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ABSTRACT Having as a fundamental skeleton the notion of the non linearity, this study will investigate to what extent potential connections might exist between a written text, the cyberspace and the city. Starting by the exploration of the non linearity as met in the reading of a text, this kind of structure will gradually intersect with the non linearity of the ‘reading’ or the concept of cyberspace and later it will be projected onto the ‘reading’ of the real city. Aknowledging the data as the invisible ‘material’ for the perception of a notion, an object or a condition, the non linearity as a distributed and decentralized networking structure is attributed to the crossbreed of the physical and virtual version of space as met in the three aspects of investigation, that is the text, the cyberspace and the city if considered as sets of data. In the era of the cell phone being the digital extension of the individual - functioning as a ‘bridge’ between the real space and the virtual, this essay will, finally, discuss how this new reality might affect the ‘reading’ and ‘rewriting’of the city or how the city is perceived by the human who is currently able to manipulate both sorts of spaces at the same time.






INTRODUCTION/NON LINEARITY Non linearity as a structural and organizational system could be defined through a wide range of different fields. Non linearity might be associated, among others, to the nonEuclidean geometries, the Einsteinian universe, the Quantum Physics, the non linear perception of a work of art or even a cybernetic network. What lies underneath the notion of the non linearity is the indeterminacy and discontinuity.  1. What characterizes a non linear structure is the multiple polarity among its particles/elements and the non existence of an objective centre, the infinite possibilities of it being perceived depending on the point of view and, finally, the fact that it functions within a specific field of relations or else a relativity frame.  2. According to the Einsteinian universe approach, relativity means ‘the infinite variability of experience as well as the infinite multiplication of possible ways of measuring things and viewing their position’. 3. This non Euclidean space, which is considered as spatiotemporal, is a space ‘transformed’ in itself not because it constantly changes in its terms, but because its form is up to the observer’s point of view. Consequently, without any doubt, both Einsteinian universe and quantum physics underline that this world they suggest even though it might seem chaotic, is governed by solid and perfectly regulated rules 4.. This chaotic system is an infinite network of nodes and linkages which interact. Even though there is not an objective centre, the point of view of the observer will set the appropriate node as one. Umberto Eco, in his study ‘The Open Work’, encounters this relativity and Einsteinian approach of the non linear or chaotic structure in the perception and function of a work of art. He recognizes within a work of art , an openness which expresses the unexpected reading of the network of data which the author or the artist provides, by every different individual observer. The work of art, for Umberto Eco, is a non linear constellation of data which forms a message solidly structured but liquidly transferred. This multiplicity of possible readings is due to the fact that the field of knowledge of every different reader and the metaphorical point of view are different. This openness, he states, might potentially exist in every work of art because it constitutes a wide network of nodes and linkages of information and implications but it could be also literally observed in an artistic object if the creator wants, intentionally, to express this non linearity of perception of the givens.  5. More literally, the non linearity and the ‘chaotic’ distributed networking is the underlying structure of the Hyperspace and later of the World Wide Web. According to Silvio Gaggi, in his essay ‘Hypertexts and Hyperrealities’ 6., ‘the postmodern hyperspace is so ubiquitous that it cannot be escaped; one is always in it, disoriented by its organization and by the “logic of the simulacrum.” World Wide Web, as it will be further analyzed, could be said that it represents the more real or tangible version of the Einsteinian universe that the humans can manage and perceive. The peer to peer processes and networking (P2P) is ‘a specific form of relational dynamic, based on the assumed equipotency 7. of its participants, organized through the free cooperation of equals in view of the performance of a common task, for the creation of a common good, with forms of decision-making and autonomy that are widely distributed throughout the network.’ To conclude, non linearity will constitute during this study, at first, the organizational structure tying together the network which underlies a text, which will be examined both as a finite written object and as an accumulation of data particles, and the hypertext which is the evident manifestation of the previously hidden non linear structure of information of the text. Thereafter, the non linearity will be analyzed in more spatial terms by the insertion of the notion of the cyberspace which hosts the hypertext and which tends to constitute the digital version of the city as it will be further discussed. The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Umberto Eco, The Open Work, trans. Anna Cancogni (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989) 6.  Silvio Gaggi, From Text to Hypertext: Decentering the Subject in Fiction, Film, the Visual Arts, and Electronic Media (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania, 1997) 7.   Yuri Lotman ,The Structure of the Artistic Text, trans. G. Lenhoff (Oxford, Great Britain: Oxon Publishing Ltd, 1977)


Fig. 1,2, design work/term 2

The notion of the non Linearity as it is being discussed in the main argument, is investigated during the designing prodedure through simulations which aim to express the potential networking among data which are the input of an algorithmic procedure.


fig. 3, design work/term 2 The simulations which are investigating ways of controlling large amount of data, utilize the properties of a physical spring system which tends to keep in certain distances two given points or particles while it tries to achieve an equilibrium.

study, finally, suggests the emergence and the perception of the non linear relationship of the city and the information and it analyses methods through which this non linearity could be attributed to the urban transformation and mutation. Even though this research is spinally developped through the different fields of investigation (text, hypertext, cyberspace, city), it constantly highlights their in between relations and folds the argument in itself. Non linearity is considered as a rather interesting organizational structure since it presents a conceptual strategy and a highly spatial and topological configuration at the same time. It can be examined as the medium to connect disembodied elements to a tangible formation. This oscillation between the elaboration of the immaterial classification of components (data) towards a material form traverses the whole argument and seems to be the most crucial property of the non linear networking. The notion of the non Linearity is investigated parallerly, during the deployment of the main argument of the essay, by the design work of the author which goal to the development of a system which is founded on a non linear basis trying to implement the properties of this networking underlying structure and to suggest a potential architectural method. This exploration starts by experimental simulations which test the way this non linear network functions and behaves thanks to the automated procedures and the scripting possibilities provided by the software to the designer today. These simulations which manipulate data in order to produce space and topological relations are using the physical function of a spring system. The spring system used as a medium of visualization of a topological analogy provides the crucial characteristic of having the tendency to achieve an equilibrium while keeping together all its components even though their own forces or properties are different. The experiments and the activation of the balancing procedure of the spring system, begin by using linguistic data as an input of the process. They are being manipulated as the abstract material of constructing designing methods and structures. They are nothing less than the immaterial component of assemblages that are formed under solid and strict rules which constitute the fundamental skeleton of a non linear and seemingly chaotic structure. This process implies the fact, which will be extensively discussed during the developement of the argument, that the design which has to manipulate a constantly involving mass of information has to provide the constraints that will exert control on them and will formulate a potential physical outcome or a design strategy.



Fig 4,5, 6, design work/term 2 The manipulation of the spring system as a tool of expressing the non linearity of language starts with the attribute of values such as parts of speech in every particle. The procedure aims to the gradual generation of a branching system and balance acquisition in a given frame which is visualized through the physical function of a spring system. The branching structure that is formulated intensifies the non linear literal structure of language as it deconstructs the object-text into its grammatical elements and into a generative skeleton. The branching system allows a point to activate a reproduction only if its identity is a verb phrase or a noun phrase after the linguistic analysis of phrases

11 THE TEXT AS A NON LINEAR NETWORK Text, in the frames of this study, is perceived as a structured and organized manipulation of language. It constitutes an object which is seemingly linearly developed but it presents an underlying network of inner relations, data, signs and knowledge. It will be examined as another designing structure that relies on a dataset which is fundamentally constructed by the writerdesigner but it is re-constructed by the reader under a wide spectrum of possibilities and non linear linkages of its data network. In literary theory, a text is any object that can be “read,” whether this object is a work of literature, a street sign, an arrangement of buildings on a city block, or styles of clothing. It is a coherent set of signs that transmits some kind of informative message. This set of symbols is considered in terms of the informative message’s content, rather than in terms of its physical form or the medium in which it is represented. 1. It seems rather interesting the fact that we could comprehend any formal configuration as a text or a message and to build a design method according to this ‘reading’. More specifically, the written text, an organized accumulation of language elements, situates the words in a certain arrangement in order to produce a message. Hence, language is the tool or the brick for this arrangement to function. Language, according to cognitive linguists such as Lakoff and Johnson, is a wide container of metaphors [data] which function as a solid mechanism or tool for the expression of abstract notions 2.. This abstraction already implicates that the system which governs a text might not be linear as the occidental way of writing initially indicates. Even though a text is read from the left to the right, in occidental cultures, the absorption of the underlying semantic data takes place in a non linear manner. Umberto Eco, in his study the ‘Open Work’ has proposed that a text, as any other piece of art, might be constructed in way that either its structure is intentionally non linear referring to the provision of data or potentially any text is considered as an open network of informational nodes which the reader should translate in his/her own terms, according to their cultural, theoretical, intellectual and cognitive background. We could identify in Eco’s suggestion the non linear manipulation of the disembodied material, information, towards a personal formation of knowledge. This immaterial component which exists in an infinite amount and provides an infinite catalogue of combinatorial possibilities will be delimited to the finite reconstruction by the user in a solid classification of the informational nodes. It is evident that Eco even though speaks of a rearrangement of an immaterial brick we might address a clear topological implication which will be used later in order to implicate this manipulation on a transformational redistribution of the city elements according to this non linear perception. Furthermore, in a written text, even though the virtual space that might be described by the author is situated within the Cartesian frame of spatial perception, the textual units which articulate the text have no Cartesian coordinates. 3. They function as links and nodes creating a network of data. This network is considered as a self-contained system, since a text, perceived as a message from the author to the reader, should imply every knowledge needed in order to be efficiently ‘translated’. 4. It is interesting to illustrate the topological space which the inner relations of the text form in comparison to the topographical physical space that might be described. The intertextuality, finally which states that texts are interconnected in between them and that the way the one interpret the other determines the message which is being produced, constitutes another version of the non linearity in the world of the written language. The exploration of the previously written works by the authors and the subjectivity of the utilization of the former messages create a whole matrix of data which function as given signifiers and are used as signified and the network keeps on developing by new ideas and knowledge. The notion of intertextuality guides to the structure of the hypertext which is going to be further investigated. 1. Yuri Lotman ,The Structure of the Artistic Text, trans. G. Lenhoff (Oxford, Great Britain: Oxon Publishing Ltd, 1977) 2    ,3. Marie Laure Ryan, “Cyberspace, Cybertexts, Cybermaps”, Ryan/index.htm 4     Douglas Hofstadter, ‘‘Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. A Metaphorical Fugue On Minds And Machines In The Spirit Of Lewis Carroll’’(London: Penguin Books, 1979)


The fact that it is the reader which plays such a crucial role in the final outcome of the text implies that he ends up being a co-writer as it is the interpretation of the message of the writer that will determine the final form of the text. This fact directly attributes a liquified form to the written language, if it could be visualised, as it is constantly changing, is emergent and metaphorically generic since it is always interdepended to the unknown reader’s point of view. From another point of view, and apart from the literally theory which accepts as a text ‘any object that can be “read”, the definition of the written language is ‘the representation of a language by means of a writing system.’ 1. A writing system, in its turn, is founded on certain syntactic structures. These syntactic structures, as encountered by Noam Chomsky and other linguists under the context of Structuralism, evoke a non linear dissemination of the language, which deconstructs the object-text into its grammatical elements and into a generative skeleton. Noam Chomsky perceives language ‘as a set of finite or infinite sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements.’ 2. He argues that these elements, or else points with a syntactical identity, constitute a universe of combinatory possibilities but only if specific rules are followed, a sentence would be produced. These rules are becoming obvious if a recursive analysis of the syntactical nodes takes place. A derivation which is a sequence of replacement of the syntactical nodes by syntactical points produces a branching structure of the elements of the text. It is necessary to be noted that this non linear approach of language separates the grammatically correct sentence from the meaningful sentence, as they are the parts of speech that are combined in order the speech to be formed and later they are replaced by the vocabulary. More specifically, this brancing procedure faces a given sentence as a mechanism that can be fragmented into the parts of speech until every branch can no more be split. What causes the potential fragmentation is the existence or not of a new verb or noun phrase 3.. This substructure within the main sentence causes the parse tree to generate new branches. The phrase, thus, could be conceived as having nucleus and modification elements. SENTENCE





















fig. 7, transformational grammar diagram

To conclude, this non linear dissemination of the text expresses the written language as a decentralized network of entities and a topological arrangement emerges. We can observe already a very fruitful field that allows a practical perception of this non linearity and it could be considered as a manual or guide towards a designing procedure or method of our manipulation of the immaterial brick as it will be later discussed. It is not only this generative branching structure that creates a spatial reconstruction of the speech but also the fact that in this branching system there are elements that function as an origin of a regeneration and elements less crucial but necessary as they modify the final outcome of the parse tree . Once again, we can identify a hidden topology of nodes (parts of speech), linkages (combinatory rules) and points (words) which form a network. If we have to go back and make a projection of this linguistic branching procedure onto the notion of non linearity, we would have to perceive the written language as a chaotic universe of words under which a combinatory system of rules keeps it stable. The seem1    Robert Lawrence Trask, “Language and Linugistics: The Key Concepts” (2nd ed.), edited by Peter Stockwell, (Oxon: Routledge,2007) 2     Noam Chomsky, ‘‘Syntactic Structures’’, (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1957) 3     Noam Chomsky, ‘‘Syntactic Structures’’, (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1957)

ingly linear version of the text reveals a non linear functionality of the mechanism that lies underneath the written speech. This distribution of the components and their combinatory properties, already imply a clear non linear arrangement on a practical basis that will be later attributed to the combinatory possibilities of the functional components of a tangible system, the city. William Mitchell who applies those grammatical rules on a potential spatial configuration, notes that ‘these very simple generative rules specify an infinite set of possibilitites’ 1.. This dissemination of the speech in its fundamental components and branching rules is further illustrated by simulations that have been undertaken during the design experiments of this research and try to systemize this recursive developement. In figures 7-12, the extracted frames of this simulation present the spring system which while tries to reach an equilibrium produces parts of speech and consequently syntactic structures. The procedure attempts to acquire rules which ar potentially generative. The spring system starts its balancing procedure by creating two points which represent the two central origins, the verb phrase and the noun fig. 8-13/design work, term 2 spring system balancing procedure which simulates the linguistic regeneration of the syntactical nodes of a phrase. The procedure is activated

verb phrase

noun phrase

regeneration stage a / activation

regeneration stage c

regeneration stage d

if only a verb phrase or a noun phrase is the syntactical identity of the node. Costellations of syntactical data are creating a topological structure. Space and language are interracting.

regeneration stage b

regeneration stage d

regeneration stage e, _third stage expansion and balancing procedure

1    William J. Mitchell, “ The Logic Of Architecture. Design, Computation, and Cognition” (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: The MIT Press, 1990)


14 phrase. They try to balance in a given frame and they reproduce themselves. The randomness in this case is attributed to the choise of the programme to regenerate an amount of branches. The procedure keeps loading as long as any of the reproduced branches contain as an identity a verb or a noun phrase. So the parse tree may end up being very complex or very simple. What is produced is a network that is generated and envelopped in itself creating linkages and connections that have a common origin and the one leads to the other rather than connecting pre existing topological points according to a relativity factor in between them. Furthermore, the fact that there is a discrete classification between the parts of speech it is easier and more objective to assign specific values in the particles of the system. This way of approaching the relation between speech and topological structures provides the possibility to investigate a self emerging non linear network and to explore the possible linkages that may exist among its components. The parameters that the user sets in the beggining are limited to the space that the spring system has to generate itself and to develop until it balances as well as the range of the possible regenerations allowed to take place if the particle- element is a noun or a verb phrase. Τhe perception of speech and language as a self contained non linear system leads to the confrontation of its components as possible elements of any different data system that functions in a generative and relativity mode. The generative parse tree that has been created may visualize any other system that contains data that interconnect in between them and the emergence of the one triggers the appearance of the other. This data hyperlink will be further investigated in the next chapter by examining the generative speech creation rather than the generative speech deconstruction which was developped during this chapter.

NON LINEARITY IN GENERATIVE SPEECH CREATION The perception of the written language as a universe of possible combinations of the elements according to their syntactical identity, as Noam Chomsky suggests, could not be more clearly allegorized in Jorge Luis Borges’ short story the ‘LIBRARY OF BABEL’ 1. in 1941. However, instead of applying a sort of universe spatiality on the written language, Borges, reversely, conceived of the universe itself as a vast library. In his imaginary universe the elements are not syntactical particles but the words themselves. This infinite library is built out of cells that host all the possible words in every posfigure 14 sible language. The inhabitants of this universe believe that Infinite Library, Erik if every possible combination among the words takes place, Desmazières then every book ever written, or that might ever be written, can potentialy be produced. As Chomsky, also Borges dissociates the speech from the meaning and manipulates the speech creation as a designing field of potential combinatory rules. Both of them assign values to the components of this designing field but alienate the component from the subjective meaning. They suggest a structuralistic comprehension of the speech, their being confident that even the randomness would provide an unexpected result which if translated by the user would acquire a potential meaning according to his personal reality. Especially Borges by being sure that all the written books, which have an intellectual value, ever written will emerge through this procedure maximizes the power of the randomness and the non linear strategy of linking components. However, 1     Marcelo Gleiser, ‘‘Borges, The Universe And The Infinite Library’’, accessed July 23, 2010, NPR: Cosmos & Culture, http://www.









800 1000

Fig 15 design work, term 2, MY MONKEY WROTE HAMLET OR THE INFINITE LIBRARY Taking into consideration the two allegorical readings by Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges the project investigates the manipulation of language or of speech through an algorithmic procedure. The procedure followed is based on an algorithm which manipulates the English dictionary dataset and at the same time the spring system. The spring system functions as the tool inside this universe that allows all the possible combinations between words to take place. The user controls both the number of words loaded every time as well as the properties of the physical system, that is the Spring system. So a computational procedure takes simulates the imaginary proposition of Borges, implements the Monkey theorem and lets a machine to control text in a non linear manner as Italo Calvino implies.


what he misses, unlike Chomsky, is that this combination is irrelevant to any value of the components, that is the words. While Chomsky assign syntactical values to his bricks and creates a non linear distribution of them, Borges allegorically wants to reinforce this automatic non linear process of classification and focuses more on the randomness of his system that is however very solid in is form (his universe is constructed by interlocking exagonal rooms and four infinite walls of book shelves) 1.. In short, we could identify in Chomsky’s structuralistic decomposition of language a top- down designing process while, in Borges a rather bottom -up one. Eco supports also this personal translation of the given text but he never diminishes the existence of a message by the author. In comparison to the analytical syntactical branching network of the Structuralistic linguistic approach, Borges under a different context, is influenced by Gödel who ‘had found the logical paradox that formal systems cannot fully describe themselves, or, if they are consistent, cannot prove their own consistency’ 2.. He suggests a ‘computational’ speech production which is based on the manipulation of a classified infinite universe of data by non linear combinatory procedures which are up to the statistically inevitable programmed process . Italo Calvino, in his turn, in his novel ‘ON A WINTER’S NIGHT TRAVELER’ , a writer, encounters a woman who refuses to read his novels, but instead feeds them as data into a statistical pro gram: ‘‘She explained to me that a suitably programmed computer can read a novel in a few minutes and record the list of all the words contained in the text, in order of frequency. “That way I can have an already completed reading at hand,” Lotaria says, with an incalculable saving of time. What is the reading of a text, in fact, except the recording of certainn thematic recurrences, certain insistences of forms and meanings?. . .” 3.

This novel could be considered as a preamble to the non linear reading or writing of a text and as the underlying theoretical predecessor of the creation of the Hypertext as a non Cartesian form of written language. This woman encounters the text as a set of data and lets a programmed computer to re-write the text by producing accumulations of the more frequently used words. The linear structure of the text is transformed into accumulations of data with common properties. Taking into consideration the above allegories/metaphors, we could observe that the text starts to represent an arrangement of data that is revealed or created by an ‘early’ algorithmic approach. A great topological relation between language and space might arise and endure this non linear chaotic classification of data that can be orthologically form meaningfull entities. Once again notions as point (word) and linkage (word connections within a network) can be attributed to the written language. The more important is the spatiality that emerges and the systemical elaboration of the given data regardless of the field of investigation. These analogies reinforce the argument towards the condition of the reality as a hidden non linear configuration of information, support the conceptual notion of the network and thus create the context of the rest of the study which speculates the city as a cross reference between the virtual and actual reality which provides a new environment for the user to interact with and to translate. Figures 16-18 constitute extracted frames of the designing experiments by the author which now use the spring system as a medium of detection or visualization of the topological properties of the manipulation of language or of speech through an algorithmic procedure having as inspiration the two allegorical readings by Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges. The procedure followed is based on an algorithm which manipulates the English dictionary dataset and at the same time the spring system. The four dictionaries function as the infinite universe of words in a chaoticly infinite space such as this of the computer. The spring system functions as the tool inside this universe that allows all the possible combinations between words to take place. The user controls both the number of words loaded every time as well as the properties of the physical system, that is the Spring system. So a computational procedure simulates the 1    This lends itself to the philosophical idea proposed by Immanuel Kant, that our mind helps to structure our experience of reality; thus the rules of reality (as we know it) are intrinsic to the mind. So if we identify these rules, we can better decode ‘reality’. Kevin Kelly,”Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World”(New York: Basic Books,1994) 2     Florian Cramer, “Computation as Fragmentation” , made_fleshch3.html 3. Italo Calvino, “If on a winter’s night a traveler”,trans. William Weaver (1981)(1st edition (Italian): Einaudi, 1979)    


Fig. 16-18, design work Various experiments on the way spatiality and language interract and create a topography and a topology of a field of relations of the nodes of the spring system. The text, that is the potential sentences that are created is affected not only by the size of the given space that the whole procedure takes place, but also by the physical properties of the spring system and the way it reacts within this space. 0









18 Fig. 19, design implementation, term 2 constant activation of the balancing procedure of the spring system occurs in each of its nodes producing different densities and topographical neighborhoods. This procedure ressembles and reminds of the way hypertext is constantly revealing new data and paths. Every information in hypertext constitutes a zoom out of a new infinite world opening up new branched neighborhoods of further directions. This world of hypetext might not be linear but it remains in an equilibrium within its seemingly chaotic structure.

imaginary proposition of Borges, implements the Monkey theorem and lets a machine to control text in a non linear manner as Italo Calvino implies. When the spring system has acquired balance then a sentence grammaticaly correct and potentialy semantically as well, has been produced. The designing procedure functions as a back and forth relation between the text and the space. If we perceive the nodes as the text itself and not as words then the text as a data particle acts as a component on its own in a wider network of information ,the ‘hypertext’. Whichever is the case, the points of this non linear configuration of data, the points interract in between them according to relativity factors in a given space. Eventually they create a topography or a network. The properties and form of the topography created are up to the relativity of these points which is controlled factors inserted by the user and constitute the constraints of the parametric procedure. The spring system organizes the nodes in a spatial arrangemant and it provides the links between the different types of information. In the next chapter this zoom out of this procedure towards a wider network of data, that is the hypertext, will be further discussed.

HYPERTEXT: A NON LINEAR TEXT After the dissemination of the written language in an underlying vast network of translations, syntactical nodes and later words, the text is going to constitute itself, now, the node of a wider system. Hypertext is investigated firstly as a form or a catalogue of texts that is non linearly navigated and secondly more literally, as a non linear structure or ‘architecture’ of text. More specifically, hypertext is defined as ‘text displayed on a computer display or other electronic device with references (hyperlinks) to other text that the reader can immediately access, usually by a mouse click, keypress sequence or by touching the screen.’ 1. Hypertext is an infinite database of text which interconnect in between them. The space that hosts this intangible library is well described by Silvio Gaggi, as a undetermined landscape where the subject cannot orient himself and has to make personal decisions in order to form this chaotic space according to the multiple choices that it provides. Potentially, all the texts connect to each other creating a network of knowledge. This vast meta-library reminds of the Borges’ universe seen as an infinite library. Furthermore, this hypertextual reading sets the subject as responsible for the final formulation of this undetermined space and the arrangement of data not only metaphorically but also literally as the reader can add information on the network, comment or create new links. The text is not functioning linearly from the author to the writer but as a distributed network of communication between users, authors and texts. This system lacks of a centre, a path or a guidance by the author since it is a self contained network manipulated by the user. The user tries to decodify the message and to attribute meaning to this constellation of data. From another point of view, hypertext can represent also the format of a digital text. This kind of text is created digitally in a virtual space and reminds more of a textual mapping rather than a written text. This configuration of data which is intentionally fragmented by the author suggests a three dimensional arrangement of the givens of the text but also provides numerous linkages to any contextual elements necessary to the reader to perceive the text. The reader manipulates this non linear map of information trying to detect the clues, to crossreference and to produce a potential meaning. The text is transformed into a topological space of nodes and linkages which the subject should navigate himself around.

1    Belinda Barnett, “Lost In The Archive: Vision, Artefact And Loss In The Evolution of Hypertext” (PhD thesis, University of New South Wales,1995)



HYPERTEXT: THE UNDERLYING CONCEPT OF THE SPATIALITY OF THE WWW The notion of Hypertext is another approach to the classification of data in a non linear basis. Apart from text, hypertext is sometimes used to describe tables, images and other presentational content forms with hyperlinks. Hypertext is the underlying concept defining the structure of the World Wide Web. It enables an easy-to-use and flexible connection and sharing of information over the Internet. ’’ 1.. Bonnie Mitchell illustrates the “Living in the electrons of cyberspace, we have no gender, we have no race, we are neither old nor young, intelligent nor naive, we have only an e-mail address to identify us. We have no need for bodies. They deteriorate anyway. We have no need for voice. We speak through thought. We have fingers, words, and images. We have an Internet connection. We have our virtual selves.” 2. In other words, hypertext describes the relative relations among data and knowledge that take place within the chaotic ‘cyberspace’. Topologically, the cyberspace is an undetermined non Cartesian arrangement where the notion of distance could be ‘measured’ by the speed of downloading and the movement is taking place by jumps rather than by linear gradual ‘walking’. In this infinite place, the subject meets nodes that leads to other nodes through linkages. 3. These nodes are texts, not only written, but any object that can be ‘read’, as previously has been noted. Eventually, spatial, cultural and textual properties can be recognized within the virtual space of the WWW. Marie Laure Ryan imagines the internet connections as “the Rabbit Holes that allow us to slip out of physical reality, and to enter a data Wonderland where everything can undergo unlimited metamorphoses, because everything is made of bits whose value can change with every clock cycle of the machine.” 4.

figure 20, visualization by Theodor Holm Nelson,

figure 21, visualization of the cyberspace, Marie Laure Ryan, “Cyberspace, Cybertexts, Cybermaps”

1    “Internet”. West’s Encyclopedia of American Law (definition) (2 ed.). Free Online Law Dictionary. (July 15, 2009). 2    Silvio Gaggi, From Text to Hypertext: Decentering the Subject in Fiction, Film, the Visual Arts, and Electronic Media (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania, 1997) 3,4. Marie Laure Ryan, “Cyberspace, Cybertexts, Cybermaps”, Ryan/index.htm

At the same time ‘cyberspace’, according to Lev Manovich, “is a metaphor that spatialises what happens in computers distributed around the world’’  1.. “In current usage the term cyberspace refers to the global network of interdependent information technology infrastructures, telecommunications networks and computer processing systems in which online communication takes place.’’ 2. Even if the cyberspace is the host area of the hypertext and constitutes a network of a wide range of data there are certain analogies to the metaphorical and literal non linearity as met in a written text. It is a topological distribution of information that activate the regeneration of new fields of investigation in a similar way with the analytical decomposition of the written language by linguists in the frames of Structuralism, who deconstruct the sentences in syntactical nodes which functions, later, as origins of a further dispersion. At the same time, it is the fact that both the universe of a text and the universe of data of the cyberspace are, as it has been already discussed, a non linear network that the subject reads and forms in its own subjective way and his personal point of view. Another aspect that intensifies the textual characteristics of the WWW is the fact that this chaotic data network is navigated by the individual by the insertion of a word or phrase in a search engine. A wandering within the discontinuous topological landscape of the Internet begins by the point of view –as the relativistic Einsteinian theory would suggest- that the inserted word determines and the evolving form this unknown place is being produced according to the search engines classification of results relevant to the inserted phrase and reader’s choices concerning the websites that he chooses to visit.

CYBERSPACE AS A PSYCHOGEOGRAPHICAL LANDSCAPE/FLANEURIE Recently, correspondence has been drawn between this variability of manipulation of the hypertext and the cyberspace and the term ‘psychogeography’ which had been primarily established by the Situationists in the 1950s. Psychogeography in its historical and contemporary versions attempts to find alternative narratives to the ‘official ones’, according to Hay Duncan. The psychogeographical wandering around the city by the Situationists suggests an alternative reading and redraws the map according to the individual decisions and the individual outcome. According to Guy Debord it is “just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape”. This approach of the exploration and perception of the geography and the urban landscape was developed under the context of combatting ‘the false consciousness that Debord argued produces both alienation and impoverished thought under capitalism called for the construction of a new, liberatory urban space’. 3. This movement of the Situationists intended to create a new urban design, to reassemble the pieces of the city system, to append new meanings on this urban text and eventually was opposed to the functional Euclidean values in architecture. The official map of the city is rejected and the urban landscape is transformed into a labyrinthin universe that the user should translate in his own terms. The ‘dérive’ is the method that the psychogeographical exploration of a city suggests. It is the unorthodox or unpredictable drifting within the city net without the help of any official navigation means, which provides a new mapping of the urban space according both to the user’s choices but also the possible ‘algorithmic’ instructions which guide the ‘flaneur’. It leads to a non linear redrawing   1 Lev Manovich, “The Poetics of Augmented Space”, Visual Communication,2002,5 accessed 16 March 2013, http://www. 2     David Bell, Brian D.Loader, Nicholas Pleace and Douglas Schuler (eds), “Cyberculture, The key Concepts” (London: Routledge, 2004) 3     Amy J. Elias, “Psychogeography, Détournement, Cyberspace”, New Literary History Vol 41, Autumn 2010,4, pg 821.845, accessed 20 March 2013,



figure 22, THE NAKED CITY, Guy Debord collage of parts of the map of Paris, rearranged and interrelated creating an alternative network in the different neighborhood of the city. Debord has discussed a ‘renovated cartography’. The map is mutated due to alternative reading and data inputs.

figure 23, “Hypertext and the City”,

Fig. 24, Model 3 of Eduction: The Alien Within. © Novak and Lutyens, in Arch’it electronic magazine (28 Dec. 2001).

of the city, if we perceive as linear any official navigating method that provides the shortest path to a destination. According to Maren Hartmann, cities apart from beeing information spheres, are also inhabited structures 1., constantly evolving by the organic processes that take place within them, so they cannot be comprehended as a static network easily to be controlled and perceived. They are a perpetually developing structure of emerging data that create a textual universe open to further readings. The technique of the ‘dérive’, as proposed by the Situationists, might be paralleled to the reader’s drift through cyberspace. The notion of psychogeography in the era of the World Wide Web and of the hypertext is redefined. It can now be located in virtual space. Cyberspace, according to Marie Laure Ryan’s study, “is experienced as much a collection of places to inhabit, as an open space to be explored though aimless flânerie” 2.. The internet is thus an ideal medium for navigable spaces to perpetuate the continuous drift. The internet and consequently the cyberspace and the hypertext function as those unpredictable but systemic rules that the original psychogeographical procedures suggested. The reader can be recognized as the ‘flaneur’ that Charles Beaudlaire has described, within the chaotic cyberspace . This new cyber- flaneur tries to find his way through data that are chaotic but systemically organized both by the search word that he/she has set but also by the relativity rules that the search engine follows in order to offer the more appropriate data needed. This strolling is nothing less than a non linear reading of data in an unmapped topological rather than topographical place, that after the reconstruction by the reader, creates organized information and knowledge.

THE PSYCHOGEOGRAPHICAL LANDSCAPE AS A ‘TEXT’ TO BE READ If the real city or the urban net are considered as the ‘text’ to be read by the individual ‘reader’ then this reading would take place in a non linear manner. The city has been encountered by many approaches as a written text and the notions of syntax or vocabulary have been projected on its structure. So the question that emerges is how the city as another organically written text and as an information structure could be understood as a language or a text that offers data and linkages. There could be found, thus, a relation between the network of language, the branching system that analyses it, the hypertext that translates this structure into the spatial perception of the cyberspace and finally the city. It seems necessary the way a city can be understood as text or language to be at least partially analysed. During Modernism, Kevin Lynch, for instance, in his study ‘The image of the city’, published in 1960, investigates how the city is perceived by the individual and how the data it provides are assimilated. His research manipulates the forms of the city and tries to create a syntax. It reminds of Chomsky’s analytical dissemination of the language in inclusive steps. It could be said that Lynch ‘reads the city’ as a language and tries to produce a syntax. He reveals five elements which according to his empirical investigation the pedestrians perceive and translate in their subjective way. These five elements are the paths, the edges, the districts, the nodes and the landmarks 3.. He suggests that the pedestrian produces ‘mental maps’ by translating those configurations. The user, the flaneur, perceives those syntactical elements and wanders in the three dimensional network of the city. Those syntactical elements constitute the systemic and underlying rules that the urban net sets in order to be able to be navigated efficiently in a non linear way. This non linear way of understanding the city is inevitable. The reader has to develop strategies in order to discover in his personal way the hidden network of data that is projected onto the city. Even the definition ‘mental map’ implies the subjectivity of the translation of the surroundings. The notion of the mental map ‘refers to a person’s 1     Maren Hartmann, “Situationist Roaming Online”, 2     Marie Laure Ryan, “Cyberspace, Cybertexts, Cybermaps”, Ryan/index.htm 3    Ruth Conroy Dalton, Sonit Bafna, “The syntactical image of the city: A reciprocal definition of spatial elements and spatial syntaxes”, (Proceedings) 4th International Space Syntax Symposium, London, UK, 2003


24 Fig. 25, design implementation, term 2 The spring system algorithm acts within a given space and builts a new spatial condition by assembling the points of an underlying network. Within the chaotic underlying world of the cyberspace the user will create his own determined paths and will create a clear personal structure by activating the nodes of information which will be helpful for his ows investigation.

personal point-of-view perception of their own world’ 1. . The solid structure of the city and this syntactical configurations which are met in its shapes and form could be paralleled to the text’s underlying skeleton that keeps organized the non linear arrangements of data and potential translations. The user in both ‘texts’, the written and the urban, function as the subjective observers in these constellations of data who metaphorically re-write and re-build them according to their personal intellectual background and the network of data that they carry.

BUFFER ZONE: IN BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE CYBERSPACE The city could be imagined as the physical analogue of the cyberspace since the individual while circulating around the urban grid carries his relative network of his knowledge or data with which he interacts with the city. So, if the Situationist ‘derive’ could be paralleled to the real living of the individual and the network of data that he activates within the city, the map of city would be distorted or transformed. This transformation would imply a personal mutation of the physical city for every individual that interacts and lives in it. These imaginary transformations could occur if the city was conceived as the physical form of the cyberspace (the ‘Matrix’, the 1999 movie by brothers Watchowski, has already suggested the digital manifestation of the city). Of course, both the real city and the virtual cyberspace guide to a more liquified version of space since, assuming from the discussed givens, they are both a matrix of data based on a topologically organized skeleton of nodes and linkages that the user manipulates. So this kind of space is organically developed and gradually formed by the way humans interact with their real and virtual environment. The cross-reading of the reality and the virtual structures by the humans and the projection of data on both spaces opens up a new direction of the space designing and perception. This potential mutation of the physical city into and imaginative personal virtual city according to the individual leads to the investigation of the notion of the Augmented space. According to Lev Manovich ‘Augmented space’ is the physical space overlaid with dynamically changing information 2.. This information is likely to be in multimedia form and it is often localized for each user.’ In his essay ‘The Poetics of Augmented Space’  3. focuses more on how the spatial form is affected by the multimedia information, how this form may affect their circulation and how the ‘reader’ perceives the city after his unique relation with it and the transformation of the city because of the data flow. Of cource, the augmented space in his study is attributed to a more literal version of the digitalization of the city, referring to the utilization of the urban surfaces as screens for digital data to be projected on. However, if we think of this approach in a more metaphorical manner and imaginative way, then this ‘dynamically changing information’ could take place because of the capability of a dual control of the user of both the physical and the digital space and his navigation within the real and virtual world. The human who interacts with the city could algorithmically be transported to the useful for him points in the city as he would do by surfing on the web. Regarding to this twofold navigation between the two manifestations of space, the virtual and the real, Ben Cerveny, data visualization designer, speaks of an unprecedented experience for the human, to be able to navigate himself both within the software and real environment. He describes, the city as a platform where the user can act upon and he suggests that it is time for the human rather than using a map, which is just a graphic representation to comprehend the city, to start locating himself within this newly emerged simulation of the city constructed through the continuous flow of data and the visualization techniques 1     Derek Gregory Johnston, Geraldine Rom Pratt, ”Dictionary of Human Geography: Mental maps/Cognitive Maps (5th ed.)” (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell ,2009). 2      Lev Manovich, “The Poetics of Augmented Space”, Visual Communication,2002,5 accessed 16 March 2013, http://www. 3      Lev Manovich, “The Poetics of Augmented Space”, Visual Communication,2002,5 accessed 16 March 2013, http://www.



and technology[21]. It is fascinating to imagine how the psychogeographical readings that the Situationists had suggested would be reflected on this way of understanding the city that emerges thanks to technological capabilities of the era. Apart from urging the inhabitant to adapt himself on this new medium of reading the city, Ben Cerveny is questioning how the industry of the built environment meets this experience and responds to that. It is obvious, that once again there is the implication of the flexibility of the city and the need to take advantage of this data flow and accessibility in order to achieve an optimization by urging a shifting of the city condition. In any case, it is an alternative ‘reading ‘of the city which may guide to new territories of designing strategies if we take advantage of the literal and metaphorical re writing of its structure by the inhabitants or users in general. Furthermore, if it is to read the city as another ‘text’, we should recognize the fundamental skeleton, as previously had been discussed, and to reflect on that our personal background by reassembling the non linear network of data that the skeleton provides. These skeletons of the design of the city could be either the already existing infrastructure that constitutes the solid grammar and language to be translated, or the rules of the potential transformation of the city to come. If the second is the case, Ben Cerveny discusses that the data which are now available provide a hyperspace of possibilities 1. and consequently they have to be manipulated under a strict control. In other words, there is the need of a system of constraints that will channel this huge data flow on the appropriate configuration and will define the space. If parametric design proposes already a ‘sculpture of possibilities’ 2., it should be recognized now as the more appropriate way of designing as it provides the way to design the constraints that could exert control on this constantly involving mass of information.

Fig.26, Eric Fischer created these map representations of paths through NYC using geotagged tweets downloaded from the Twitter API (CC-BY-SA) 1    2   


Fig. 27,28, design implementation, term 2 impact of the the balancing procedure of the spring system on an underlying layer causes its distortion and its transformation. Metaphorical mutation of the city grid due to the rearrangement of its elements.

The main designing aim, is this potential mutation of the physical city into a, metaphorically, an imaginative personal city according to the individual and literally a design strategy deriving from the reading of the hidden networks and flows of information of the city. Figures 28-30 constitute the projection of the previous simulations of interrelating data onto an underlying system which could represent the city. It is the expression of this buffer zone between the cyberspace the user and the city that activates the city distortion. This approach starts by the influence that the non linear network of any given dataset could exert on a subsystem. At the given experiments, this subsystem is a 2d or a 3d grid. This aim for the design process led to the investigation of how this linkages emerged from the branching system could function as a tool for activating a transformation of another system. This system, for now, is a line or a point grid which is located underneath the branching system. According to the development of the branches, the movement of the system in order to balance within the given space and the identity of the origins of the parse tree, a transformational procedure takes place affecting the subsystem. This transformation is in two dimensions in the beginning and in a 3d space later. The grid starts to be distorted creating different topographical qualities and properties. Finally, there is further simulation of the potential transformation of 3d structures that may ressemble the city condition. These tests try to make a link to the next more physical designing procedure which will try to express this mutability of the city according to the individual and the data network that carries. Later on, this subsystem will be more literally transformed by the try of the spring system to achieve an equilibrium according to the data that the city provides itself. These data will be further analysed in the next chapter which encounters the city as a platform of possible translations where its data emerge and could function as activation factors of a mutation, almost as Ben Cerveny has already disccused.


CITY AS A PLATFORM The reading of the real city and of the virtual one could be even more supported by the wide use of the smartphones or the easy-to-carry laptops. So the human is now able to have access on the internet almost wherever he is in the city. The physical urban grid could thus envelop in itself and create a new space in between the real classification of data and the virtual matrix of information in the WWW and manifest this incredibly non linear structure that emerges from this crossbreeding of the two readings in the era that the human lives in an unknown or yet not identified space. This parallel reading of the digital and physical space could be more emphasized by an existing version of this parallel reading of the physical network of the city and the digital matrix. Applications developed for smartphones suggest a parallel manipulation of physical and digital data. ‘Serendipitor’ 1. is an application for iphone that utilizes Google Map’s API to “find something by looking for something else.” As the pedestrian is moving to the chosen destination, the app suggests directions and provides interactive ‘flaneries’. In almost the same frame, the ‘Derive’ is another application that creates unpredictable routes through the use of randomly drawn task cards. Another relevant application is the ‘Street Museum’ which is launched by the Museum of London. It works by using the geotagging and Google Maps to guide users to several sites in London where, through iPhone screen, various historical images of the city appear and transform the real place into an augmented reality 2.. The American Natural History Museum has also launched an application named ANHM Explorer 3. which not only guides the visitor within the museum by suggesting routes but also it functions as an open library and data provider every time that it recognizes an exhibit.

Fig.29, Serendipitor Iphone app, Mark Shepard, V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media / Eyebeam Art+Technology Center. Provides alternative and unpredictable directions according to the search word based on the Google maps API. Inspired by FLUXUS, Vitto Acconci.

Furthermore, the city could be imagined as a ‘platform’ whose materiality is the data. The city as a physical analogue of the cyberspace is transformed into a digital configuration if it is comprehended as a platform where data are constantly added and thus its form starts to be mutated. According to Usman Haque, architect and artist, the society today is the society of the data spectacle. He states that the utilization of data, in terms of urbanity, aims to the optimization of the living conditions, the efficiency of the city structures and the better behaviour of the citizens 4.. He suggests that those data can be constantly being produced by the people themselves. A form of interaction emerges. Once again it is the user who controls the data of a given ‘text’ and rewrites it. This time, the text is the city-platform of interaction and the data are the literal data that the users feed it with and starts writing on it. Those data are uploaded to the cyberspace, on a website 5. which hosts them in realtime. It is obvious that the physical and digital versions of the city are interrelated and the one influences the other implying an unprecedented non linearity in their cross-reference . This non linear networking is now linking not only abstract data between the cyberspace and the city, but real data that the users produce. They could be measurings of the air pollut1    1,3. Samara Mcilroy, “Urban Drifting”, accessed November 9, 2010, 2     Gavin Lucas, “StreetMuseum iPhone app”, accessed May 24, 2010, streetmuseum-app 3     American Museum of Art, 4     Usman Haque, (paper presented at the Smartegeometry 2013 Symposium: Constructing for Uncertainty, session one, “Constructing data”, The Bartlett, London, April, 20,2013) 5     “Cosm”,

ants or crime data for instance. If the city would change in order to adapt on those data and become more efficient then a new city configuration would be revealed and consequently even its psychogeography would be altered. This time not because of the unexpected wandering of the individual but thanks to the individual’s contribution, through the cyberspace, to the pursuit of the optimization of the built environment by a real reading that he has undertaken. For instance, if the crime data which would be provided by the city users, would be utilized in order to rearrange the city structure in order to reduce the crime phenomena then the perception of specific neighbourhoods as dangerous would be diminished. The psychogeography is influenced because the ‘readers’ recorded the specific ambience, they reported it and the city might be efficiently transformed. The same would happen if many citizens would record the air pollution around their residence and were uploading them on cyberspace. Then, the high or low percentages of pollution would affect the preference or not of the specific area by the prospective habitants. Figures 28-30 are depicting the process which had been followed by the cluster “Volatile Territories” during the participation at the Smartgeometry Conference in London, 2013 1.. Their process is based on the feeding of a pheromone proximity system which reads the behaviors of the city and attempts to create a rearrangement of its elements and to suggest a new optimized condition. This procedure has read the city data and content in an alternative way and this reading has produced a subjective formal outcome. Figure 29 illustrates one of the potential formal distortions of the city if the city elements were reconnected. The data which are used are the functions of the city informed with a relativity factor to one another. Perhaps it would be interesting to test how this procedure would have end up if it would be informed with certain behaviors of the city rather than only the existing functions. This question will be further discussed during the design experiments which accompany this study since they broaden the field of discussion of the “Volatile Territories” cluster.

Fig.30-31, Volatile Territories, David Reeves Bruce Davison, Smartgeometry “Constructing for Uncertainty”, 2013, London. Pheromone recursion system rearranges the city condition.

Fig.32, Volatile Territories, David Reeves Bruce Davison ,Smartgeometry “Constructing for Uncertainty”, 2013, London. Physical outcome of the re arranged city.

1     David Reeves Bruce Davison, (workshop at the Smartegeometry 2013 Symposium: Constructing for Uncertainty, session one, “Constructing data”, The Bartlett, London, April, 20,2013)



The above assumptions have been projected onto the designing research which follows this theoretical study. The design procedure tries to incorporate this massive data flow within the city and to test how its mapping and condition would be affected if all these information would be visualized in order to achieve an alternative reading of the city-text which would allowed the form of the city to be redefined. These experiments use the city of Manhattan as a case study and it functions as the city platform whose data are visualised and constitute the activation factors of a system which will suggest a new designed layer of the Central Park which will emerge from the rearrangement of the components of the city. More specifically, the automated algorithmic procedure is now fed not with the data of a dictionary like it used to happen in the primary investigation of the linguistic spatiality but with the data of the city which constitute its language or its immaterial brick. These data are apart from the functions of the city (public services, schools, residential buildings,wifi hotspots, libraries, etc), specific recorded behaviors as the city spots where users have used twitter geo tagging or the locations where informal public wifi hotspots have emerged and thus they indicate the increased need for an Internet connection. These data will represent the nodes of the spring system which will be again on a balancing attempt. The spring system will rebalance the city data and


residential area

public services


twitter geotagging

wifi hotspots

Fig. 33, design proposal, term 3 visualization maps of the functions around the area of Central Park and behaviors such as the Internet usage based on twitter geotagging. Data that are feeding the spring system in order to activate a new equilibrium.

city / existing condition

re-balanced condition

volumized distortion

distorted grid

Fig34. , design proposal, term 3 REBALANCING THE CITY. The city elements feed the adjacency spring system and create a new condition suggesting a distribution system of WIFI hotspots within Central Park


Fig. 35, procedural diagram, term 3 the data of the city feed the system activating a rebalancing procedure of the existing condition. The spring system nodes are representing each an every data particle. The city grid is distorted and is suggesting a distributional strategy of wifi locations within Central Park.

Fig. 36, procedural diagram, term 3 formal diagrammatic procedure. The conceptual volumized transformed grid is converted into a distributional system which produces the form of the distributed objects

will suggest a new condition. This condition which is based on a specific need, the Internet , will provide a distribution system of WIFI Hotspots and recreation areas into Central Park according to the amount of the similar functions around the area, the proximity of the points which already provide public wifi, the indication of how much interested were the citizens in the WIFI hotspots or the circulation of the people during the day according to the residential areas or the public services buildings density around the city map. The non linear distribution of them by the spring system indicates also a potential redistribution of city elements in order to achieve an equilibrium and to suggest the optimized distribution of the WIFI hotspots into Central Park. The visualization of this data allows the understanding of the city space and could improve the decision making of the urban design strategy. In this case, the balancing procedure suggests a design method which is fed by all the relevant data and calculates the best location for this new layer of the Central Park. The spring system activates the aggregation of the city elements and suggests a new distribution of them. During this redefinition of the existing condition the city grid is being distorted and transformed creating even a new formal reality. This distortion of the city grid constitutes the point where this distribution system that has come up functions also as the tool for the design of the form of this arrangement within Central Park. Even if this design method begins by suggesting a rather conceptual implementation of this algorithmic process, that is the re-equilibrium of the city, it becomes more tangible in the design proposal of the WIFI Hotspot and recreation areas into the park where the tensions of the previous conceptual mutation of the city image turn to be a real design tool. This becomes even more evident when this process produces the form of the distributed WIFI hotspots and clarifies the fact that the optimization strategy, the parameterized distributional method and the form production are interrelated and the one leads to the other. To conclude, this design method has read the vocabulary of the city -its functions and several recorded behaviors- and has created a new condition of its syntax and has suggested a new conceptual topography. These behaviors that are recorded by the twitter geotagging have been produced by the interraction of the human with the cyberspace during their wandering within the city. It is the Twitter GEOtagging which has allowed to visualise an immaterial behavior of the users of the city and offers a new perspective to the reading of the city. There is a self referential system that emerges since the internet networking need of the citizen has informed the cyberspace accessed data which in their turn activate the algorithmic calculation of the designing and distributional procedure of WIFI hotspots. So the designign strategy after visualizing the data that the user himself has fed the cyberspace with, it produces cyberspace access points to the citizen within Central Park after distorting conceptually the city. Moreover, this scripted procedure creates a new formal language through which the designed objects that are distributed are produced. A constant exchange of properties between procedure and data is observed.



35 CONCLUSION During this study the notion of the non linearity has been encountered as a systemical network manifested in objects which provide data configurations in order to be perceived. The properties of the “text”, as any object that can be comprehended as an arrangement of facts to be read and redefined by the reader has been reflected on wider structures such as the hypertext, the cyberspace and finally the city. At the same time, a sequential deployment and translation of these structures proves that the non linear interconnection of their immaterial material, that is the data, is their common underlying logic. This logic and classification strategy turns to be rather interesting as long as it is paralleled and projected onto the optimization capacities of the real city. The circulating data which form the organism of the city could be conceptualized as the seeds or the origins which feed a wider system of constraints and parameters. This system is feasible, nowadays, since the appropriate software is technologically available and it allows the elaboration of a huge mass of data guiding the designer to safer terittories and decisions. The algorithmic procedures which are fed by these data turn to be the medium through which the reader (in this case the designer) will translate the input in order to produce the more optimized output. The medium does not replace the user. Instead, it functions as the buffer zone in between the human and the invisible data. It provides the human with the ability to control a powerfull material which is invisible but it seems to be the most crucial component towards the comprehension of the underlying urban structures apart from the tangible ones. The city as another ‘text’ to be read or as the physical analogue of the cyberspace should be manipulated as a constantly evolving system of information and not as a static structure. Today that the technology which permits the parallel navigation of the user in both data platforms, the virtual and the real, is available and accessible, and that there are numerous of visualization techniques, we should encounter city as a flexible and volatile territory to be translated not only by the user but also by the designer and the built environment industry. The non linear classification of city data should imply the constraints for an algorithic manipulation of the infinite possibilities that eventually emerge in order this ‘text’ named ‘city’ to be read. The imaginary parallel living of the human in the hyperspatial landscape and the real city should imply a new design strategy that will take advantage of this rearrangement of informational particles which build the reality. A bottom-up synthetical concept emerges but under the prism of the design of a rule (algorithm-system) which will organically function and be transformed in itself in order to let the city achieve an equilibrium. Finally, this argument has been applied to the design case study and it proves that it could constitute a design method. The design experiments which have accompanied this study begun by the emergence of spatiality within the inner structures of the language by highlighing in what way could a scripted procedure manipulate language by rearranging its data, that is the words of a dictonary, through the use of a physical system that is the spring system which tries to achieve an equilibrium in multiple conditions. The second step of the experiments focused more on the interraction of this syntactical rearrangement and a given space and how it would be distorted. The last step applied the above assumptions in real terms and replaced the syntactical data with city data. It read the hidden networks of the city and immaterial behaviors of the users located within the buffer zone in between reality and the cyberspace. It turned the city into a text and by its redefinition and translation, it created a new architectural language in order to propose a distributional and formal strategy of WIFI recreation areas within Central Park.

Fig. 37, distributional system drawing, term 3 The proximity map of the rebalanced spring system and the transformed grid are distributing objects within the park area.


Fig. 38-39, conceptual volumized distortion of the city by the rebalancing procedure of the spring/proximity system according to the city data.

Fig. 40, the formal outcome of the procedure. Potential form that constitutes the three dimensional version of the system which is distributed over the areas that are indicated by the distributional design process after the correlation of the city data which will calculate the optimized locations of the WIFI hotspots and recreation areas.


Fig. 38

Fig. 39

Fig. 40


BIBLIOGRAPHY Belinda Barnett, “Lost In The Archive: Vision, Artefact And Loss In The Evolution of Hypertext” (PhD thesis, University of New South Wales,1995) David Bell, Brian D.Loader, Nicholas Pleace and Douglas Schuler (eds), “Cyberculture, The key Concepts” (London: Routledge, 2004) Italo Calvino, “If on a winter’s night a traveler”,trans. William Weaver (1981)(1st edition (Italian): Einaudi, 1979) Noam Chomsky, ‘‘Syntactic Structures’’, (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1957) Derek Gregory Johnston, Geraldine Rom Pratt, ”Dictionary of Human Geography: Mental maps/Cognitive Maps (5th ed.)” (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell ,2009). Amy J. Elias, “Psychogeography, Détournement, Cyberspace”, New Literary History Vol 41, Autumn 2010,4, pg 821.845 Kevin Kelly,”Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World”(New York: Basic Books,1994) Yuri Lotman ,The Structure of the Artistic Text, trans. G. Lenhoff (Oxford, Great Britain: Oxon Publishing Ltd, 1977) Robert Lawrence Trask, “Language and Linugistics: The Key Concepts” (2nd ed.), edited by Peter Stockwell, (Oxon: Routledge,2007) Lev Manovich, “The Poetics of Augmented Space”, Visual Communication,2002,5 Umberto Eco, The Open Work, trans. Anna Cancogni (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989) Silvio Gaggi, From Text to Hypertext: Decentering the Subject in Fiction, Film, the Visual Arts, and Electronic Media (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania, 1997) Douglas Hofstadter, ‘‘Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. A Metaphorical Fugue On Minds And Machines In The Spirit Of Lewis Carroll’’(London: Penguin Books, 1979) William J. Mitchell, “ The Logic Of Architecture. Design, Computation, and Cognition” (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: The MIT Press, 1990)

PAPERS David Reeves Bruce Davison, (workshop at the Smartegeometry 2013 Symposium: Constructing for Uncertainty, session one, “Constructing data”, The Bartlett, London, April, 20,2013) Ben Cerveny, “Massively Multiparticipant Adaptive Systems”, (paper presented at the Smartegeometry Symposium: Constructing for Uncertainty, The Bartlett, London, April, 20,2013) Ruth Conroy Dalton, Sonit Bafna, “The syntactical image of the city: A reciprocal definition of spatial elements and spatial syntaxes”, (Proceedings) 4th International Space Syntax Symposium, London, UK, 2003 Usman Haque, (paper presented at the Smartegeometry Symposium: Constructing for Uncertainty, session one, “Constructing data”, The Bartlett, London, April, 20,2013)

WEB Florian Cramer, “Computation as Fragmentation” , Marcelo Gleiser, ‘‘Borges, The Universe And The Infinite Library’’, accessed July 23, 2010, NPR: Cosmos & Culture, blogs/13.7/2010/07/23/128716508/the-universe-and-the-infinite-library Maren Hartmann, “Situationist Roaming Online”, dac/papers/Hartmann.pdf Marie Laure Ryan, “Cyberspace, Cybertexts, Cybermaps”, Ryan/index.htm Samara Mcilroy, “Urban Drifting”, accessed November 9, 2010, http://popupcity. net/2010/11/urban-drifting/ Gavin Lucas, “StreetMuseum iPhone app”, accessed May 24, 2010, http://www.



Non linearity// text/cyberspace/city  

UCL//MArch Graduate Architectural Design thesis

Non linearity// text/cyberspace/city  

UCL//MArch Graduate Architectural Design thesis