Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ken Adam's Protected Mode (Pt. III)

B-52 communications instrument panel, from Dr. Strangelove

Ken Adam did not have any access to, nor had ever been inside a Boeing B-52 when he began his production sketches for Dr. Strangelove’s bomber cockpit. Instead, Adam relied on a copy of Mel Hunter’s Strategic Air Command: The Story of the Men, the Weapons, and the Strategy (1961). Hunter, an illustrator for pulp science fiction novels, included photographs and drawings of Air Force aircraft and equipment in his book. However, the only picture of a B-52 cockpit was on the cover of Strategic Air Command. Using the cover as an inspiration, Adam and the rest of the production design team created a makeshift bomber cockpit.

Mel Hunter's Strategic Air Command (1961)

In Dr. Strangelove, Slim Pickens and James Earl Jones occupy a space crammed with radar scanners, avionics, and communications equipment. Like his Typhoon cockpit, Adam’s design for the dual-level B-52 crew compartment is a womb-like space with hundreds of dials and levers – an intimate, cramped space. The top compartment features the pilots and flight engineers/navigators. When filmed from a vantage point behind Slim Pickens’ command seat, the set indeed looks like the cover to Hunter’s Strategic Air Command. The lower part of the crew compartment, housing armorers and radar observers, is cramped. Other than the light emanating from the instrument panels, here, the only source of direct light comes from a series of halogen lamps as well as the open hatch connecting the top and bottom compartments. Like the computer room at Burpelson Air Force Base, this space is also connected to General Ripper’s office. It is here, after all, that Ripper’s own command is executed: the wing attack plan “R for ‘Romeo’” (or “Robert”).

"King" Kong in the B-52's cockpit, from Dr. Strangelove

The rote operations of nuclear war, whether launching of a ballistic missile or arming warheads aboard a bomber, invoke a terrifying sequence of events. The architectural loci of these events create a series of operational, physical terrains that have become part of our visual culture: concrete bunkers, bristling with telemetry screens and other types of graphical user interfaces (GUI’s); weapons consoles inside nuclear submarines navigating the Arctic depths; claustrophobic cockpits of Boeing or Tupolev bombers en route to a launch point miles above the Earth’s surface. We know these places through the books, movies, and television programs that have popularized them. Thus, the procedure of arming nuclear ordnance in mid-air is one that has become part of our collective imagination not because we have actually flown inside a B-52 Stratofortress, but because we have seen Slim Pickens and James Earl Jones perform the same procedure in Dr. Strangelove. One readily thinks of Marshall McLuhan’s theory of remediation, where one medium determines the content of another medium. Thus the radar screens and GUI’s of the Cold War become the storylines of our popular media. We watch with anticipation as digitized icons representing ships, submarines, and aircraft play out their kriegspiele on the television and movie screens move and destroy each other before our eyes.

Communications/armament officer at the rear of Adam's B-52 set, from Dr. Strangelove

The way directors and writers choose to depict the launching of a nuclear weapon in movies and TV may not be accurate, but at the very least, they share one trait in common: they present soldiers inputting a series of codes into their computers that initiate the ignition and launch of a missile. Here, then, is a typical scene. A commanding officer receives a telephone call with a specific code word, which he communicates to his launch officers. They, in turn, consult some heavy tomes containing alphanumeric codewords, words which are printed in a strange manila folder containing the launch keys. Another group of launch officers then simultaneously insert the keys into another console, and after turning the keys in unison, the point of no-return – a computer begins the countdown to launch and nuclear annihilation.

CRM signal displays code for "Plan 'R' for 'Robert'"

This process also unfolds within the space of Adam’s B-52 set. It begins with an automated message, presumably generated from Burpelson’s computer room. The camera closes in on the “CRM” receiver on the communications panel. It reads; “FGD 135”. Cut to a crewmember rummaging through a ring binder. He finds that “FGD 135” corresponds to “Wing Attack Plan R.” After some deliberation whether this is a bonafide message, Major Kong withdraws a book, some text and maps describing “Wing Attack Plan R”: a strike against several ICBM installation in Northern Russia. The scene, though dramatized and fictionalized, was nevertheless remarkable as it rattled the nerves of Air Force officials, who promptly asked that a disclaimer be placed at the beginning of the film.

Close-up of code book aboard Kong's B-52, from Dr. Strangelove

This scene is also remarkable for its depiction of both human and computerized elements operating side by side. And the fact that they mirror each other is even more remarkable: for the launch officers’ rote procedure is very computer-like, and the launch computer’s rote recitation of numbers is very human-like. The similarity between the human and computerized systems no doubt recalls a cybernetic system, an example of a procedure where the human element operates like a machine and vice-versa. However, another consideration of this process reveals something even more fascinating: the notion that the codes are buried inside books – digital, computerized data stored in, and accessed from books.

It is hard to imagine a time when the book was not a universal medium, one that, for a short time, remained closed to competition from rival media. Writing about literary and oral culture at the beginning of the 20th century, Kittler writes in Discourse Networks: “Aside from mechanical automatons and toys, there was nothing. The discourse network of 1800 functioned without photographs, gramophones, or cinematographs. Only books could provide serial storage of data.” This situation soon changed, however, and by 1900 the book’s position as the chief storage medium was placed under threat by “new” technologies such as the gramophone, phonograph, and film. Kittler considers each of these in turn, but before doing so looks at the ways in which a more basic technology – the typewriter – transformed practices of writing (and reading), and with this the secondary realm of semantics. Nietzsche’s typewriter (which was bought in 1882 due to the philosopher’s half-blindness) is used as an example to show how this technology transformed the physical connection of the writer to the text through the automation of the writing act: “Whereas handwriting is subject to the eye, a sense that works across distance, the typewriter uses a blind, tactile power”. The typewriter automated the act of writing and with this inscribed itself into the author. Beyond this, it changed the materiality of the text itself by organizing writing spatially through the distribution of discrete rather than continuous signs. This changed “the relations among signs but also their relation to the empty ground” , and with this transformed the meaning and content of the written text. In line with McLuhan, the technology of writing (in this case the typewriter) is thus shown to shape the material form of the text produced, and with this the subsequent possibility of human understanding. Hence, as Nietzsche (who Kittler calls the “first mechanized philosopher” ) observes, while writing on a typewriter: “Our writing materials contribute their part to our thinking.” However, as the example of the codes buried inside books demonstrate, the book is not exactly dead – in the depiction of early Cold War-era warfare, the book is still of paramount importance.

Perhaps the code book can be thought of a singular medium in a time when all media were vying for a type of competition in the military sphere. Thus Kittler reaffirms the importance of a materlialist media history and announces that books are not necessarily the only technology for the storage and transmission of information. Kittler thus states:
All libraries are discourse networks, but all discourse networks are not books. In the second industrial revolution, with its automation of streams of information, the analysis of discourses has yet to exhaust the forms of knowledge and power. Archaeologies of the present must also take into account data storage, transmission, and calculation in technological media. Literary theory can learn from an information theory that has formalized the current state of technical knowledge, and thus made measurable the performance or limits of information systems. After the destruction of the monopoly of writing, it becomes possible to draw up an account of its functioning.
Kittler recognizes that technologies can obscure their language only because they structure the very language that depicts this history (a feature especially indicative of military technologies), and thus seeks meaning in those historical moments where the primacy of a particular medium becomes hard to ascertain. In the introduction to his subsequent book, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (1999), Kittler notes:
This book […] collects, comments upon, and relays passages and text to show how the novelty of technological media inscribed itself into the old paper of books. Many of these papers are old or perhaps even forgotten, but in the founding age of technological media the terror of their novelty was so overwhelming that literature registered it more acutely than in today’s alleged media pluralism, in which anything goes provided it does not disturb the assumption of global dominance by Silicon Valley. An information technology whose monopoly is not coming to an end, however, registers this very information: an aesthetics of terror. What writers astonished by gramophones, films, and typewriters – the first technological media – committed to paper between 1880 and 1920 amounts, therefore, to a ghostly image of our own present as future. Those early and seemingly harmless machines capable of storing and therefore separating sounds, sights, and writing ushered in a technologizing of information that, in retrospect, paced the way for today’s self-recursive stream of numbers.
The gripping sequences inside Adam’s B-52 Stratofortress are thus significant as they further articulate the tensions between users, communications technologies, and the systems that govern such technologies. The code books obfuscate the policy and military imprimaturs that inspire preemptive nuclear strikes. In a certain sense, the issue of Protected Mode arises. But here, there is no signal that can interrupt the chain of causality. One of the provisos of “Wing Attack Plan ‘R’” is that all external communications are prohibited. Like Ripper’s office, the B-52 crew compartment becomes a hermetic space: not only does it contain its own air pressure, oxygen, provisions, and intercom communications system, but the space is physically isolated from the outside world. Perhaps this isolation sounds the death knell for the written word, a quiet end that was to occur only a decade later. Again, Kittler:
The last historical act of writing may well have been the moment when, in the early seventies, Intel engineers laid out some dozen square meters of blueprint paper (64 square meters, in the case of the later 8086) in order to design the hardware architecture of their first integrated microprocessor. This manual layout of two thousand transistors and their interconnections was then miniaturized to the size of an actual chip, and, by electro-optical machines, written into silicon layers. Finally, this 4004 microprocessor found its place in the new desk calculators of Intel's Japanese customer and our postmodern writing scene began. For the hardware complexity of such microprocessors simply discards manual design techniques; in order to lay out the next computer generation, the engineers, instead of filling out uncountable meters of blueprint paper, have recourse to Computer Aided Design, that is, to the geometrical or autorouting powers of the actual generation.
Dr. Strangelove thus coincides with several important transitions. On one hand, the film’s production designs confirm the architectural production normally associated with the postwar military-industrial complex. Here, Stanley Kubrick’s and Ken Adam’s visions show a seamless integration between technology and form. This is not new. In fact, it confirms a modernist imprimatur. Modernism’s sociotechnological agenda is eerily confirmed by the agitprop elements throughout Burpleson Air Force Base: “Peace Is Our Profession.”

On the other hand, this essay alludes to a much more subtle transition. If, as Kittler argues, the transition from visual to oral culture coincides with the dawn of the 19th century, then perhaps the conversion to digital culture becomes the focus of Ken Adam’s sets for Dr. Strangelove. This essay has shown that the interiors of Burpleson Air Force base suggest an important aspect of computing: a Protected Mode that insulates and protects a computer’s own operating system. Two spaces within the base – General Ripper’s office and the computer room – thus feature an interplay of oral command and radio transmission that articulate the tensions between Protected and Real Mode. On the other hand, Adam’s designs for the B-52 crew compartment suggest the impermeability of Protected Mode, and impermeability made more resonant by the spatial configuration that enables it in the first place.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ken Adam's Protected Mode (Pt. II)

Still establishing shot of Burpelson Air Force Base, from Dr. Strangelove

Burpelson Air Force Base could be anywhere. Some matte establishing shots – a series of nighttime scenes at the base – confirm both “heightened reality” and sense of artifice. The focal point of the first is a multi-storied modernist tower. Evoking corporate architecture, the building firmly roots this shot sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Next to it, a hangar – not unlike one of Konrad Wachsmann’s own space frame designs – straddles a series of lit runways that criss-cross towards a vanishing point in the darkness. Off to the right of the tower, which is presumably some type of administrative structure, is a flight apron. A series of B-52 Stratofortress bombers can be seen under the sporadic barium lights. In another establishing shot, a B-52G stands on the tarmac. The very same barium lights shine like nighttime suns, perhaps suggesting the idea that the very first moment of a nuclear blast is an explosion of light. Yet the very real nature of nuclear warfare is undermined by the fact that we are indeed looking at a model of bomber – not the B-52G itself. If one looks carefully, one notices that the outboard wheel assemblies are not touching the ground. Although this establishing shot focuses on the deadly arsenal of thermonuclear war, the scene is oddly pristine.

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress at Burpelson Air Force Base

The interiors of Burpelson Air Force Base also seemed untouched. And perhaps this is a testament that these spaces are regulated and monitored. The action at Burpelson occurs in two separate spaces. The dark, secluded offices of the maniacal General Jack Ripper and the clean, well-lit fluorescence of the computer salons where Group Captain Lionel Mandrake monitors data seem polar opposites. Yet these spaces are conceptually identical as they are places where information is processed, distorted, and disseminated. The processing, distortion, and dissemination of data are all mediated via two separate formats: radio signals and binary data. Ken Adam’s configurations of Burpelson’s interior spaces highlight this type of media regulation.

General Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) in his office, barking apocalyptic soliloquys

It is no coincidence that the image of General Jack Ripper sitting in his plush chair and prophesizing thermonuclear doom conjures Joh Fredersen’s office in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927). Both are the literal seats of technocratic power. Whereas Fredersen manages all levels of the Metropolis industrial combine from the comforts of his own office, Ripper wrangles the U.S. Air Force’s entire arsenal with a few simple commands. Ripper broadcasts his own anti-communist paranoia, claiming that the Soviets are about to unleash a “doomsday device” on American soil, and thus orders a pre-emptive attack against Russian targets. To command effectively, as well as to preserve the safety of forces under his own authority, Ripper effectively isolates Burpelson from the rest of the outside world. He also orders that all transistor radios be confiscated, as they may be used by Communists to persuade those inside the base that there is no threat at all. This isolation is further reinforced when, after telling Group Captain Mandrake about the media shutdown, General Ripper shuts the blinds inside the office. As with the runways and aprons outside, the only source of light is artificial.

The importance of using a microphone to circumscribe radio use signals the importance of oral commands. For the German media theorist Friedrich Kittler, this would prove highly ironic. In what is perhaps his most well-known book, Discourse Networks 1800/1900 (Aufschreibe Systeme 1800/1900) (1990), Kittler paints a materialist media history that considers the effect of writing technologies in the years 1800 and 1900. In this book, Kittler observes that around 1800 a general shift took place from the closed world of the “Republic of Scholars”, a “system in which knowledge was defined in terms of authority and erudition” and “in which patterns of communication followed the lines of social stratification” , to a more open system of reading and writing based on the practice of alphabetization, which involves the translation of visible into audible language, or the oralization of culture. Though the action in Ripper’s office occurs well after the time that Kittler celebrates, the supremacy of the oral command is vital. It is as if Ripper’s command is a preemptive attack against the proliferation of popular media and the technologies that disperse it. The relative isolation of Ripper’s office, the proliferation of images of bombers and military paraphernalia on its walls, and the fact that the oral command comes from this room suggest something like a papal bull or diktat: a message clouded and distorted by the very spatial configuration that allowed it in the first place.

Group Captain Mandrake (Peter Sellers) in Burpelson's computer room

The computer room at Burpelson Air Force base is this space where this message is received. The computer room is well-lit and highly orthogonal. A series of glass partitions divide the space according to administrative and command areas. The highly articulated grid of ceiling fluorescent lights not only evokes Ezra Stoller’s images of the interior of Union Carbide's offices, but also emphasizes the unerring and intractable logic of the room’s computers. This is a space where lucidity reigns, where everything is literally and figuratively organized into ones and zeroes or simple pictograms. Ripper’s oral command to Mandrake, sitting inside the computer room, certainly evokes the idea of Protected Mode – a system developed by Siemens in 1986 that “protects the operating system from the users, and through this protection, first allows the users to be deceived.” Yet Protected Mode is certainly related to radio usage. Kittler continues:
What began as the simple capability of switching between the supervisor and the user … is extended to systemwide procedure in the separation of Real Mode and Protected Mode. Different command sets, different address possibilities, different register sets, even different command execution times, henceforth separate the wheat from the chaff, the system design from the users. Thus it is precisely in the silicon on which the prophets based all their hopes for a microprocessed democracy of the future that the elementary dichotomy of modern media technologies again returns. A German civil radio network, for example, was permitted from the day when the postal service of the Reich could credibly promise the armed forces that the consumer radios of 1923, which were capable of any possible transmission, would never be able to disrupt military-industrial radio communication because an automatic encoding machine .. had just been invented.
The computer room at Burpleson Air Force Base thus counters Ripper’s oral evocation of a Protected Mode system. In a famous scene, Group Captain Mandrake, in open defiance of Ripper’s edict, turns on a small transistor radio and briefly dances to a strain of bossa nova music. The use of radio broadcasts as a form of resistance is certainly not new. Indeed, the initial mission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the American radio network set up to create anti-Communist sentiment, was "To promote democratic values and institutions by disseminating factual information and ideas.” But within the confines of Burpleson Air Force Base’s computer room, the radio transmission serves a corrective function. Although a viewer knows, for a fact, that a Soviet nuclear attack is not happening, within the normative universe of Dr. Strangelove, the significance of the radio signal goes unheeded.

To Be Continued ...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ken Adam's Protected Mode (Pt. I)

Ken Adam posing in front of a Hawker Typhoon

The Hawker Typhoon was a single-seat multirole fighter used by the Royal Air Force in the latter moments of World War II. Its wings were low and clipped at the ends. It also featured a liquid-cooled 2,260 horsepower Napier Sabre IIC engine, one of the most powerful piston-engine designs at the time. When armed with rockets, the Typhoon could wreak havoc on ground targets as well as low-flying interceptors. The aircraft’s compact, nimble airframe made it a hard target to destroy. The aircraft was equally versatile and heralded. Typhoons from 609 Squadron at R.A.F. Duxford scored the most amount of kills against enemy aircraft from 1943 to 1944. Prior to the Normandy Invasion, 609 Squadron also became famous for its lightning-fast raids against German radar installations on the French coast, as well as against Panzer formations in the Falaise Gap in August of 1944.

The Typhoon was also notorious for its design flaws. Early versions of the aircraft would break apart during low dives, a defect that cost the lives of nearly one-third of its pilots during operations. Although engineers were able to correct this flaw in later versions of the Typhoon, it was plagued by another imperfection. Unlike most single-seat fighters, the Typhoon did not feature a sliding bubble canopy. A pilot would enter and exit the canopy via a hinged “car door” on the starboard side of the aircraft. This could prove deadly. In case of an emergency, a pilot would have to maneuver his Typhoon into precarious angle in order to bail out. If not done correctly, the pilot could very well fall into the slipstream and crash into the rear tail assembly. A pilot having to bail out of an aircraft with a regular bubble canopy could just roll the aircraft onto its back and fall to earth. A Typhoon pilot had no such luxury. It was as if a “Tiffy” pilot had to resign himself to the fact that he was literally and figuratively trapped inside the cockpit of his aircraft. He could only exit when his mission was finished, and this meant either flying home, or crashing.

Klaus Adam, a German Jew who left for England with his family in 1934, and who studied architecture at the Bartlett until the opening moments of the Second World War, became one of 609 Squadron’s most decorated Typhoon pilots. For him, being trapped inside the “car door” cockpit had a double irony. He had to take the same precautions as any Typhoon pilot. However, as the only German citizen enlisted in the R.A.F., this meant that he could not bail out or let himself crash in enemy territory. If this did happen, he would be shot as a traitor. For this pilot, the cockpit was a regulated environment imbued with different meanings: the aircraft’s instrumentation and in-flight oxygen not only allowed him to fly and operate the aircraft, but it was also a cocoon-like space that preserved his life and his identity as an architecture student. The latter meaning is important, for shortly after the war, Klaus Adam became a naturalized English subject and continued his studies. He also changed his first name to “Ken.”

Ken Adam at work on Dr. Strangelove

Ken Adam is now highly regarded as a master production designer, primarily for his work with Stanley Kubrick as well as with Albert “Cubby” Broccoli’s James Bond franchise on films such as Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), and Moonraker (1979). His designs for films such as Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) as well as Thunderball feature a distinct infatuation with architecture and technology. Though his work on such films would not be helpful in determining whether this aesthetic was Bauhaus- or Bartlett-influenced, the designs are certainly modern. Or are they perhaps reacting against modernist orthodoxy? In a November 2005 interview for Icon, Adam recalls working on Dr. No, his first outing as a production designer:
It was just a small budget film … But I felt it gave me an opportunity. Remember, this was, what, 1962, and something unbelievably exciting was going on – a renaissance, a revolution in the arts, similar to what had happened in Germany between the wars. We were all young, we all thought, “Fuck the Empire, it’s over.” I felt that Bond gave me the opportunity to express a little bit of that period, of technology and computers, and get away from normal film constructions and design. You saw it 30 years before in Metropolis or Things to Come, but that was a long time before.
The ability to experiment with forms, styles and technologies was an important impulse for Adam. When asked about the heightened reality, the delirious camp of his Bond sets, Adam claimed, “I felt I had to liberate myself from the rigidity of architecture.”

Adam on the set of Dr. Strangelove's War Room

Although such a statement implies that he was moving beyond the prim rigor of architectural drawing to the creation of bold forms on sound stages, it also suggests an escape from the stuffy, claustrophobic cockpit of his World War II Typhoon fighter. It thus bears mentioning that airplane cockpits are prominently featured in some of Ken Adam’s films, such as the Avro Vulcan jet bomber in Thunderball and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress in Dr. Strangelove. As with the Hawker Typhoon, the Vulcan’s and B-52’s cockpits are yet another type of regulated environment. Used for cinematic purposes, these spatial configurations have a different purpose, a role that is the subject of this essay, a purpose that is evident in Adam’s designs for Dr. Strangelove.

From the fluorescent-lit mainframe computer labs at Burpleson Air Force Base, to the cramped, information-saturated cockpit of a B-52 Stratofortress jet bomber, this essay looks to the proliferation of “regulated” environments in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. In a certain sense, the term “regulated” could very well refer to the controlled environments within an Air Force base and a bomber cockpit. Whereas a cadre of military police constantly secures Burpelson Air Force base, a bomber cockpit must be contained at a minimal amount of air pressure in order to maintain the crewmembers’ safety and comfort. However, there is another level of “regulation” that operates in these environments: both the Air Force base and the bomber cockpit are environments that insulate and secure information.

Ken Adam’s set designs for Dr. Strangelove are certainly iconic. After all, who cannot think of President George W. Bush’s defense of the controversial Total Information Awareness program without conjuring General Buck Turgidson’s (George C. Scott) desperate pleas to protect the “Big Board” in the War Room from Soviet Spies? This essay will look at two of Ken Adam’s environments for Dr. Strangelove -- the computer data salons and offices of Burpleson Air Force Base, and the frenetic cockpit of Major T.J. King Kong’s B-52 Stratofortress – to investigate how set designs are used to depict the regulation and control of information in these spaces. Each regulated environment thus features one type of media, and thus the following posts will demonstrate how the film’s regulated environments contain and exploit those particular media. Whereas Burpleson Air Force Base traffics in radio signals (notice Lionel Mandrake’s use of a transistor radio), the B-52 cockpit features written code embedded in books (such as the infamous “Plan ‘R’ for ‘Robert’).

To Be Continued ...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Battles | Atlas

Musically (and visually) arresting, to say the least. In addition to the march-like rhythm, a synergy of bass and drum that propel the music forward, the aural and visual action take place a room with two-way mirrors. Yet the images do not extend into infinity, they are circumscribed by a cube. The cube is obviously an artifice, a wholly conjectured object that floats and rotates in green-screened space.

Elements of digital and analog, human and machine, to be sure. Snare hits alternate between real and triggered. A bassist occasionally dances in front of an Apple MacBook, yet we hear a slightly fuzzy, bass-y low frequency noise. Tyondai Braxton sings into a microphone, his voice serrated and ambiguous. Somewhere between vocoder and Speak-and-Spell.

Battles' latest album, Mirrored (WARP CD156) will be released in the US on May 22.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Postopolis! First Speaker List
Originally uploaded by bldgblog.
It was inevitable: the first case of shameless self-promotion on A456 .....

On June 2, I will be speaking at Postopolis!, an event organized by Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG), Bryan Finoki (Subtopia), Dan Hill (City of Sound), and the kind folks at Inhabitat.

Let me just say right now, I had no idea that the roster was going to be like this. I was honored when Geoff first extended the invitation. But, wow. Really. Wow.

The event will be at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, 97 Kenmare St., New York, NY 10012. More details forthcoming.

So, please stop by and say hello.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Emotional Atlas

(No, this is not a thread about Giuliana Bruno's wonderful book.) Christian Nold is an artist who, using Google Earth with GPS technologies, creates "emotional" maps of well-known spaces. According to this website:
Bio Mapping is a participatory methodology for people to talk about their immediate environment, locality and communal space. I'm trying to use 3D visualisation as a way of talking about the space. It's not representational. As part of this method I have developed a device, which can be used by lots of people. It consists of a lie detector connected to a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit, which measures your location and your physiological arousal at the same time. By combining the two I can talk about physiological arousal in certain locations. A Galvanic Skin Response sensor in the form of finger cuffs measures the sweat level. Fitted out with this device, people go for a walk and when they return their data is visualised and annotated.
Although these maps are not rendered using GIS software, they nevertheless have the look and feel of a TIN polygon. The above map, for example, from an "emotional map of Greenwich, England", combines real-time emotional data and assigns corresponding colors and shapes to these metrics. The project is fascinating. Like the work of Spain's ecosistema urbano architecture and urbanism collective, Nold's project places a premium on the participatory process.

(via CNN and Bio