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Authoring the city:

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Researchers

Once the research theme was formulated a recruitment campaign started. The following designers were given a research position at the Jan van Eyck Academie within the framework of Authoring the city.

Min Choi

The main activity of the project will be to implement and deploy graphic devices in selected sites throughout Maastricht: devices designed to reflect any militaristic-technological implications of the sites.

Every modern city is, to different degrees, penetrated by such broadly militaristic concerns as security, control, and discipline, as well as technologies with military and police/political implications - the networks of surveillance and communication.

The suspicion of the militaristic city may be delusional, but there are some spaces promoting that paranoiac imagination: elevators with their 'emergency stop' buttons; basements with their myriads of cables, vessels and dim lights; parking lots with a lot of numbers, arrows and CCTV cameras. Their seemingly logical yet sometimes mysterious graphic elements, combined with the brutally mechanical and impenetrable physical surfaces, seem to constitute what may be called 'the cryptographic space'.

By extending the militaristic implications that may be already embedded in the selected 'cryptographic' sites, the project will produce a new reading of the spaces that is partially fictional and imaginative. Upon this interpretation, a set of graphic devices will be installed in the sites, to add another textual layers to the existing built environments, to superimpose fictional spaces onto the actual ones.

Besides this site-specific installation work as a major preoccupation, the research will yield a number of by-products: essays and notes, images, recordings, site research reports, etc. Each one illuminating a different aspect of the subject, these products will be regarded as an important part of the research as a whole.

In this way, the research will attempt to formulate a response to the fundamental opacity of the technological world through its 'paranoid-critical', cryptographic approach - establishing, ultimately, a methodology that can be applied to different cases than those of the physical space.

CV

Zuzana Lapitkova

Taste and values of a society
(Determinants of a communication in public festivities)

If we think of the various forms of communication manifesting themselves in cities, we definitely cannot omit such occasions as public festivities. They have been a typical phenomenon in cities since the Middle Ages. At the time of absolutism, festivities represented deliberately harmonised “Gesamtkunstwerke”, combining theatre, fine arts, and music... to impress all the senses of their audience. A primary function of such a work of art was to create an illusion of a perfect world and to persuade citizens that it was real. Naturally, it was necessary to communicate through ideas and forms which a particular society was ready to accept. The final effect was a result of team-work by humanists, designers and artists.

The main objective of this research project is to imitate a public festivity in its role of a communication medium as it has developed to the present form. In doing so, the project intends to inspire public interest in self-reflection. To make people understand themselves as an influencing society and as a society being influenced. Deriving from a practice of festivities, the project should involve artists, designers and theorists in a common work, which would result in an outdoor exhibition – a performance in the style of a public festivity.

CV

Tamara Maletic
&
Dan Michaelson

We are planning to design and install a set of weather-vanes in the urban environment, which manifest local weather conditions (pedestrian movements, infrastructural changes, and other winds) typographically at the spots where the data are sampled. Our research will be towards the creation of a new layer of the city, embedded in the city, which gives voice to the city's in/visible flows.

A related goal is to develop economical methods for network-based or data-driven typographic systems in the public sphere.

CV