholar Meredith D. Clark, assistive technology expert Chancey Fleet, and artist / educator / activist Taeyoon Choi. Hosted online by the Vera List Center at The New School.

Seminar 1: Protocols as Language and Communication from Vera List Center on Vimeo.

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Publications

Ether and Ore: An Archaeology of Urban Intelligences

Ether and Ore: An Archaeology of Urban Intelligences” in Laura Kurgan and Dare Brawley, eds., Ways of Knowing Cities (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2019): 120-30

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Publications

The Gentle Wind Doth Move Visibly

The Gentle Wind Doth Move Visibly,” in Silvia Rocciolo, Lydia Matthews, Eric Stark, Frances Richard, eds., I Stand in My Place with My Own Day Here: Site-Specific Art at The New School (Duke University Press, 2019)

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Publications

Networked Dream Worlds (on 5G)

Networked Dream Worlds,” Real Life Magazine (July 8, 2019).

I wasn’t able to include acknowledgments in this piece, but lots of folks deserve thanks:

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Publications

Scaffolding, Hard and Soft: Media Infrastructures as Critical and Generative Structures

Scaffolding, Hard and Soft: Media Infrastructures as Critical and Generative Structures” In Jentery Sayers, Ed., The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (Routledge, 2018) [unedited draft with slides available here]

Categories
Projects

The Library’s Other Intelligences: MOBIUS Fellowship with the Finnish Cultural Institute NY: 2017-2019

The Helsinki Central Library Oodi and the MOBIUS Fellowship Program of the Finnish Cultural Institute New York hosted The Library’s Other Intelligences, a project of commissioned artworks and a series of events, anticipating and celebrating the opening of the new Helsinki Central Library in early 2019.

MOBIUS fellows Jussi Parikka (University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art, UK) and Shannon Mattern (The New School, US) commissioned Finnish artists and designers Samir Bhowmik, Tuomas Aleksander Laitinen, and Jenna Sutela to create works that examine the new intelligences our evolving knowledge institutions accommodate. Installed in the new Central Library in January 2019, these projects revealed the alien logics of neural nets, gave voice to machinic and otherworldly languages, and made visible the material and informational infrastructures that allow intelligence to circulate.

Our exhibition opened on January 11, 2019, and we hosted a symposium featuring the artists’ work on January 12. Visitors to the library were invited to engage with the works — and with the new building — by attending live performances, embarking on expeditions, and reimagining how we will read, listen, and learn in a new techno-cultural future.

Tuomas A. Laitinen: Swarm Chorus from FCINY on Vimeo.

Jenna Sutela: nimiia ïzinibimi from FCINY on Vimeo.

Samir Bhowmik & 00100 ENSEMBLE: Memory Machines from FCINY on Vimeo.

In the year leading up to the exhibition, we also hosted two public events in concert with PUBLICS, an event space and gallery in Helsinki:

Images by Laura Boxberg and Ilari Laaminen

Categories
Classes

Anthropology of Networks

Undergraduate Studio, with Greta Byrum

While we imagine an Internet that blankets the earth, providing even its most remote and marginalized inhabitants with seamless connectivity, the reality is that a sizable portion of the world’s population lacks reliable access. Here in New York, as across most of the US — especially in rural and poorer urban areas — roughly 30% of households still lack access to broadband. New York City’s just-released Internet Master Plan calls for updated next-generation digital infrastructure, with a promise to afford universal, equitable access to this 21st-century utility: the network.

Building on existing anthropological, media studies, and urban studies research about infrastructures, networks, and digital technologies, this seminar-workshop will engage with NYC’s forthcoming plan to help us better understand the interplay between technical and social network infrastructures. The laying of wires and installation of antennae involve the embodiment of politics and values, just like the buildout of telephone wires, cable systems, and even highway and postal networks. We’ll examine the evolution of networks, and use NYC’s digital master plan as a practical case to understand the equity implications of network design, suggesting ways to build on the existing work of practitioners, activists, scholars, planners, and designers to create healthier sociotechnical ecosystems. We’ll also speak with researchers and activists who’ve practiced media and network ethnography; meet with city officials and local community leaders; embark on field trips around the city; design our own speculative networks; and work with NYC’s digital equity community to formulate a response to the Plan, including proposed community benefits and impact indicators.

Spring 2020 Website

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Publications

Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: 5000 Years of Urban Media

University of Minnesota Press, November 2017

Awards: The Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award; Media Ecology Association’s Dorothy Lee Award

Interviews: Jennifer Reut, “Urban Scanner,” Landscape Architecture Magazine (July 2018): 38-44; Chris Richardson, “Shannon Mattern: Code and Clay, Data and Dirt,” This is Not a Pipe [podcas]

(May 17, 2018); Jeffrey Wood, “How Media Has [sic] Shaped the City,” Talking Headways [podcast]

(May 2018); Ian Garrick Mason, “The Intelligence of Cities,” urbanNext (November 2, 2017); “Shannon Mattern on ‘5000 Years of Urban Media,’” with Mack Hagood, Mediapolis 4:2 (November 2, 2017).

Reference point for artist Lila Fowler’s Code Clay, Data Dirt exhibition, Firstsite Gallery, Colchester, UK, 2019.

Categories
Projects

Re-envisioning Branch Libraries: 2014-2015

I collaborated with the Architectural League of New York and the Center for an Urban Future to organize a design study that identifies the challenges that New York’s branch libraries face, and proposes design solutions to stimulate conversation about means to support the city’s three library systems and the vital services they provide. In consulted on the request for qualifications; attended research meetings; served on the jury that chose the five finalist teams from among 45 applicants; delivered presentations on current library design trends; consulted with library leader Nate Hill about experimentation in library programming and design (our interview was published in Urban Omnibus); contributed to the development of the teams’ design challenges; attended review meetings and served as a critic at the mid-process review.

The findings of the study were presented in a public forum at the Japan Society on December 4, 2014; lots of city officials, designers, and library directors from across the country attended. The design teams again presented their proposals in a more design-focused — i.e., less policy-oriented — forum at The New School on January 12, 2015; I moderated that event. And the following summer I was commissioned to write a reflective essay about the process: my “Middlewhere: The Landscapes of Library Logistics,” which again appeared in Urban Omnibus, examined the critical links between the nodes our regional library systems.

You can find more info here.

Categories
Publications

Cloud and Field (on field guides to global digital systems)

Cloud and Field: On the Resurgence of ‘Field Guides’ in a Networked Age,” Places (August 2016).