Thinking the logics of space beyond three dimensions and time
Questioning both the existence and the relevance of a separation between theory and practice the Inhabitable Theories project transforms into a discourse on spatial design that is both theory and practice.
Projects have included performance lectures, installations, video works, and new media art. They have been widely exhibited and presented, including at the Venice Biennale (Architecture), the Moscow International Film Festival, ISEA Symposium for the Electronic Arts, the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, and most recently at the 2019 Yanping Art Harvest in Fujian, China.
Maybe it was the memory of the mirror, appearing as a fluid image in one of the books that I once read, which led me to this forgotten place. The unity of one single person was depicted in the mirror as a symphony composed of present and past and thus as well of future personae; a symphony of life, which would never repeat itself and in which every chord would appear as a possibility for the myriad pluralities accruing from it -- an almost impossible thought in this millennium, in which humanity is about to achieve its objective of tracking everything that is uncertain.
Paradoxically, it was this unknown image of the plurality of reflections that revealed the path to this place, which is not drawn on any map.
The rectangular room is painted in bright white. No window or door disturbs the continuity of the walls. However, there must be openings in the ceiling, since natural light enters the room from above, along the walls, as funnel-shaped rays.
I am ONE,
I walk to be ALWAYS the LAST in my sequence,
my memories are operators to my dreams.
The Laboratory for Inhabitable Theories and Research in Architecture | LITRA was founded by artist/architect Claudia Westermann in 2001. It has since then offered a platform for projects at the threshold of art and architecture some of which have involved interdisciplinary collaborations with other artists, designers, and writers.
For more information, see the sections Presentations, Exhibited Works and Publications on this website.
living cybernetics | playing language
the 60th anniversary meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics. Washington, DC, June 15-19, 2024.
living cybernetics | playing language - the 60th anniversary meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics will take place in June 2024. In homage to past experiments in conversational framings of ASC meetings, the ASC’s 60th anniversary meeting will engage in situational enactments of cybernetics at a variety of locations in Washington, DC, ranging from an arts center to the zoo.
We look forward to your proposals addressing the three entangled thematic strands languaging in/for action, archiving archiving and reimagining technicity.
Michigan State University’s MuSeUm, 1.5° Celsius (the Anthropocene) exhibition
6 September 2022 – 25 February 2023
Eryk Salvaggio, USA (music), Claudia Westermann and Vinny Montag (emotional landscape), Hao Liu (mushroom research)
A collaborative installation of art, music, and environmental science, the project Appetite for Deconstruction is a multi-media emotional landscape for the ‘1.5° Celsius (the Anthropocene)’ exhibition at the Michigan State University’s MuSeUm. Visitors are immersed within a sonic landscape of old broken radios and discarded audio equipment, impregnated with soil and growing oyster mushrooms. The oyster mushrooms’ electrical signals create an environmental feedback mechanism via electrodes connected to synthesizers facilitating the composition of ‘mushroom music.’ A mushroom-play-kit is in development for a spring 2023 workshop.
Cybernetic Musings on Open Form(s): Learning to Float
Integrating human needs and desires into the design process has long been a crucial aim of design research. Despite advancements, architectural design still often overlooks the diverse dimensions of human experiences. In this context, the recent development of affordable and mobile brain-imaging devices using electroencephalography (EEG) presents an opportunity for a new approach to human-centered architectural design, especially in combination with virtual reality (VR). Despite existing EEG/VR studies in architecture, a comprehensive review of the methods used to translate EEG data into architectural design is lacking. To address this gap, this article presents a systematic review of empirical studies that use EEG in VR and investigate the impact of designed environments on users. Searches in the databases of Scopus, Web of Science and Science Direct resulted in nineteen articles utilizing both EEG and VR and focusing on an architectural perspective. The data analysis was performed qualitatively and is presented in summary-of-findings tables. The results indicate that in all reviewed studies, the framing environments affect specific brain regions and support different physiological, psychological, and cognitive functions. However, reliable conclusions about the impact spectrum of specific environmental features and associated event-related dynamics require further studies. Several gaps and challenges were identified. These include the need to develop comprehensive strategies for synthesizing data from a variety of sources, considering the distinct effects of familiar and new environments, and addressing limitations posed by sample sizes and demographic diversity. Additionally, long-term studies and investigations of the environmental impact on groups remain areas for future research.
This Open Peer Commentary on “A Critical Cybernetics” by Klaus Krippendorff outlines that enacting alternative not-yet existing realities goes beyond discourse and can be considered design practice. A Critical Cybernetics for enacting alternative not-yet existing realities, such as Krippendorff proposed, would benefit from associating itself with the expertise in the technicity of society that has been central to cybernetics since its inception.
Editorial: Turning queries into questions: For a plurality of perspectives in the age of AI and other frameworks with limited (mind)sets
The editorial introduces issue 21.1 of Technoetic Arts via a critical reflection on the artificial intelligence hype (AI hype) that emerged in 2022. Tracing the history of the critique of Large Language Models, the editorial underscores that the recent calls for slowing down the development of AI, as promoted by the technology industry, do not signify a shift towards reason and considerate economics. Instead, as these calls are firmly embedded in narratives where the power to decide for the majority of humanity lies solely with the CEOs of AI companies, they are indicative of a relentless pursuit of economic interests. The technology industry has consistently downplayed criticism over the years. While patterns of creative output can be replicated without a thorough understanding of underlying concepts, the editorial highlights the distinction between the current AI technology's reliance on extensive pre-existing human-generated data for pattern recognition and the performative process inherent in art practice. This performative process, as explored through the conceptual frameworks of creativity by Noam Chomsky, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Roger T. Ames and with reference to an earlier publication of the editorial's author, continually 'strives to extend itself towards the unknown.' Following this introductory section, the editorial provides an overview of the ten articles featured in this issue of Technoetic Arts. The first four texts engage with emerging technologies from various perspectives in art and design. The subsequent six articles, part of a special section titled 'Perspectives from Chandigarh,' reflect a quest for meaningful existence within colonial, patriarchal, and biopolitical structures that frame everyday practices of exclusion and oppression.
ON GLOBES, THE EARTH AND THE CYBERNETICS OF GRACE
Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, 19(1/2) Global Conversation special issue, pp. 29–47. Published in 2022, volume year 2021. https://doi.org/10.1386/tear_00049_1.
You may use the following link to access the article via the EBSCO subscription of your academic library. Choose the Institutional Login below the blue Sign In button. If you do not have access to an academic library, you may obtain a copy of the preprint via the PhilPapers platform or contact the author for a personal copy of the article.
The article presents an enquiry into conceptions of ‘global’ that began at the American Society for Cybernetics 2020 Global Conversation conference. Following the traces of Margaret Mead’s statement that emphasized that the first photographic images of the Earth from space presented notions of fragility, the article contextualizes the recent critique of the dominant representation of the Earth as a globe that emerged in conjunction with the discourse on the Anthropocene. It analyses the globe as an image and the sentiments that accompanied it since the first photographs of our planet from space were published in 1968. The article outlines how the cultural meaning of the whole Earth representation changed in parallel with the appropriation of the image by the large technological enterprises that emerged from America’s counterculture. It returns to the possibility of a coexistence of ‘views from within’ and ‘views from without’ following a detour with Gregory Bateson via Bali and proposes a Cybernetics of Grace as a practice of resistance against pure exteriority. The article concludes by linking the Cybernetics of Grace with the second-order conversations of Gordon Pask.
The question of how architectural design can redefine itself as a sustainable practice, actively contributing to an inclusive and open future, has been a central focus of the lecture-based and studio modules I developed for the architecture programs at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, China. Informed by second-order cybernetics, my pedagogical approach concerns the ecologies and poetics of art and design and emphasizes relational thinking over entitative concepts. This presentation provides a theoretical framework for my cybernetic design pedagogy, drawing primarily on the pedagogical approaches of the artist and cybernetician Roy Ascott and the designer and cybernetician Ranulph Glanville. It then proceeds to introduce the transgenerational collaborations established in response to the RSD12 Pittsburgh hub theme involving four of my former architecture students and four senior members of the American Society for Cybernetics, forming four teams comprising both junior and senior collaborators. These teams are characterized by their transgenerational, transcultural, and transdisciplinary composition. The four junior collaborators contribute their previous studio works and related essays. The four senior ASC collaborators bring expertise in cybernetics, theatre and performance, ecology, media, and organisational design.
The session includes:
#302 Shucen Liu and Larry Richards Assemblage Reframing the Nearby: Resisting the spectacle through anti-communication
#304 Puli Li and Pille Bunnell A More-Than-Human Architecture
#305 Ruoxi Li and Tom Scholte Architectural Landscapes of Resistance: Carnivalesque framings of agency
#310 Annan Zuo and Frederick Steier Expanding the notion of Care in Architecture—Recovering a More-than-human Third Landscape in Kyoto