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December 05, 2006

thresholds 34: portability


call for submissions

thresholds 34: portability :: call for submissions :: thresholds is the bi-annual critical journal of architecture, art and media culture produced by editors in the Department of Architecture of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On July 1, 1979, the Sony Walkman TPS-L2 went on sale in Japan, ushering in an age of mobile privatization. Since then, the portability of cultural and informational content has become ever more portable: television consumers of today can timeshift with the TiVo and placeshift with the Slingbox, reminding us that TV, like fast food, need not be different everywhere.

More object-oriented than the concept of mobility, design for portability aims to maintain the coherent function, appearance, and identity of the thing transported: be it a lipstick carried in a purse, software moved to a competing platform, health care benefits taken to another job, or a Star Trek officer who needs to be beamed down to the planet. Thus, the pursuit of the thing's fidelity after transport and transfer is also a quest of translatability, enabling exchange and reciprocity in an age of translocational identity. Just as mobility and immobility encapsulate modern social dilemmas, portability encapsulates all things in transition between times and places, and the desire to make solid, truthful, and durable, all that melts into air. We are as much mobile agents, as we are porters of weighty baggage.

thresholds 34 invites contributions examining the aesthetic, architectural, political and technological uses of portability. We invite critical perspectives that explore these issues in a variety of media, including essays, projects, proposals, policies, and models. Points of inquiry can include, but need not be limited to, portable objects, spaces of portage, systems of transport and transfer, processes of translatability, markets of import and export, and designs on, and for, a portable life.

Submissions from fields other than art and architecture are strongly encouraged. Essays are limited to 2500 words. A digital copy of the text is required as well as 300 dpi digital files of all images. Please include a two-sentence biography of each author. Thresholds aims to print material not previously published.

Submissions are due February 15, 2007. Please send all materials and correspondence to thresh[at]mit.edu or to:

Winnie Wong, Editor
MIT Department of Architecture
Room 7-337
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139

Posted by jo at December 5, 2006 02:53 PM