EventNovember 15 - 16, 2013

Aesthetics and Politics Conference Explores the Politics of Parametricism

On Nov. 15 and 16, high-profile thinkers in the fields of architecture and urban design gather for The Politics of Parametricism: Digital Technologies and the Future(s) of Sociality, a two-day conference at REDCAT. Presented by the MA Aesthetics and Politics Program at CalArts, the event aims to discuss the role of politics in architecture, particularly in parametricism, the next “grand style” in the history of architectural movements.

Attending international speakers include Phil Bernstein, vice president of 3D design software Autodesk, as well as architects and theorists Benjamin Bratton, Christina Cogdell, Teddy Cruz, Peggy Deamer, Andrés Jaque, Laura Kurgan and Neil Leach. The conference opens with a debate between Columbia University professor Reinhold Martin, who believes that architecture and politics are tied together, and Zaha Hadid Architects director Patrik Schumacher, who holds that the two fields are mutually exclusive.

From the press release:

The approach that this conference will take is to try to explore the points of convergence of the critical discourses of Parametricism and its practical innovations within its industries. We propose to explore the foundational impulses and methods/mechanisms of such practices and discourses by rethinking sociality as a form of collective technology: i.e. social formations and transformations considered as tacit design processes rather than as natural evolutionary processes.

Whether as tools for democratic action or tyrannical spectacle; self- and community-building capabilities; a post-humanistic subject; or, the mediatized politics of our various futurisms—all these themes are figured within the Parametricist discourse.

The two-day event is a continuation of the program’s cognitive capitalism conference last fall and is an opportunity to think about how digital technology is changing social relations today. According to director of the MA Aesthetics and Politics Program Arne De Boever:

For us, this is a key issue at the crossroads of aesthetics (sensing, feeling, perceiving) and politics (doing). Last year, we organized a conference around the pathologies produced by digital culture: addiction, depression, burnout, attention deficit disorder, etc. This year, and partly in coordination with the new Interventions Lecture Series in the School of Critical Studies, we are trying to think about the social and political ramifications of the use of digital technology in architecture, the theory and practice of designing the worlds in which we live. What we’re trying to develop, in the time of social media and MOOCs, is a critical digital culture that is deeply aware of both the digital’s opportunities and its tremendous risks.

The Politics of Parametricism is organized by Matthew Poole and CalArts alumnus Manuel Shvartzberg (MA Aesthetics and Politics 13) in collaboration with philosopher Bernard Stiegler.

Below is the full schedule:

Friday, Nov. 15

7 to 9 pm, Keynote Event

  • Discussion with Reinhold Martin and Patrik Schumacher, Architecture and politics: Parametricism within or beyond liberal democracy?
  • Reinhold Martin, On Numbers, More or Less
  • Patrik Schumacher, Thesis on the Politics of Parametricism

Saturday, Nov. 16, Conference Panels

10 am to 12 noon, Panel 1: Introduction to Parametricism: historical and technological context

  • Phillip G. Bernstein, Finding Value in Parameters: How Scripting Beyond Form Changes the Potential of Design Practice
  • Christina Cogdell, Breeding Ideology: Parametricism and Biological Architecture
  • Neil Leach, There is no such thing as a political architecture; there is no such thing as digital architecture

2 to 4 pm, Panel 2: Parametricism, the commons and social representation

  • Teddy Cruz, The New Political: Where the Top Down and the Bottom up Meet
  • Peggy Deamer, Parametric Schizophrenic
  • Laura Kurgan, The Method is the Message

4:45 to 6:30 pm, Panel 3: Designing subjectivities, curating new models of sociality

  • Benjamin H. Bratton, The Always Partial System: For an Inhuman Parametricism
  • Andrés Jaque, Architecture as Rendered Society

**Update: The MA Aesthetics and Politics and Program at CalArts will livestream The Politics of Parametricism: Digital Technologies and the Future(s) of Sociality here.

Event Details

The Politics of Parametricism: Digital Technologies and the Future(s) of Sociality

Nov. 15 to 16 REDCAT 631 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles Tickets: $10 general, $5 members and students, free for CalArts community Click here for the livestream

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