Prof. Dr. Christina Vagt

Christina Vagt is visiting professor for the History of Culture and Knowledge at the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft at Humboldt-University in Berlin. She also teaches history and theory of culture and media at the Department of Literature at Technische Universität Berlin. Christina received her Ph.D. from Bauhaus University in Weimar for a dissertation on the relation between technical media and modern physics in the late philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In 2013/2014 she was visiting professor for Media History and Media Theory at Bauhaus University, Weimar, and in 2012 she was a Visiting Fellow and Fulbright scholar at the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the history and philosophy of media and materiality in science, culture and techniques. Publications: Geschickte Sprünge. Physik und Medium bei Martin Heidegger, Berlin 2012 (diaphanes); Ed.: Henri Bergson, Dauer und Gleichzeitigkeit. Über Einsteins Relativitätstheorie, transl. by Andris Breitling, Hamburg 2015; Together with Florian Sprenger (Ed.): The Afterlife of Systems, Communication+1, No. 3, 2014, Amherst, Mass.



Global Design. Buckminster Fuller, John McHale and the World Resource Simulation Center

The project investigates the micro history of the World Resource Simulation Center that was designed between 1964 and 1972 at the Southern University of Illinois in Carbondale, and contextualizes it in reference to macro historical perspectives, such as emerging computer technologies, cybernetic discourses, Cold War politics, future planning, the aesthetics of media architecture, and educational programs.  

The design of the WRSC focused upon data processing and interpretation of future trends, but its aim was for global impact – the goal was a global design program to cure the most pressing problems of the planet, supposed to produce the necessary knowledge for an ecological redesign and eventually ending the Cold War, combining statistics, digital data processing and simulations. While McHale developed statistics, charts and graphics for the presentation of global resources and relations, Buckminster Fuller’s promoted his synergetic aesthetics and a global design of communication networks and game environments. Within the WRSC, the design of interfaces, data management systems, and game environments was not a mere detail or by-product of this early civilian big data project, but rather its conceptual core. 

Although the WRSC was never realized, its history might help us to understand the interactions of aesthetics, media and technology design, ecology and Cold War politics, contributing to a larger historical epistemology of computer simulations as design practice for global systems.