Tactical Urbanism

Seemingly oblivious to the city around her, the young woman takes the mobile phone from her ear and presses a button. Suddenly, floating in the ether directly in front of her a message appears: “New Dress code: FUNKY.” With a smirk and a wave of her hand, she’s suddenly surrounded by three new translucent windows, enveloping her in the heads-up-display of the Fifth Avenue fighter pilot. A growing smile is evidence that some urban attack pattern has been implemented and with a final wave of the hand, the virtual displays fall away – replaced with the advertising message: “Life moves fast. Don’t miss a thing.”


The Living Light Illuminates Air Quality in South Korea


[image via The Living. Click to expand.]

“In the future, buildings will talk to one another.” So say The Living. Founded by David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang, New York based The Living have a practice that could perhaps best be described as techno-utopian open-sourced design. Seriously. That’s the best way to describe it. Their recent project in Seoul proves that, yes, it is possible to create forward-thinking architecture that is more useful and much more elegant than the multi-formal Prada Transformer in the same city. Living Light is a public pavilion that merges architecture with media and the graphic representation of data. In this case, the specific data relates to air quality in the South Korean Capital.


Bootlegging Volume


“The bootleg is a DIY format for assembling and disseminating work within a circle of hardcore fans…unlike a pirated copy or fake which tries to assume the identity of an authorized product and is motivated by a desire for profit, a bootleg announces itself as an improvised, illegitimate work and is largely motivated by a desire to share.”

Volume editor Jeffrey Inaba

Urban China Bootlegged by C-Lab for Volume is a “bootlegged” edition (obvs) of Volume #19, The Crisis Issue. The limited-edition project is produced for the New Museum exhibition Urban China: Informal Cities and was assembled in collaboration with Urban China. Articles include new translations of essays by Chinese writers and ruminations on topics such as Infrastructure in crisis, forced migration, and the conflation of heritage & humanitarianism. To set the mood, some quotes, bootlegged from issue #19’s essay “Space in Crisis” by Mark Wigley:

  • “Images of devastated buildings are the most eloquent and disturbing witnesses of disaster.”
  • “The role of emergency procedures is to maintain the limits of a particular space.”
  • “A crisis is the moment that the threat is not just inside the space but is actually an extreme challenge to the space itself, from the scale of an individual psyche or body in crisis to that of a family, an institution, a city, a region, a nation, or a planet. If an emergency is a threat within a system, a crisis is a threat to the whole system.”
  • “Crises always appear as the failure of a spatial system, a failure of architecture.”

The issue also includes some amazing photos depicting foreclosed homes taken by Todd Hido accompanying a particularly timely essay by Geoff Manaugh that paints today’s suburbs in an apocalyptic light recalling the final stanza of T.S. Eliot’s Hollow Men:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.