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  • The Philadelphia Masque

    The Philadelphia Masque
    Cambridge PHILADELPHIA

    suckerPUNCH: describe your project.

    Mariana IBAÑEZ + Simon KIM: Philadelphia has identified a disproportionate urban condition of vacant lots that are not only large in number but are widely distributed regardless of real-estate value. Ownership among the private, and public (Redevelopment Authority, Philadelphia Housing Authority and others) suggest that there is intention held back by onerous conditions. While these voids can be seen as endemic of urban blight, our studio is interested in researching how we cognitively map our environment, or how we perceive our location via references.


    The sites: We have traveled through the city, and found a few empty sites for new Characters. Each Character is directly related to the original city history, Given their new locale and context, we came up with a grand narrative of a masque, or theatrical re-imagining of the city, where the Characters are re-inventions of original historic figures. Each Character was carefully given a name, assigned a formal logic (monolithic, striated, linear etc), and given a site constraint in what is called the Minor Expression, and the Major Expression, where it is released of any constraints so that it could fly beyond its site boundaries.

    The multiagent system: These characters, and many more, are programmed into a multiAgent system developed for this project. This model of distributed intelligence system is particularly useful as it can play multiple scenarios and present solutions not predetermined by any one control city official, devel-oper, or designer. The input into the multiagent system is through a large gameboard and camera track-ing the movement and rotation of the Characters by their individual fiducial markers. The agents then assess their position and their orders of preference via the new positions, and choose to collectively cluster or disperse, changing the urban form at every cycle. The implication of multiple agents in this particular installation at the Center for Architecture and at the ICA in Philadelphia is to reinvent urban analysis and morphology with a game by its citizens.

    sP: what or who influenced this project?

    mI+sK: Riga, Vladivostok by John Hejduk

    sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this
    project?

    mI+sK: Conversation Theory by Gordon Pask, Anigrafs by W. Richards

    sP: whose work is currently on your radar?

    mI+sK: Zaha Hadid, AA, GSD, PennDesign

    Credits:
    Michael Wetmore, Qiyao Li, Shulei Weng, Ying Xu, Chris McAdams, Josef Musil

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