How Buildings Learn documentary

Google Video: How Buildings Learn

I’m contractually obliged to post this. Author, futurist and all-round Thoughtwax hero Stewart Brand has uploaded all six parts of the documentary based on his book How Buildings Learn to Google Video.

This six-part, three-hour, BBC TV series aired in 1997. I presented and co-wrote the series; it was directed by James Muncie, with music by Brian Eno. The series was based on my 1994 book, HOW BUILDINGS LEARN: What Happens After They’re Built. The book is still selling well and is used as a text in some college courses. Most of the 27 reviews on Amazon treat it as a book about system and software design, which tells me that architects are not as alert as computer people. But I knew that; that’s part of why I wrote the book. Anybody is welcome to use anything from this series in any way they like. Please don’t bug me with requests for permission. Hack away. Do credit the BBC, who put considerable time and talent into the project. Historic note: this was one of the first television productions made entirely in digital— shot digital, edited digital. The project wound up with not enough money, so digital was the workaround. The camera was so small that we seldom had to ask permission to shoot; everybody thought we were tourists. No film or sound crew. Everything technical on site was done by editors, writers, directors. That’s why the sound is a little sketchy, but there’s also some direct perception in the filming that is unusual.

Parts one, two, three, four, five, six.

There’s also a short clip of SB telling the story of the Oxford Oak Beams on Google Video. I photographed a print of the story when I visited the Long Now Foundation (which Brand co-founded) in San Francisco last month. The documentary’s music is by Brian Eno, whose diary I’m reading right now, and I’ve got a biography of Brand lined up to go next. So nice timing for me.

(via the excellent Smashing Telly)

— 05 Aug 2008