12:01am | 02/14/2018
Daniel Tompkins updated
This is Daniel Tompkins, an artist designing and developing l-o-o-s-e-d.net. This site is meant to be an incubator for critical discourse in technology and politics— technopolitics. In 2016, I began researching the state of the Internet and media in the United States; especially as it compared to the physical infrastructure, organization, and culture of the "street network", or SNET, in Cuba. LOOSED began as a platform to present the reading responses assigned in Professor Nicco Mele's The Internet and Political Campaigns at Harvard's Kennedy School; but I hope it will grow into a much more robust platform for exploring how our life "online" interacts with what we do in the real, physical world. It is, perhaps, an unlikely path for someone who's started their academic career in architecture, but I would disagree.
What is it an architect does? What does the "architectural problem" entail? One of my first mentors likened the architect to a conductor directing a most unique ochestra... Architecture arguably meets at the intersection of law, politics, culture, ecology, engineering, technology, art and design. The architect coordinates the collective efforts of these respective experts, all the while appealing to the client's interests. The neat set of drawings that they submit is not only a physical documentation of the building and its site, but an implicit description of its function and purpose. The architect, therefore, is not only the author of these documents: they are the clandestine directors of our lives— and this is an incredible task.
The architectural problem is complex, and in many ways it demands much more than brick and mortar. As architecture and other disciplines become entangled with technology, it's become evident that space is both physical as well as virtual. This transition is occurring across a vast number of professions, and dictates a hybrid, and interdisciplanary, function. The analog networks that once influenced the built environment have morphed with a digital infrastructure. If considered as a mutation of the architectural problem, then this marks the introduction of a new virtual media to be considered in conjunction with the physical networks and economies at play.
The name "l00sed" is what I used as my username for a variety of platforms online (a kind of "cybername"— to push my theory). At one point I imagined it could even be my DJ name when I was poring over digital music and producers. It was really a play on "lucid"; however, it's turned out to be a perfect title for the LOOSED project. As the past tense of the verb "loose"— as in, to release, or free— "loosed" ironically became a wonderful call-to-action. In this sense, I mean "loosed" more as liberated; and, in these pages, I hope you will find some sense of liberation— of freedom.
current student graduate of the school of design at Harvard— particularly, within the discipline of Art, Design and the Public Domain— I'm excited to see the role of this research in supporting local media and activism, and the curation of a digital public domain. I hope it will empower other intellectuals, technologists, activists, and digital citizens alike to interrogate the possibilities of a digital "architecture"— a connected, virtual space. I appreciate your interest, your dedication, and your support— and I hope you will join me in promoting further discussion, and action.
Moved to Pittsburgh with my girlfriend Natalie! I'm currently working as a designer and digital fabricator at Iontank— a company that produces new media art installations for companies. I also started volunteering with the folks at MetaMesh. They're a local non-profit that's working to bypass the ISPs by building a free and public network across the Burgh's neighborhoods.
As an additional note, I'd like to thank Alicia Valencia, who designed the loosed logo for our collaborative project Freego— which can be found in my portfolio. It is a mashup of the Statue of Liberty's torch with the Wi-Fi symbol, which is intended to symbolize wireless/online freedom.
If you'd like to become a contributing writer, organize a related project, get an invitation to l00sed.slack, or just talk, please send me an email.