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.


 

Symphony of the Everyday – Sunset Sonata

日常空间交响曲 –– 日落奏鸣曲

Yiping Dong, Lei Feng, Claudia Westermann
 
2024 滇池风土艺术季; 家园与未来 | 2024 Dianchi Art Season: “Home and Future”, 07 April – 31 May 2024.
 
Image
Sunset Sonata website screenshot
 
 
You will find more informattion and a video on the website https://sunset-sonata.com.
 
If you are near Kunming, go see it before the end of May.
 
Screenshot photo by Lei Feng.
 
Inserted into the entrance to a small courtyard inhabited by four families in Haiyan village, Kunming, China, "Symphony of the Everyday – Sunset Sonata” employs subtle interventions in the form of light, sound and kinetic objects to reveal the aesthetic dimension of everyday objects and materials. Technology is often seen to be in competition with heritage and tradition – often threatening it to the point of elimination for a new smarter world. "Symphony of the Everyday – Sunset Sonata“ however, suggests that the relationship between heritage and technology can be different. The installation uses interactive, smart technology to highlight the value of tradition and heritage through aesthetic experience. "Symphony of the Everyday – Sunset Sonata“ reveals the role of architecture as a means of constructing an enriched life and the hidden presence of the objects and materials that make up a village household‘s everyday. Activated by the movement of the visitors, playing in the presence of the sun, sounds and kinetic objects engage in a new conversation on technology and heritage.

 


 

living cybernetics | playing language

the 60th anniversary meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics. Washington, DC, June 15-19, 2024.

 

ASC 60th anniversary title image

 

living cybernetics | playing language - the 60th anniversary meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics will take place in June 2024. In homage to past experiments in conversational framings of ASC meetings, the ASC’s 60th anniversary meeting will engage in situational enactments of cybernetics at a variety of locations in Washington, DC, ranging from an arts center to the zoo. 


We look forward to your proposals addressing the three entangled thematic strands languaging in/for action, archiving archiving and reimagining technicity.

For further info see the conference website: https://asc-cybernetics.org/2024/

 


 

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

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.'

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.

 

 

Recent Publications

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

 

Bibliography

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 December 2023

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

 


 

Virtual reality and electroencephalography in architectural design: A systematic review of empirical studies

by Fatemeh Taherysayah, Christina Malathouni, Hai-Ning Liang, Claudia Westermann

Until March 26, 2024 – 50 days free access via this link: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1iYEh8MyS9AJi5

 

Taherysayah_Malathouni_Liang_Westermann_2024_Virtual Reality and Electroencephalography in Architectural Design_screenshot

 

Integrating human needs and desires into the design process has long been a crucial aim of design research. Despite advancements, architectural design still often overlooks the diverse dimensions of human experiences. In this context, the recent development of affordable and mobile brain-imaging devices using electroencephalography (EEG) presents an opportunity for a new approach to human-centered architectural design, especially in combination with virtual reality (VR). Despite existing EEG/VR studies in architecture, a comprehensive review of the methods used to translate EEG data into architectural design is lacking. To address this gap, this article presents a systematic review of empirical studies that use EEG in VR and investigate the impact of designed environments on users. Searches in the databases of Scopus, Web of Science and Science Direct resulted in nineteen articles utilizing both EEG and VR and focusing on an architectural perspective. The data analysis was performed qualitatively and is presented in summary-of-findings tables. The results indicate that in all reviewed studies, the framing environments affect specific brain regions and support different physiological, psychological, and cognitive functions. However, reliable conclusions about the impact spectrum of specific environmental features and associated event-related dynamics require further studies. Several gaps and challenges were identified. These include the need to develop comprehensive strategies for synthesizing data from a variety of sources, considering the distinct effects of familiar and new environments, and addressing limitations posed by sample sizes and demographic diversity. Additionally, long-term studies and investigations of the environmental impact on groups remain areas for future research.

 


Situating Krippendorff's Critical Cybernetics

by Claudia Westermann

Constructivist Foundations 19 (1): 109-111, 2023. (open access)

This Open Peer Commentary on “A Critical Cybernetics” by Klaus Krippendorff outlines that enacting alternative not-yet existing realities goes beyond discourse and can be considered design practice. A Critical Cybernetics for enacting alternative not-yet existing realities, such as Krippendorff proposed, would benefit from associating itself with the expertise in the technicity of society that has been central to cybernetics since its inception.

 

Constructivist Foundations, 19.1, cover

 


 

 

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.

 


 

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 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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Pedagogy

 

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: https://rsdsymposium.org/cybernetics-papers-2

 

 

 

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