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Featured Artist: Aurelia Friedland

by: Aurelia Friedland

THESIS SUMMARY

This, That, and the Others explores a possible method for Unconditional Programming, where expanded structures might facilitate the ongoing evolution of conditional relationships–beyond the if/thens to the how so’s.

Stop motion animation films developed in Google SketchUp simulate the possibilities, exposing universal grammars based in rhythm and pattern (traffic light colors determined by the patterns of passing cars, a subway system driven by the rhythm of passing ocean waves, and a light bulb linked to nearby building lights among others).

We’re exposed daily to a dense network of overlapping systems: roadways cutting across flat desert expanses, the domino effect of traffic lights, and airplanes lining up like marathon runners.

The structures (both physical and computational) which underlie our engineered landscapes inherit the conditional nature of the tools and frameworks with which we design them. This is the paradoxical responsibility of the structural designer: developing structure for dynamic needs (of information, programs, architecture, policy, planning…). How might designed structures facilitate ongoing participation and subjective experience? Perhaps there is possibility in ubiquity, yet it is important to strive for more than just one new standard, but rather new methods for supporting
dynamic development- emphasizing adaptability over efficiency, and “big picture thinking” over “the next big thing”.

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EDITOR’S NOTE

For the sake of brevity, the editors have selected a sample of work to present here. 337 ; SURFIN’ THE MTA is one program from Aurelia’s thesis project This, That, and The Others. Additionally,
other images from series [110 ; Pink_Means_Go] and [220 ; Plane Time] highlight the scope of unconditional solutions she presents while isolating the poetic resonance of her visual body of work. Readers are encouraged to browse freely or follow the program to see what overlaps.

UNCONDITIONAL PROGRAMMING

The aspiration for a method of expansive, dynamic, and inclusive structural development has informed considerations of a 5-step process for Unconditional Programming:

1/5: Expand

2/5: Build

3/5: Run

4/5: Array

5/5: Data

PROGRAM 337; (Surfin’_the_MTA)

Although ocean tides and train systems may seem logically to belong to opposing categories (natural and technological), the Expansion process (1/5: 337 _e;(expanded structures)) reveals that that they share similar base characteristics within their systematic composition: traveling across space (this could be considered a function), and of doing so in regular intervals (frequency).

EXAMPLE

4/5: 337_a; (array of perspectives) suggests how this might affect participant experience: character_1; (The Toe in the Sand)

You feel the heat of the sun on your back, and so you turn to toast the other side/You lean your elbow against the sand soaked beach chair and tilt your hat to field off the strong waves of an Indian summer/You look over to say so, but they’re fast asleep/ You push yourself up, leaving a small wake of sand in their hair despite your best efforts, and walk up to the coastline/You dip your toe just beyond the blue line, and watch the ripples of sea foam extend like a rush past each of your small toes, and at last extending past you/You count along with them as they pass: 1. . 2. .3. . 4. .

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Although developed with a speculative design perspective in mind, each step has raised considerations which could inform existing and emerging (as well as those which have not yet conceived of) disciplines, movements, and trends, including: big picture design research methodologies (viewing a broad scope of systems), low-tech programming, digital aesthetics, modular programming, computational architecture, ubiquitous computing, collage culture, maker culture data literacy, information design, natural philosophy, conceptual interactions, evolutionary linguistics, code typography, etc.

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