Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

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Thicket of Ideas
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Date | 20.09.2019 - 21.09.2019
Venue | halfway, Halbgasse 3-5, 1070 Wien

A micro-conference at halfway Vienna. halfway is the laboratory of the research project Curating the Urban. On Spatializing Urban Conditions.


Photo: Wolfgang Thaler


Friday, September 20, 2019, 6 pm
Round Table

with contributions by John Cheney-Lippold, Gabu Heindl, Andreas Spiegl, Eva Maria Stadler
for halfway: Christina Nägele, Heidi Pretterhofer, Christian Teckert

The micro-conference Architectures for the Quantified Self at halfway in Vienna is a discursive platform for discussing current effects of digitized cultures on the urban. As a conclusion of the research project Curating the Urban, the question of how and by which means of (re)presentation within the field of arts-based research practices these effects can be mediated will be publicly discussed.
The debate will explore the type of spaces in which the “quantified subject” acts and its “dividual” constitution is shaped and sometimes created. In a culture increasingly characterized by evaluations, algorithmically generated recommendations, and more and more specific profiling, how can we conceive an architecture configured for these digitally measured subjects?
John Cheney-Lippold’s book We Are Data (2017), which was a crucial point of reference for the research project, portrays the dividual mechanisms of contemporary subjectivity against the background of the omnipresent data collections and profiling concepts of digital global players. We investigate the spatial consequences of a city developed “from the data up”, like Toronto Quayside by Sidewalk Labs (a subsidiary of Google/Alphabet). What ideologies and rules underlie this total rewriting and reprogramming of our cities’ software, which generate—top-down as well as bottom-up—a bundle of networks as it moves toward a new global “accidental megastructure” (Benjamin Bratton)?

Another focus will examine whether the increasingly immaterial protocols, programming, and image politics, which are redefining architectural spaces, call for strategies of visualization and spatialization as a form of criticism, also in order to make complex systems legible.

This raises the question: Can a reflexive approach toward display issues, as developed especially in the post-conceptual practices of institution-critical art, open the way for an arts-based research practice, which attempts a contemporary rethinking of the Constructivist Laboratories or Otto Neurath’s visualization strategies?

September 21, 2019, 11 am
Brunch Talk

Project presentation: User Environments in the Interface City, Christian Frieß
Video screening: Total Living Industry II, Christian Teckert
Respondent: John Cheney-Lippold

In the presentations two forms of arts-based research practices are put up for discussion in which the mechanisms of an algorithmic culture are examined on the basis of specific patents and places:

In Christian Frieß and Benjamin Gerdes’ folding map titled User Environments in the Interface City a series of patents for the interactive control and efficient flow of subjects forms the starting point for an artistic mapping of smart environments. As a catalog of specific aspects of digital regulations, this map defines a new way of representing the immaterial layers of the city.

In Christian Teckert’s video Total Living Industry II an array of “dividual” spaces are explored along a “drift” through a day in a contemporary metropolis, in which the impact of algorithmic processes unfolds—invisible but ever the more efficient. As a collection of generic architectures of a city transformed by feedbacks, evaluations, and individualized profiles, the video raises the question of the role design can still play as part of a social agenda.

halfway is a site for the spatialization of acute urban phenomena. Here, with the methods of artistic research, a practice of urban curating is realized by translating social contexts into design. halfway is the laboratory of the research project Curating the Urban. On Spatializing Urban Conditions by Christina Nägele, Heidi Pretterhofer, and Christian Teckert with Linda Lackner, which is located at the Institute for Art and Architecture of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and funded by the FWF’s PEEK program.