Matthew Ledwidge

an interface of anticipated care

An
Interface
of
Anticipated
Care

This page is intended to act as a toolkit-generator for producing structures of aesthetic encounter. It draws from visions of future predictions and historical reconstructions shaping contemporary urban spaces. Organized around a set of prompts and questions, it is intended as a script for the contemplation and production of a new vocabulary to engage with the timeliness of urban conditions.

The project proceeds from four starting points.

1. Modes of Proposal

The project proceeds from an understanding of the proposal as an important tool for the expansion of civic imagination to be adopted in conjunction with other forms of action. Language can be a starting point for generating forms beyond what is readily apparent – an urgent appropriate tool for a moment of collective incapacity, distinct to present conditions of emergency, dislocation, and evacuation. This is understood in dialogue with allied projects creating tools for expanding the roles of artistic and architectural education in public life, and efforts to democratize its access. In this sense it could be a syllabus, scaffold, lesson plan, assignment, or script for collaborative structure – a non-coercive rearrangement of desires.

2. Prediction and Reconstruction

Another starting point is a focused attention on examples of visualization of the future and of past historical moments. Think of architectural renderings, interpretive archaeological sites, capital campaigns, and logarithmic pandemic charts. Understand these images as interfaces which impact an experience of the urban environment in the present.

3. A City Which Feels You

A Media Lab City Science 2017 article begins with the question: “Can you imagine a city that feels, understands, and cares about your wellbeing?” It outlined a framework for future urban development comprised of layers of embedded technologies for caring, understanding, and feeling. It describes a city that is at once smart, sensitive and caring, and one which uses soft social engineering to manipulate its population. Models of perceptual and emotional feedback would be utilized to automate civic participation at the expense of all other ways of organizing. Concern yourself with this slippage, an uncanny transference of the psychological to the architectural. Think also of other ways that the city might care, the interlinked networks of maintenance and violence, the political economies of attention, the experience required to register how it would manifest.

4. A History of Emotions

The history of emotions is an emerging academic field which traces and analyses the changing norms and rules of feeling. It looks at the development and organization of emotional regimes, codes, and lexicons. This project seeks to affirm the contingent nature of emotion and its discrete manifestations. You might look, too, to the changing epistemic status of psychological pathologies, and to think towards the unregistered, the untimely, and the not yet realized kinds of feeling.

Script
Image Non-Image Prediction Reconstruction
Maintenance What was an image of maintenance?
The place in which you are already standing.
What was a not an image of maintenance?
The way they slowly moved over the course of the day without anyone seeing.
What was a prediction of maintenance?
The costs would be greatly underestimated.
What was a reconstruction of maintenance?
They joined together into groups but failed to recognize what made it possible in the first place.
Planning What was an image of planning?
The upper part tapered inward and was covered in crisscrossed lines like it was preparing for a disaster.
What was not an image of planning?
Near the ground it was still windy, and not many people walked by.
What was a prediction of planning?
It was predicted that by the middle of the century it would become a thriving hub for the regional economy.
What was a reconstruction of planning?
There is evidence there was a model of the site.
Belief What was an image of belief?
A tour group was led through the museum, like double agents their true intentions were different from what the plaques had indicated.
What was not an image of belief?
We talked about how images started to feel dangerous, not knowing what could be extracted later on.
What was a prediction of belief?
There was this big three-part seating area where the tour guide would narrate.
What was a reconstruction of belief?
A shift in how people were listening.
Desire What was an image of desire?
When one bumped into another they told each other about the catastrophe. Most would quickly evacuate.
What was not an image of desire?
Those that did not evacuate had to wait to see it for themselves.
What was a prediction of desire?
Most people didn’t much understand what it was about until later on.
What was a reconstruction of desire?
At first it consisted of following certain paths.
Intention What was an image of intention?
It referred to simple obvious facts.
What was not an image of intention?
The evacuation resulted in some of that information being lost.
What was a prediction of intention?
The plans proved mostly useless.
What was a reconstruction of intention?
A new academic department was created, and staffed in part due to a generous grant from an outside donor.
Physical Activity What was an image of physical activity?
Supportive technologies
What was not an image of physical activity?
Inertial parameter models allowed for a sensitive recovery.
What was a prediction of physical activity?
They updated the instructions constantly.
What was a reconstruction of physical activity?
A heuristic feature selection method.
Contingency What was an image of contingency?
Rearrangement of desires, especially a new understanding of the role of violence in public life.
What was not an image of contingency?
We dressed up and lined the hallway reading our lines.
What was a prediction of contingency?
Poor handling of the analogue, fissures in the local, that remained perceptible.
What was a reconstruction of contingency?
It does not appear in the records.
Care What was an image of care?
It would start with recognizing what was wrong.
What was not an image of care?
They did not appreciate the lack of eye contact.
What was a prediction of care?
For most it was rumored but failed to materialize.
What was a reconstruction of care?
A letter written long after the fact.
Feeling What was an image of feeling?
It was this plaque on the guardrail. It talked about what they think it felt like thousands of years ago, but there wasn’t any pictures.
What was not an image of feeling?
What they don’t tell you on the tour is that all around is a neighborhood obscured by massive walls.
What was a prediction of feeling?
It was tightly controlled, and most people who encountered the site ended up acting as expected.
What was a reconstruction of feeling?
And if you stayed in the lobby until eight you would see they move all the chairs into storage and roll up the carpets.
Evidence What was an image of evidence?
It was never recovered.
What was not an image of evidence?
She asked everyone how many of our walls could be taken down, hoping we would think together about the conditions we were working under.
What was a prediction of evidence?
It depicted the likely scale and ornamentation of the original structure.
What was a reconstruction of evidence?
Afterwards we took of our costumes and had lunch outside.
Sensibility What is an image of sensibility?
I overheard him talking about new innovative features.
What was not an image of sensibility?
He was leaving a lot of it up to chance, seemingly hoping the visitors would fill in the rest with their imaginations.
What was a prediction of sensibility?
They had equal distributions of transparency.
What was a reconstruction of sensibility?
The development of a new methodology was required, involving extensive participant interviews especially with children.
Support What was an image of support?
They did not have a graphical interface, but it was codified into various diagrams.
What was not an image of support?
They had overlooked a number of neighborhoods in the city, which later commenters noted as a critical missed opportunity.
What was a prediction of support?
A steep decline, but the development of more responsive assembly components – unfortunately they were largely correct.
What was a reconstruction of support?
A special certificate program accredited by the state helped the ideas spread globally.
Violence What was an image of violence?
It receded into the walls quietly impacting the efficiency of the other inhabitants of the space.
What was not an image of violence?
It was not as structured and shocking as everyone had been expecting, it came slowly.
What was a prediction of violence?
In this instance, they were told that they thought it would provide new opportunities for inter-departmental initiatives, but many remain skeptical.
What was a reconstruction of violence?
They realized later that evidence showed up in places nobody had been paying attention to and focused on the places which had the least traffic, and therefore were best preserved.
Policy What was an image of policy?
In graph form each contradicted the other.
What was not an image of policy?
It had to be felt and experienced first hand for the people they called susceptible to comply.
What was a prediction of policy?
We had wished it was going to be a new relationship between art and life.
What was a reconstruction of policy?
Thinking carefully about the needs of the community.
Methodology What was an image of methodology?
Large banners, printed on fabric stretched across the plaza.
What was not an image of methodology?
They could only interpolate between the two images, otherwise it was unclear what was intended.
What was a prediction of methodology?
A relationship based more on trust, and uncertainty rather than an inevitable turn towards conservative repetition.
What was a reconstruction of methodology?
Basic codes and conversations began to work and suggested new possibilities for what was possible.
Suggestion What was an image of suggestion?
They asked to imagine a bank lobby at night, and a journey into a subterranean control room.
What was not an image of suggestion?
It doesn’t capture the ambivalence of finding yourself so easily manipulated like that.
What was a prediction of suggestion?
It was necessary.
What was a reconstruction of suggestion?
It was communicated over the phone, but it didn’t translate.
Agency What was an image of agency?
They met every night to coordinate their covert activities.
What was not an image of agency?
They often tried writing it all out on big sheets of paper.
What was a prediction of agency?
It involved a series of connected open spaces.
What was a reconstruction of agency?
Underground tunnels to shelter from the elements during the winter.
Forgetting What was an image of forgetting?
There was constant gaps in the process, and they could be seen like fingerprints on the public signage.
What was not an image of forgetting?
Learning was possible.
What was a prediction of forgetting?
They had always discussed coming up with protocols and failsafe procedures, but it happened naturally anyway.
What was a reconstruction of forgetting?
They used the difference between two frames to obtain a blurry image.

This project is intended to act as a toolkit-generator for producing structures of aesthetic encounter with the contours of future predictions and historical reconstruction shaping urban spaces. Organized around a set of prompts and questions, it is intended as a script for contemplation and production of a new vocabulary to engage with the timeliness of urban conditions.

Matthew Ledwidge is an artist, designer and researcher working in the Graduate Program in Art, Culture, and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work is built around particular geographic and historical sites and uses structural intervention, installation, image, and sound to engage with the conditions of knowledge and attention in the built environment. Past projects have focused on the transmission of historical information at the site of a particular work, investigating conditions of obfuscation, the production of after-images, and the psychosomatic implications of particular disclosures. His research focuses on the intersections of art and science and the ways in which technical systems impact historical memory and expectations of the future.

His projects and exhibitions have been presented at Gallery Elektrozavod, Moscow; Viewpoint Gallery, UC Irvine; Sakiya, Ramallah; GGG Atelierhaus, Basel; Festung Hohensalzburg, Salzburg; and the Rietveld Pavilion, Amsterdam. He is from Toronto, Canada and studied at SOMA Summer in Mexico City, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and the Cooper Union in New York City.