"The Politics of Parametricism" conference at LA's Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) from Nov. 15-16 explores the vast complexities of Parametrics, the evolving design paradigm described as becoming the "avant-garde in architecture and design" and "the next 'grand style' of architectural movements." Curated by Matthew Poole and award-winning architect Manuel Shvartzberg, the two-day conference will include debates, panels, and individual presentations from a list of high-profile speakers in architectural practice and theory.
Each event will present in different perspectives the various contexts and issues in parametricism including: historical, technological, social, economic, ethical, and philosophical. The conference also aims to find and highlight the converging points of these critical discourses.
Guest speakers at the conference will be Phil Bernstein (Autodesk), Benjamin Bratton (UCSD), Christina Cogdell (UCD), Teddy Cruz (UCSD), Peggy Deamer (Yale), Andrés Jaque (Office for Political Innovation), Laura Kurgan (Columbia), Neil Leach (USC, Los Angeles), Reinhold Martin (Columbia), and Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects, London).
Keep scrolling to learn more from the official press dossier the curators sent us.
"THE POLITICS OF PARAMETRICISM: DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND THE FUTURE(S) OF SOCIALITY is an international conference to be held at REDCAT, in Downtown Los Angeles, CA, USA on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th of November 2013.
A range of international guest speakers from the industries and academic spheres of architecture and urbanism will explore urgent questions that concern the social and political ramifications of the spreading influence of parametric scripting software as the potential standard industry tool for architecture, urban planning and many other aspects of design.
PARAMETRICISM has recently been heralded as the new avant-garde in the industries of architecture, urban design, industrial design, and digital information modeling: the natural heir to the passing out of favor of Postmodernist and Deconstructionist models."
"An increasing number of architecture projects and industrially manufactured products are now designed and realized using digital software based on parametric or algorithmic scripting platforms. These platforms have the capability to process large quantities of data for the development of complex topological structures and environments, as well as new understandings of space, both real and virtual.
As the stream of new tools and products proliferates, in the apparently infinite expansion of the ‘repertoire’ of design functions Parametricism allegedly affords, critical questions regarding these cultural and technological phenomena are often overtaken by the popular seductive aesthetic and alluring futurism such design tools and products represent. This conference seeks to address this issue, where we see ‘innovation’ overtaking its own ‘interrogation’."
"To date, critiques of the proliferation of parametric design processes have focused on the central issue of a technocratization of social relations intrinsic to the Parametricist design ethos. These critiques principally observe and raise alarm that Parametricist design processes actively quantify bodies, subjects, and the coding of spaces in full acquiescence with the logic of Neoliberal socioeconomics, gesturing towards a collapse of political potential and the destruction of social bonds and forms of dissent by such means.
Such criticisms focus on Parametricism’s apparently seamless coextensive integration of social relations, technological automatization, and Neoliberal governmentality. Here, the political forces that affect social relations are seen as being reduced by Parametricism to purely techno-economic, instrumental imperatives, and hence to the imperatives of the structures of late-stage capitalism that appear to govern such technological innovations."
"This debate, taken up most explicitly in academia and latently by varied social movements, continues to interrogate these issues decrying the closure that Parametricist discourses are enforcing upon a conception of the ‘indeterminacy of the social’. However, the stakeholders in the industries of architecture, industrial manufacturing, software development, and urban design remain broadly aloof from these critical discourses. In practice and in pedagogy those developing the Parametricist ‘repertoire’ largely bypass the debates of critically evaluating the fast-paced development of complex informational systems to forge ahead with the expanding of the technical and formal tools available to the industry."
"The approach that this conference will take is to try to explore the points of convergence of the critical discourses of Parametricism and its practical innovations within its industries. We propose to explore the foundational impulses and methods/mechanisms of such practices and discourses by rethinking sociality as a form of collective technology: i.e. social formations and transformations considered as tacit design processes rather than as natural evolutionary processes."
"Whether as tools for democratic action or tyrannical spectacle; self- and community-building capabilities; a post-humanistic subject; or the mediatized politics of our various futuristic imaginaries – all these themes are figured and being actively assembled within the Parametricist discourse.
Over the course of two days, a range of high profile international speakers from architectural practice and theory will explore these and other questions regarding Parametricism, asking what social, political, ethical, and philosophical issues are at stake in the evolution of this new design paradigm."
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