SENTIENT CITY SURVIVAL KIT
MARK SHEPARD (USA)
FRI 22.06.12 - SAT 08.09.12
The Sentient City Survival Kit is a collection of artifacts for survival in the near-future sentient city. Information processing capacity is increasingly embedded within and distributed throughout the material fabric of urban space. Throughout the course of our daily routines we pass through transit systems, paying fares using cards enabled by tag technology. We coordinate meeting times and places on the run via SMS text messaging. We cluster in cafes and parks where WiFi is free. We’re granted (or denied) access to streets through retractable barricades activated by surveillance cameras augmented by computer vision software.
Business interests and government agencies tend to drive these technological developments, which in turn define the new forms of consumption, control and management that emerge. Less invested in the business of forecasting future trends in technology and urban life, the artifacts in the Sentient City Survival Kit serve more as rhetorical devices rooted in the present around which we might structure a conversation about just what kind of future we might want. Conceived of as an archaeology not of the contemporary past, but of a possible future, they invoke a society yet to exist through fragments and traces of its technological milieu.
BIO: Mark Shepard is an artist, architect and researcher whose practice investigates the implications of mobile and pervasive media, communication and information technologies for architecture and urbanism. Projects include the Sentient City Survival Kit and the Tactical Sound Garden [TSG], an open source software platform for cultivating virtual sound gardens in urban public space. Shepard’s work has been shown internationally and in 2009 he curated Toward the Sentient City. He has published widely on the future of urban space and is Associate Professor of Architecture and Media Study at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.