Saturday, September 26, 2009


This is the classic photo by David Ow of a transgenic plant expressing firefly luciferase. Basically, this is a glowing tobacco plant. This experiment was initially done in an attempt to visually display bio-engineered plants. The gene which fireflies contain to allow them to light up the sky was harvested and linked up a second gene. When that other gene is expressed, the plant glows.
Infrastructures are the systems that allow cities to maintain a pulse. Perhaps bio-engineering and more radical appropriation of plants, as well as permaculture and increased general awareness can lead our cities to have a healthier blood pressure and

Interstellar space stations have been discussed recently.
I was reminded of a story I read recently by Arthur C. Clark story called Rendezvous with Rama. Essentially a monolithic cylinder comes charging into our solar system one day, from the deep depths of space. This cylinder, 60 kilometers long, 16 wide, contains inside of it what seem to be cities, infrastructure, advanded technology and an ocean the shape of a gigantic ring.
Alien urbanism, floating through deep space.

plein air sound

Vision is undoubtedly our most dominant sense. Some of our most deep rooted cultural activities and media events are made possible almost exclusively by perception via the eye ball.
In the field of architecture alone, a large majority of critical theory, both in the past and present, has focused almost exclusively on the visual, placing importance on sight lines, visual corridors, the importance of framing views.

While this visual dominance certainly exists in part because of that particular sense's wide ranging and often extremely practical capabilities, this increasing focus on vision comes at a cost to the development and rewards associated with sound, touch, taste and smell.

While there are many examples of spaces designed specifically to please the eyes, besides concert halls (which also may kneel primarily to visual aesthetics), it is difficult to imagine a space that could be designed to primarily facilitate a non-visual experience.

But perhaps more important that attempting to conceive of an olfactory architecture, is to maintain a conscious effort to keep the other senses in mind; if for no other reason, for the sake of sense-diversity. Agricultural critics speak of mono-crops as problematic because they promote short sighted production rather than fostering a healthy, diverse and resistant ecosystem.

The drawings below are part of a series of auditory records of particular places, at a particular time. They are made by covering the eyes, and asking the hand to move in correspondence with surrounding sounds. These sonic events can then be re-imagined by a subjective interpretation of the visual record.