September 25, 2009
Increasingly as we wander about the city, computers keep tabs on us. "Artifacts and systems we interact with daily collect, store and process information about us or are activated by our movements and transactions," Mark Shepherd, an assistant professor off architecture and media studies at the University of Buffalo, has written.
Will this usher in an age of a "sentient city," capable of responding to environmental shifts and other changes? Or will it limit our freedom?
"Toward the Sentient City," an exhibition curated by the Architectural League of New York and now on display at the Urban Center, examines these issues. Five commissioned projects, which form the core of the exhibition, look at where this new technology could take us -- for better or worse.
One, "Too Smart City," envisions "smart" benches and other street furniture: a seat that will throw off a sleeping homeless person and a bin that will throw trash back at anyone who deposits the wrong kind of garbage. Taking a very different tact "Amphibious Architecture" puts the computing into the Bronx and the East rivers where it monitors fish and water quality. "Trash Track" tags different types of garbage to follow them through the city's waste management system.
A number of events and program will take place in conjunction with the exhibition. On Saturday, for example, a workshop where participants can build simple electronic musical controllers will take place at the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn. Next Friday, Oct. 9, the creators of "Too Smart City," JooYoun Peek and David Jimison, will discuss their project and New York's Street furniture.
The exhibition, on display at 457 Madison Ave., runs from now until Nov. 7. It is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thursday and Sunday, when it is closed.
For more information, including visiting hours and events, as well as opportunities to read and write comments on the exhibition and the projects, go to Sentient City