Mark Shepard: The Sentient City
MIT Media Lab [E14], 6th Floor, Room 633, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA
Mark Shepard will give a lecture entitled Pathetic Fallacies and Category Mistakes: making sense and nonsense of the (near-future) Sentient City: As computing leaves the desktop and spills out onto the sidewalks, streets and public spaces of the city, we increasingly find information processing capacity embedded within and distributed throughout the material fabric of everyday urban space. Artifacts and systems we interact with daily collect, store and process information about us, or are activated by our movements and transactions. Ubiquitous computing evangelists herald a coming age of urban infrastructure capable of sensing and responding to the events and activities transpiring around them. Imbued with the capacity to remember, correlate and anticipate, this near-future “sentient” city is envisioned as being capable of reflexively monitoring its environment and our behavior within it, becoming an active agent in the organization of everyday life in urban public space. This talk will unpack some of the tacit assumptions, latent biases and hidden agendas at play behind new and emerging urban infrastructures.
Mark Shepard is an artist, architect and researcher whose post-disciplinary practice addresses new social spaces and signifying structures of contemporary network cultures. His current research investigates the implications of mobile and pervasive media, communication and information technologies for architecture and urbanism. His work has been exhibited at museums, galleries and festivals internationally. In 2009, he curated Toward the Sentient City, an exhibition of commissioned projects that critically explored the evolving relationship between ubiquitous computing and the city. He is the editor of Sentient City: ubiquitous computing, architecture and the future of urban space, published by the Architectural League of New York and MIT Press.