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02 MARCH 2014

TED: simply toying with risk so as to re-affirm the comfortable?

"We hear that not only is change accelerating but that the pace of change is accelerating as well. While this is true of computational carrying–capacity at a planetary level, at the same time ––and in fact the two are connected–– we are also in a moment of cultural de–acceleration. We invest our energy in futuristic information technologies, including our cars, but drive them home to kitsch architecture copied from the 18th century. The future on offer is one in which everything changes, so long as everything stays the same. We'll have Google Glass, but still also business casual. This timidity is our path to the future? No, this is incredibly conservative, and there is no reason to think that more Gigaflops will inoculate us. Because, if a problem is in fact endemic to a system, then the exponential effects of Moore's Law also serve to amplify what's broken. It is more computation along the wrong curve, and I don't think this is necessarily a triumph of reason. Part of my work explores deep technocultural shifts, from post–humanism to the post–anthropocene, but TED's version has too much faith in technology, and not nearly enough commitment to technology. It is placebo technoradicalism, toying with risk so as to re–affirm the comfortable. So our machines get smarter and we get stupider. But it doesn't have to be like that. Both can be much more intelligent. Another futurism is possible."

(Benjamin Bratton, 20 December 2013)

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TAGS

2013 • American Idol (reality television) • astrophysics • Benjamin Bratton • bright futures • business casual • California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology • call to actioncommunicate to the massescomplex issuescomplexitycultural changecultural transformation • design and geopoltics • egalitarian utopia • epiphany • epiphimony • frightening problems • Google Glass • information technology • infotainment • insight and realisation • intellectual viability • kitsch architecture • Kony2012meaningful ideas • middlebrow megachurch infotainment • moment of wonder • oversimplificationpersonal journeypersonal revelationpersonal story • personal testimony • placebo innovation • placebo medicine • placebo politics • placebo science • placebo technoradicalism • popularisation • re-affirm the comfortable • reductionism • rhetorical device • San Diego • smart people • smart things • swallowed without chewing • technological determinismtechnology and culturetechnology innovationTED Talks • toying with risk • triumphs and tribulations • University of California • vicarious insight • world-changing ideas

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 MARCH 2013

Radical Pedagogies in Architectural Education

"Pedagogical experiments played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the 20th century. In fact, the key hypothesis of our Radical Pedagogy[1] research project is that these experiments can be understood as radical architectural practices in their own right. Radical in the literal meaning from the Latin radice, as something belonging or relating to the root, to its foundations. Radical pedagogies shake foundations, disturbing assumptions rather than reinforcing and disseminating them. This challenge to normative thinking was a major force in the postwar field of architecture, and has surprisingly been neglected in recent years. ...

Architectural pedagogy has become stale. Schools spin old wheels as if something is happening but so little is going on. Students wait for a sense of activist engagement with a rapidly evolving world but graduate before it happens. The fact that they wait for instruction is already the problem. Teachers likewise worry too much about their place in the institutional hierarchies. Curricular structures have hardly changed in recent decades, despite the major transformations that have taken place with the growth of globalisation, new technologies, and information culture. As schools appear to increasingly favour professionalisation, they seem to drown in self–imposed bureaucratic oversight, suffocating any possibility for the emergence of experimental practices and failures. There are a few attempts to wake things up here and there but it's all so timid in the end. There is no real innovation.

In response to the timidity of schools today, the Radical Pedagogy project returns to the educational experiments of the 1960s and '70s to remind us what can happen when pedagogy takes on risks. It's a provocation and a call to arms."

(Beatriz Colomina with Esther Choi, Ignacio Gonzalez Galan and Anna–Maria Meister, 28 September 2012, The Architectural Review)

1). Radical Pedagogy is an ongoing multi–year collaborative research project by a team of PhD candidates in the School of Architecture at Princeton University, led by Beatriz Colomina and involving seminars, interviews and guest lectures by protagonists and scholars. The project explores a remarkable set of pedagogical experiments of the 1960s and '70s that revolutionised thinking in the discipline. Each student is working on one of these experiments and collectively mapping the interconnections and effects of these experiments towards a major publication and exhibition.

Fig.1 Tournaments in the Course 'Culture of the Body', at the Valparaíso School, 1975. Courtesy of Archivo Histórico Jose Vial, Escuela Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

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TAGS

1960s1970s20th centuryacademic disciplinesactivism • Alberto Perez-Gomez • Alexander Girard • Alexis Josic • alternative visions • Anna-Maria Meister • architectural discourse • architectural educationarchitectural pedagogyarchitectural practice • architectural radicalism • architecturearchitecture schoolsartificial intelligence • autochthonous tools • Beatriz Colomina • brave new worldBuckminster Fullerbureaucratic reduction • bureaucratic structures • call to armscapitalist structures • Cedric Price • challenging conventionsCharles Eamescold war • collective defiance • conceptual speculation • consumable plastics • conventional logicconventionalityconventions • cultural milieu • cultural transformation • curricular structures • curriculum innovation • cybernetics • Dalibor Vesely • Daniel Libeskind • David Leatherbarrow • decentralised university • Denise Scott Brown • design disciplinedesign educationdesign formalismdesign fundamentalism • disciplinary assumptions • disciplinary limits • disciplinary protocols • disciplinary self-reflexivity • emerging practices • Emilio Ambasz • Esther Choi • experimental pedagogy • experimental practices • experimental teachinggeopolitical landscape • George Candilis • George Nelson • Germano Celant • Giancarlo De Carlo • Gillo Dorfles • globalisationGyorgy KepesHannah Arendthegelian dialecticHenri Lefebvrehermeneutics • Ignacio Gonzalez Galan • information culture • institutional authority • institutional critique • institutional hierarchies • institutionalisation • instrumentality • Jean Baudrillard • Joseph Rykwert • linguisticsman machine • mass produced desire • mass productionmodernist tradition • Mohsen Mostafavi • new social ordernew technologiesNicholas Negroponte • non-architecture • non-school • Octavio Paz • pedagogical experiments • pedagogical institutions • pedagogy • pedagogy experiments • phenomenology • post-technological society • professionalisation • progressive pedagogical initiatives • provocationquestioning traditions • radical architectural pedagogies • radical architectural pedagogy • radical architectural practices • radical pedagogical experiments • radical pedagogies • radical pedagogy • radical practice • radical practices • radical strategies • radical upheaval • radicality • radice • rapidly evolving world • Ray Eamesreconceptualisationredesigningreinterpretationresearch project • retreat into formalism • return to order • Robin Evans • science fictionself-reflexivity • Shadrach Woods • socio-political • socio-political efficacy • spaceships • speculative interventionsspeculative proposalssubversive actions • Suzanne Keller • taking risks • techno-utopia • technological • technological advancestechnological determinism • Texas Rangers • The Architectural Review • transformational engagementUmberto Ecoutopian perspectiveutopian technological prophecyVietnam war

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 OCTOBER 2012

Ars Electronica Festival: New Concepts for a New World

"THE BIG PICTURE is the theme of the [August 30 to September 3] 2012 Ars Electronica Festival ... Occupying the focal point is the effort to identify all–encompassing images that capture the world that's coming to be, Big Pictures that do justice to the progressive globalization and interrelatedness of our world, ones that capture its contradictions and flaws as well as ways in which people are coming together. By showcasing inspiring best–practice examples from art and science, this year's festival is a call for a new, open–minded way of considering the development of a viable vision of our future – how such a Big Picture ought to be composed and how it might become reality."

(Ars Electronica Festival, 2012)

Fig.1 work of Seiko Mikami "Desire of Codes"

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TAGS

2012Ars ElectronicaArs Electronica Festivalart and sciencebecoming • best practice examples • big picturesbrave new world • coming to be • coming togethercontradiction and changecultural transformationgenius of the individualglobal crisis • global political stage • global vision • global warmingglobalisationglobalised world • hesitation • humankind • interrelatedness • isolationism • it will be OK • junk heap • media art • media art festival • natural sciences • necessary changes • networked world • new epoch • open-minded • our future • overspecialised nerd • progressive globalisation • reflexive modernisation • scientific expert • scientific insightssocial changesocial networks • team player • The Big Picture • the futurethresholdturbulenceuncertain environmentsuncertainty • universal genius • visions of the futureworld politics • world religions

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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