indesem _ book - LAb[au]

fast forward, a driving perception

book published in the context of the INternational DEsign SEMinar
19.05. - 24.05.2003
ISBN: 90-9017645-4

Editor: Pieter van het Kaar
Layout: Maarten Tas

including texts by:
Winy Maas, Alberto Perez-Gomez, Prof.Arie Graafland,
Ben van berkel, Kas Osterhuis, Francien Houben, LAb[au] ...

LAb[au] featured in the book:
with a text about MetaDesign illustrated by the projects:
lightscapes, GameVillage, space navigable music
and a statement about the workshop theme

"Is it valuable to use 'driving perception' as a point of view for designing the highway and its surroundings, or do more traditional methods of urban planning lead to better results?"

"Driving perception" neither is a method nor does it exclude any traditional methods of urban planning. As its main intention seems to merge the extra parameter of speed to the usual set of parameters as location, views, etc. it proves itself as being already well implemented and tested as would such


_structures and programs as gas station, inter-modal exchange nodes, shopping malls, fast foods, varieties of signs and advertisement boards demonstrate.

On a purely pragmatic level, "Speed-wise" structures are common, from the big blue box of Ikea, to the gigantic floating McDonalds sign or the train station of Frankfurt airport and its tail, in matter of perception and speed their sole intention is to be seen. Yet it shows that designing a building or an area is mainly about shaping information and its communication process, especially in "driving perception" concerns. From Le Corbusier's "vers une architecture" to Venturi's analyses of modern architectural signforms, Kevin Lynch's landscape design in movement or recent projects of Neil Denari, the car-culture has taken its place in the theoretical and methodical discourse of modern architecture. The car as a cultural artifact is the myth and place of the contemporary man like it is expressed in modern culture from Russ Meyer's fantasies to Prodigies drilling sounds of high speed to modern architecture.

Thinking and experimenting on "driving perception" by the use of new design tools, like the computer, allowing real time visualizations and simulation and thus integrating the parameter of time or speed in the design, like one can see in the projects of Greg Lynn or Bernhard Franken, don't change anything in the general state: the car, the environment, the signs and the perception it shapes aren't all about speed (by extension time-shaping) but is much more integrated into the fundamental framing of man and technology issues.

Machines of sensations
The technological developments of the past thirty years are at the base of the shift from the industrial to the postindustrial information society. The notion of body, matter, space and time are increasingly defined by the unit of inFORMation, its structures, processes (computation and communication) and systems introducing new parameters of space and time - presence, such as immersion (real/virtual)


and interaction (real-time/entropy), of materiality, such as nano technologies or smart memory materials, and of biological type such as gene technologies.

From sense (aesthesis) to sense (semiotics), perceptive and cognitive (meaning extraction) capacities (abilities) are enhanced by technology. In other words, technologies are not external or alien objects, but rather extensions that complement integrally our sensitive and cognitive apparatus. As media, they conditions not only communication modes but also the way we perceive and conceive our environment - the way we 'think about' and 'act in' space - impacting directly the architecture field. What architecture has to face nowadays is the same for design, an object or a space is less a shape, a shell and its matter as it is information completed by the processes and programs it includes which ones we have to design as well.

From mobility to connectivity

The car is the object of technological progress and its industry is among the most globalized of all; it is the object which expresses our contemporary technological and economical state. As car industry is proofing the design limits it reached in terms of speed, control, comfort, and safety, it is addressing less and less the issue of moving faster, cheaper, safer with a car but rather the purpose and efficiency of moving and the way we are dealing with it.

With GPS and telecommunication networks, a car is not anymore this nowhere isolated box and its environment extends well further than the area defined by the road. Moving from A to B is defining a set of related information about A, about B and about anything that stands in between, cell phones annihilate distance and the transit state, leading to the conception of the car as a complete interactive machine, an interface and a tool for information access where the driver is an active person in the global networked space, on the so-called "info highways".


The days of cultural sightseeing and of popup ads are near, you will not ignore anymore that this city is known for porcelain manufacturing, that in this village has been shot some of the scenes of a Russ Meyer's movie, that this lovely chair is in promotion in the Ikea's blue box or that lovely house standing in the fields at some kilometers from the highway is to sale. Information will be everywhere, communication with your boss and your friends will be a constant, this defines the new state of mobility-connectivity.

In this manner the architect has to integrate in his design the technological state and thus the way we perceive space and act through technologies inside it. In summary it is quite obvious that according to the ongoing technological progress the architect has to find out new methods and concepts to deal with our technological state. To think about the car and the highway is just one, but an interesting example, of how we will perceive and conceive the mediated space we are popping through. How we will shape new spaces of connectivity, efficiency and most of all sens_ation.

When entering into electronic environments we perceive space through specific points of view: externally we perceive space on the flat surface of the screen, and internally through electronic eyes, cameras, both conditioning our understanding of Conceiving electronic space is thus working on specific modalities of perception, external or internal, and its direct correlation to cognitive processes - mental space. It focus on the kinematic setting of space according to specific techniques of camera settings, movement patterns and montage techniques in relation to electronic space constructs. Motion is the key parameter to produce the feeling of 'insideness', as a relation between subjects and objects, in real, filmic or electronic space. E.motion space thus focus on the perceptive and cognitive settings of 3D environments according to their cinematic construct - the camera, its movements and the techniques of montage _ it is the conception of space between architecture, cinema and IC technologies.


The workshop deals on the specificities in the conception and production of electronic space as a new field of investigation in spatial constructs,||, combining codes / language drawn from communication and information sciences - cognitive science with that of process methodologies - design and spatial constructs - architecture. In this manner it focus on the inherent logics of computation and communication technologies in the visualization and formalization of inFORMation processes in textual, graphical, spatial and multi-dimensional representations. As a starting point of the workshop a schematic 3D model of the general area to study is proposed to the participants in order to enlarge transform the mimic representation into a specific representation of urban structures, a space within the electronic media while combining it to graphics, visuals, video and sound structures to be experienced in a real-time multi-user device.

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