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Tom Vanderbilt on Pixelated Architecture

"...The screen, along with the skyscraper, has for some time been one of the particular features of Asian modernity. The screen-centric vision of Los Angeles famously depicted by Ridley Scott in Blade Runner (1982) was, the director has noted, inspired by his time in 1960s Hong Kong, a paradoxical city whose pulsating electronic skyline overlooked a harbor, as Scott has described, filled with nineteenth-century fishing junks. But those screens were merely static vehicles for the transmission of commercial messages, mechanical upgrades of an older public-advertising tradition. What is most interesting about the screens I found in Seoul was that they were not merely architectural appendages broadcasting messages but architecture itself; not simply vehicles for delivering one-way information to a passive public but an active layer of the city's matrices of networks. To stand on a street was to stand on a street of a hundred screens, and by "screens" I mean the external manifestation—the collective user-interface—of the unseen digital flow pulsing down that same street, invisible but as much a part of the city experience as the concrete of the sidewalks..." From Circuit City: Tom Vanderbilt on Pixelated Architecture, Artforum.

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