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Casino Luxembourg

Conférence

Pier Sculpture (Detail), Architect J. Mayer H., Lazika, Georgia, 2012 | Video still courtesy Keto Logua.

24.11.2016 à 19:00 Extra Muros

Algorithmic Space and Its Social Implications

Conference at Luca, Luxembourg Center for Architecture.

Speakers:
Luciana Parisi (Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD programme at the Centre for Cultural Studies, and co-director of the Digital Culture Unit, Goldsmiths University of London)

and

Soenke Zehle (Lecturer in Media Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts Saar, co-initiator and current managing director of the academy's xm:lab - Experimental Media Lab and of K8 Institut für strategische Aesthetik gGmbH, the academy's non-profit company for transfer and training activities)

Annick Leick (Doctor in Geography/University of Luxembourg, M.Sc. in Metropolitan Studies/FU Berlin and architect/ISACF-La Cambre)

The conference will be moderated by Nikos Katsikis (architect and urbanist, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Luxembourg, Doctor of Design Harvard Graduate School of Design).

Free entrance.

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In the context of the artist residencies' programme, Tekla Aslanishvili (*1988 in Tbilisi, Georgia, lives and works in Berlin), has been invited in 2014 by Casino Luxembourg, to develop an artistic project in public space for 2015. Her project Transparent Cities however, supposed to be realised in an abandoned house in the rue de la vallée in Luxembourg-city, had to be finally abandoned due to the rather surprising withdrawal of the house owner, at the very end of a one-year negotiation marathon. Due to schedule and time reasons, Tekla Aslanishvili will not do another project in public space for Casino Luxembourg, but will concentrate on giving a visibility to her research in the Luxembourg context. In collaboration with Luca, she invites to a conference that will thematize issues that she hoped to touch upon in her project Transparent Cities. A catalogue will also be published and is due to come out in Spring 2017. 

This conference at Luca will invite architects and urbanists to trace the moments in history when the tools for generalization and abstraction of space were invented. It aims to grasp the connections between current architectural and engineering practice, contemporary modes of labour and financial capitalism and tries to elaborate the consequences of this complex processes for modern society.

We constantly find ourselves on glittering urban islands that are infrastructured like workstations. Basic features include sterile and glossy design, as well as an absence of history or context. Housing and unorganised leisure is quarantined on the peripheries of cityscapes. To be short, these places resemble poor imitations of architectural renderings.

The emergence of such islands is a global process fuelled by the financial sector. They are not only built in North American or Western European cities, but also in developing countries desperately in need of economic investment.

Many researchers argue that these cities are neither planned by architects and urban planners, nor do they have the potential to be transformed by local neighbourhoods. The state also avoids controlling these urban processes, instead only managing the basic infrastructure of public space e.g. traffic lights, security, transportation. This type of city is not a product of architectural practice but of decentralised algorithms, planned and regulated by global financial system.

American architect and urbanist Keller Easterling writes about spatial products e.g. resorts, IT campuses, retail chains, golf courses, located on such islands:

Different from deliberately authored building envelope, spatial products substitute spin, logistics, and management styles for considerations of location, geometry, or enclosure. The architect and salesmen of such things as golf resorts or container ports is a new orgman. He designs the software for new games of spatial production to be played the same way whether in Texas or Taiwan.(1)

Consequently, contemporary urban space is no longer designed as a platform for social exchange between inhabitants, but to support the functionality of a workforce. This role is now absorbed by corporations, which create their own landscapes and arrange opportunities for interaction between employees. The playgrounds where kids used to play are now shifting into the headquarters of Google and Facebook, serving as accelerators for productivity and engagement. This transformation introduced into urbanism on a global scale is intertwined with changing modes of labour. With the developement of digital technologies, large part of the workforce has become highly mobile and flexible. Time and space for work is absolute, and no longer concrete or location specific.

Tekla Aslanishvili

(1) Keller Easterling, Enduring Innoncence - Global Architecture and Its Political Masquerades, Spatial Products, 2I3, Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press, 2005.

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images

Pier Sculpture (Detail), Architect J. Mayer H., Lazika, Georgia, 2012 | Video still courtesy Keto Logua.