BEYOND ENTROPY: WHEN ENERGY BECOMES FORM

The first theory module will introduce you to some large-scale perspectives for thinking about architectural questions specific to our contemporary information age. Beyond following one of the many trends that have emerged within recent years like parametric and algorithmic design, digital tectonics and materialism, we will take a more abstract view on computers and look at information technology from the perspective of infrastructures. Many new tools have been introduced and meanwhile made accessible for architects in a professional, ready-to-use format. Once you can articulate, formulate and communicate what you want to do, as an architect, the technical steps to realize it can (comparatively) easily be organized with the help of CAAD/CAM, open source and open design communities.What turns out to be most challenging today concerns what kinds of questions or horizons we can frame for our experiments, applications or projects. Yet how to give shape to visions of future lifeworlds beyond concrete utopia? The perspective we will be concerned with regards information technology within a generational history of technology. The module will introduce you to this theoretical model, and elaborate its basic arguments. The core assumption thereby is that information technology, different from mechanical technology and its diverse machines and apparatuses, is algebraic and operates on the substrate of an interplay between electricity and information. Our starting point is twofold: information, in a technical sense, can be regarded as the formal abstraction of any content-as-representation into a symbolically operative format (digital code); electricity can be regarded as the abstraction of energy from its concrete material storage into a symbolically operative format. The work information technology is able to carry out is productive within the symbolic, prior to being rendered into materiality. And now consider this: The sun sends 10‘000 times more energy to the earth as all of mankind is currently using. Daily. Photovoltaics puts us in the historically singular position that we need no longer rely on exploiting the natural storages, we can harvest solar energy by tapping into the solar stream directly. Of course it will still hold that the total amount of energy in the universe can be considered constant, yet the amount of energy encapsulated within agricultural growth and urban cultivation is not. It seems hardly an exaggeration to say that this changes the way we relate between culture and nature: with regard to the natural storages, we can harvest, store and integrate an abundant amount of surplus energy into our cultural milieus. Our hypothesis for architecture is that the so-called information age gives rise to emerging forms of solar societies, for which an abundance of clean energy will be characteristic.

Energy can be decoupled from resources. With networked, information technological infrastructures, it turns into a problem of logistics. Thanks to the control of electricity by information technology, energy can be rendered into any form of energy: potential, kinetic, chemical, thermic. We can move things, transform substances, deliver messages, install and operate infrastructures of nearly any kind. But how can we start to think about the forms of living and building in solar societies? There may be, for the time being, no notions of common sense in sight of how to integrate this technological feasibility and genuinely symbolic artificiality into meaningful horizons. All the more is it exciting and important to work conceptually on how to delineate and refer to these novel consistencies that are genuinely symbolic. This first theory module aims at gathering, discussing and refining some crucial vocabulary for talking about our contemporary world.

READINGS

Ludger Hovestadt: A fantastic genealogy of the printable, in V. Bühlmann, L.Hovestadt, Printed Physics, Applied Virtuality Vol. I, Birkhäuser Basel 2011.

Vera Bühlmann: Primary abundance, urban philosophy. Information and the form of actuality in V. Bühlmann, L. Hovestadt, Printed Physics, Applied Virtuality Vol. I, Birkhäuser Basel 2011.

Ludger Hovestadt and Vera Bühlmann, The Power Book. A Radical Pathway from Energy Crisis to Energy Culture (forthcoming, draft version on the server)

Peter Sloterdijk: What happened in the 20th century? Cultural Politics: an International Journal, Volume 3, Number 3, November 2007.

George Bataille: The meaning of general economy. In: The Accursed Share: An Essay On General Economy. Volume I: Consumption

George Bataille: Laws of a general economy. In: The Accursed Share: An Essay On General Economy. Volume I: Consumption.

Henri Lefebvre: From city to urban society in: The urban revolution. University of Minnesota Press 2003.

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: The Geology of Morals (What does the Earth think it is?) in: A thousand plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia II. Continuum Press, London and New York 2004.

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Apparatus of Capture. in: A thousand plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia II. Continuum Press, London and New York 2004.

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Micropolitics and Segmentarity. in: A thousand plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia II. Continuum Press, London and New York 2004.

Monday September 27th – Friday October 21st

Seminar meetings daily: 2-6 pm -> this as a rule, be prepared for spontaneous changes (timewise)

Guest lectures: to be announced.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-01-28 um 23.02.07

A COLLECTIVE VIDEO FEATURING EXCERPTS FROM THE FINAL EXERCISES: 

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/31427213″>M1_final video_trailer</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/mascaad”>MAS CAAD</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>