Prelude

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

About

 

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.

 


 

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)

 

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 at 11:20 AM UK time

https://rsdsymposium.org/cybernetic-musings-on-open-forms/

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

 

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

https://rsdsymposium.org/arts-panel/

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.

 

ON GLOBES, THE EARTH AND THE CYBERNETICS OF GRACE

Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, 19(1/2) Global Conversation special issue, pp. 29–47. Published in 2022, volume year 2021. https://doi.org/10.1386/tear_00049_1

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 ask the author for a personal copy of the manuscript via ResearchGate.

 

Claudia Westermann, Cybernetics of Grace, article image.
The photo on the article page is the Earth rising over the lunar horizon on 24 December 1968. © NASA

 

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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Teaching

In Dialogue with Nature: Architecture for the Post-Anthropocene

XJTLU, ARC304, FYP Studio 2019-20 | Tutored by Claudia Westermann
Works by Zuo Annan, Shi Xiongzhe, and Yao Yiming

 

Work by Zuo Annan

 

In the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, in one of the most memorable scenes at the beginning of the film, director Stanley Kubrick tells us that the dawn of man occurred with the discovery of tools (Kubrick and Clarke, 1968). Thinking objects as tools, specifically to defend and to attack, marks the beginning of technological invention and the transition from ape to human. The Dawn of Man scene reflects Darwinian theories of evolution. The focus on struggle, competition, and death as part of evolution is in line with the emphasis made by Darwinists. According to Darwinian theories, human beings are necessarily always in a struggle with their environment. We have not lived with nature but against nature. Consequently, the activities of human beings have gradually grown into a significant geological, morphological force. A new era has emerged. It has been named the Anthropocene.

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