Recent Publications


Featured by the American Society of Landscape Architects as one of the best books of 2020


New Horizons: Eight Perspectives on Chinese Landscape Architecture Today

edited by Jutta Kehrer


New Horizons: Eight Perspectives on Chinese Landscape Architecture Today


[..] flowing with the waters, halting with the mountains. In the images of light and wind the ephemeral is inscribed. Time is part of space. The scene performs.


The essay "Chinese Landscape Aesthetics: the exchange and nurturing of emotions" by Claudia Westermann included in New Horizons: Eight Perspectives on Chinese Landscape Architecture Today introduces ideas of landscape in traditional Chinese thought. Following the etymology of the Chinese terms for landscape and recognizing that their conceptual focus is on the exchange and nurturing of emotions, which is not captured by the English term 'landscape,' one may gain a new understanding of contemporary works of Chinese landscape architecture.


Claudia Westermann, Chinese Landscape Aesthetics page 34-35


Claudia Westermann, Chinese Landscape Aesthetics, page 36-37


The (very short) essay "Chinese Landscape Aesthetics: the exchange and nurturing of emotions" by Claudia Westermann of LITRA can also be accessed via google books. The author's manuscript is available for download from this server.



The Art of Conversation | Design Cybernetics and its Ethics

The art of conversation: design cybernetics and its ethics was published in 2020 in Kybernetes. The manuscript is available from researchgate, and from this server.

Concerned with questions of ethics in design, the paper highlights second-order design cybernetics as an approach to design that has inscribed in its conception a radical openness toward the future and the agency of others. Design Cybernetics, the paper argues, creates a suitable frame of reference for conceiving social systems of all kinds, including environments that are designed to be inhabited. The second-order conception of art of Gordon Pask, his collaborators, and pupils, can be seen to follow John Dewey's 'grounding' of art in experience. Its focus, however, is slightly different, as it emphasises the capacity of art to open an intersubjective space.

The paper identifies an aesthetics grounded in the process of living-with-others as an ethical principle implicit in second-order cybernetics thought. It is an aesthetics that is radically open for the agency of others. The interconnection of aesthetics and ethics in the second-order cybernetic conception of art and design is unique and has not yet sufficiently been highlighted. Linking aesthetics and ethics, the paper's contributions are of specific value for practitioners and theoreticians of design.

The article may contribute to a better understanding of how second-order cybernetics provides for unique, so far overlooked, opportunities for re-thinking design research, aesthetics and the philosophy of art.


Poetics of Designing, in: Design Cybernetics | Navigating the New

edited by Thomas Fischer and Christiane M. Herr, published by Springer in 2019. 

You might have access to the ebook via your academic library's Springer Link subscription. (Log in via Shibboleth or Athens). The author's manuscript of the chapter 'A Poetics of Designing'  is available for download from this server.

The chapter provides an overview on what it means to be in a world that is uncertain, e.g., how under conditions of limited understanding any activity is an activity that designs and constructs, and how designing objects, spaces, and situations relates to the (designed) meta-world of second-order cybernetics. Designers require a framework that is open, but one that supplies ethical guidance when ‘constructing’ something new. Relating second-order design thinking to insights in philosophy and aesthetics, the chapter argues that second-order cybernetics provides a response to this ethical challenge and essentially it entails a poetics of designing.

'A Poetics of Designing' is part of the first book-length collection of texts in Design Cybernetics. It introduces the subject from the point of view of aesthetics. Importantly, the chapter argues that second-order cybernetics circumvents the necessity for a muse inspired artist or genius as a mediator between higher spirits and life, in favour of artists and designers who have true agency.

Cybernetics is often associated with AI, which is, however, only one of the branches that developed on the basis of the interdisciplinary research begun in the 1940s and entitled cybernetics. The chapter may contribute to a better understanding of the second-order cybernetics that has been conceived in close relationship with art and design from the late 60s onwards.


Design Cybernetics book


A Poetics of Designing



The conference papers An eco-poetic approach to architecture across boundaries and Constructing the Hybrid City: Shanghai were published open access in 2019 and 2020 respectively and may be obtained via the links underlying the above titles. The manuscript of the paper On delight: Thoughts for tomorrow published in 2018 in Technoetic Arts may also be obtained from researchgate.


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