Maybe it was the memory of the mirror, appearing as a fluid image in one of the books that I once read, which led me to this forgotten place. The unity of one single person was depicted in the mirror as a symphony composed of present and past and thus as well of future personae; a symphony of life, which would never repeat itself and in which every chord would appear as a possibility for the myriad pluralities accruing from it -- an almost impossible thought in this millennium, in which humanity is about to achieve its objective of tracking everything that is uncertain.

Paradoxically, it was this unknown image of the plurality of reflections that revealed the path to this place, which is not drawn on any map.


The rectangular room is painted in bright white. No window or door disturbs the continuity of the walls. However, there must be openings in the ceiling, since natural light enters the room from above, along the walls, as funnel-shaped rays.


I am ONE,
I walk to be ALWAYS the LAST in my sequence,
my memories are operators to my dreams.


says the girl in the virtual garden



The Laboratory for Inhabitable Theories and Research in Architecture | LITRA  was founded by artist/architect Claudia Westermann in 2001. It has since then offered a platform for projects at the threshold of art and architecture some of which have involved interdisciplinary collaborations with other artists, designers, and writers.


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For more information, see the sections Presentations, Exhibited Works and Publications on this website.

#NewMacy Studio in Sympoiesis

6 October 2023

by Claudia Westermann, Ioannis Bardakos, Eryk Salvaggio, Jude Lombardi, and Larry Richards

#NewMacy Studio in Sympoiesis at the Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD12)

Sympoiesis, a term coined by Beth Dempster and further developed by Donna Haraway, works as a conceptual remedy against misappropriations of autopoiesis. Replacing the prefix auto- with syn- emphasizes interdependence. Sympoiesis, one could say, is what the concept of autopoiesis needs to become when the observation moves from the molecular domain to the domain of living beings. Sympoiesis emphasizes the interdependence of living beings and other living beings, environments, things, concepts, and ideas.

As Larry Richards has outlined, the making of something new—the process of poiesis—requires the suspension of synchronicity. In our Studio, asynchronicity will create the necessary condition for engendering the collision of two distinct phenomenal and logical domains—the domain of relations and the domain of dynamics—and affirm sympoiesis as a cybernetic concept. The #NewMacy Studio in Sympoiesis will be an exercise in the suspension of clock time.

KEYWORDS: second-order cybernetics, sympoiesis, autopoiesis, anticommunication, asynchronicity


Sympoiesis Workshop, RSD12, 6 October 2023



Appetite for Deconstruction

Michigan State University’s MuSeUm, 1.5° Celsius (the Anthropocene) exhibition

6 September 2022 – 25 February 2023

Eryk Salvaggio, USA (music), Claudia Westermann and Vinny Montag (emotional landscape), Hao Liu (mushroom research)


Interview | Appetite for Deconstruction by Eryk Salvaggio, Claudia Westermann, Vinny Montag, Hao Liu. Interview by Yi Qian and video by Chenxu Zhao of Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.


MSU Museum, 1.5 Celsius exhibition, title image.


A collaborative installation of art, music, and environmental science, the project Appetite for Deconstruction is a multi-media emotional landscape for the ‘1.5° Celsius (the Anthropocene)’ exhibition at the Michigan State University’s MuSeUm. Visitors are immersed within a sonic landscape of old broken radios and discarded audio equipment, impregnated with soil and growing oyster mushrooms. The oyster mushrooms’ electrical signals create an environmental feedback mechanism via electrodes connected to synthesizers facilitating the composition of ‘mushroom music.’ A mushroom-play-kit is in development for a spring 2023 workshop.


Salvaggio, Westermann, Montag, and Liu, Appetite for Deconstruction, installation, 2022.


Eryk Salvaggio, Claudia Westermann, Vinny Montag, and Hao Liu, Appetite for Deconstruction, installation, 2022. Photo by Claudia Westermann.




Cybernetic Musings on Open Form(s): Learning to Float

15 October 2022 at 11:20 AM UK time

Speaking about Seats for Seeing, Chinese landscapes, and technologies for learning to float at RSD11 in session 11 'Radical Shifts in Planetary Health.'

For a theoretical framing, see the Publications section of this website.


Seats for Seeing, 2019. Photos by Chen Fanyun.
Seats for Seeing. Photo by Chen Fanyun.


Seats for Seeing. Photo by Claudia Westermann
Seats for Seeing. Photo by Claudia Westermann.



Playing within Systems for Change (The Art Panel)

6 October 2022, 12 PM London time

A recording of the session is available on youtube.


Playing within Systems for Change (The Art Panel) | 6 October, 12 PM London time




Recent Publications

For more information, see also the Publications section on this website.



The bibtex and ris files of Claudia Westermann's academic publications, including abstracts and links to open versions of many publications, are available for download from the LITRA server: 

Claudia Westermann bibliographic data October 2023

The bibliography files can be imported into reference managers, such as JabRef, Mendeley, Zotero and Endnote.



Editorial: Turning queries into questions: For a plurality of perspectives in the age of AI and other frameworks with limited (mind)sets

by Claudia Westermann and Tanu Gupta

Technoetic Arts, Volume 21, Issue 1, Aug 2023, pp. 3–13 (open access)

The editorial introduces issue 21.1 of Technoetic Arts via a critical reflection on the artificial intelligence hype (AI hype) that emerged in 2022. Tracing the history of the critique of Large Language Models, the editorial underscores that the recent calls for slowing down the development of AI, as promoted by the technology industry, do not signify a shift towards reason and considerate economics. Instead, as these calls are firmly embedded in narratives where the power to decide for the majority of humanity lies solely with the CEOs of AI companies, they are indicative of a relentless pursuit of economic interests. The technology industry has consistently downplayed criticism over the years. While patterns of creative output can be replicated without a thorough understanding of underlying concepts, the editorial highlights the distinction between the current AI technology's reliance on extensive pre-existing human-generated data for pattern recognition and the performative process inherent in art practice. This performative process, as explored through the conceptual frameworks of creativity by Noam Chomsky, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Roger T. Ames and with reference to an earlier publication of the editorial's author, continually 'strives to extend itself towards the unknown.' Following this introductory section, the editorial provides an overview of the ten articles featured in this issue of Technoetic Arts. The first four texts engage with emerging technologies from various perspectives in art and design. The subsequent six articles, part of a special section titled 'Perspectives from Chandigarh,' reflect a quest for meaningful existence within colonial, patriarchal, and biopolitical structures that frame everyday practices of exclusion and oppression.



From Within, or the Domain of Design Practice

by Claudia Westermann

Constructivist Foundations 18 (1): 137-139. 2022. (open access)

Presenting an Open Peer Commentary on “In Maturana’s Wake: The Biology of Cognition’s Legacy and its Prospects” by Randall Whitaker, the article suggests that engaging with Maturana's biology of cognition in the context of design is a form of practice rather than application. Maturana's biology of cognition, the article argues, can be conceived of as initiating an educational process that supports agents to act “from within” rather than “from without.”

Open access. Special Issue <<Humberto Maturana’s Impact on Science and Philosophy: A Plurality of Perspectives>> edited by Alexander Riegler & Pille Bunnell. Target articles by Fritjof Capra, Alexander V. Kravchenko, Nelson Monteiro Vaz, Jorge Mpodozis, and Randall Whitaker.


Constructivist Foundations, 18.1, cover




Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, 19(1/2) Global Conversation special issue, pp. 29–47. Published in 2022, volume year 2021.

You may use the following link to access the article via the EBSCO subscription of your academic library. Choose the Institutional Login below the blue Sign In button. If you do not have access to an academic library, you may obtain a copy of the preprint via the PhilPapers platform or contact the author for a personal copy of the article.


Claudia Westermann, Cybernetics of Grace, article image.

Claudia Westermann, 'On globes, the Earth and the Cybernetics of Grace' (2021); the right page shows clippings from Chaplin's film 'The Great Dictator.'


The article presents an enquiry into conceptions of ‘global’ that began at the American Society for Cybernetics 2020 Global Conversation conference. Following the traces of Margaret Mead’s statement that emphasized that the first photographic images of the Earth from space presented notions of fragility, the article contextualizes the recent critique of the dominant representation of the Earth as a globe that emerged in conjunction with the discourse on the Anthropocene. It analyses the globe as an image and the sentiments that accompanied it since the first photographs of our planet from space were published in 1968. The article outlines how the cultural meaning of the whole Earth representation changed in parallel with the appropriation of the image by the large technological enterprises that emerged from America’s counterculture. It returns to the possibility of a coexistence of ‘views from within’ and ‘views from without’ following a detour with Gregory Bateson via Bali and proposes a Cybernetics of Grace as a practice of resistance against pure exteriority. The article concludes by linking the Cybernetics of Grace with the second-order conversations of Gordon Pask.


The text "Chinese Landscape Aesthetics: the exchange and nurturing of emotions" by Claudia Westermann of LITRA is available online via google books. The PDF of Claudia Westermann's 'The art of conversation: design cybernetics and its ethics' published in Kybernetes is available via researchgate. The article 'Poiesis, ecology and embodied cognition' published in Technoetic Arts a Journal of Speculative Research 18(1) in July 2021 might be available to you via your library's EBSCOhost subscription.

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Ecopoetic Formations for Transgenerational Collaboration

Friday, October 6 - 7:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. EST

Introduction by Claudia Westermann

The question of how architectural design can redefine itself as a sustainable practice, actively contributing to an inclusive and open future, has been a central focus of the lecture-based and studio modules I developed for the architecture programs at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, China. Informed by second-order cybernetics, my pedagogical approach concerns the ecologies and poetics of art and design and emphasizes relational thinking over entitative concepts. This presentation provides a theoretical framework for my cybernetic design pedagogy, drawing primarily on the pedagogical approaches of the artist and cybernetician Roy Ascott and the designer and cybernetician Ranulph Glanville. It then proceeds to introduce the transgenerational collaborations established in response to the RSD12 Pittsburgh hub theme involving four of my former architecture students and four senior members of the American Society for Cybernetics, forming four teams comprising both junior and senior collaborators. These teams are characterized by their transgenerational, transcultural, and transdisciplinary composition. The four junior collaborators contribute their previous studio works and related essays. The four senior ASC collaborators bring expertise in cybernetics, theatre and performance, ecology, media, and organisational design.


The session includes:

#302 Shucen Liu and Larry Richards
Assemblage Reframing the Nearby: Resisting the spectacle through anti-communication


Shucen_FYP_2023_Reframing the Nearby
Shucen Liu, Reframing the Nearby, FYP 2023, XJTLU Architecture, tutored by Claudia Westermann

#304 Puli Li and Pille Bunnell
A More-Than-Human Architecture

Puli Li, A More-than-human Architecture, FYP 2023, XJTLU Architecture, tutored by Claudia Westermann
Puli Li, A More-than-human Architecture, FYP 2023, XJTLU Architecture, tutored by Claudia Westermann

#305 Ruoxi Li and Tom Scholte
Architectural Landscapes of Resistance: Carnivalesque framings of agency

Ruoxi Li, Carnivalesque Framings of Agency, FYP 2023, XJTLU Architecture, tutored by Claudia Westermann


Ruoxi Li, Carnivalesque Framings of Agency, FYP 2023, XJTLU Architecture, tutored by Claudia Westermann
Ruoxi Li, Carnivalesque Framings of Agency, FYP 2023, XJTLU Architecture, tutored by Claudia Westermann

#310 Annan Zuo and Frederick Steier
Expanding the notion of Care in Architecture—Recovering a More-than-human Third Landscape in Kyoto

Listing on the RSD website:




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