we are all part of the greater system - sustainability in china

April 30th, 2008 by Natsuko Kikutake

This project is an attempt to physically portray the complexity of the issues of sustainability in China — one of the largest growing socio-political entities in the world. While China has encountered rapid social and economic developments in the past few decades, these changes have come at a price. Income disparity has widened while pollution has increased to the level of human health threat. The triple bottom line of sustainability [environment, social equity, and economy] is threatened at many levels becoming a major Zone of Emergency. This project educates the visitors by physically portraying and exposing the complexity of the issue of sustainability through a visual display of network system of relevant actors. The final participatory element of the piece poses a query to the visitors regarding the issue of sustainability in China.

Natsuko Kikutake


Online Camera Obscura: Reflections of Uncertainty

April 30th, 2008 by Allison Roberts

project website: http://web.mac.com/als.roberts/Camera_Obscura

While standing in a camera obscura, reality, perception, illusion and appearance become questioned: how information is passed along and made visual is the ultimate degeneration of passed along information and a misplacing of origin.

Truth vs. Fiction. Just like on the internet.

By Installing a portable camera obscura that is utilized by cross sections of the public, a metaphor is established between the camera and Internet as an unreliable archive.

These archives hold memories, searches for memories, truths, facts and fictions: often in real time, often in collision with one another.

The camera is placed in high traffic locations and advertised to peak interest. Viewer participation is encouraged by inviting the public to digitally photograph once inside the camera obscura and post these photographs to an online gallery.


April 30th, 2008 by Lauren McCarthy

The driving interest for this work is the study of the intersection of virtual and physical life. As technology continues to advance, the boundary between the two becomes less clear. This project aims to explore this boundary by examining it through the lenses of online social networking and gym culture. These two trends, one virtual and one physical, share several interesting correlations, and also some cause for concern.

By bringing online social networking and gym culture together through interventions that address both spaces, I question our interaction with each, and the mediation of the two.

Add the Gym Buff application to your facebook page here! apps.facebook.com/gym-buff



April 29th, 2008 by Adam Kumpf

TELLeyeVISION examines the response to popular user-generated video and contrasts the nature of text-based commentary with the realtime reactions of viewers’ eyes. These two elements are combined and replayed synchronously with the original video on a large-scale wall projection; inviting a meta level conversation about human expressivity in the online context which often distills complex interpersonal dialog down to one-line snippets and retorts.

Adam Kumpf :: http://kumpf.media.mit.edu/4.381/telleyevision.html

FEMA Trailer to arrive at MIT on April 30

April 29th, 2008 by Amber Frid-Jimenez

Tomorrow, April 30th, a FEMA Trailer will arrive at MIT. Working with undergraduate and graduate students at MIT, Visual Arts Program Visiting Lecturer Jae Rhim Lee will research and develop tools to understand the history and issues surrounding the FEMA Trailer and use this understanding to transform the trailer into a vehicle that can address disasters critically.

Ntone Edjabe on Chimurenga

April 29th, 2008 by Amber Frid-Jimenez

Ntone Edjabe speaks about the recently published edition of Chimurenga at the Zones of Emergency event A Conversational Revolution? His work addresses the absence of local literature, poetry, and voices of the young and the poor in post-liberation Africa. In his talk “Chimurenga, Felasophy and the Quest for Lightness in the New South Africa,” he describes the complex ways in which musician and activist Fela Kuti, aka Felasophy, resisted the military state of post-colonial Nigeria.

tell me something…i want to help

April 29th, 2008 by Lauren Mackler

by Lauren Mackler

Zone of Emergency: feeling close/feeling connected/feeling lonely.

New technologies and web based forums are provoking shifts in our social dynamics. Relationships that are being made between people on the web are based on the absence of the other. In this way the relationship is anonymous almost narcissistic (as if the reflective plane of the monitor was a mirror.)

Absence, dependance and loneliness are inherent to this exchange. The zone of emergency that I choose to define in this context is therefore “feeling close/feeling connected/feeling lonely,” the way the single anonymous individual navigates the
decentralized community.

Tell Me Something… I want to help, is an online project which invites the public to write a small text about how they are feeling, a request or a cry for help. These texts are posted in a cloud of postings and can be responded to (again by the public) by uploading an image or gif. This project aims to encourage action, at a private or public level.

the site was launched twice, once by invitation to my friends and family


and once through a posting on craigslist missed connections


Student Projects from Networks, Tactics, Breakdown

April 28th, 2008 by Kate Hollenbach

Students from the Networks, Tactics, Breakdown courses at MIT and RISD will be writing posts about their term projects on the Zones of Emergency blog this week. Their projects explore the cultural, social, political, and economic impact of mediated communication in zones of emergency. More information about a public exhibition of student work is coming soon.

Ntone Ejabe + Trebor Scholz on A Conversational Revolution? in the Joan Jonas Performance Hall

April 22nd, 2008 by Amber Frid-Jimenez

Ntone Edjabe and Trebor Scholz

Next Monday, April 28, 2008, Ntone Edjabe and Trebor Scholz will join Zones of Emergency.

DJ, musician, and editor Ntone Edjabe will speak about his work with Chimurenga, a pan African journal of writing, art and politics in a presention entitled “Chimurenga, Felasophy and the Quest for Lightness in the New South Africa.” In his presentation “What the MySpace generation should know about working for free,” Trebor Scholz reveals the complex dynamics of labor on the Social Web where masses of Internet gift-givers are exploited and empowered at the same time. Scholz explores the tension between the pleasures of online sociality (entertainment, friendships, jobs, mentorship) and its pains (breach of the social contract, free labor, spam, data mining, entrapment of community) in order to encourage online socialites to detourn the complex power dynamics of the Web from within.

Conversation between Thierry Nlandu, Marjetica Potrc, Ute Meta Bauer

April 22nd, 2008 by Amber Frid-Jimenez

The contrast between Thierry Nlandu’s and Marjetica Potrc’s approaches made this conversation particularly intriguing. Thierry focused on building dialog and critique within the community about the larger democratic system within which the citizens are a part. He points out that while a large number of the participants in his program are illiterate, all participants have the most important skills needed to participate in democracy, that is the ability to “see, judge, and act.” Marjetica Potrc, on the other hand, focused on the ways in which communities fragment or “pixelate” finding alternative configurations outside of larger governing structures.