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.
Sympoiesis, a term coined by Beth Dempster and further developed by Donna Haraway, works as a conceptual remedy against misappropriations of autopoiesis. Replacing the prefix auto- with syn- emphasizes interdependence. Sympoiesis, one could say, is what the concept of autopoiesis needs to become when the observation moves from the molecular domain to the domain of living beings. Sympoiesis emphasizes the interdependence of living beings and other living beings, environments, things, concepts, and ideas.
As Larry Richards has outlined, the making of something new—the process of poiesis—requires the suspension of synchronicity. In our Studio, asynchronicity will create the necessary condition for engendering the collision of two distinct phenomenal and logical domains—the domain of relations and the domain of dynamics—and affirm sympoiesis as a cybernetic concept. The #NewMacy Studio in Sympoiesis will be an exercise in the suspension of clock time.
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
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.
Presenting an Open Peer Commentary on “In Maturana’s Wake: The Biology of Cognition’s Legacy and its Prospects” by Randall Whitaker, the article suggests that engaging with Maturana's biology of cognition in the context of design is a form of practice rather than application. Maturana's biology of cognition, the article argues, can be conceived of as initiating an educational process that supports agents to act “from within” rather than “from without.”
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