Social Networking

Return to Catalog

Whales, Trees, Disease

Mandala 1

Mandala 2

Mandala 3

Mandala 4

Mandala 5

Mandala 6

Social Networking

Residing at the interstices of the graphic and built, the flat and dimensional, Aesop* — the (un)territory — explores concepts of pattern and permutation to (re)envision the urban weft.

By conceptualizing the physical city as an aggregation of ossified artifacts and connections, it is possible to arrive at a new paradigm for the urban environment based on the simple processes of patterning and repetition. Using recorded datasets as inputs, Aesop* generates a series of infinitely fluctuating assemblages. Each permutation emerges by tagging individual elements and revealing their multiple connections based on a system of relative weights and proximity. The aggregation of these simple, discrete connections generates a pseudo-structural lattice that becomes the foundational formwork for the conceptualized city.

Aesop* eschews the formal language of the city (utilities, subway, street, neighborhood, etc.) as organizing principles to generate a new urban archetype. It is therefore not beholden to preconceived notions of form or to the formal constraints of physical interaction. Aesop* begins by creating a tag cloud and proceeds to enable connections across disparate fields. Drawing on commonalities rather than narrative structures, Aesop* does not progress in linear fashion: it grows organically and nonlinearly based on attribute data and interest. Gleaning information from a wide array of sources (earthquake deaths, household energy use, flu incidence, animal migration and local flora etc.), Aesop* makes unlikely but compelling associations and discerns links among disparate but like-minded nodes. Aggregations of these relationships lead to the creation of neighborhoods and nodes that provide points of convergence. Ultimately, the multiple connections between nodes create a thickened matrix with varying areas of openness and legibility. The inclusion of raw data into this process of periodic permutation generates variants to the underlying template or set of instructions that organize the repeating elements. The result is a simultaneous cityscape, abstract topology and pure pattern—an (un)territory.

The composite maps generated by Aesop* present a case for the scalability and agility of distributive networks in the urban environment. Communication and relationships flow not to and from a central node or system but across individual nodes in an aggregate and their diverse systems of connectivity. Transformations within the network are discrete and tactical and hence easy to execute. The robustness and versatility of the configuration resides in the abundance of overlaps and intersections between short connections. The topologies generated by Aesop* question the idea of the core and periphery as organizing principle and favor loosely organized nodes and compact neighborhoods. In contrast to hierarchical infrastructures the agility and the adjustable resolution of Aesop*’s assemblage extend and modify dynamically and discontinuously. The underlying logic of drawing discrete, seemingly unapparent relations paradoxically presents the possibility of an integrated, efficient, and localized use of resources.