November 26th – 27th 2014 | Wirtschaft Neumarkt – Cabaret Voltaire | Zurich

The open seminar is co-curated by Vera Bühlmann (ETH Zurich) and Erin K Stapleton (Kingston University, London). It is a laboratory for applied virtuality event, organized by the Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH. The event will take place at Wirtschaft Neumarkt and Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, on November 26th – 27th 2014. There will be papers delivered by invited speakers, and each will be 30 minutes long, with a 30 minutes discussion to follow.

Wednesday November 26th at Wirtschaft Neumarkt
Thursday November 27th at Cabaret Voltaire


In this seminar, we focus on the role of speculation in theory and philosophy in a historical manner, yet with clear inclinations to our contemporary present and the currently exploding interest in speculative methods in academic practice and research contexts. In order to expand our positions beyond strictly pragmatist considerations, we locate the role of speculation between two schematically accentuated poles: the first approaches the role of speculation in the (arguably inevitable) dogmatisms of anthropological cosmopolitics, operating within domains of sufficient reason; while the second approaches the role of speculation within a rational cosmology, where it (arguably inevitably) is prone to engender what Kant terms “the antinomies” of pure reason, and which he sees as inherent to all systematic approaches to the cosmos.

We will align these positions in a matrixical manner with vectors of (contemporary) characterizations of the sun written by such thinkers such as Henri Poincaré, Georges Bataille, Jean-François Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Serres. Based on these characterizations we will attempt to profile different understandings of economy. Two fields will serve as ‚case-situations‘ for thinking about the ‚energetic-material‘ role of the sun: (1) Artificial Photosynthesis and its consequences for how we can think about food and energy, and (2) ‚metabolizing‘ algorithms such as Google’s PageRank which introduce circuitous units for measuring the relevancy of data in a quasi-climatic sense, and the peculiar economy of data’s value the emergence of which we are presently witnessing – as an economy that is being addressed within the registers of ‚biopolitics‘ and/or ‚cognitive capitalism‘.

ETH Zurich | Faculty of Architecture | Institute of Technology in Architecture | Computer Aided Architectural Design CAAD