AMPS YOUTUBE CHANNEL AWARD

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Winner: Fidelia Lam

Year: 2021
Institution: University of Southern California
Title: Parkour: The City and Mediated Subjectivities
Format: Video

Abstract

Parkour is a movement practice and discipline that involves running, jumping, vaulting, swinging, and flipping around, across, and through obstacles as they are encountered in the urban landscape. Its practitioners navigate the late capitalist city in unexpected and subversive ways, imagining new political possibilities of existence with their movement. As a dynamic and relatively young movement practice and culture, parkour practitioners leverage emerging technologies to explore the relationship of parkour bodies to their situated environments and create new entanglements of body, architecture, and media. How do these movements, visions, and technologies inform our perceptions of public life and public space? This paper analyzes instances of parkour media that utilize digital technologies to capture media assemblages of bodies and architecture, focusing on how various cameras as sensors are deployed at and imply multiple levels of scale and distance in relation to both bodies and architectures. These scales of distance are inherent in sensor technologies and hold aesthetic and political implications for what data and how data is captured and how it informs existence within public space. In particular, I examine drone, third person, 360, and first person camera perspectives of parkour movement, highlighting each apparatus’ aesthetic and political ramifications on compositions of media, bodies, data, and urban structures. In doing so, I discuss how emergent assemblages of parkour bodies, technology, media, and architecture might suggest alternative political dimensions and trajectories within the late capitalist city.

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Winner: Marika Snider

Year: 2020
Institution: University of Memphis
Title: Sudden Suburb: Vinyard, Utah
Format: Video

Abstract

The American suburb is reinventing itself as 21st century citizens demand more urban amenities and lifestyles. Vineyard, Utah, reportedly the fastest growing city in the US, is a case study for the progress and persistence of suburban life. As the population rapidly increased, planners looked for alternatives to urban sprawl and long commutes. The valley was mostly built up and the geography limited expansion into the hinterlands. When the Geneva Steel Mill closed in 2002, it provided a large tract of land (7km2) with convenient access to the interstate highway and commuter rail lines. Vineyard, the tiny farming community where Geneva Steel was located, had only 139 inhabitants in 2010, but in 2020 boasted nearly 17,000 people. The village embraced the changing suburban landscape to create relief for the region’s housing shortage. Vineyard made some controversial decisions including the commitment to higher density housing, remediation of Geneva Steel, massive infrastructure projects, and espousing rapid growth. Vineyard and the developers gambled that the location adjacent to the interstate highway, near the newly developing inter-city commuter rail, and next to the freshwater lake would yield economically sustainable growth. The result is a rapidly expanding city and an average home price of $539,000. Buyers are attracted to the amenities such as transit oriented design, bike paths, plans for a walkable urban district, and lake restoration. However, much of its layout follows 20th century suburban planning principles with sequestered neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs. The developments turn their backs on the major boulevards and reduce the walkability of the city. Although close to major transit hubs, one cannot live in the city without a car and most of the housing is unaffordable to the average resident of Utah County. Vineyard creates the illusion of urbanism, but only for the wealthy.

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Winner: George Themistokleous

Year: 2019
Institution: De Montfort University
Title: Digitized bodies and the crisis of the architectural drawing
Format: Video

Abstract

The representation of an architectural object comes into being by working at it from a distance . The architectural drawing functions as an intermediate that translates ‘an object of thought’ into a building. These orthographic and projective drawing media are based on established geometrical principles. By looking at Deleuze and Guattari’s notions of smooth and striated space through digital media it becomes possible to speculate on possible forms of thinking where it is no longer the drawing that inter-mediates between ‘an object of thought’ and a building, but rather it is the body that is positioned at the interval between actual space and virtual image. This line of thinking will be explored through an experimental installation project of my own making, the diplorasis. The diplorasis aims to re-consider the bodily perceptual boundaries that are induced by emerging visual media processes. Within the installation space the participant will, unexpectedly, encounter digitized stereoscopic projections of himself/herself from previous instances and multiple perspectives; viewing himself both from outside and inside his body. The out-of-body experience of observing oneself from multiple points of view of another (as a simulated object) is somehow countered to the embodied operation of the physical binocular eyes.The diplorasis brings to the fore a particular reading of a sensory body that veers between, on the one hand, a projected image generated by electronic information, and on the other, the embodied response to this projected spectral other. As electronic processes are changing the perceptual/cognitive limits of the body, how do these shift our notions of architectural space and its representations?

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Acknowledgement:

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AMPS would like to thank and acknowledge the work and insights offered by its academic peer reviewers and awards committee in the selection process for this award.

 

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