Shannon Mattern

PublisherLibrary Stack2019
Underground nuclear and military materials have been the subject of international commissions, tribunals, and wars. Yet subterranean facilities also commonly inventory a similarly volatile, though less noxious, resource: information. SubTropolis’s central location, solidity, and security have drawn technology companies, who host data centers in the mine’s massive pillared rooms. Many underground garrisons and command centers of the Cold War era have likewise become “data bunkers.” Given that industrial metaphors of “mining” and “smithing” have long pervaded the discourses of intellectual labor, it should be no surprise that we’re now data mining inside our mines. And alongside the subterranean servers and ...
PublisherMeatspace Press2019
What operating system does your city run on? After many months in the making, we are excited to announce the publication of our first book, How to Run a City Like Amazon, and Other Fables. The idea behind the book is to ask what would it be like to live in a city administered using the business model of Amazon (or Apple, IKEA, Pornhub, Spotify, Tinder, Uber, and more), or a city where critical public services are delivered by these companies? With 44 contributing authors and 38 chapters, the book playfully combines speculative fiction and analysis of 38 different business models and ...
Shannon Mattern is Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York. Her writing and teaching focuses on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She’s the author of multiple books and writes a regular column for Places. In this episode, Shannon and I talk about what media studies is and she got interested in it, how to connect theory and artifact — in both teaching and writing — and relationships between the built environment and the digital world.
The future never felt closer than it does today. A series of environmental, technological and social shifts are affecting today’s world and the human’s role within it. Continuous urbanization, the impact of the anthropogenic activity on the natural environment, the increasing use of algorithmic systems in all sectors of life, and the growing asymmetries of power among territories and populations, are all central issues at stake. How possible is it to address the future and the changes already taking place?

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