Agency & the Multifaceted Stories of Hybrid Places.

MONU: Magazine ON Urbanism (Rotterdam)
Issue 20: Geographical Urbanism (2014)

Every city tells a unique story, and geographic elements intermingle with the urban environment to become an identity-conferring force. Perhaps tracing the identity of a place back to its constituent parts may show something of the way that these hybrid environments weave their own narratives. This article uses tools from cognitive science (conceptual blending and semiotics) to give a simple and accessible reading of the story of hybrid geographical urbanism, stopping along the way to see how viewpoint (spectator and participant), scale, landform ontology and narrative change how people think about their environment, providing a cognitive basis for the relevance of geography to urban experience.


Hacking Remoteness Through Viewpoint & Cognition

KERB: Journal of Landscape Architecture (Melbourne)
Issue 22: Remoteness (2014)

Since spatial remoteness is hard to come by, we can reverse engineer the concept of remoteness and find simple ways of assembling the built environment to evoke a sensation of remoteness that has the cognitive effect of the real thing. Using two designed situations (an experiment and an exhibit) we will see that this viewpoint provides a simple path for hacking into various subtypes of remoteness that we experience in landscape, specifically remote views through spectatorship, temporal remoteness (geologic traces of the distant past) and a sort of artificial remoteness (achieved through spatial disorientation). Finally, lessons learned from these brief case studies will suggest a process for designing remoteness in the practice of landscape architecture.


Hack the Experience: New Tools for Artists from Cognitive Science

Brainstorm Books (imprint of Punctum Books & University of California, Santa Barbara)

The core argument of this book is that art is a form of cognitive engineering and that the physical environment (or objects in the physical environment) can be shaped to maximize emotional and sensory experience. Many types of art will benefit from this handbook (because cognition is pervasive in our experience of art), but it is particularly relevant to immersive experiential works such as installations, participatory/interactive environments, performance art, curatorial practice, architecture and landscape architecture, complex durational works, and works requiring new models of documentation. These types of work benefit from the empirical findings of cognitive science because intentionally leveraging basic human cognition in artworks can give participants new ways of seeing the world that are cognitively relevant. This leveraging process provides a new layer in the construction of conceptually grounded works.

What Kind of Rock Is This?

What Kind of Rock Is This?

What a feat we humans have performed by creating objects that appear to be rocks! Roughly textured, gravelly, numerous, inconspicuous, and everyday, these “rocks” blend in with the environment despite the fact that they come from industrial processes as by-products and waste materials. You can walk through many industrial and post-industrial towns and find things that look like rocks which are not rocks in the traditional sense of the word. You can even find these “rocks” outside of the city in farm fields and around the foundations of buildings built afterthe Industrial Revolution. This short booklet will help you to identify some of these “rocks” and will help you understand the ecological context that created them. This booklet is full of tips for collecting, cataloging, and identifying anthropogenic rocks, and includes full-color specimen images and descriptions.