Modulated Cities

Network Architecture Lab director Kazys Varnelis and New York University Professor of Media, Culture and Communication Helen Nissenbaum co-authored Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects, the ninth and last of the Situated Technologies pamphlet series for the Architectural League of New York.

In this pamphlet, the authors seek a redefinition of privacy in the age of big data and networked, geo-spatial environments. Digital technologies permeate our lives and make the walls of the built environment increasingly porous, no longer the hard boundary they once were when it comes to decisions about privacy. Data profiling, aggregation, analysis, and sharing are broad and hidden, making it harder than ever to constrain the flow of data about us. Cautioning that suffocating surveillance could lead to paralyzed dullness, Nissenbaum and Varnelis do not ask us to retreat from digital media but advance interventions like protest, policy changes, and re-design as possible counter-strategies. The launch of the pamphlet was marked by “Situated Technologies: Beneath and Beyond Big Data,” a symposium the Situated Technologies group and the League produced current issues surrounding situated technologies and the increasing entanglement of data, technology, and the built environment, and attempt to identify future trajectories for their evolution.

Download the pamphlet from the architectural league.

Modulated Cities