About this project
NEW: we have added a Frequently Asked Questions guide. Confused? Overwhelmed? Conceptual art is weird! Check out the guide!
Geodetic marks are small metal rivets or posts planted into the ground, as reference points for surveys. From these points, surveyors measure the differences in heading, altitude, latitude and longitude to make a database of information that will serve as a representation of the world's geography. Without these efforts to create shared caches of information, we would be limited to navigating the world from our personal memories and what knowledge we can receive through word of mouth.
The social significance of architecture works in a similar way. We understand the meaning of physical structures by the remembered impressions that we create ourselves or absorb through shared social structures.
We are going to survey a number of structures and spaces, and catalog the subjective fragments that exist in the human experience of that space. We will install benchmarks on the site, (three per site, from different angles) to record the perspective from which the fragments were observed and recorded. We are calling our placed artifacts Structurodetic marks. Our Structurodetic database will record the social data gleaned from interacting with these structures, and make it available for others to find the benchmarks and compare our data with their own surveyed information.
The Database and the Algorithm
How can we record our subjective judgments without making them abstract numbers, but still keep them in a form that is useful for others to study in other contexts? The Subjective Algorithmic Program is an experimental way of recording subjective impressions of structure fragments, in a way that does not prejudice the judgment into a pre-conceived rubric, like a quantitative "on a scale of 1 to X" form. The Algorithm guides the subjective record via its program, to make the information not arbitrary, but a vector for comparing and contrasting socio-structural fragments.
The Algorithm functions with a card deck, separated into five categories. Each category is a particular socio-structural aspect to be examined: Place Typology, Systematics, Philosophy, Technology, and Esoteric. Before recording a judgment, the observer draws one card from a category, and considers the result. By allowing the observer to programmatically modify a subjective impression with a random categorical aspect, plenty of latitude is preserved for the observer's own judgment, while keeping each successive judgment recorded to be within a general categorical similarity with any other observers' records.
Each category is drawn from in turn, resulting in six recorded impressions (five categorical impressions, and one without a card's influence). In addition, the database also records the GPS coordinates of each benchmark, its unique number, the heading from the mark to the structure, a physical reference point visible on the structure, and a photograph of the structure.
The database will be made publicly available online, and advanced beta access and hard copy subscription will be available for subscribers.
For more detailed description of the database, the algorithm, and the theory behind these, please see our longer description at http://www.5ooo.org/structurodetic.
For a shorter, quicker version, see the FAQ!
We are raising the money to pay for the creation of the database, the manufacture of the laser-cut, aluminum benchmarks and mounts, and the rewards. The first stage of the database will contain information from more than 20 significant structures and places around the Southwest United States. In order to visit these locations and survey them, we will be paying our own transportation costs. The funding we seek is for database, materials, and reward production only.
If we are lucky enough to collect more funding than our goal, we will add a significant number of new sites on to the initial database release. If it seems that we will exceed our goal, we'll update the Kickstarter page at that time with surplus goals and details about the additional sites. In the future, we will be updating and adding to the database with more locations, definitely. But surplus funding will guarantee more sites in the initial advance release available exclusively to our supporters.
For more information about our process and theory, the locations we are going to attempt to survey, and for accounting transparency related to funding, please see our project page:
Thanks for your help!
Rosalynn & Adam Rothstein
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge will in formatting the database in a way that it will be truly useful to users. We're going to go through a couple rounds of testing to ensure this.
Another challenge will be the physical mounting of the benchmarks, as some of the sites are on private property. However, we have a secondary plan in mind if we are not allowed to mount a benchmark on a particular site.
All in all, the project is pretty straight forward, and we're excited about getting out into the field and collecting the best data we can.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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