In Plain Sight
An immersive installation in the US Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
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In Plain Sight presents anomalies in population distribution seen in nighttime satellite imagery of Earth and census grid counts produced by governments worldwide — revealing places with bright lights and no people and places with people and no lights—thus, challenging our assumptions about geographies of belonging and exclusion.

The project was tasked with interrogating the relationship between citizenship and the built environment at the scale of the globe, where the primacy of the individual, the city, and even the nation drops away and is replaced by data: electricity, trade routes, migratory shifts, and the flow of capital, goods and people.

The installation is a collaboration between Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, and Robert Gerard Pietrusko with the Center for Spatial Research, and will be on view from May 26 through November 25, 2018. The installation is conceived and designed for Dimensions of Citizenship, the US Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, commissioned by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The University of Chicago.

View the full project video here

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Ways of Knowing Cities - Conference

Ways of Knowing Cities

Friday, February 9, 2018, 9:30 am
Wood Auditorium, Avery Hall

Pre-registration is now closed, the auditorium seating is first come first served. Registration does not guarantee seating. The conference will be live streamed to Ware Lounge in Avery Hall and online at arch.columbia.edu

See c4sr.columbia.edu/knowing-cities for full schedule.

Technology increasingly mediates the way that knowledge, power, and culture interact to create and transform the cities we live in. Ways of Knowing Cities is a one-day conference which brings together leading scholars and practitioners from across multiple disciplines to consider the role that technologies have played in changing how urban spaces and social life are structured and understood – both historically and in the present moment. 

Keynote lectures by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Trevor Paglen

Participating Speakers
Simone BrowneMaribel Casas-Cortés,  Anita Say ChanSebastian Cobarrubias,  Orit HalpernCharles Heller,  Shannon Mattern, V. Mitch McEwenLeah Meisterlin,  Nontsikelelo MutitiDietmar OffenhuberLorenzo PezzaniRobert Pietrusko, and Matthew Wilson.

From John Snow’s cholera maps of London and the design of the radio network in Colonial Nigeria to NASA’s composite images of global night lights, the way the city and its inhabitants have been comprehended in moments of technological change has always been deeply political. Representations of the urban have been sites of contestation and violence, but have also enabled spaces of resistance and delight. Our cities have been built and transformed through conflict, and the struggle is as much informational and representational as it is physical and bodily. Today, the generation and deployment of data is at the forefront of projects to reshape our cities, for better and for worse. As a consequence, responding to urban change demands critical literacy in technology, and particularly data technologies. The conference addresses itself to the deep ambivalence of interventions in the urban, as it explores the ways that knowledge regimes have impacted the built world. In this sense, it seeks to catalyze more robust, creative, and far-reaching ways to think about the relationship between the urban and the information systems that enable, engage and express the city.

Please note, seating will be first come, first serve. Registration does not guarantee seating. The event will be livestreamed in Ware Lounge, Avery Hall and on arch.columbia.edu

Support for Ways of Knowing Cities is provided through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and hosting by Columbia GSAPP.

 

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The Brain Index Opens in the New Jerome L. Greene Science Center
Photo by Eileen Barroso

The Brain Index, an interactive digital art installation, has opened in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center on Columbia’s Manhattanville campus.

Situated in the publicly accessible lobby of the building, the permanent exhibition uses design, games and storytelling to convey the complex research which is conducted in the building to broad audiences.

Read more about the opening of the project through Columbia News here

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Project
Conflict Urbanism: Colombia
person role
Author(s): 
Laura Kurgan, Juan Saldarriaga, Angelika Rettberg
Publication date: 
Thursday, September 15, 2016
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After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay in Transit
Description (optional): 
Over the course of the last thirty years, more than 7 million Colombians have left their homes and towns in a search for safety. In this project we plot the trajectories of these Colombians in conflict. This mass migration, with its dense network of specific and often hyper-local causes, forms one part of the much larger global story of human beings on the move, mostly from countryside to city. But this movement of people also underlines the fact that the massive urbanization of the planet is born out of conflict. This article about our contribution to the 2016 Oslo Architectural Triennale was published in the exhibition’s catalog, After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay in Transit.
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Intro text (homepage): 
Over the course of the last thirty years, more than 7 million Colombians have left their homes and towns in a search for safety. In this project we plot the trajectories of these Colombians in conflict. This article about our contribution to the 2016 Oslo Architectural Triennale was published in the exhibition’s catalog, After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay in Transit.
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Kurgan, Saldarriaga, Rettberg
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Conflict Urbanism: Colombia
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Thursday, September 15, 2016
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Laura Kurgan Speaks at SUPERHUMANITY TALKS at the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennale

On October 20, 2016 Laura Kurgan spoke about the Conflict Urbanism: Aleppo project as part of SUPERHUMANITY TALKS, a panel event at the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial presented by e-flux Architecture.

Laura Kurgan spoke about the Center for Spatial Research’s work on Conflict Urbanism Aleppo in relation to e-flux’s provocation:

Superhumanity aims to explore and challenge our understanding of “design” by probing the idea that we are and always have been continuously reshaped by the artifacts we shape, to which we ask: who designed the lives we live today? What are the forms of life we inhabit, and what new forms are currently being designed? Where are the sites, and what are the techniques, to design others?”

View the recording of the panel event. 

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Conflict Urbanism: Aleppo on view at 2016 Istanbul Design Biennale, Are We Human?

Conflict Urbanism: Aleppo is on view at the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennale from October 22, 2016 to November 20, 2016. The Biennale is titled “Are We Human?” and presents projects that stretch “from the last 2 seconds to the last 200,000 years.”

Our exhibit is on view in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum and presents two zooms from high-resolution satellite images of Aleppo at the scale of 1:1000. For every one unit of space in the gallery, the corresponding space in Aleppo is one thousand times larger. Visitors can also browse the Conflict Urbanism: Aleppo interactive map and case studies including a case study on the “Time Scales of Aleppo” researched and written for the exhibition.

Exhibition photos by Sahir Ugur Eren.

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Exit
An immersive installation that investigates global human migrations, updated to coincide with Cop21 in December 2015.
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Global populations are unstable and on the move. Unprecedented numbers of migrants are leaving their countries for economic, political and environmental reasons. Exit, immerses the viewer in a dynamic presentation of data documenting contemporary human movement. Statistics documenting population shifts are not always neutral and the multiple efforts to collect them are decentralized and incomplete. Here the data are repurposed to build a narrative about global migration and its causes. The viewer enters a circular room and is surrounded by a panoramic video projection of a globe which rolls around the room printing maps as it spins. The maps are made from data which has been collected from a variety of sources, geocoded, statistically analyzed, re-processed through multiple programming languages and translated visually. The presentation is divided into narratives concerning population shifts, remittances, political refugees, natural disaster and sea-level rise and endangered languages.

Originally completed in 2008, EXIT has been fully updated to coincide with Cop21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change and reflects data from 2015. On view at the Palais Tokyo in Paris from November 25, 2015 – January 10, 2016.

Population and urban migration. Photo © Luc Boegly

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Open Positions for Summer 2016

We’re Hiring.

The Center for Spatial Research is seeking Graduate Research Assistants for summer 2016 for both full-time and part-time positions.

Students will be responsible for research, data analysis, visualization, and exhibition design on projects dealing with current research focus: conflict urbanism. Students will work with spatial data including mining and analyzing data, processing and collecting data, and/or visualizing data in compelling and innovative ways. Working in close collaboration with principal investigators students will develop these projects, participate in writing research papers and create visualizations of relevant data analysis for inclusion in papers, multi-media projects, and upcoming exhibitions in international biennales.

Candidates must have experience with GIS and Adobe Creative Suite. In addition, a working knowledge of a range of the following tools is a plus: Processing, Python, D3, R, APIs Access, Stata/SPSS, HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Full-time positions are 35 hours per week for up to twelve weeks. Part-time work will be negotiable by student and by project. All positions are $15/hour.

Please send a letter of interest, CV, and relevant work examples to info@c4sr.columbia.edu

 

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EXIT on view at Palais Tokyo from November 25, 2015 – January 10, 2016
Nov 15, 2015 — Spatial Information Design Lab

EXIT has been fully updated and is on view at the Palais Tokyo in Paris from November 25, 2015 – January 10, 2016. The project was initially completed in 2008 but has been fully updated to coincide with Cop21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

Fondation Cartier, which commissioned the project, announces the exhibition of the updated work:

“Exit is composed of a series of immersive animated maps generated by data that investigate human migrations today and their leading causes, including the impacts of climate change. Its complete 2015 update has been planned to coincide with the pivotal Paris-based United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). A crucial opportunity to limit global warming, the COP21 provides a powerful context in which to consider the issues at the heart of Exit: "It’s almost as though the sky, and the clouds in it and the pollution of it, were making their entry into history. Not the history of the seasons, summer, autumn, winter, but of population flows, of zones now uninhabitable for reasons that aren’t just to do with desertification, but with disappearance, with submersion of land. This is the future." (Paul Virilio, 2009)”

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The Synapse
Permanent installation for the lobby of the Jerome L Greene science center on Columbia University's Manhattanville campus.
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The Synapse is an initiative for the communication of science at the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center at Columbia University. 

Looking east towards the Broadway entrance.
Looking east towards the Broadway entrance.
Looking west towards the campus entrance.
Looking west towards the campus entrance.
The Brain Index in performance mode
The Brain Index in performance mode
The Brain Index in interactive mode.
The Brain Index in interactive mode.
Neuro+
Neuro+
Thought Bubble: A 17 x 10' chandelier
Thought Bubble: A 17 x 10' chandelier
Thought Bubble in 'dream' mode.
Thought Bubble in 'dream' mode.
Media Channel: An interactive display wall for social media data.
Media Channel: An interactive display wall for social media data.

Like a synapse in the brain, The Synapse is a path of connection, the strength of which is defined by surrounding activity. While a synapse in the brain connects two or more brain cells (neurons), The Synapse connects the Zuckerman Institute to the local community, to other schools at Columbia, and to the global landscape of neuroscience research. Collaborative activity in the corridor will strengthen these connections and in doing so will strengthen the mission of the Zuckerman Institute and the Manhattanville campus. Located on the institute’s ground floor, this space physically connects the laboratories above to the Manhattanville community beyond its doors; and institutionally, it connects university research to a broader public, including virtual audiences for maximal impact.

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