Alan Ma

The Image of the City | Turin, Italy | Unit 21 | 2018

 
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The project takes experimental image analysis techniques to propose new frontier spaces within the large complex city that actively responds to its digital profile by using social media and crowdsourcing to shape how we perceive our built environment.
Started with a piece of research from Yahoo that aimed to quantify what makes a city beautiful, peaceful and happy. The research focused on the elements within the urban facade, for example, Colour, texture and visual words from object identification.
I wanted to look at how we can begin to change how we interact with the urban environment. Milan, Rome, Bologna and Palermo is experimenting with the idea of social streets. I want to propose an aim that thinks of the large complex city as an emergent frontier space—that is, a space where multiple differences come together. Using social media to cancel distances: between citizens, and between citizens and administration. And crowdsourcing as a new data-collection and problem-solving model has been widely used in place of the traditional outsourcing paradigm to tackle real-world challenges by leveraging the “power of crowds”.
In this digital paradigm, I’m proposing a new national assembly in the heart of Turin as the connection space for discussions, the building’s behaviour will change depending on events which is dictated by various scripts, therefore different spaces and events within the facility will react differently depending on how its captured in the eye of the users; it will either respond to having its pictures taken or it will create the perfect environment for its picture to be taken. Depending on what pictures are taken and the time of day (any other predetermined factor) it will change its spatial layouts to create spaces for various events.
I looked into ways of how this might be possible in the digital sense as part of a technical research. It looked at various ways of how we can begin to digitalise concrete and brick to allow for image identification. It looked at how programs and rules could determine brick patterns and therefore create unique QR codes. This created a specific digital journey that users take before the start of an assembly, and the next part of the journey is triggered by the images they take. The facility then becomes a dance between the real and the digital, spaces appear and disappear depending on how people perceive the space and the photos they take.
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My research focused on methods of image analysis; Major tech giants such as Google and Microsoft have both invested into image analysis on the urban environment, Google looked into what gives a city its defining characteristics where it was able to accurately determine which city the building is in based on a holiday snap. Microsoft on the other hand used public photos in an attempt to build a digital Rome in one day. This kind of analysis brings new layers within the architectural facade that I want to to address and understand.
 Click to see booklet–> Colour Analysis

 

‘Get Lost Facade’

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‘The Deception’

 

 

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‘The Reaction’
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