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What is Cosmopolitical Design?

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What is Cosmopolitical Design? is organized by Albena Yaneva, Visiting Professor in the Princeton University School of Architecture. This event is cosponsored by the Department of Art and Archeology, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Department of English, the Program in Latin American Studies and the Program in European Cultural Studies.

PARTICIPANTS: Peter Galison, Manuel deLanda, Andrew Barry, Anthony Vidler, Dominique Boullier, Sophie Houdart, Graham Burnett, David Benjamin, Natalie Jeremijenko, Liam Young

This symposium is concerned with the notion of Cosmopolitics and its impact on design practices. If we follow Isabelle Stengers in stating that politics not attached to a cosmos is moot, and that a cosmos detached from politics is irrelevant, how should we understand design practices and their relation to a material and living world? Ecology of practice is a politically sensitive concept to capture and understand contemporary scientifi c, design, artistic and urban planning practices. Ecology is an alternative to modernization: a new way to handle all the objects of human and non-human collective life.

The symposium aims at proposing new ways of addressing designers to what they do. We set the questions: How can design practice be read “from within” – first, as a dynamic way of incorporating as constitutive dimensions the criteria and modes of judgment of a collective practice; second, in the ecology of relationships among disciplines, in their controversies through which the scope, rights, and obligations of a practice are discussed and challenged? How can we foster designers’ own force and make present what causes designers to think, feel, and act? Who is, or will be, aff ected by the design and how? How is the agency of other species and objects taken into account? What is the role of designers in re-architecturing the cosmos?

Videos available below and at this link: https://vimeo.com/channels/cosmopolitical


10:30 a.m. - Opening: Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Albena Yaneva

10:45–12.30 a.m. - Session 1:  Chair Albena Yaneva
Manuel Delanda, Princeton, “Stengers and Prigogine: the Design of Materials and Structures Away from Equilibrium”
Sophie Houdart, CNRS/ LESC, “Low Resolution for a High (Tech) Cosmogram. Or how to handle the Large Hadrons Collider”
D. Graham Burnett, Princeton, “The Amphibious Laboratory: Think Tanks for a Cetacean Nation”

1.30–3.15 p.m. - Session 2: Chair Beatriz Colomina
Andrew Barry, Oxford University, “Between Politics and Cosmopolitics: the design of informed materials"
Dominique Boullier, Science-Po, Paris, “Cosmopolitics: from cosmos to urban life”
Anthony Vidler, The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, Cooper Union, "Modes of Existence: 'Nature' [Diderot to Latour]"

3.45–5.30 p.m. - Session 3: Chair Alejandro Zaera-Polo
Natalie Jeremijenko, xDesign & NYU, “A Review of Public Experiments in Structuring Cosmopolitical Participation”
David Benjamin, The Living & Columbia University, “Bio Computation”
Liam Young, Tomorrows Thoughts Today, "Landscapes of Unnatural History"

5.30–6.15 p.m. - Reception

6.15–7 p.m. - Lecture: Peter Galison, Harvard University, “Nuclear Waste, Memory, and Land”
Introduction: Alejandro Zaera-Polo