Fellows SS 2017

Applying Randomnes

My project argues that the abstract machine based on algorithms, needs to be augmented with the analog world. To unfold this argument I pursue research in two main areas: Firstly, I will present an archeology of the technologies used to create randomness. The oldest example of such technology would be a perfect dice, or, in terms of ones and zeros: a coin. But rolling a dice or flipping a coin cannot be considered as usable ‘random number generators’. Not only will I discuss various forms of physical random number generators, but also examine approaches to randomness in current sciences and the arts. Secondly, the project aims at identifying early intersections of simulation and computation. Analog computing machines that allowed for experimental simulation already existed in the 1940s. But how did the conditions for simulation change when analog computers turned digital? And what might the future of computational randomness look like?


World Simulations and the Knowledge of Ecology

My research projects focuses on the interdependence between ecological knowledge, modeling of the world by computer simulations and political decision-making. It takes the influential report “The Limits to Growth”, which was first published in 1972, and its reissues in 1992 and 2004 as a starting point to reflect on changes in data collection, methods of modeling and generating prognoses. This micro-historical study tries to figure out how statistics and cybernetics shape ecological thinking and create future scenarios for political reasons as part of what can be called cultures of simulation.


Against Intelligence

My project, tentatively titled Against Intelligence, takes on the dawn of computing and its smartest communities since 1870, not 1970. An extension of my previous books, this project contends that the long twentieth-century has fundamentally misunderstood computing and subsequently much of the problems besetting the current information age—and that a first step toward addressing those issues lies in our language. Namely, the computer is not like the human brain; I seek to disassociate that empirically mistaken metaphor for processing from computing discourse and its formation in the midcentury politics of the mind (strategic, open, individual, and usually male). 


Design Process

The project focuses on several case studies and pursues an ethnographic approach. Software, media and cultural techniques in computational design are investigated by means of a wide range of materials such as digital files, data, scripts as well as interviews with architects and their staff, educators and their students, and software and plug-in developers. Design practices and notational procedures (such as notes, and sketches and diagrams of scripts) are examined as well in order to clarify the modified relationship between 'old' and 'new' media and cultural techniques in architectural design.