Archive for March, 2008

Tad Hirsch on Activist Infrastructure

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Tad Hirsch spoke about Dialup Radio, a tool that delivers human rights and independent media via telephone. Currently Dialup Radio is being developed for the citizens of Zimbabwe, but the system has been designed to meet the needs of human rights activists around the world. This project is one example of what Tad calls “activist infrastructure” drawing on his knowledge of technology, system design, and his experience working with human rights and non-governmental organizations. Like Mako’s voting machine for the masses, Tad’s projects show the power of artists, technologists and policy makers working together towards projects that can effect lasting social and political change.

Border Matters, Critical Design - Tad Hirsch and a film by Amar Kanwar

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Border Matters, Critical Design

Border Matters, Critical Design will explore infrastructure in border areas and design applications for underserved communities. How can critical design practice and technology generate new paradigms and alternative approaches to policy and planning? Tonight Tad Hirsch will give a talk about several projects in local areas and abroad, in Zimbabwe, that use mobile phones to create alternative socio-technical infrastructures for activism and empowerment. We will also screen A Season Outside, a short film by Amar Kanwar, who will join Zones of Emergency on May 5, 2008.

David Small on the Power of Display, the “Look” of Emergencies

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

David Small’s talk highlighted his collaboration with British Architect David Adjaye to design four large scale installations for the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo.

Natalie Jeremijenko and the Urban Space Station

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Natalie Jeremijenko is giving a talk in the Bartos Theater at the Media Lab today at 5:30pm. The Urban Space Station explores the question of coping with the uncertainty of climate change.  Natalie Jeremijenko is an artist whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering. Here’s a description about the questions she address in her project:

What would a bomb/fallout shelter for the climate crisis be like?  Shelters were an exceptional practice, erected quickly by the civic sector, and a very local response to an uncertain collective threat. They remain as icons of a sort of the mobilization that achieved with the urgency and exceptional conditions of the war, and provide a comparison to the contemporary civic responses climate crisis (such as change your lightbulb, drive at the speed limit, buy local lettuce). Who designed, built, funded, and deployed those shelters, for whom, and what would one look like now, one that addressed the contemporary threats?

“La Frontera” The Mexicano Adaptive Landscape of the Borderlands

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Ute Meta Bauer, co-director of the Zones of Emergency lecture series, will be on a panel at Harvard (Stubbins, Room 112) on March 20 from 11:30-2:30. She will be reflecting on InSite2005. Moises Gonzales, who will be joining us at ZOE next Monday (3/17), will be moderating this discussion about border issues with Luis Sigueros, Ruben Martinez and Teddy Cruz.

The Mexican – United States borderlands have sustained several hundred years of human settlements and transformation of the natural landscape.  In the midst of political, social, economic, and environmental challenges, “mexicanos” have continued to adapt to the natural and built environment of both northern Mexico and the American southwest.  This forum will explore the transformation adaptive landscape of “La Frontera”.

Purple Blurb

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Today, March 11, Purple Blurb will host a presentation of non-fiction stories - instances of digital testimony that are relevant to our current situation and current wars. Ben Miller, author and lecturer in MIT’s Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies will present Soldier’s Story Archive. The event is at 14N-233 at MIT at 6pm.

David Small + John Tirman

Sunday, March 9th, 2008


Please come tomorrow night, March 10th, to The Power of Display: The ‘Look’ of Emergency. David Small of Small Design Firm and John Tirman will be speaking about their projects in relation to the aesthetic and social issues that arise as a result of communicating and representing emergency situations. Small Design Firm was chosen to design four large scale installations for the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. John Tirman, the Executive Director of MIT’s Center for International Studies, will speak about Iraq: The Human Cost.

Mark Tribe on Networks, Tactics and Reenactment

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Last week Mark Tribe spoke at ZOE about net art, tactics, and political reenactment. He reminds us that while emergencies require urgent intervention and immediate action, a state of emergency “can also be used as a rationale for suspending civil liberties.”

Benjamin Mako Hill on Disasters + Free Software

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

A good friend from the MIT Media Lab, Benjamin Mako Hill joined us last week to talk about the importance of free software in disaster response management. He described Sahana, a system deployed during the aftermath of the tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2005, pointing out that often a free and decentralized method for creating and deploying technology can be more effective than a closed response driven by economic interest. I find this overview particularly helpful in understanding the power of this approach. Mako also touched on Selectricity, an online voting machine or the masses that he designed while doing his Masters at MIT.

Antarctica: Lucy + Jorge Orta

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Lucy + Jorge Orta

Lucy + Jorge Orta have a show opening on April 7 at 7pm at Hangar Bicocca, Milan, Italy. On the same date, Mel Chin will be speaking here for the Zones of Emergency series.

In the spring of 2007, Lucy + Jorge Orta completed their expedition to Antarctica as part of an artistic project on this frozen continent. It was both a real and a symbolic journey to the edge of the world, living in an extreme environment under the severest survival conditions. Antarctica curated by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, is the artists’ first major solo exhibition in Italy at the Hangar Bicocca (3rd April to 8th June 2008) and represents the first complete and organic public showing of the artworks created by the artists as a result of their experience in Antarctica.

Off limits to military activity and protected as an ecosystem, the Antarctic contains 70% of the planet’s fresh water reserves. For the artists Antarctic Village – No Borders signifies an emblem of a future in which true globalisation will mean a more equitable redistribution of resources, freedom of movement and right to exist for the people of the world.

On exhibition are the emblematic dome architectures that composed the Antarctic Village actually installed in Antarctica, as well new Drop Parachutes, Survival Kits and the dual screen video projection of their expedition. Visitors entering the Hangar Bicocca will receive their Antarctic World Passport, a passport edition created by the artists as a symbol for the eradication of all borders, real or imaginary, as obstacles to integration and cultural exchange.

The exhibition is also an occasion for presenting other major works created by the artists, addressing social, environmental and humanitarian issues: mobility, population migration, climate crisis and human rights.

Antarctica is the focus of a hardback publication by Electa on Lucy + Jorge Orta’s art practice, with texts in both Italian and English.