26.11. Algorithmic Controversies (AA, London) (online)

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Algorithmic Controversies. Dialogues towards an unveiling of architectural agency

PhD Symposium
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Friday, 26 November 2021

09:30 – Introduction
Pier Vittorio Aureli
Aylin Tarlan

Biopolitic of data
Introduction by Claudia Nitschze
10:00 - Georg Vrachliotis
10:40 - George Jepson
11:20 - Aylin Tarlan
Round Table

13:00 - Lunch break

Technologies of production
Introduction by George Jepson
14:00 - Mollie Claypool & Gilles Retsin
14:50 - Alessandro Bava
Round Table

16:00 - Coffee break

Digital infrastructures
Introduction by Mathilde Redouté
16:15 - Felix Stalder
17:20 - Evgeny Morozov
Round Table

Governmentality, an expression originally formulated by the 20th-century French philosopher Michel Foucault, combines the terms ‘government” and “rationality”. Government in this sense refers to an activity meant to shape, guide, or affect the conduct of people. In architecture, its early practical application can already be found in Ildefons Cerdà’s 1860 proposal for the redevelopment of Barcelona, a work grounded in an in-depth socio-statistical study transforming population in numbers. Here the possibility emerges to define a given social reality as a calculable, measurable object, thus transforming the paradigm of town-planning into a series of mathematical actions, no longer based on ‘natural’ life but on numbers, measurements, and calculated predictions.

The contemporary extrapolation of this new digital truth regime reframes the concept of sovereignty through the implementation of Big Data, evaluating and reproducing life through algorithmic uses of statistics through a – supposedly – objective point of view. These techniques of data collection and application – finding their roots in the Enlightenment conception of the human subject as a rational, calculable entity – have often been maligned by post-war theorists as oppressive, controlling, even carceral. Algorithmic Controversies seeks instead to frame a series of panels that attempt to forge critical perspectives that can allow for the emancipatory potentials of data collection and algorithmic governance to emerge in an
opposition to these malcontents.