Realtime. The dream vision of technocratic management. A state of total omniscience, where what is known and how it is known is flattened onto the glistening surface of the computer screen. Encapsulating a suite of technologies, doctrines and desires, the realtime paradigm is a response to consumer demands for convenience and speed as much as it is a reaction to government and corporate appetites for rich and frequent renderings of information.
Lotfi-Jam locates the paradigm’s long history of technological control and capitalisation by examining realtime innovations in applications such as military strikes and asset tracking. He notes that realtime is not just about deploying speed to minimise costs and increase margins, but a strategy for an emerging market of experiences. New human-to-machine interfaces allow for more intuitive interactions with spatial information and digital processes; from the scale of the smart city, where computational systems regulate movement, to the optimised home, where technologies of efficiency and monitoring produce informational subjects. This lecture lays out the consequences of these multiscalar realtimes and outlines the blind spots of supposedly all-immersive, all-seeing technical systems, showing how such systems foreclose urban futures outside the purview of military, security and financial motives.
Farzin Lotfi-Jam is an architect whose work explores the politics of technology and cities. He is an assistant professor of architecture at Cornell University where he directs the Realtime Urbanism lab. The lab uses and invents new spatial media and technologies to visualise and simulate how algorithms, models and notions of “real time” govern urban life. He is also the director of Farzin Farzin, an interdisciplinary design studio working across architecture, urbanism, computation and media. From modelling the control matrices of smart cities to spatialising the cultural logics of social media, his individual and collaborative projects are research-based and multimediatic. Lotfi-Jam’s work has been collected by The Centre Pompidou and the Sharjah Art Foundation, and he is the recipient of the 2022 Architectural League of New York League Prize, as well as recent grants and support for his research from the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, M+/Design Trust and The Shed, where he was an inaugural Open Call Artist. He has been exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture, MAXXI, the Venice Architecture Biennial, the Oslo Architecture Triennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Seoul Architecture Biennial, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial and elsewhere. His co-authored book Modern Management Methods: Architecture, Historical Value, and the Electromagnetic Image was published by Columbia University Press.
Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana; In collaboration with: Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, ALUO – The Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana; MGML/Cukrarna Gallery; Lokalpatriot; Ljudmila Art and Science Laboratory