I&IC’s public survey of 365 links related to “Clouds” on Delicious – last updated 03.2017

Along the design research, we are going through many different types of references that we don’t necessarily post or document on the blog. We usually only post about the ones that we consider relevant to the research process, which doesn’t mean the other ones are not interesting. We’ve just decided not to digg deeper into them at some point, or to keep some of them for later.

Yet, this is a consistent amount of survey that we are leaving on the side of the road and that could possibly be useful for similar or later researches. At least a good starting point… That’s why we’ve created this i&ic_designresearch tag on delicious.

Interestingly, some new thematics emerged along the way within these links, like for example on the technological branch, the combination of personal cloud based services, peer to peer protocols and blockchains that were not on the radar when we started our research.


I&IC within Poetics and Politics of Data, exhibition at H3K. Pictures

Note: a few pictures from the exhibition “Poetics and Politics of Data” that is currently taking place at the Haus der elektronische Künste in Basel.

With works by artists such as Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Moniker, Aram Bartholl, Ludwig Zeller, Jennifer Lyn Morone, etc., the exhibition gives a sharp view on the production of artists (some of which were presented on this blog) around the contemporary theme of “data”.


We had the pleasure to present the temporary results of our design research as the main part of a scenography created by fabric | ch and accompanied by texts from Nicolas Nova and myself.

Note also that Nicolas Nova will be a speaker during the conference Data Traces: Big Data in the Context of Culture & Society that will take place at the H3K between the 3rd and 4th of July and when a publication will be released: Poetics & Politics of Data, Sabine Himmelsbach & Claudia Mareis, ed. Christoph Merian Verlag, Basel, 2015.

Poetics and Politics of Data, exhibition at H3K

Note: after some time of relative silence on the blog, we’re happy to say that the design-research project Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s) will be part of the next exhibition at the Haus für elektronische Künste in Basel (CH), in the form of a counterpoint or “behind the scenes” to the media art exhibition per se. This explains partly that, then…

We had to work hard for the exhibition, especially because I was also in charge of the scenography (a work by fabric | ch in this case though), while Lucien Langton produced almost all the video documentation content.

At the invitation of H3K curator, Sabine Himmelsbach, we’ll therefore present the work that has been realized so far, half-way through our research process.

This will consist for large parts in video documentation and few artifacts, including some new ones (“Tools” oriented). We will use this material later on the I&IC website to fully document the current state of our work.

The opening of the exhibition Poetics & Politics of Data will  be tomorrow at 7pm, at H3K (Dreispitz neighborhood in Basel), the show will then last until end of August.



Christopher Baker, Hello World! or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise, 2008

I&IC Workshop #4 with ALICE at EPFL-ECAL Lab, Work in progress


Above: an illustration of the third scaled model presented further.


As the week unrolls the workshop is starting to produce scenarios. Wednesday (yesterday) we had a quick presentation of the work in progress, which is documented briefly in the current post. Students Delphine Passaquay, Tanguy Dyer, Francesco Battaini & Anne-Charlotte Astrup working on Inhabiting the Cloud(s) as a team developed a global perspective on the subject. Their approach is focusing on four distinct territorial scales in order to question the centralized data center model. While the proposal doesn’t have a name yet, it however clearly speculates about a distributed isotrope network. The student architects focused on the preexisting urban infrastructure in order to establish their proposal.

I&IC Workshop #4 with ALICE at EPFL-ECAL Lab, brief: “Inhabiting the Cloud(s)”

Note: we will start a new I&IC workshop in two weeks (02-06.02) that will be led by the architects of ALICE laboratory (EPFL), under the direction of Prof. Dieter Dietz, doctoral assistant Thomas Favre-Bulle, architect scientist-lecturer Caroline Dionne and architect studio director Rudi Nieveen. During this workshop, we will mainly investigate the territorial dimension(s) of the cloud, so as distributed “domestic” scenarios that will develop symbiosis between small decentralized personal data centers and the act of inhabiting. We will also look toward a possible urban dimension for these data centers. The workshop is open to master and bachelor students of architecture (EPFL), on a voluntary basis (it is not part of the cursus).

A second workshop will also be organized by ALICE during the same week on a related topic (see the downloadable pdf below). Both workshops will take place at the EPFL-ECAL Lab.

I introduce below the brief that has been distributed to the students by ALICE.


Inhabiting the Cloud(s)


Wondering about interaction design, architecture and the virtual? Wish to improve your reactivity and design skills?

Cloud interfaces are now part of our daily experience: we use them as storage space for our music, our work, our contacts, and so on. Clouds are intangible, virtual “spaces” and yet, their efficacy relies on humongous data-centres located in remote areas and subjected to strict spatial configurations, climate conditions and access control.
Inhabiting the cloud(s) is a five days exploratory workshop on the theme of cloud interfacing, data-centres and their architectural, urban and territorial manifestations.
Working from the scale of the “shelter” and the (digital) “cabinet”, projects will address issues of inhabited social space, virtualization and urban practices. Cloud(s) and their potential materialization(s) will be explored through “on the spot” models, drawings and 3D printing. The aim is to produce a series of prototypes and user-centered scenarios.

Participation is free and open to all SAR students.

ATTENTION: Places are limited to 10, register now!
Info and registration: caroline.dionne@epfl.ch & thomas.favre-bulle@epfl.ch


Download the two briefs (Inhabiting the Cloud(s) & Montreux Jazz Pavilion)


Laboratory profile

The key hypothesis of ALICE’s research and teaching activities places space within the focus of human and technological processes. Can the complex ties between human societies, technology and the environment become tangible once translated into spatial parameters? How can these be reflected in a synthetic design process? ALICE strives for collective, open processes and non-deterministic design methodologies, driven by the will to integrate analytical, data based approaches and design thinking into actual project proposals and holistic scenarios.




Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) – Talk & workshop at LIFT 15

Note: Nicolas Nova and I will be present during next Lift Conference in Geneva (Feb. 4-6 2015) for a talk combined with a workshop and a skype session with EPFL (a workshop related with the I&IC research project will be finishing at EPFL –Prof. Dieter Dietz’s ALICE Laboratory at EPFL-ECAL Lab– the day we’ll present in Geneva). All persons who follow the research on this blog and that would be present during Lift 15, please come see us and exchange ideas!


Via the Lift Conference


Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s)

Curated by Lift
Fri, Feb. 06 2015 – 10:30 to 12:30
Room 7+8 (Level 2)
Architect (EPFL), founding member of fabric | ch and Professor at ECAL
Principal at Near Future Laboratory and Professor at HEAD Geneva

Workshop description : Since the end of the 20th century, we have been seeing the rapid emergence of “Cloud Computing”, a new constructed entity that combines extensively information technologies, massive storage of individual or collective data, distributed computational power, distributed access interfaces, security and functionalism.

In a joint design research that connects the works of interaction designers from ECAL & HEAD with the spatial and territorial approaches of architects from EPFL, we’re interested in exploring the creation of alternatives to the current expression of “Cloud Computing”, particularly in its forms intended for private individuals and end users (“Personal Cloud”). It is to offer a critical appraisal of this “iconic” infrastructure of our modern age and its user interfaces, because to date their implementation has followed a logic chiefly of technical development, governed by the commercial interests of large corporations, and continues to be seen partly as a purely functional,centralized setup. However, the Personal Cloud holds a potential that is largely untapped in terms of design, novel uses and territorial strategies.

The workshop will be an opportunity to discuss these alternatives and work on potential scenarios for the near future. More specifically, we will address the following topics:

  • How to combine the material part with the immaterial, mediatized part? Can we imagine the geographical fragmentation of these setups?
  • Might new interfaces with access to ubiquitous data be envisioned that take nomadic lifestyles into account and let us offer alternatives to approaches based on a “universal” design? Might these interfaces also partake of some kind of repossession of the data by the end users?
  • What setups and new combinations of functions need devising for a partly nomadic lifestyle? Can the Cloud/Data Center itself be mobile?
  • Might symbioses also be developed at the energy and climate levels (e.g. using the need to cool the machines, which themselves produce heat, in order to develop living strategies there)? If so, with what users (humans, animals, plants)?

The joint design research Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s) is supported by HES-SO, ECAL & HEAD.

Interactivity : The workshop will start with a general introduction about the project, and moves to a discussion of its implications, opportunities and limits. Then a series of activities will enable break-out groups to sketch potential solutions.

I&IC – Preliminary and then edited Bibliography, Webography

Note: this is the bibliography that helped us set up the research project, taken out from the I&IC -Preliminary Intentions document. We’ll certainly complete it along the way so as possibly document in more details some of the most important resources later (i.e. Clog, 2012). This means that this list might change along the way for our own cross posts references.


Bibliography, Webography

Augé, M. (1992). Non-lieux, introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité, Le Seuil.

Bar, F. Pisani, F., & Weber, M. (2007). Mobile technology appropriation in a distant mirror: baroque infiltration, creolization and cannibalism. Prepared for discussion at Seminario sobre Desarrollo Económico, Desarrollo Social y Comunicaciones Móviles en América Latina. Convened by Fundación Telefónica in Buenos Aires, April 20–21, 2007.

Banham, R. (1984). The architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment, The University of Chicago Press.

Bathia, N. & al. (2013). Bracket [goes soft], Actar.

Blum, A. (2012). Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet.

Bourriaud, N. (2009). Radicant, pour une esthétique de la globalisation, Denoël.

Branzi, A (2006). No-Stop City: Archizoom Associati, HYX.

Bratton, H.B. (2016). The Stack, On Software and Sovereignty, MIT Press.

CLOG, (2012). Data Space, Clog online.

Divers (2002). Living in Motion, Design und Architektur für flexibles Wohnen, Vitra Design Museum.

Donaghy, R. (2011). Co-opting the Cloud: An Architectural Hack of Data Infrastructure. Graduate thesis work.

Glissant, E. (1990). Poétique de la relation. (Poétique III), Paris: Gallimard.

Himmelsbach, S. & Mareis, C. (2015). Poetics and Politics of Data. The Ambivalence of Life in a Data-Driven Society. Christoph Merian Verlag.

Hu, T.-H. (2015). A Prehistory of The Cloud, MIT Press.

Léchot-Hirt, L. (2010). Recherche-création en design. Modèles pour une pratique expérimentale. Genève: Métis Presses.

Mejias, U. A. (2013), Off the Network, Disrupting the Digital World. University of Minnesota Press.

Open Compute Project/Facebook. (2012). Deploying OCP Hardware in a Collocated Facility.

Rifkin, J. (2012). La troisième révolution industrielle. Comment le pouvoir latéral va transformer l’énergie, l’économie et le monde, Les liens qui libèrent.

Serres, M. (2011). Habiter, Le Pommier.

Shepard, M. (2011), Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space, MIT Press.

Ulrberger, A. (2013). Habiter les aéroports, Paradoxe d’une nouvelle urbanité. Métis Presses.

Varnelis, K. (2009). The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles. Actar.

Varnelis, K. (2007). ETHER : One Wilshire, In Sumrell, R. & Varnelis, K., Blue Monday: Stories of Absurd Realities and Natural Philosophies, Actar, pp.48-89.

Weiser, M. (1991). The Computer for the 21st Century. Scientific American, vol. 265, no. 3, pp. 66–75.