Just announced: artists get your applications in to design bike racks for Pittsburgh by December 31! Application here.
For inspiration check out musician David Byrne’s designs for New York.
Tina Kukielski | November 2nd, 2012
Tina Kukielski | October 26th, 2012
With artists Cory Arcangel and Jacob Ciocci, I entered the world of the demoparty. The first night of Demosplash 2012 kicked off with pizza, soft drinks, and a screening of Second Reality, perhaps one of the best known and most imitated demos in history by a Finnish group called Future Crew. For those not in-the-know, demos are short, real-time videos played directly on a computer that feature prismatic color graphics, 3D-like spatial effects at times mesmerizing and dizzying, and catchy techno sounds that make you feel like dancing. Old computer demos are artworks in themselves. Feats of technical skill meant to showcase and stretch the hardware of a computer through the prowess of programming, like Second Reality (originally released as a PC demo in 1993), set the rhythm for Demosplash’s weekend-long events hosted by the 30-year old Computer Club of Carnegie Mellon. On stage that evening was the Club’s collection of antiques made miraculously functional by a band of miked expert/commentators wearing Demosplash t-shirts running back and forth trading cables between various pieces of hardware, including the Commodore 64, the Amiga, Atari 8-bit, and both the Apple II and Apple’s Lisa to name a few. Sadly, the chiptune rave was postponed due to technical difficulties—all the more reason to come back next year.
Amanda Donnan | October 25th, 2012
On October 2nd, we hosted an event programmed by INCITE Journal of Experimental Media’s Brett Kashmere for VIA Music and New Media Festival 2012. With collaborators Melissa Ragona and Nico Zevallos of CMU and Jonathan Walley of Denison University, Brett treated us to recreations of two “non-films” of the 1960s: Hollis Frampton’s audio/projection performance A Lecture, first performed at Hunter College in NYC in 1968, and Takehisa Kosugi’s little known performance Film and Film #4 of 1966. The Kosugi piece is referenced in A Lecture, so Frampton saw or knew of the piece, though it has rarely—if ever—been performed since.
Daniel Baumann | October 12th, 2012
Guest | September 27th, 2012
At the turn of the last century, it wasn’t the aim of playgrounds to provide fun for children. Back then, playgrounds were part of a clear social and educational agenda. The Playground Movement and the American Settlement Movement (an important progressive reform initiative at the end of the 19th century) fought both for the improvement of the mental and physical health in lower-income classes and immigrants.
The Playground Association of America, founded in 1906, spread the idea of structured play in the American cities. As Boston reformer Joseph Lee declared in 1907, “organized recreation is one of the building blocks of the republic. Properly equipped and run by a good leader of ‘a high personal type’ the playground is ‘a school of all civic virtues.’” Streets were described as a “school of crime.” Playgrounds were therefore perceived as tools to civilize children. Other instruments included gymnasiums, educational storytelling, and free and fresh milk for schoolchildren. In the case of Pittsburgh, the city placed the management of its playgrounds in the hands of the Playground Association of America. The organization’s Third National Congress took place at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland in 1909.
In the 1930s, this approach with its emphasis on physical and moral education moved gradually into what would become the vision of creative playgrounds. Developed by Scandinavian urban planners and landscape designers (and then taken over by many others), the new concepts stressed the conviction that a child is not simply an incomplete adult, but an individual with creative potential.
Gabriela Burkhalter just moved from Basel to Pittsburgh, but still runs Architektur für Kinder (Architecture for Children), a homepage dedicated to the history of playgrounds.
Quotes from Linnea M. Anderson’s “‘The playground of today is the republic of tomorrow’: Social reform and organized recreation in the USA, 1890-1930’s,” 2007, from The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education
Photos from the Historic Pittsburgh Image Collection