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USC Asia Architecture & Urbanism Study Abroad Program

History and Innovation

Culture is constantly shifting; there is a dynamic exchange happening. Kyoto is a cultural repository of culture in Japan. With a panoptic stance, Kyoto can be seen as an implicating and contaminating culture within Japan. The modern mixed with the traditional, displays the deep-rooted sense of history held within the city as well as how the city is dealing with the introduction of new wave of architecture into their building fabric. Shrines still stand in their original site, authentic and genuine, reverend by the locals. The notion of time reflects looking back into history allowing the culture to grow and become more of a form of knowledge as it becomes engrained into the locals. The involvement of innovation, where the gained knowledge is become instilled, detaches itself from a myth-based society due to the notion of the culture seizing to be factual but rather temporal and changeable. Looking forward becomes the base principle of that permanence within society. Once we become part of history, today we live in the present while tomorrow has its historical meaning, it has past so immediately we would not consider it in the past but eventually it becomes ancient. Culture can only be there as part of history if in fact we accept that culture is involved in the innovation process. The culture is constantly at a loss because it is caught between the searches for the reconciliation within our minds of our presumptions of Japan. As we settled into Shinagawa, our brief home stay, we were fully immersing ourselves into the everyday lifestyle in Japan. We each developed a daily routine and acknowledged our surroundings that became something familiar to us rather than foreign and unknown. We get into the idea of the “everyday”; we take the same path and every aspect of the city now has an embodiment of the thought of non-thought.

With technology, a detachment from traditionalism, a society is perceived as conformist yet it operates entirely on the other spectrum. The necessity is that we as participants need to transcend to embrace the contraction and the complexity which will offer more in holding onto the myth based agenda where we can observe and analyze. A city like Paris is encapsulated in a historical sense where the people are completely content with their city yet frustrated that there is no push forward; it is historically relevant to the people. As culture moves forward in time through the idea of modernization, it is simultaneously becoming less unique. It is rendered to become homogeneous where essentially once the discipline becomes monotonous or specialized, exposure to anything else becomes very slim. As we move towards society of spectacle, we must question whether a culture is being used in the process of creating the spectacle. We must ask ourselves why is each neighborhood made to be highlighting a certain aspect. Culture is a commodity of how society came to be a spectacle, and now that we have this knowledge, it is difficult for society to work outside of this notion.

09/18/2013 Paula M Narvaez

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The Symbiosis Between Information Technology and Cultural Interactions

“While advances like the telephone and automobile clearly had wide-ranging impacts on the twentieth-century city, the recent wave of information technology promises to prove many more”- Scott Page and Brian Phillips, Urban Interfaces Designing the In-Between

Technology has become so vital in our lives that it facilitates almost everything around us. It allows us to gather information and increase our awareness of different programs as the distribution of communication, interaction and information is constantly morphing on a day-to-day basis. It now holds a greater presence within our lives more than ever.

As cities are shifting towards technology based, the physical city and its inhabitants are relying on the developing network of communication infrastructures. Cities including Tokyo and Seoul have fully immersed into this concept. Tokyo’s transit stations, in particular Shibuya Station, are catering to its population density, entertainment, and commercial intensity. The city has tapped into digital technology resulting in its commercial centrality to reflect human patterns and culture. Seoul has immersed itself into a completely wireless city- regardless of the location within the city, one is guaranteed to have access to a wi-fi network above ground and below ground (ie. metro subways). The web presence is substantial, unlike any other city I have visited. Upon landing into the ICN Airport, I was immediately connected to the internet via iPhone. I had no network data yet the internet allowed me to stay connected- I was “in the network” and I was connected up until my departure one week later.

Information is constantly being created and distributed. Heavily influenced by “the perspectives of media, speed, and personal perception”, the representation of our world impacts the way in which we design (61). The evolution of technology affects the way we conceptualize design. With vertical and horizontal connections, the vertical builds upwards as the horizontal allows information technology to spread among the landscape through infrastructure.

Connections are formed between networks of the urban fabric or physical beings such as social networks. Formed communities via the web have created spatial constraints as they manipulate the manner in which the user desires to be apart of something. The downfall is that physical impacts are decreased which then blurs the distinction between virtual and physical space as location-awareness diminishes. The virtual interface focuses on the particular needs of the individual catering to personal environments. We are influenced by the physical form that acts as a vehicle for “modulating streams of images (62)”. Projected images such as advertisements or entertainment media instill in the user a desire to match what they see. Advertisements for reconstructive surgery were plastered all over Seoul. A city known for its surge in aesthetic surgery clinics, there is a need to perfect the physical form. The persuasive ads to achieve a ‘specific look’ send underlying messages of pressure to cave into the generic. As the city conforms based on economic exchange, this need for personalization overrides the importance of the collective users. The quantity versus the individual places the individual under the generic, simply a number within the population.

The need to regenerate the technological based society means that the system will collapse, it does not have the ability to personalize. It all reverts back to the idea that money is a driver for culture. There is a desire to discover new advanced technology as this has a direct correlation to power. The more information given and known keeps the distribution of communication going tapping into the culture that feeds into this phenomenon.

11/26/2013 Paula M Narvaez

Filed under: Architecture, Culture, Japan, Korea, Tokyo, Urbanism, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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The views and opinions contained in this blog are solely those of the individual authors and do not represent the views and opinions of the University of Southern California or any of its officers or trustees.

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PHOTOS FROM THE TRIP

AAU FALL 2013:

University of Southern California
School of Architecture
Asia Architecture and Urbanism
Study Abroad Program

Director:
Andrew Liang
Instructors:
Bu Bing
Steven Chen
Yo-Ichiro Hakomori
Andrew Liang
Yuyang Liu
Neville Mars
Academic Contributors:
Thomas Chow, SURV
Bert de Muynck, Movingcities.org
Manying Hu, SZGDADRI, ITDP, Guangzhou
Clare Jacobson, Design Writer, Editor, Curator
Laurence Liauw, SPADA, Hong Kong
Mary Ann O'Donnell, Shenzhen Noted, Fat Bird, Shenzhen
Paul Tang, Verse, Shanghai
Li Xiangning, Tongji University, Shanghai
Students:
Daniel Aguilar
Hong Au
Michael den Hartog
Caroline Duncan
Nefer Fernandez
Christian Gomez
Isabelle Hong
Jin Hong Kim
Ashley Louie
Javier Meier
Paula Narvaez
Ashlyn Okimoto
Tamar Partamian
Samuel Rampy
Luis Villanueva
Krista Won
Tiffany Wu