City of Nodes
Works by | Tuur Van Balen, Gordan Savic, Aram Bartholl, Tom Carden, Ana Dzokic & Marc Neelen, Institute for Applied Autonomy, John Geraci, Christina Ray & Dave Mandl, Dan Phiffer & Kati London & Laila El-Haddad & Thomas Duc & Charles Pratt, Shawn Micallef & James Roussel & Gabe Sawhney, Esther Polak & Jeroen Kee (The Waag Society), David Rokeby | Curated by | Greg J. Smith | Opening | 03 August 2008
“Through its complex orchestration of time and space no less than through the social division of labor, life in the city takes on the character of a symphony: specialized human aptitudes, specialized instruments, give rise to sonorous results which, neither in volume nor in quality, could be achieved by any single piece.”
The above words, penned by Lewis Mumford in the introduction to his 1938 text “The Culture of Cities”, speak to the notion of the city as a nexus of social, creative and economic collaboration. In the 1990s, theorists such as William J. Mitchell began to describe a new urban fabric, the materiality of which included not only asphalt and concrete, but bandwidth, code and connectivity. The proliferation of information technology and augmentation of bodies with locative technology has led to new era of artistic engagement with the city.
City of Nodes is a collection of works from the last decade that explores the everyday domains of street, neighbourhood and the entire city as platforms for mapping, movement and communication. These projects adopt a bird’s-eye view of urban space and storyboard the city towards a number of idiosyncratic ends. In these augmented and annotated cities, space and context are interrogated, surveillance technology exposed, fleeting histories archived and the role of the body reconsidered. Many of these projects highlight the cartographic nature of contemporary creative practice, whereby work is a personal or polemical response to the intersection of urban space and pervasive networked infrastructures. These personal maps illustrate that urban form can be reconfigured and that the “pulse” of the city can be aggregated, cross-referenced and remixed. What is a city but a dense network of granular locations, each coloured by history and only bounded by the limits of our imagination.
—tags: archive, body, cartography, city, contexts, mapping, real-space, selfreferentialism, urbanism