Quantitative Aesthetics: Models of Movement

This course is looking at computational approaches to digital media that allow us to analyze and reinterpret our environment as a signal. This year we are looking at the problem of movement. By the term movement we mean a set of related but distinct terms [movement, transportation, motion, mobility etc.] which are operational at different spatial and temporal scales; from the minute gestures of a single person to the urban crowds and the large scale migration patterns.

Metaphors [which literally means transportation “of meaning”] have often been employed in architecture in order to conceptualize movement, from the promenading observer, to the network agent transported between nodes, and from the “shifting” center of desire, to the “flows” of crowds.  These metaphors are operational models of movement that allow us to think and design interventions that affect the way people, objects, matter and information move.

In this course we seek to expand the ways by which we capture, analyze, visualize and consequently conceptualize movement in design problems.

There are many types of movements, characterized by intentionality or desire of the participants [passive transportation, active movement, habitual paths] the geometric characteristics [periodic, accelerating, stable, Brownian, bifurcating, diffusion or convection] the scale [gesture, pedestrian, crowd] the relations between agents and the temporal scale and structure.

The aim of the course is for students to use computational tools capture, analyze and visualize different types of movement over time within the built or urban environment. The students will carry a series of experiments consisting of localized interventions in order to find out how they can affect movement patterns in predictable ways. The students should then use this methodology in order to design an intervention in the form of a movement pattern modulation device. This device could be an object, installation, strategy or instructions that will change the movement patterns observed.

Custom made software for computer vision and real time media stream analysis will be provided to the students as well as short introductions to arduino micro-controllers and networks in order to help them with the application of certain analysis techniques and the visualization of the data collected.