"Not a chance. The promoters of big data would like us to believe that behind the lines of code and vast databases lie objective and universal insights into patterns of human behavior, be it consumer spending, criminal or terrorist acts, healthy habits, or employee productivity. But many big-data evangelists avoid taking a hard look at the weaknesses. Numbers can't speak for themselves, and data sets -- no matter their scale -- are still objects of human design. The tools of big-data science, such as the Apache Hadoop software framework, do not immunize us from skews, gaps, and faulty assumptions. Those factors are particularly significant when big data tries to reflect the social world we live in, yet we can often be fooled into thinking that the results are somehow more objective than human opinions. Biases and blind spots exist in big data as much as they do in individual perceptions and experiences. Yet there is a problematic belief that bigger data is always better data and that correlation is as good as causation."
(Kate Crawford, 12 May 2013, Foreign Policy)
"Pedagogical experiments played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the 20th century. In fact, the key hypothesis of our Radical Pedagogy research project is that these experiments can be understood as radical architectural practices in their own right. Radical in the literal meaning from the Latin radice, as something belonging or relating to the root, to its foundations. Radical pedagogies shake foundations, disturbing assumptions rather than reinforcing and disseminating them. This challenge to normative thinking was a major force in the postwar field of architecture, and has surprisingly been neglected in recent years. ...
Architectural pedagogy has become stale. Schools spin old wheels as if something is happening but so little is going on. Students wait for a sense of activist engagement with a rapidly evolving world but graduate before it happens. The fact that they wait for instruction is already the problem. Teachers likewise worry too much about their place in the institutional hierarchies. Curricular structures have hardly changed in recent decades, despite the major transformations that have taken place with the growth of globalisation, new technologies, and information culture. As schools appear to increasingly favour professionalisation, they seem to drown in self-imposed bureaucratic oversight, suffocating any possibility for the emergence of experimental practices and failures. There are a few attempts to wake things up here and there but it's all so timid in the end. There is no real innovation.
In response to the timidity of schools today, the Radical Pedagogy project returns to the educational experiments of the 1960s and '70s to remind us what can happen when pedagogy takes on risks. It's a provocation and a call to arms."
(Beatriz Colomina with Esther Choi, Ignacio Gonzalez Galan and Anna-Maria Meister, 28 September 2012, The Architectural Review)
1). Radical Pedagogy is an ongoing multi-year collaborative research project by a team of PhD candidates in the School of Architecture at Princeton University, led by Beatriz Colomina and involving seminars, interviews and guest lectures by protagonists and scholars. The project explores a remarkable set of pedagogical experiments of the 1960s and '70s that revolutionised thinking in the discipline. Each student is working on one of these experiments and collectively mapping the interconnections and effects of these experiments towards a major publication and exhibition.
Fig.1 Tournaments in the Course ‘Culture of the Body', at the Valparaíso School, 1975. Courtesy of Archivo Histórico Jose Vial, Escuela Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
"Brands are everywhere: in the air, on the high street, in the kitchen, on television and, maybe, on your feet. But what kinds of things are they? The brand, a medium of exchange between company and consumer, has become one of the key cultural forces of our time and one of the most important vehicles of globalisation. In a new approach that uses media theory to study the economy, Celia Lury offers a detailed and innovative analysis of the brand. "
(Celia Lury, 2004)
Celia Lury (2004). "Brands: The Logos of Global Economy", International Library of Sociology, Routledge.
"THE BIG PICTURE is the theme of the [August 30 to September 3] 2012 Ars Electronica Festival ... Occupying the focal point is the effort to identify all-encompassing images that capture the world that's coming to be, Big Pictures that do justice to the progressive globalization and interrelatedness of our world, ones that capture its contradictions and flaws as well as ways in which people are coming together. By showcasing inspiring best-practice examples from art and science, this year's festival is a call for a new, open-minded way of considering the development of a viable vision of our future - how such a Big Picture ought to be composed and how it might become reality."
(Ars Electronica Festival, 2012)
Fig.1 work of Seiko Mikami "Desire of Codes"
"whilst the application of design is multiplying exponentially, it is also loosing its validity as an authentic cultural icon. It has become synonymous with cloning the face of global culture itself, more often representing the uniformity of mass globalisation, rather than reflecting the facets of cultural difference and diversity.
The cultural attributes of difference and diversity have been fundamentally weakened, and like face that has undergone cosmetic surgery, the result is a facsimile vaguely familiar but disturbingly without a true sense of identity. It is everyone's and no one's, and belongs in no single place more than another. ...
Design has become omnipresent within Culture, as it has been adopted as a convenient badge to add value and market commodity, and to signify identity. Following Designer era of 1980's, the added value of design was replaced by design as cultural value, embodied in leading Brands of the 1990's. ...
in the 21st Century the task of capturing Culture has become more and more difficult in terms of expressing culture through the medium of design. Design increasingly struggles for a clear sense of definition, and one is left asking, what can Culture really mean today, if it is no longer tied to consumer lifestyle? We remain in a post-contemporary state where we require a redefinition of meaning, value and identity. ...
The uncertainty of a designed fusion Culture has replaced the certainty of traditional cultural monoculture. Which in turn has been diluted by an obsession with ‘cultural materialism’. What remains of the original cultural sources are being plundered in order to restock our lack of creative DNA. The net result is an erosion of the remaining authentic sources, but also the creation of a ‘cultural time lag’ which has been generated by a convergence of trans-cultural fusions, hybridisation, and of recurrent cultural cross referencing."
(David Carlson on 21 Mar 21 2011, David Report)
Fig.1 paper sculptures made by Jennifer Collier [http://jennifercollier.co.uk/].