Monthly Archives: May 2006

Just part of a masterful rant about the state of architectural criticism from BLDGBLOG:

“The Archigram of today is not studying with Bernard Tschumi and openly imitating The Manhattan Transcripts. The Archigram of today works for Electronic Arts, has no idea who Walter Gropius is, and offers more insights about the future of urban design, space, and the built environment to more people, in more age groups, in more countries, than any practicing architectural critic will ever do, writing about Toyo Ito.
Videogames are the new architectural broadsides.”


* happens to be the title of a book about Archigram that I haven’t read yet…

I lost my ipod, so I am starting to lead a life outside of the Jobsian iHegemon for now – transfering MP3s to the memory card in my N70.

I wiped it and didn’t have time to put new ones on (although the ‘random fill’ feature in the new music manager app is proving quite good) so, for better or for worse, I have been listening over and over to Strictly Kev and Paul Morley’s “Raiding the 20th Century – Words and Music edition”.

As a result I am sitting in a room, and William Burroughs is reverberating around in my head:

“When you cut into the present, the future leaks out”

Pass the chainsaw, would you?

Over at Interactive Architecture Dot Org, a report of Stephen Gage and Will Thorne’s “Edge Monkeys”:

The UCL EdgeMonkey robot, picture from

Their function would be to patrol building facades, regulating energy usage and indoor conditions. Basic duties include closing unattended windows, checking thermostats, and adjusting blinds. But the machines would also “gesture meaningfully to internal occupants” when building users “are clearly wasting energy.” They are described as “intrinsically delightful and funny.”

I applaud the idea, and (for now) look forward to a world chock full of daemons and familiars helping us do the ecological-right-thing… but I think trying to make them “delightful and funny” would be a mistake.

Far better to make them slightly grumpy and world-weary – rather than have a insufferably jolly robot ask if you really want to leave that light on.

Who needs a planet of Clippy?


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