Fall 2011 Volatility articles, final versions

Since these papers aren’t published anywhere, might as well put them online for the world to see!
Brett Elliott: Madness: One Step Beyond
John Fulton: Congestion Junction, What’s Your Function?
Gabe Guerriero: Constrategic Architecture
Joseph Foronda: Grafting the Estero
Jamie Pratt: Social Shopping Evolution
Jay Austin: Formative Complexity
Kelly Lawley: Growing Office Cultures
Michael Ippolito: Curating Restlessness
Richard Lovato: Infiltrating Fabrication
Tyler Pew: NON-Script: Subverting the Service Design Paradigm

Best if used by…

Landscape, industry & infrastructure wonks extraordinaire — mammoth — posted this amazing chart showing typical lifespans of various infrastructural components. It’s quite tempting to view infrastructure as a durable, macro-scale system choreographed by urban planners and engineers: well under control, in other words. When it is replaced, it is by choice, because we thirst for greater efficiency, better performance. Kazys Varnelis refers to the “S-curve” of infrastructural lifespan: “As money is invested in infrastructure, its efficiency leaps ahead radically, but at a certain point returns begin to diminish…. Perversely, as the S-curve flattens, many forms of infrastructure enter into a phase in which social engineering becomes as important as physical engineering.” People correct their behavior in response to infrastructure’s diminishing performance. In other words, it is a system that is continually tuned and calibrated with feedback.

This chart instead reveals infrastructure’s status as mere matter, technological equipment that is subject to the same cycles of maintenance, disrepair and obsolescence that plagues any consumer appliance. Of interest to us is what happens when this sell-by-date is reached. Does it end with slow decay and decrepitude, or with functional evolution, or with catastrophic failure? There is probably another chart to be produced, one which studies the terminal detail of each of these bars: a sputtering dashed line, an abrupt break, or a gradient fade.

Check out mammoth’s blog for more of the same: excellent source!

Volatility Thesis, 2011-2012

Links to last year’s Theses from the Volatility Research Group:

Jay Austin: Formative Complexity
Joseph Foronda: Inhabitable Industries
John Fulton: Stasis, Flow & Distraction
Gabriel Guerriero: Constrategic Infrastructure
Michael Ippolito: Curating Restlessness
Kelly Lawley: Sporous Architecture Manual
Richard Lovato: Infiltrating Fabrication
Jamie Pratt: The Social-Shopping Evolution
Tyler Pew: Metabolic Space

Volatility Research Group, 2012-2013

… and thus we convene the 2013 CCA Volatility research team. Roster, and links to pertinent dossiers, can be found below: