Quantitative Aesthetics: The Environment as a Signal

This course will explore the application of digital media and computational techniques in analysing the sensible aspects of our environment in both their spatial and temporal dimensions and developing designs that are consistent responses to such an analysis. Architectural design is a response to or an interpretation of a specific context and often begins by an assessment of different aspect of its context involving acquisition of large amounts of digital data (photos, ambient sound recordings, videos etc…). In this course we’ll attempt to systematize the acquisition and interpretation of digital information related to design problems and more specifically to the aesthetic and perceptual aspects of it.
Students will be required to develop a method for the quantitative analysis of particular sensible characteristics in a specific place and then propose and construct a site specific intervention/installation that functions as a form of protest within the chosen context.
The theme is protest aesthetics. More specifically we’ll look into how to consistently create an intervention/installation (acoustic, visual or physical) that counters specific sensible spatial and temporal aspects of its context.Central to this approach will be a speculative marriage between Jacque Ranciere’s aesthetic-political concept of “the distribution of the sensible” and Shannon’s information theory. As a reference we’ll be using the Russian avant-guard art of the early 20th century (El lissitzky’s installations, Klutsis Propaganda machines)
In terms of implementation the students will be introduced to digital sound, image and data analysis tools and techniques such as computer vision that will help us assess the information content of our environment (like openCV) and Frequency analysis and filtering of temporal phenomena.