fwd: transmission towers book

From brian carroll <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Tue, 24 Jul 2001 23:50:02 -0800

  i am putting togethersome old files into a new website documenting
  electromagneic research, in lieu of not being able to complete
  the electronetwork.org site, due to unforeseen complications. the
  posts are part of a collection of architecture-as-text, or ASCII
  architecture, some of which has dealt with EM and other parts
  with issues of identity, language, perception, and logic. in any
  case, this is one book that is out of print, but hopefully some
  day they will bring it back. i saw it once in a library and it
  is quite amazing. a drawing or two is reproduced below via ASCII
  characters (the alphabet and extre characters (quotes, etc) on
  the computer keyboard. in any case....

Date:         Fri, 13 Jan 1995 18:52:18 CST
Sender:       "Basic and applied design (Art and Architecture)"
Subject:      Transmission Towers-- book


  TRANSMISSION TOWERS on the Long Island Expressway      Michele Bertomen
  }{_____________________________________________}{      Princeton Arch Press
  /\      ~A~Study~Of~The~Language~Of~Form       /\      copyright 1991
  I.      Introduction: The Medium - The Artifact                          4
  II.     Summary: Form-As-Idea,  The Language of Form                     7
  III.    The Emerging Public Realm, Essay & Photographs by Judith Sheene 11
  IV.     Making A Tower                                                  19
  V.      Twenty Transmission Towers, On the Long Island Expressway       20
  VI.     Towers of Babel                                                 50
  VII.    Bertomen Map of Long Island                                     68
  VIII.   Comments on Formal Structure,  Interview with Klaus Herdeg      70

" Transmission towers and their antennae are visible marks of the
   comprehensive restructuring the world has undergone through electro-
   communications since the Second World War. Telephone, television,
   computer, and radio transmissions now immerse us in dense "soup" of
   electromagnetic radiation. The electromagnetic waves create a medium
   thick with modulated signals that permeate each other as well as all
   organic and inorganic matter. Yet the contents of this soup differ from
   the indistinguishable ingredients to be found in the kitchen pot in an
   important respect; using the simple device of radio, any individual can
   distinguish one set of frequencies, one distinct communication, from all
   The shape of this electromagnetic medium at any given moment is a function
   of those who are operating within it. Its outline and boundary is inter-
   locked with wire and fibre-borne transmissions, and is made even more
   complex by mobile transmitting and receiving units. Consider the case of
   the cellular telephone in which signals from a car phone are automatic-
   ally switched from the transmission-reception limits, the cell, of one
   antennae to the next that comes within range. As the driver talks, as the
   car moves, the system instantaneously discovers and rediscovers the best
   path for the signal, perhaps converting microwave signals into the
   oscillating electrical current of a telephone line before a final
   destination is reached. The conceivable venue for these transmissions
   becomes ever more complex as one can now be sketching on a beach and
   simultaneously be sending the image to someone in an airplane flying
   above. Creating a flexibility of communication never before possible,
   the medium affects the way we understand seemingly tactile experiences
   such as space and place. The medium is something through which one sees,
   it conditions the way one understands. We get into our cars, travel
   thousands of miles within this medium, and all the while we can converse
   with others or ever see others doing the same.
   For architects who deal with physical structures and habitable space, this
   transformation is particularly jarring. For while the visible, man-made
   environment is recognizably an evolution of that which had already existed
   one or even two centuries ago, the manner in which it is now apprehended
   and added to has been irrevocably affected by this new, invisible world of
   ultracommunication and mobility. The living room of every home now has the
   additional window of the television through which one can look at distant
   lands or into other people's living rooms as casually as one would look in
   the backyard. This raises the question of whether a place is defined by a
   floor, roof, and walls or by the point at which one enters the electro-
   communication system, in front of the television, at the computer, tele-
   phone, or fax machine.
   The very outline of the world in which we live, the shape of our time as
   the historian George Kubler calls it, has been impressed by this medium
   that affects the way the mind discerns forms amongst the essential organ-
   izations of our culture.^2 The monuments that comprise the man-made
   environment, the forms and spaces analyzed by architects as the fodder for
   their creative work, have now become overlaid and interpenetrated by the
   artifacts of the transportation and communication <+energy> systems. The
   constantly changing, nonhierarchical organization of this network, forever
   accommodating itself to those who wish to use it, is incomprehensible in
   the traditional manner in which architects have studied form.^3
   Transmission towers and other, allied artifacts are the tangible marks of
   a system that affects, in hidden but powerful ways, the rhythms of daily
   live. They are the direct products of an economic organization that,
   through a developed communication and transportation system, facilitates
   the premanufacture of technologically manufactureable elements for
   assembly in the field. Their accreted, changeable shape is a reflection of
   this system and of the underlying structure of society itself. Moreover,
   the experience of these artifacts from the highway at the periphery of
   one's attention, in fragmented glances through the windshield or rear view
   mirror, is symptomatic of contemporary experience that demands changing
   modes of apprehension.
   The manner in which architects make things is inextricably related to
   aesthetics, the faculty used for judgement and the apprehension of beauty.
   Transmission towers are of great interest not only for the technological
   and economic considerations that determine them, but also for the role
   they play in producing the conditions of our experience. A study of trans-
   mission towers helps us to reconsider the nature of aesthetics in the
   light of artifacts that are, in both compostition and function, central to
   the formal function and experience of contemporary life.
                                <signed> Michele Bertomen
                                         February 1990
pp. 3/4/5/6  footnotes to follow..



/IMAGE  1" X 6" image in black and white, horizontal.  Looking like several\
\       types of black-inked fingerprints overlapping within the picturing./

"       Computer modeling of electromagnetic patterns of a Bogner antennae.
         These were graphically superimposed to produce an image of electro-
         magnetic waves that comprise the "soup." Computer modeling by
         Dr. Paul Koch.

     ^1. I am grateful to Dr. Ward Deutchman, Chairman, Telecommmunications
         Management Degree, NYIT for his metaphor of the "soup." He likens
         the effect of microwaves radiating from many antennae to the action
         of drops of dye placed seperately in an irregular bathtub filled
         with water. Currents, water temperature, the edges of the tub, and
         the approximately spherical dispersion of the molecules of dye could
         be considered roughly analogious to the atmospheric conditions, the
         earth's topography, and the strength of the transmitted electro-
         magnetic waves.

     ^2. The proposition here is to understand communication systems as huge,
         extended artifacts by which our culture will be known, and whose
         forms and shapes should be studied as important in a history of
         things. "From all these things a shape in time emerges. A visible
         portrait of the collective identity, whether of the tribe, class, or
         nation, comes into being. This self-image reflected in things is a
         guide and a point of reference to the group for the future, and it
         eventually becomes the protrait given to posterity." George Kubler,
         ~The~Shape~of~Time,~Remarks~on~the~History~of~Things (New Haven:
         Yale University Press, 1962), p. 9.

     ^3. "Form" is distinguished from "shape" here following the distinction
         made by Jonathan Friedman in - ~Creation~in~Space (Dubuque: Kendall
         and Hunt, 1989), pp. 5, 176.


Date:         Sat, 14 Jan 1995 13:04:37 CST
Reply-To:     "Basic and applied design (Art and Architecture)"
Sender:       "Basic and applied design (Art and Architecture)"
From:         "carr0023@gold.tc.umn.edu" <carr0023@GOLD.TC.UMN.EDU>
Subject:      Civic Transmission Tower

                                          | Jericho \  oMelville|  / 231  |
____                                     |---/------oPLAINVIEW |-/-\----/|
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of capital                                      |/____________________|
                                                  photograph of the base
" _Height_: 300 feet.
   _Location_: A high plateau off exit 46.
   _Owner_: AT&T.
   _Specifications_: Designed by Rose, Chuckoff, and Rose, Westchester, New
    York and built in 1981. It is one of three standing types the utility
    employs, and serves as a midpoint station for telephone transmissions to
    eastern Long Island. The highly directional "horn" antennae transmit and
    receive signals carrying hundreds of phone messages simultaneously from
    other line-of-sight towers. These are connected to central relay and
    processing stations that convert wire borne telephone signals into
    electromagnetic transmissions. The square plan of the tower allows
    guides to be run through its center, thus permitting positioning devices
    to precisely orient the horn antennae towards its corresponding trans-
    mitting antennae. _Transmitters_: AT&T
    Drawn and researched by Bruce Bowman.

  +300 feet                            |
                                |      |    |
                                |      |    |
                                |   ___|H   |
                               ||\ |\  |\__-|/|
                               |o\\ \\/o \/H|H/
  +250 feet                    ==_|_=__\/_==o/
                                __|  \/||___
                               /_\) _|||_\_/)
                                 \/ |/|\| \/
  _X_X_X_X_                      | ||/|\|| |
                                 | /|\|/|\ |
  +200 feet                      | ||/|\|| |
                                 | |/_|_\| |
                                 | |\_|_/| |
  +150 feet                       |/|_|_|\|
                           ______ |/\/|\/\| ______
  +100 feet                \---|| | / | \ | \---||
                            \\|\  |  /|\  |  /|//
                             \| \ | / | \ | / |/
                            |_|_|||  /|\  |||_|_|
                              |  | \/_|_\/ |  |
  + 50 feet                   |  |_/__|__\_|  |
                              |  |/   |   \|  |
                              | ||____|____|| |
                              /-|\  /|H|\  /|-\
                                | /   |   \ |
  +  0 feet


  TRANSMISSION TOWERS on the Long Island Expressway      Michele Bertomen
  }{_____________________________________________}{      Princeton Arch Press
  /\      ~A~Study~Of~The~Language~Of~Form       /\      copyright 1991
  chapter: Making a Tower. Ink and Paper Draftings

  the electronetwork-list
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