Computation Lectures

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Fall 2017

Computing Landscapes: Imaginative Mapping and Environmental RepresentationOrganized by Moa Carlsson, PhD Candidate with Professor Terry Knight

Art and instrumentality have long been part of the study and design of landscapes. Construed as a dynamic nexus with social, perceptual, and physical dimensions, landscapes are interrogated through instruments that take many forms: maps, drawings, paintings, computer programs, rulesets, texts, and most importantly, the imagination. Modelling dynamic scenarios requires technical precision and compelling representational skills, but may also involve pretense and visual trickery. The Computing Landscapes series explores the act of seeing, imagining and representing the world geographically, and attempts to study dynamic scenarios through (digital or non-digital) simulation models. Collectively, invited speakers will address questions such as: How can computational processes be designed to allow for unfolding discoveries? What roles can human agency play in technologically-mediated simulation? How can artistic and visual inquiry inform data driven processes, or vice versa?

Sep 15, 2017 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Mapping for machines, by machines is big business. Yet mapping’s artificial intelligences also have the potential to transform myriad design and research areas, to influence policy-making and governance, to support environmental preservation and public health – and, in the process, to pose critical questions about how our cartographic technologies conceptualize and operationalize space.

Oct 27, 2017 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

We live in a world where much of what we know about things is affected by the manner in which those things are represented in digital form.  In fact, our interaction with that world itself in increasingly influenced by the manner in which it is seen through through the eyes of geospatial technology.

Nov 3, 2017 - 5:30pm

Mapping technologies occupy a curious status in society. Profoundly, they are objects of publicity that translate the real world and our being within it. At the same time, they are objective, the products of technicians, expertise, science. This lecture addresses one such recent development in mapping -- geodesign -- to better understand its origins and operative regime, in three parts. First, I develop the notion that maps proceed as retentional techniques, drawing out recent critiques of the ordering of human life around an attention economy.

Nov 17, 2017 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

In discourses about design, computation often operates ambivalently both as a reference to concrete technologies, and as an epistemic template for generative, descriptive, or analytical aspirations. Tracing early disclosures of this productive ambivalence, this talk will reflect on two artifacts from the history of Computer-Aided Design. The first is the “Plex,” a theoretical construct developed by mathematician Douglas Ross in the mid 1950s, which helped steer early CAD research and foreshadowed object orientation.