Today, growing concerns with climate change, energy scarcity, security, and economic collapse have turned the focus of urban planners, investors, and governments towards “infrastructure” as a site of value production and potential salvation from a world consistently defined by catastrophes and “crisis”. From discussions about “disaster capitalism” to the embrace of a world after humans, the idea that some environmental, economic, or security catastrophe has arrived, or will arrive, is almost unquestioned. In response, there has emerged a new paradigm of high technology infrastructure development obsessed with “smart”, “ubiquitous”, “algorithmic”, or “automated” infrastructures. These infrastructures are imagined as resilient, optimal, efficient, and sustainable; solutions to a world that must simultaneously always expand economically while facing seemingly insurmountable resource and security constraints. Design and technology have come to be posited as solutions to a public and political sphere seemingly incapable of dealing with problems at infrastructural and even terran scales.
This conference will engage the rise of ecologies of automation and their impact on human life, habitation, agency, sovereignty, and imagination. We want to ask how the turn to “smart” and automated systems is historically related to changes in governmentality, politics, and economy, while considering the future of “intelligent” and smart design, habitats, economies, and polities.
The panel discussions will be in English and will be moderated by Orit Halpern and Chris Salter (Speculative Life Cluster, Concordia University).
12 – 1 PM Registration
1 – 2:45 PM Energetic Environments
Speakers: Nerea Calvillo
(Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick), Gretchen Bakke
(Assistant Professor of Anthropology at McGill University), Daniel Barber
(Assistant Professor of Architecture at Penn Design)
3:15 – 4:45 PM Smartness-Infrastructure
Speakers: Michael Fisch
(Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences at University of Chicago), Michael Jemtrud
(Associate Professor of Architecture at McGill University)
5 – 6:45 PM Media Ecologies
Speakers: Yuriko Furuhata
(Associate Professor at Department of East Asian Studies & World Cinemas Program at McGill University) and Maya Indira Ganesh
(Director of Applied Research at Tactical Technology Collective Berlin)
7 – 8 PM Reception
Presented by the Goethe-Institut Montreal
in collaboration with Speculative Life Cluster
(Concordia University), and hosted by the Canadian Centre for Architecture