Bat and drone

Cloud and Field

The “Cloud” encompasses terrifyingly majestic terrains: salt flats, pit mines, microscopic architectures, troves of magic machines. We don’t quite know where, or how, to look at it all. So we’ve commissioned field guides to train our perception. Yet what those guides ultimately demonstrate is their own necessary partiality. In their quest for clarity, they point us to the very things that fall through the cracks or fail to conform.

On the resurgence of “field guides” in a networked age. We’ve moved from birding to dronewatching, from natural history to dark ecology. But are we still looking through colonialist binoculars?




  • david-heymann
  • shannon-mattern-new2
  • gabrielle-esperdy
  • Sandy Isenstadt

David Heymann

David Heymann is a columnist for Places. He is an architect, and the Harwell Hamilton Harris Regents Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin.

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Shannon Mattern

Shannon Mattern is a columnist for Places. She is Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York.

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Gabrielle Esperdy

Gabrielle Esperdy is a columnist for Places. She is associate professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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Sandy Isenstadt

Sandy Isenstadt is a columnist for Places. He is a professor and Director of the Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware, specializing in the history of modern architecture.

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