WORKiNG MODELS FORUM
MAY 8th-10th, 2014 · McGILL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
FACILITY FOR ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH IN MEDIA AND MEDIATION
Call for submissions
The Working Models Forum is accepting presentation proposals relevant to the overall conference theme or one of the three thematic sessions to be held on May 9 and 10, 2014. Prospective participants are asked to submit a proposal (500 word max) for a 20-minute presentation and CV by March 28, 2014.
The sessions are: 1) Redefining Technics, 2) Mobilizing Models and 3) Design Intelligence and Prototyping.
Each session will include 3-5 presentations and conclude with a moderated roundtable discussion and question period. Please specify which seminar you wish to participate in and how your presentation will address the questions and issues of the specified session as detailed below. Submissions from students, academics and professionals in all fields of work and study are welcome.
Please submit your proposal and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 28, 2014.
Session 1: Redefining Technics
The aim of the first session is to revisit the theorization of technics as it relates to contemporary practices of architecture. This topic is gaining relevance with the emergence of new potential modes of making influenced by technological change as well as a resurgent interest in the theory of technics in philosophy and cultural studies provoked by the same change. This session will explore conceptual frameworks relevant to the contemporary landscape of making by visiting, at times re-visiting, themes such as technical milieus, technical objects, quasi objects, biotechnics and metatechnics, to name but a few. This session will place various notions of contemporary technics relative to architectural and artistic innovation, buildings as technical objects and the technical regimes in which architecture is inscribed. Technics has long focused on questions of how — how technology operates, how it relates humans to one another — but has rarely focused on questions of why. Why does technics emerge the way it does? To address a contemporary redefinition of technics will require a consideration of why particularly in light of the latent role of energy — from Lewis Mumford to Gilbert Simondon — in the discourse on technics.
- How can technics be differentiated from technology or techniques?
- What is the relationship between technics and culturally specific values that are embedded within and
reciprocally enable invention?
- How does the way in which we build according to certain standards (values) contain a larger ethic
toward each other and the natural world?
- How are the tools, artifacts and systems of representation specific to the design processes, codes, standards, equipment, and economies implicated within the contemporary technical mode of existence?
- Why has technics emerged the way it has, historically or why does technics emerge the way it does and what implications does this have for future practices?
Session 2: Mobilizing Models
The aim of the second session is to inquire into the status of conceptual and operative models, questioning how they structure and enable productive activity. Models have come to a distinctive point where they are not only recognized as abstract frameworks of thought but are being considered as “technics” in their own right. Andrew Murphie considers models that are demonstrative cognitive diagrams which have an analogical capacity. Isabelle Stengers distinguishes between the scientific function, philosophical concept, and artistic idea to draw attention to the dynamic of models relative to their
internal disciplinary means and their external relational context. Today, the predominant operative and epistemological models, namely the biological, parametric, environmental and economic have their own technological and creative milieus with their own economies of production and use. This session aims to investigate the specific strategies and disciplinary circumstances in which these models are enmeshed.
- How and to what extent do particular models mobilize, limit, and order practices with regard to creative activity and the possibility of cultivating new modes of thought and making?
- What are the different senses of a model?
- How are models operative, instrumental, constructivist, emergent, conceptual, topographical, relational, and material relative to the methods of our creative activity?
- What is the relationship between a model’s internal disciplinary means and its external relational context?
- How has the status of various conceptual models changed over time?
- Why do some models recur over time? Why are some models more or less operative than others?
- How will specific models inform or drive our future practices? what are the consequences?
Session 3: Design Intelligence and Prototyping
The aim of the third session is to explore the implications of “design intelligence” as it relates to rapid processes of production. Michael Speaks’ argument related to the usurpation of theory with what he terms “design intelligence” will be taken as a starting point for this this session. The architect’s métier and mode of knowledge production has always been marked by his/her capacity to make artifacts. However, the oft- uttered mantra of thinking through making is fundamentally altered if we consider the role of intelligence-based practices which allow for the potential to freely and playfully rework the primacy of theories and ideas. Forms of knowledge are necessarily recreated immanently as well as technically. In the case of architectural knowledge, it must also be considered as a participatory mode of ethical engagement. As such, the status of process work, speed, and the notions of “failing fast”, play, and intersubjectivity are primary issues within the technological action of design intelligence and prototyping.
- How can the relationship between thinking and making within the discipline of architecture be understood as a unique mode of research-creation in terms of process and outcome?
- What is “design intelligence” in a “post-theoretical” era and what is its relationship to prototyping?
- How are notions such as iteration, truth of variation, relationality, difference and repetition considered within the rubric of design thinking and practice?
- How will advances in prototyping inform our future practices?