Here are couple pictures from our last tutorials. DS10 is back with some exciting experiments, models and diagrams for Brief01:Systems. From Lorna’s spiralhedrons to Sarah’s pyritohedron, Maria’s stalagtites to Charlotte’s Jitterbug, Garis’ curved folding to Tobias’ Rheotomic surfaces, students are exploring the mathematical, natural or biological system of their choice, both with physical and digital parametric models.
This is the very firs experiment I did in DS10, October 2012. Even if I was unable to find an architectural application, i still find the interference colour patterns to be beautiful images, so I’m posting them here, hoping they will inspire someone else.
Thin-film interference occurs when incident light waves reflected by the upper and lower boundaries of a thin film interfere with one another to form a new wave. Check out the wikepedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin-film_interference
The beginning of the 20th century, and more specifically, the interwar, witnessed many changes, especially technology wise, which, along with the economical climate of the time and the emerging social ideas, favored new political regimes and carved the way for visionaries to imagine new cities and new worlds.
The spirit of the machine age was becoming dominant, industry was beginning to shape the economy and advancements in the car industry (new engines and new tires were being developed at that time) started changing the way people lived.
At the same time the radio was taking shape, with the first broadcasting station being established in the US in 1920 and quickly spreading. In 1928 the radio beacon was invented, and by 1930 the radio was mainstream, providing people with cheap entertainment (the US were going to the Great Depression, radio was cheap and fun) and political powers with a great tool for propaganda. The TV was also invented in this period, with the electrical TV being discovered in 1927.
Politically, dictatorship was beginning to take shape.
Mussolini came to power in 1922, promoting a cult for personality and laying down the principles of the doctrine of fascism. Propaganda was one of his main tools, and the radio was a very good medium for doing this. He presented his ideas of idealism by imposing ideas of collective and hierarchy.
Shortly after, Germany was become Nazi Germany, with Hitler rising to power. Again, this was a regime were the power was centralized in the hands of the dictator, who, through propaganda, burning of books and controlling the radio, was controlling public opinion and the arts society. Needles to say, Hitler`s ideal society was one based on race, and homogeneity.
Russia was also seeing changes. Stalin rose to power and set the goal for a communist society. He promoted authoritarianism, a centralized state and collectivization. He saw the opportunity of the machine age and carved an industry based economy, reshaping the way Russian society was organized, both at a social level, and at a physical one, by promoting urbanization (villages were turned into cities).
Within this context, visionaries began responding.
We is a Russian dystopian novel first published in 1924 in New York.
Set in the future, the novel depicts an urbanized setting constructed entirely by glass, which allows the secret political police to supervise the public with ease. Life is organized in such a way as to promote maximum production in a system were the power is centralized in the hands of one person, The Benefactor. Principles of egalitarianism are promoted, the people not having names but numbers, and all wearing identical clothing. The only form of entertainment for the society is the marching in forms, while listening to the State Anthem.
However, the novel is a criticism of an organized dystopia, tackling the theme of the rebellion of the human primitive spirit against a rationalized, machined world. This is apparent from the plot, which is centered around the love story between the two main characters, who play with the idea of a revolution.
In his satire, Zamytian had in mind the Soviet Union, which at that time was a single party dictatorship. Future conditions depicted in the novel might also have been informed by Mussolini`s incipient fascist order. Even thought at that time life in the U.S.S.R. wasn`t exactly as depicted in the novel, Zamytian tackled the inevitable outcome of modern totalitarianism.
A center piece in sci fi literature, We has influenced future works, such as George Orwell`s 1984, which depicts a very similar scenario.
Brave New World
Brave New World is a novel published in 1932 and a milestone in modern Sci Fi. The novel anticipates changes in society through developments in reproductive technology, psychological manipulation, classical conditioning and sleep-learning.
Similar to We, the society depicted in this novel is a manipulated one, but, in this instance, it is so by the use of chemically controlled substances and hypnotic persuasion, rather than brute force.
Huxley used his novels as a means to express widely held opinions of that time., probably the most notable one being the fear of the loss of identity in a fast paced world. He feared that no one would want to read a book and that society would be given so much information that it would be reduced to passivity and egotism.
A trip which Huxley made to New York gave the novel much of its essence. Huxley was outraged by the youth culture, by the sexual promiscuity and by the commercial cheeriness he had witnessed. In his novel, he talks about “feelies”, which seem to be a response to “talkie” motion pictures (talking television was invented by Warner Bros at that time) and the sex-hormone chewing gum, which draws parallels to the ubiquitous chewing gum, which was a symbol of American youth at that time.
In response to the same political and technological context, Corbusier proposed his plans for Ville Radieuse, or the Radiant City.
The Radiant City was Corbusier`s ideal for a utopia which would respond to the world`s rapid development of that time.
Centered around rapid urbanization (specifically present in Russia at that time), advancements in transportation and industry, Corbusier`s ideas depicted high rise housing blocks, free circulation and abundant green spaces. Corbusier also believed that only a dictatorial government would be equipped to inaugurate the “age of harmony”, following the opposing values of benevolent imperialism and community control from European and English perspectives respectively.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Broadacre City is a concept for suburban living presented By Frank Lloyd Wright in his 1932 book The Dissapearing City. Is stood as a planning statement, as well as a socio-political scheme by which each American family would be allocated an Acre of land and a new community would be built based on this. Wright depicts a community were all transport would be done by automobile and the pedestrian can exist safely only within the allocated one acre. This proposal was again a decentralized one, with the homestead considered the conceptual center.
Following on from talks of ‘Robots of Brixton‘, Factory 15 have recently been commissioned by Ninja Tune and the Creators Project to produce one of their artists new music videos. The Bug, depicts a totalitarian future city reminiscent of a current day cross between Nineteen Eighty-Four and Minority Report. Set in a landscape combining some of London’s brutalist architecture with imaginative computer generated skyscrapers, it’s concept develops from the collapse of our consumerist society in which we are knowingly living our lives unsustainable within a system which only caters for the 1%.
Ron Resch, a visionary mathematician and designer, one of the first to explore the architectural potential of 3D tessellated structures in the 1960’s and 70’s. Amazing work!
A hopper crystal is a distinctive growth pattern that occurs in certain natural elements, including Bismuth, Galena, Gold, and Halite (salt). Hoppering occurs when electrical attraction is higher along the edges of the crystal, this causes faster growth at the edges than near the face centers. This attraction draws the mineral molecules more strongly than the interior sections of the crystal, thus the edges develop more quickly. This results in what appears to be a hollowed out step lattice formation, as if someone had removed interior sections of the individual crystals.
For Bismuth, the variations in the thickness of the oxide layer that forms on the surface of the crystal causes different wavelengths of light to interfere upon reflection, thus displaying a rainbow of colors. The spiral, stair-stepped structure of bismuth crystals is the result of a higher growth rate around the outside edges than on the inside edges.
Surrounded nowadays by so much science fiction material in the form of print or movies, it is often hard to think of the beginnings of SF as a popular genre. And it’s even harder to believe that this popularity was mainly the result of only one man’s efforts, some 90 years ago.
Hugo Gernsback, a Luxembourgian entrepreneur and inventor, emigrated to the United States in 1904 to market his inventions on a land where everything seemed possible. Fascinated by technology and gadgetry, he gradually became more and more interested in the possibilities that the new inventions like radio and telephone could offer in the future. He started gathering material for something at that time was still unheard of, a publication for the so-called ‘scientification’.
In 1908 Gernsback started publishing “Modern Electrics”, a magazine that would inform the public on the latest innovations in technology and spark a wider interest into electronics. For the next five years Gernsback was opening his own pathway to SF. He felt this type of publication should contribute to the knowledge and understanding of science itself.
In 1913 he changed the name of his magazine to “Electrical Experimenter” and started including ‘scientific fiction’ alongside science articles, including his first SF novel, one which was to become a key work of reference for future SF writers: “Ralph 124C41+”, published as a book in 1925.
Often considered of low literary merit, the book is more of a systemised enumeration of future gadgetry than a story-teller: the eponymous protagonist saves the life of the heroine Alice by directing a flow of energy remotely at an approaching avalanche and then taking her into space on his own “space flyer”. This simple plot is used by the author to suggest a future that combines the entirely plausible and the bizarrely far-fetched. He predicts numerous later day inventions and innovations including: accelerated plant growing farms, elecromobyles, space-flyers, solar panels, the radar, television and channel surfing, the video phone, transcontinental air services and synthetic foods.
There are also predictions not yet fulfilled: the hyperbyscope – a sleep learning device, the menograph – a device that can record a persons’ thoughts, the permagatol – a gas that preserves organic mater indefinitely, vacation city – a domed city suspended 20,000 feet in the air using a device that nullifies gravity.
The book did not receive the deserved level of attention at the time, but it was for Hugo Gernsback only a step towards accomplishing his long term plan. On April 1926 he published the first magazine devoted entirely to science fiction: “Amazing Stories”. It was an immediate success, its purpose being to stimulate minds into pursuing scientific enquiry.
Starting off with reprints of renown stories by Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe, it quickly gathered a strong readership base and original stories were being commissioned. With eye-catching covers and illustration by the talented Frank R. Paul and printed on relatively inexpensive pulp, it became one of the most popular magazines of the 1920s. It was in one of its issues that Hugo (re)coined the term ‘science fiction’. The main fascination lied with technological advancements and space exploration, often sparked by the most recent scientific discoveries.
After 1929, the publication changed hands several times and as the diversity and complexity of the SF genre increased, the importance of this magazine fell proportionately. However Hugo Gernsback is still considered, along with John W. Campbell, one of the most influential SF editors in history, having shaped the way in which much of the genre would be understood in the 20th century. This is one of the reasons why the most prestigious awards in SF literature is still named in his honour.