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XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE / Jürgen Mayer H. for the Shenzhen Biennale (UABB) 2019

XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE / Jürgen Mayer H. for the Shenzhen Biennale (UABB) 2019

What happens when the sensor-imbued city acquires the ability to see – almost as if it had eyes? Ahead of the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB), titled "Urban Interactions," ArchDaily is working with the curators of the "Eyes of the City" section at the Biennial to stimulate a discussion on how new technologies – and Artificial Intelligence in particular – might impact architecture and urban life. Here you can read the “Eyes of the City” curatorial statement by Carlo Ratti, the Politecnico di Torino and SCUT.

The history of Times Square and 42nd street is a history of the human gaze. Broadway theaters and X-rated shows used to enjoy a neighborly relationship of “looking at” and “being looked at” in musical theaters, peep shows and x-rated cinemas. Voyeurism was the business that is lost since for an urban context which by now transformed into an almost aseptic shopping and entertainment district. 

Historic images by courtesy of Times Square Arts Alliance
Historic images by courtesy of Times Square Arts Alliance

Originally inspired by the “X”-like intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue that forms Times Square, the loungers of XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE are the first specially-commissioned ongoing street furniture by the Times Square Arts Alliance for the new Times Square plazas. The four legs of the X invite a minimum of four people to rest and start to interact with each other. Stretching your legs becomes an act of negotiation. XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE combines two radically different experiences, - the virtual and the physical sensations of Time Square. The ergonomic shape of the loungers puts the user in an almost horizontal position, offering to experience the vertical view upwards the buildings and ultimately of the sky. A camera placed far up on the adjacent building over the XXX loungers enables the people lying down to receive an image of themselves via an application on their devices and share it with their friends, from XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE. I am here, you are there. But it´s not that simple anymore. By now, the countergaze of webcams and the human eye as experienced in Times Square is not limited to a specific location and physical presence anymore. We learned that by now, surveillance recording and broadcasting are to be expected everywhere we go, inside and outside.

XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE  ©J. MAYER H. und Partner
XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE ©J. MAYER H. und Partner

XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE is a playful yet critical wink to this seedy and seducing history of Times Square and 42nd Street. It twists the “looking at/looked at” relation towards a “looking up/looked on down”. The voyeuristic gaze of the human eye got overshadowed by social media´s “looking at myself” and sharing the selfie for confirmation, as well as by a saturated CCTV-camera-environment embedded in the omnipresent 24/7 media screens that occupy the facades of the buildings. This extends the physical plaza into the digital realm by non-stop recording and streaming the interaction of people on Times Square. Our individual body movements in public space are tracked and analyzed. We got so used to it, we almost put in the back of our head the knowledge of uninterrupted “being online” for others, by unwillingly performing for the cameras more than for and with the people around us. And for sure, it caters to enjoying watching ourselves.

 About the Author

Jüergen Mayer H.©Tom-Wagner
Jüergen Mayer H.©Tom-Wagner

J. MAYER H. und Partner, Architekten mbB is an international award winning architecture office with projects at the intersection of architecture, communication, and new technology. From urban planning schemes and buildings, to installation work and objects with new materials, the relationship between the human body, technology, and nature form the background for a new production of space. J.MAYER.H has a wide array of completed national and international projects. Juergen Mayer H. studied at Stuttgart University, The Cooper Union and Princeton University. His work has been published and exhibited worldwide and is part of numerous collections including MoMA New York, SF MoMA, Kunstbibliothek Berlin, State of Berlin Museum Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Architekturmuseum der TU München as well as numerous private collections. National and international awards include the Mies van der Rohe Award, emerging architect, special mention 2003; Holcim Award, winner Europe bronze 2005 and Audi Urban Future Award, winner 2010.

"Urban Interactions": Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen) - 8th edition. Shenzhen, China

http://szhkbiennale.org/

Opening in December, 2019 in Shenzhen, China, "Urban Interactions" is the 8th edition of the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB). The exhibition consists of two sections, namely “Eyes of the City” and “Ascending City”, which will explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. The “Eyes of the City" section features MIT professor and architect Carlo Ratti as Chief Curator and Politecnico di Torino-South China University of Technology as Academic Curator. The "Ascending City" section features Chinese academician Meng Jianmin and Italian art critic Fabio Cavallucci as Chief Curators.‬‬‬

"Eyes of The City" section

Chief Curator: Carlo Ratti.

Academic Curator: South China-Torino Lab (Politecnico di Torino - Michele Bonino; South ChinaUniversity of Technology - Sun Yimin)

Executive Curators: Daniele Belleri [CRA], Edoardo Bruno, Xu Haohao    

Curator of the GBA Academy: Politecnico di Milano (Adalberto Del Bo)

"Ascending City" section

Chief Curators: Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci

Co-Curator: Science and Human Imagination Center of Southern University of Science and Technology (Wu Yan)

Executive Curators: Chen Qiufan, Manuela Lietti, Wang Kuan, Zhang Li

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Cite: Jürgen Mayer H.. "XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE / Jürgen Mayer H. for the Shenzhen Biennale (UABB) 2019" 08 Dec 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/929807/xxx-times-square-with-love-jurgen-mayer-h-for-the-shenzhen-biennale-uabb-2019/> ISSN 0719-8884
XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE, Photographs by Rob Kassabian @ RK Films

2019深港城市建筑双年展,Jürgen Mayer H:XXX时代广场装置

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