Rachel Armstrong / Marnix De Nijs / Frederik De Wilde / Espen Gangvik / Graham Harman / Jae Rhim Lee / Michael Najjar / Simon Park / Jørgen Skatland
Lost in Transition
Lost in transition explores the potency of indeterminate states that open up our engagement with a world that is deeply aesthetically structured and continually in flux. The speakers in this programme attest however, that persistent change and indeterminacy does not mean that anything goes – but instead creates opportunities to explore how order and aesthetics are related so that we may differently shape our reality. In a programme represented by exhibitors and keynote speakers, the impact of transitional states on our aesthetic experiences is explored. Exhibitor Marnix de Nijs observes the technological drivers behind cultural change in his exploded views of structures to create new experiences where societal habits and communication are rethought. Frederik de Wilde proposes to ‘hack the black universe’ in ways where the unknown may tangibly create new encounters. Jorgen Skatland discusses how technology shapes our experiences, and the visual futurist Michael Najaar transmutes science, history and philosophy to reveal the impact of emerging technologies on our social structures. Keynote speakers further challenge our aesthetic sensibilities beyond the traditional realm of the gallery space in which they are usually discussed. Microbiologist Simon Park takes us into the realm of microbial aesthetics by exploring the invisible and Artist Jae Rhim Lee challenges our notions of aesthetic permanence by investigating the processes of death and decomposition. Rachel Armstrong takes an experimental approach towards the production of aesthetics, while writer and philosopher Graham Harman proposes that symbiosis is the site of genuine transition in aesthetic discourse, in the arts and elsewhere.
Curated and moderated by Dr. Rachel Armstrong
10:00 – Rachel Armstrong / Espen Gangvik: Welcome note
10:05 – Marnix De Nijs: Exploded Views
10:30 – Frederik De Wilde: Hacking the universe
10:55 – Jørgen Skatland: Technology as experience
11:20 – Simon Park: Exploring the invisible
12:00 – Michael Najjar: The Telematic Space
12.25 – Lunch
13:15 – Jae Rhim Lee: Body Decompiculture – Somewhere Between Soylent Green and Lenin’s Body
13:55 – Graham Harman: Symbiotic transition
14:35 – Rachel Armstrong: Lost in transition: An (urban) ecology of aesthetics
15:00 – Panel debate and wrap up
16:00 – The End
Rachel Armstrong: Lost in transition: An (urban) ecology of aesthetics
Aesthetic structures are at the heart of our reality and shape our encounters with space. Through their tangible connections with the material realm, the qualities of existence are revealed. I use a simple dynamic droplet system as a way of testing this hypothesis by inviting the material world to directly reveal itself in ways that are not constrained by our preconceptions. The idea that – an ecology of aesthetics participates in the very process of materialization and shapes our experience of the world – is developed through an enduring set of material, cultural and environmental relationships.
Future Venice proposes that the collective actions of droplet assemblages may construct an artificial limestone reef under the city of Venice to spread its point load and attenuate its sinking into the soft delta soils on which it was founded. Alternatively, smart chemistries may be ecologically orchestrated to produce active ‘organs’ that fix carbon dioxide and change colour in its presence as a primitive sensory system, such as in the Hylozoic Ground cybernetic installation, a collaboration with Philip Beesley.
By directly engaging the material realm in constructing an ecology of aesthetic relationships, a method is proposed through which rich new fabrics may be midwifed into existence across a range of different media and extended into spaces, such as urban environments. Such aesthetic ecologies enable designed structures to retain their meaning, relevance to social codes and connection with cultural practices, while simultaneously embracing a wider context of constant change. Yet aesthetic ecologies are not simply attitudes, or ephemeral states of existence – but can be directly experienced in everyday terms as recognisable patterns, community customs, and individual desires, which may have enduring and transformational effects that underpin the evolution of our cities.
Figure – Micrograph series of Bütschli droplets seen at x 4 magnification at 2 second intervals. Photography by Rachel Armstrong.
Rachel Armstrong is a Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction, University of Greenwich, London. 2010 Senior TED Fellow, and Visiting Research Assistant at the Center for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics and Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark. Rachel is a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture,’ that suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She collaboratively works across disciplines to build and develop prototypes that embody her approach.
Rachel Armstrong, sustainability innovator, Senior TED Fellow, Co-Director of AVATAR group, Senior Lecturer Research & Enterprise, Department of Architecture & Landscape, University of Greenwich, England.
Marnix De Nijs: Exploded views
Exploded Views is an imaginary virtual city built from 3D models that are reconstructed out of collective photo collections like Flickr.
Literally, this virtual city is formed from a collective representation based on the photographs of those who initially captured the memory. The resulting installation is not an objective representation of the world but an intersubjective verification where collective memories resonate.
During his presentation Marnix de Nijs will talk about his idea behind the installation, his collaboration with TU Darmstadt and his interest in new 3D aesthetics.