Field Notes from the Technospace

PhD STAGES:

Postdoc

EVALUATION STAGES:

Presentation / discussion and Selection

MATERIALS:

Abstract, Full paper / artefact, and Poster

DISCIPLINES:

Architecture
Corneel Cannaerts
Michiel Helbig

Files: abstract (Cannaerts and Helbig), poster (Cannaerts and Helbig), full paper (Cannaerts)

Fragments from proceedings (‘paper submission’)’:

Abstract. 

The environments in which we operate as architects are increasingly saturated with digital technologies: internet-of-things, global communication and transportation technologies, mobile devices, increased satellite coverage, location-based services, ubiquitous computing… The post-doctoral research project under the title architecture, agency and the technosphere, investigates architecture’s relation with this technologically saturated environment. The three year project coincides with setting up the Field Station academic design office (ADO) at the KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture. The aim of the paper is to reflect on the ongoing and completed projects and to establish a number of frameworks for the research agenda of the post-doctoral research project and the ADO, and attempt at developing a model for understanding the technosphere. The discussion will address open questions regarding research, teaching and practice of the Fieldstation ADO.

Keywords. 

Architecture, agency, technology, technosphere

/…/

DISCUSSION: UNPACKING TECHNOLOGICAL AGENCY

Fieldstation Studio’s ventures into the technosphere demonstrate that technology is increasingly influencing our environment. Digital technology is obviously human made and for the most part intentionally designed, its agency first and foremost lies with the people, corporations and governments developing and employing these technologies. However, the consequences of the large scale adoption of digital technologies, their impact on the environment, the cultural phenomena they give rise to are largely unforeseen. As such we can ascribe spatial agency to the technology itself, to the accidental emerging megastructure of the technosphere.

The work of this paper is based on is diverse in scope, this paper draws some cross sections through the work looking for come themes and strategies as part of the work in progress of unpacking the spatial agency of digital technologies. Each of the frameworks proposed here – the fertile middle ground to be found when thinking beyond dichotomies; the tentative model of interaction between vertical spheres and stacks, horizontal territories and shifting borders; the novel ways of seeing and mapping technology provides and resulting visual cultures – would benefit from being developed more, both in theoretical framing and in produced work. This paper reports on a research project in progress and hopefully the feedback and discussion will provide fruitful insight for the further development of the research, teaching and practice of the Fieldstation ADO.