“S-meme 07: Imagination in Sendai Literature and Film”
Each lecture or studio class on the Media Axis is an editorial meeting of the students, who put their skills into the production of S-meme, a journal of cultural criticism from a Sendai perspective. Students handle all aspects of journal production from research, interviews and fieldwork to writing, editing, layout and design.
The seventh issue explored aspects of Sendai as seen through the lens of literature and film. Students considered the nature of the relationship between the contemporary provincial city and the narrative imagination.
PBL Studio 3 : Social Axis
“Government Buildings and Facilities in the Post-Recovery Region”
Two years after the Great East Japan Earthquake struck Tohoku, the region is slowly but surely recovering, but it is important to remember that many municipalities affected by the disaster are still facing a range of issues that troubled them before it struck.
The town of Yamamoto in Miyagi Prefecture is one example. The earthquake and tsunami pressed the fast-forward button on its ongoing degeneration, which includes a major decline in population, an increasing proportion of elderly residents, the decay of industry, and a worsening fiscal crisis. At the same time, the post-disaster recovery effort requires the construction of new public facilities: a town hall, local community venues, public housing, and so on. Such communities where degeneration is rapidly progressing frequently face the question of how to manage these perhaps excessively extravagant public facilities in the future.
This studio class examined possibilities for new types of administrative bodies that could capitalize on the energy of the recovery effort and coexist smoothly with local communities (new types of regional administrative bodies, appropriate division of duties between government and the public and mechanisms to support it, financial planning, hard infrastructure serving as venues for these activities, and so forth.)
This is the second in a series that reexamines the various “Cityformats” that compose our urban environments from an information-science and visual perspective.
This semester, building on the outcomesof the previous semester, we examined the specific nature and means of production of various interfaces that connect people and the city in public spaces, from single sheetsof printed matter to PR magazines, and from bulletin boards to video monitors.
The studio class adopted practical perspectives and approaches to printed matter, signs and so forth with the aim of achieving an attractive, user- friendly design environment for all users.
By redesigning printed materials and various information delivery formats in the context of a community, such as a city, region, organization, or facility, we explored approaches to design geared toward ordinary people with no specialized knowledge or experience of user design, aiming for design that is both visually appealing and practical, and compiling proposals for design of the information environment (graphics, navigation interfaces, systems, etc.) of the Miyagino Ward Culture Center in Sendai.
PBL Studio 5 : Global Axis
“Sendai OASIS / Blue-Green Studio 6 New Urban Farm Communities”
In developed nations today, traditional agricultural environments are being optimized in new ways, not only to maximize the commercial competitiveness of their crops, but also for global logistical competitiveness, environmental sustainability and other aspects, as seen in cutting-edge paradigms such as smart agriculture and the transformation of agriculture into a “sixth-order industry” combining primary, secondary and tertiary industries (production, processing, sales and distribution). These changes are drastically transforming communities.
In this studio class we worked with the theme of “new urban farm communities,” examining proposals for next-generation communities and design approaches in traditional agricultural areas of Taiwan from an international perspective.
Future Lab 5
“The Future of Media Installation”
In public spaces such as vending machines, displays in commercial venues, counters in governmental offices and so forth, large amounts of information are laid out in three-dimensional format, from which people derive all sorts of data, and even minute changes in the positioning of objects and information can alter people's behavior patterns. In this studio class we examined spaces that contain “media installations,” in other words installations of information that give rise to interactions with viewers.
The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in a developed country with advanced information systems, and unprecedented volumes of measured data relating to
the disaster were recorded. Enormous amounts of materials on the catastrophe are in the process of being archived, and there are high expectations for its practical application. In this studio class, we partnered with the Tohoku University Research Institute of Disaster Science, and envisioned concepts for a media installation displaying disaster- related information. We invited speakers who are practically engaged in disaster archiving and information interfaces, heard lectures, and compiled proposals related to disaster information archiving and media installations to present this information to the public.