lia petronio

visual and language arts

Category: Uncategorized

January 20

EMP Building in Seattle




Centre Georges Pompidou



Smart Cities

Lia Petronio

January 20, 15


Are ‘Smart Cities’ Smart Enough?

Stephane Roche, Nashid Nabian, Kristian Kloekl, and Carlo Ratti


Urban Computing and its Disconnects

Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard

To what extent does an effect need to be unpredicted to be a response rather than reaction? How many alternative effects need to be possible? If an effect is one of many options to a condition is it a response?

As city populations grow there need be new systems to organize, house, and govern people. The significant expansion of peoples cannot necessarily be adequately responded to by the structures of existing government. The cultural individualization of peoples using portable personal computers can be compatible with acts of self-monitorization through self-sensing, however, the result of self-sensing can not necessarily be significant unless the results of a populations health conditions be pooled together with corresponding data for environmental conditions in order to find patterns for causes so that solutions can be more properly rooted. But how can people feel comfortable giving their bodily and locational data to a ruling party without feeling vulnerable? Can systems of collecting data be made transparent? If the city is run by data, societies will need to be educated in the matter as they are in other subjects. If a society is educated about environmental and bodily data inputs can it be more aware if its impacts? owHow How can the presence of “ambient informatics” benefit rather than distract society?


Whether ambient informatics and city sensing will benefit or endanger society, or both, it is an inevitable condition of humanities evolution as cultural interconnectedness with personal computation and communication devices rises. Information designers, architects, media analysts, technologists, and other thinkers and makers of society a like need to confront their potential role in the revolutionization of humanity.

Response to: Made to Measure by Allen Tan for Issue No. 4 & Default Systems in Graphic Design: a discussion between Rob Giampietro and Rudy VanderLans about guilt and loss in graphic design. By Lia Petronio

The two essays discuss the systematic implements of computer programs graphic and web design. The concept of “default” system is reoccurring, Rob describing its actuality and Allen providing a solution called “tailoring” or editorial design. This idea sort of agrees with Rob, in that is suggests a program that is made to be overridden. A way of designing, similar in process to consumer engineering, that is to be altered optimally. The thing is, however, that this still does not get so close to confronting the issues Rob brings forward about systems of the design programs themselves, such as InDesign, Illustrator, etc. So Allen’s case gets half way there with “tailoring” individual web pages to suit its own content, and creating a system that can be tailored conveniently. It is the tailoring that may still be individually subject to default systems of design, and therefore is but a small solution that will not satisfy those who think more radically and passionately. Allen makes logical points but it seems these points are not nearly innovative enough to empower design and the designer and free him from the grid, nor template design, which I believe is default by nature. It is skeletal and barren of the very empowerment design is in need of, if it is to ever break free from advertisemental cliché and democratic surrender. The democratization of art, and design, degrades it to a point of amateur visuals designed by anyone who can get others to agree to actually use it. From there the billboard effect comes into play, and the viewers become passive and the views become hollow enterprises, like the face of a dictator decorating the streets where air used to be. A classic way to address the conservation of safe democratic design, would be to analyze it from within. To begin with the program which today, is the heart of design. When are we defaulting? What is not default? What happens when design is separated from exterior content and becomes its own content?

Manifesto 13


It is year 13 of the Digital Age and I a digital daughter summon you, reader. The earth is defunct, economies breeding new species of permanent waste[1], obsoletism[2], and starvation across borders and obesity within. We have been registered to screens- conductors of a capital workforce. A chain of indirect cause and disowned effect, like designing “criminally unsafe automobiles that kill or maim nearly one million people around the world each year” or “choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breath,” [3] crimes not so indirect, really. There is no stabilization and culture degrades us through advertisements in magazines. People buying and selling answers. Standardized obedience in pursuit of a broken system. Bags to put my bags in-waste, laziness as luxury. Laziness is not a luxury but the entropy of humanity–the deathbed of curiosity. As a designer of this digital age, I call forth a collaboration of curious persons in the destruction of all cannons and styles that prove incompatible with the needs of people. What a bore have the street signs become, public sculptures permanent like tombs, and advertisements insulting to all levels of human intelligence. The manifesto of a movement unnamed.

1. Declaration of a War on Inhumane Design and Business Practice in America

Industry calls for design in its totality, technologies that make technologies that make goods that are to be advertised for stores and sheep. The sales industry, mass-produced-blue-collar-ideals of buying and selling unnecessary contraptions, refined and re-advertised, re-distributed. The buying and selling of wasteful lifestyles. Idiotic fashion thesis’ and standardized awareness for and of the media. Consumer Engineering. “Any plan which increases the consumption of goods [made] justifiable” in the name of free market and unauthorized prosperity and obsoletism in which products are designed to go out of style and people are persuaded to abandon the old in a wasteful disownment of material property in order to buy the new “up-to-date” [4] things “they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care”[5]. Automobile “bumer configurations [which] tend to force the adult pedestrian’s body down” beneath the car upon contact, inflicted by the stylist’s sacrifices in the name of perception and sale.[6] Design is slipped into every mode of production, communication, and broadcasted culture. As designers, for those who care about such idiocies, we have a responsibility towards our societal infiltration of designed goods and services. Design—to reveal the interior through the exterior.

2. The Conventionalized Aesthetics and the Artists Practice

Any attempt at pursuing a standardized style or cannon is destructive to the nature of art, and I will not be so easily convinced of the need for a style or conventional artistic practice. Other people can follow directions and conventions and the fables of design and contemporary culture. History is an excuse for implementing rules on the present for economic and social conservation. History as a basis for the continuance of convention, the desire “to see a standard type come into being before the establishment of a style is exactly like wanting to see the effect before the cause”[7]— is the death of flailing liberation. It is the death of logic, absurdity, and the eternal bliss of weightlessness, eternal inaccuracy.

3. The Anti-Art as Nothing But Art and Everything Else.

What is it, they will ask, and it will forever reject understanding[8], the bore of aesthetic expectation and laws made by people mistaken as scriptures of some larger logic, reason misused for certainty, design treated like a soulless pit of advertisemental mal practice and untreated waste. I want the uncertain, liberation through uncertainty—an awe for something we conceive only in its conceiving, “the realization of design through the use of worked material”[9] –demonstrative pathologies of curiosity[10]. The mixture of freedom and responsibility as an absurd state of contradiction of which I form my basis for this renovation of society. It is a movement for which awareness is to be spread of collective individualism- a motion spun by the youth of society who value curiosity above other things. And so my thesis inevitably becomes Curious Design- the infiltration of absurdity through logical designed constructions for the liberation of persons capable of becoming liberated.


Ephemeral moments from the index of consciences. Time crucified but not captured, forever unattainable, lost and eternal. There are so many curious things in this landscape, this home life. History has taught us that we may always be surprised, and that is the glory of evolutionary consciousness. We are but eternal fleeting presences and I will iconize all that I deem holly. Hold their iconic photographs up in a screen of sight, constructions of trapped actions—bazzarecyclicals, uni-cycles. Robotic structures, assemblages held in the illusion of digital time lapse. Time trap. Nostalgia for a history unknown, present un-happened. Look at what I have written for you, reader of my landmarks, receiver of the messages my conscious set beside you. So much to say, I have, there are barely words to describe it all. These words are not convincing, their definition too uncertain. And I may not know what it is, why try to say, let me show you through an action. There are no events without action—no opposite to doing.

With so much to do, what do we do? Which actions more inviting? Some actions have been advertised–exposure at its finest. Tame the land, brainwash the children, make the cars that kill the children, designers you are summoned to the hearing at the courthouse where you’ll be tried for killing all the people. Let us rinse out the old glory of the stock marts, build a new way of making money out of nothing, though were working all the time. I believe in change of structure, building, breaking, change grows faster. Majority is but a façade built for terror. If art can do a thing at all to make the people liberal, then I will think up a pan to offer.

The infiltration of design today can lead the world astray, if advertisement does what it’s believed to. And if it does, there is so much paper to recycle. Is there no concern for landfills in a land that runs on cycles, there is a choice in ruining all the land. So society I will not abide by your poor standards. I put forth my own scriptures, my own words letters and pictures–the New Design constructed for the dis-utility of society. And my perceptions are as follows:


  1. Rules that suggest there is something real to know about spacing and margins and the exemption of subtle differences within a whole are to be regarded as fable. There will be no grid to dictate my page space, the lovely white where it begins, with no context nor dimension, a flytrap of the minds eye, to be utilized and destroyed in an act of dis-clarity.
  2. Modernism is over, Contemporaryism dead– its overabundance, arbitrary assemblages of unnecessary parts.
  3. Rejection of any “rule that might prevent him from thinking his thoughts through to their own free end, or that attempts to drive him into a universally valid form, in which he sees only a mask that seeks to make a virtue out of incapacity.”[11] To follow the rules of design is to reject design as art.
  4. Destruction as freedom-destruction of convention, denial of the majority in pursuit of individualcollectivism.­


  1. Making of concrete designs through the build up of individual parts. The page or plane as a construction rather than a screen providing androgynous material. Or its opposite.
  2. Inject your own icons of interest, digital cabinets of curiosity organized like a collection in pursuit of distribution.
  3. Shed light on your folly, and the folly of others.
  4. All material under construction must be stolen, acquired, or recycled.
  5. Projects must be inserted into the world of humans or animals where they may function optimally.

6. Magazines will be published and resourcefully distributed monthly.

7. The cause is primarily curious, enthusiastic, generous, and sarcastic with a highly social hypocritical nature


[1] Papanek, Victor, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (New York: Bantam Books, 1971): 14-16.

[2] Calkins, Earnest Elmo, “Device for simulating consumption.”

[3] Papanek, Victor, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (New York: Bantam Books, 1971): 14-16.

[4] Victor Papanek, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (New York: Bantam Books, 1971): 14-16.

[5] Earnest Elmo Calkins, “What Consumer Engineering Really Is,” the introduction to Consumer Engineering, by Roy Sheldon and Egmont Arens (Copyright 1932 by Harper and Brothers; Copyright renewed 1952 by Roy Sheldon and Egmont Arens): 4-8. 

[6] Ralph Nader, “The Stylists: It’s the Curve that Counts,” chapter six of Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile. New York: Grossman, 1965; 226-7.

[7] Henry van de Velde, Statements from the Werkbund Conference of 1914 (quoted from Bauwelt 27 (Berlin: Ullstein, 1962): 770f., translated by Michael Bullock, in Programs and Manifestos on 20th-Century Architecture, by Ulrich Conrads (Copyright 1964 by Verlag Ullstein GmbH, Frankfurt/M-Berlin; English translation copyright 1970 Lund Humphries, London, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Camebridge, Mass.): 28-31.

[8] Tristan Tzara, “Dada Manifesto 1918.”

[9] Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova “Programme of the first Working Group of Constructivists,” Ermitazh no. 13 (August 1922):3-4, translated by Christina Lodder for the Open University, 1983, and reprinted in Art in Theory 1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (Oxford, U.K. and Camebridge, U.S.A.: Blackwell, 1992): 317-8.

[10] Tristan Tzara, “Dada Manifesto 1918.”

[11] Henry van de Velde, Statements from the Werkbund Conference of 1914 (quoted from Bauwelt 27 (Berlin: Ullstein, 1962): 770f., translated by Michael Bullock, in Programs and Manifestos on 20th-Century Architecture, by Ulrich Conrads (Copyright 1964 by Verlag Ullstein GmbH, Frankfurt/M-Berlin; English translation copyright 1970 Lund Humphries, London, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Camebridge, Mass.): 28-31.

Death and Dragon Love

an animated poem based on a short story I wrote for my lover

stop motion music video for Jim Morrison and The Doors: A Feast of Friends

a short film made in stop motion as a contemporary music video for the song A Feast of Friends by Jim Morrison and The Doors (all rights given to original copyright holder)