Attention is an audio journal for architectural culture that uses the medium of sound and spoken word to capture a dimension of architecture otherwise lost in print. By precluding visual media, Attention strikes a distance between the distraction economy of much online media, creating an intimate and reflective space for the in-depth development of ideas and issues. Through interviews, roundtable debates, oral histories, field recordings, the exploration of archival recordings, experimental music and soundscapes, reportage and audio essays, Attention investigates issues of concern to contemporary architectural culture, theory and practice.
7D. Playing the Detective
37:43In this episode, Megan Eardley interviews the artist, puzzle-maker, and escape room designer Laura E. Hall about the design of escape rooms for the public, building community, and the politics of play. Together, they reflect on the popular appeal of detective work in an era of corporate dragnet surveillance.
7E. Bypass Codes
17:43In this episode, Megan Eardley interviews the investigative journalist and veteran beat reporter Caryn Dolley about the use of biometric and building surveillance devices in organized crime networks. With reference to her journalism and research for her book “The Enforcers” (2019), Dolley describes the movement of illicit and counterfeit goods through night clubs and the duplication of the state security apparatus in post-Apartheid South Africa.
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7B. On the Threshold of Detectability
25:50Like proof, evidence typically refers to things, traces, marks, or signs, that can be studied to establish relevant facts and evaluate competing theories. But while proof has been associated with tests and verification procedures since the thirteenth century, evidence (or the Latin evidentia) refers to something that is “manifest to the senses” and “obvious”– there in a way that is not subject to dispute. To examine evidence is thus to contend with the politics of presence, practices of display, and conditions of access. In this episode, Megan Eardley discusses these concerns with Eyal Weizman, who is a critical proponent for forensic research in architecture today.
7C. Invisibility As Form
19:37In this episode, Megan Eardley invites listeners to reflect on the way that detective work operates between form and event. She interviews the artist Janice Kerbel about the use of detective work in pieces such as “Bank Job” (1999), “Doug” (2014), and “Sink” (2018). They discuss how detection can be built into form, Kerbel’s experiments using plans to foreclose events, her relationship to language and writing, and how she seeks to reclaim small spaces within which we can act freely.
7F. The Sound Of Secrecy
12:54In this episode, Megan Eardley interviews the writer and artist Bryan Finoki. He describes how he came to study the security industry and reflects on his process of harvesting his own field recordings, synthesized sounds, and files scraped off the web, to make Dark Freqs, an original sound composition produced for Attention and this issue on Detective Work.
6A. Community Design As A Process
33:43In Episode 1, Anna Goodman explains how contemporary architects in the United States often pursue community-engaged work through the design of processes. Analysis from the architectural historian Susanne Cowan helps demonstrate how this contrasts with early modern designers’ strong association of community and territory. The episode features excerpts from interviews with Jeff Hou, Maria Sykes and Mary Comerio as well as audio recordings of the work of Louis Mumford.
6B. Karl Linn and the Idea of Neighborhood Commons
38:32In Episode 2, Anna Goodman describes a shift in the way architects in the United States viewed community starting in the early 1960s. Using audio clips from participants in an experimental park and playground built under that leadership of the influential community designer Karl Linn, it documents a transition from practices that linked community to the space of the neighborhood to those that focused instead on process.
6C. Ecological Community At People’s Park
41:28In Episode 3, Anna Goodman explores how a focus on the process of design over its products located community design at the intersection of anti-institutional activism and other social movements. It focuses on a series of events catalyzed by the construction of Berkeley’s People’s Park, using audio clips of participants provided by the Pacific Radio Archives, the documentary Design as a Social Act as well as commentary from the urban and architectural historian Anthony Raynsford.