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Signal. Image. Architecture.


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About the Author

John May is founding partner in MILLIONS, a Los Angeles-based architectural practice, and assistant professor of architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Signal. Image. Architecture. is a significant intervention into discussions of both the "image" and the "digital" in architecture and urbanism. John May poses questions about the novel forms of actuarial and statistical life and about the new modalities of territory and governmentality emerging today through imaging infrastructures. As we turn to AI, big data, and predictive analytics, our actions and our gestures are increasingly tied to the training of machines, and we are left asking what representation, gesture, and inscription can still do. This book radically breaks from debates about when architecture became digital or what the digital is. It instead speculates on the aesthetic and political stakes of our imaging practices in design and offers a manifesto for future potentialities. -- Orit Halpern, Concordia University
John May's Signal. Image. Architecture. puts a philosophical lens on the practices of design. By keeping instruments front and center, he pries apart writing, images, and photographs and drives us to focus on the disciplined conduct of each. Front and center: he zeroes in on the everyday and the highly technical forms of making, processing, and sending design. Throughout this fascinating study, May joins theory with concrete practice and, in so doing, remakes familiar elements of the design world into fascinating, urgent objects of our present. -- Peter Galison, Harvard University
John May is an architect who theorizes and a theorist who designs, and both with a philosophical and historical sensibility that frames his understanding of the fluid conditions that shape present architectural practice. Drawing from anthropology, media theory, science and technology studies, and histories and theories of vision and cybernetics, he has produced an archaeology of our deepening immersion into the technics of electronic images over the past three decades, and a "pathographic manifesto" of the hidden political dimensions of contemporary image consciousness. This book will resonate well beyond architecture to any field concerned with cultural production, even as it asserts architecture's centrality in a world now defined by the endless circulation of electronic images. -- K. Michael Hays, Harvard Graduate School of Design

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