Situated Technologies: Beneath and Beyond Big Data | April 28

In 2006, the Architectural League partnered with Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz and Mark Shepard to organize a three-day symposium to explore the implications of situated technologies and ubiquitous computing on the built environment, to encourage architects and designers to contribute more aggressively to the development of these devices and systems, and to interrogate their potential futures. Over the past six years, the conversations started at “Architecture and Situated Technologies” have been continued and enhanced in a nine-part Situated Technologies Pamphlet Series, the final issue of which was released this month (see the complete list of titles and authors below), and the 2009 exhibition Toward the Sentient City, which presented five newly-commissioned projects examining the intersection between these technologies, architecture and urban space (find more information about the projects and watch interviews with the commissioned teams here).

Image © Michael Wolf/Bruce Silverstein Gallery

This Saturday, April 28th, the League is celebrating the publication of the final pamphlet with the half-day symposium “Situated Technologies: Beneath and Beyond Big Data.” Many of the contributors to the first six years of the project will convene to “address current issues surrounding situated technologies and the increasing entanglement of data, technology, and the built environment, and attempt to identify future trajectories for their evolution.” The afternoon includes:

A conversation between pamphlet authors Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis, moderated by Trebor Scholz, addressing the redefinition of privacy in the age of big data and the networked, geo-spatial environment, and questioning the implications for the construction of contemporary subjectivity.

Presentations of case studies on open data and the process of making data public by Usman HaqueNatalie JeremijenkoLaura Kurgan, and Mark Shepard, focusing on distributed sensing initiatives and contrasting them with centralized programs managed by government agencies.

And a discussion between Philip Beesley, David BenjaminLaura Forlano, and Omar Khan about the challenges of developing data literacy among the next generation of architects, addressing these issues through an expanded architectural curriculum for the 21st century.

Tickets are free for League members and students with current IDs, or are available for purchase for $20. The symposium will take place at the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union from 2:00-5:00pm. Details:

Situated Technologies: Beneath and Beyond Big Data
A symposium with Philip Beesley, David Benjamin, Laura Forlano, Usman Haque, Natalie Jeremijenko, Omar Khan, Laura Kurgan, Helen Nissenbaum, Trebor Scholz, Mark Shepard, and Kazys Varnelis
Saturday, April 28, 2012
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union
41 Cooper Square
3 AIA and New York State CEUs
Presented by the Architectural League; co-sponosred by Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.
More details, including how to reserve or buy tickets, can be found on

The afternoon is sure to pose important and evocative questions, for both the neophyte and the expert, about the future of our urban environment. For those interested in brushing up on the subject matter before the event, we suggest you watch podcasts from the 2006 conference, look back at the projects presented in Toward the Sentient City, or read the Situated Technologies Pamphlet Series, all available for download at or purchase at

Urban Computing and Its Discontents
by Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard

Urban Versioning System 1.0
by Matthew Fuller and Usman Haque

Situated Advocacya double issue featuring
“Community Wireless Networks as Situated Advocacy” by Laura Forlano and Dharma Dailey, and “Suspicious Images, Latent Interfaces” by Benjamin Bratton and Natalie Jeremijenko

Responsive Architecture/Performing Instruments
by Philip Beesley and Omar Khan

A Synchronicity: Design Fictions for Asynchronous Urban Computing
by Julian Bleecker and Nicolas Nova

by Hans Frei and Marc Böhlen

From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City
by Trebor Scholz and Laura Y. Liu

The Internet of People for a Post-Oil World
by Christian Nold and Rob van Kranenburg

Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects
by Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis


The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.