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The digital did not come into being with computers. It arrived much earlier via a certain painterly turn towards a kind ofPURITY of abstraction in visual representation.
(notes in process: we need to start yes with the russian AG, but more specifically we must begin by drawing a careful disctinction between the efforts of Goncharnova and Larinov on the one hand, and Malevich and Tatlin on the other. These two camps set in motion what today is the defining diachotomy of contrmpory art and life: the body v. the digital. Goncharnova and Larionov, we must remember, get tyhe ball rolling with Rayonism (with with the exceoent Rayonist Manifesto) but don't stay around to see the emergence of the digital all the way inot being. They instead head to Paris to with with Diaghilev on the Ballet Russe. In the rayonist manifest we can clreay read the early seeds of the digital--the kind of abstraction is not like that of cubism or futurism where the artist uses big abstract geometeic shapes to construct representations of underlying figures or objects. Rather rayonism is a kind of "effect" it is much closer to photoshop filters and the like. While the rayonist manifesto aligns painting with the aesthetic concecpts of the digial (a 4th dimension of infinite space, color and shape being reduced to the pure and singular tools of painting... etc) it wouldn't be until Malevich's infmaous "On The Museum" that the underlying database-architecture of digtial image making was established with his commitment to re-concieve of the storage capacity of a musuem by suggesting that burning everything in a museum would allow whole epochs of work could fit on 'one shelf'. It is in this way that the wave of the AG that Malevish and Tatlin represent begin to articualte not only an aesthic similarity with what woud become digital imagemaking, but more importantly, a deeply intutive understanding of the digitial image's relatiopnship to quantifacation. After all, we should remeber that a photograp and a digital image have nothing in common save a passing visial resemblence. A photo represents how the sun burnt some metal halide crystals differntly than others. As an object it is not able to store the data of how the sun interacted with the material in a numerical way. The digital Image however is something like a dataset first and an iumage second. It is a digital record of the numerical values assigned to eahc pixel of a surface, and is organized in such a way that a processer is able to translate that data and display the image. It is only because the Black Square--placed to cheekily and correctly in the palce of the christian icon when first displayed--can be understood as first pixel ever made that it is of any interest. It helps us to see how the digital has been around since before computers as we know them, while also underlinginy the deeply aneutral roots of what would become digital space. A space so often articualted as one brimming with emacipatory potentital on the grounds that it is merely a technical tool discovered by scientists, and not an expression of a desire to visually absract reality born of an intense drive to radically re-orient the State. (more more this is way too loooose).
)(()next need to get into the shift form demographics to psychographics as the primary means of political targeting. As well as the next frontier of data being the bridging of psychogrpahic, demographic and biogenic data... surely such a joining will constitute whole new political constitutions, divorced from traditional nation states. i.e. the very real fact that Amazon has, in part, founded a health-care company in recent years.