Call for Contributions

Participants are invited to submit an abstract (max 300 words) addressed to one of the three proposed tracks for scholarly, scientific and artistic contributions (please see instructions at the end of the section). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee. Selected participants submit their full articles after the symposium, which further follow a process of peer review, and will feature in a scientific publication to appear during 2019.


1. When Tools become Instruments: Masterful Articulations in Architecture and the Arts

Chair: Michael Doyle, ATTP, TU Wien; Diana Alvarez-Marin, CAAD, ETH Zürich.

There is something about invention in architecture and art that cannot be properly willed, cannot be reduced to a minimum effort for a maximum effect. Almost counter-intuitively, it is through repeated practice that suddenly something that was not possible suddenly becomes so.  Whether it is addressed in education, practice or research, this poses a particular challenge, because it precludes recourse to any single normative and prescriptive design methodology. If future architects and artists are no longer simply to emulate unquestionably the ‘Geniuses’, how can educators, practitioners or researchers work with the technics available today not as tools to be learned, but as instruments with which one cultivates, through repeated practice, a literacy or a mastership? This track seeks contributions looking to address this theme through the following questions:

1.1    While there is a tendency to associate the artisanal with the ‘analogue’ and the technologically fabricated with the ‘digital’, this association obscures the fact that any technique (or technology) always articulates the continuous (technically, the analogue) and the discrete (technically, the digital).   How can we work analogically with the digital and digitally with the analogue in ways that foster inventive articulations that are as crafty as they are computational?  How do we articulate machine intelligence and human intelligence without entirely subjecting one to the other?

1.2      Invention does not necessarily require the computer, nor does it require a radical break with the past or with what is already there. How can forms of externalization (drawings, paintings, texts, etc.), either fabricated with or without the computer benefit from the plenty of data available today?  How can the increasing availability of data be instrumentalized towards a literacy in the modes of construction, fabrication and dwelling?  If such a gesture would be less about analytically identifying the elements or logics of that which has been ‘rendered’ (geometrically, visually, with ‘tools’ in two or three dimensions) than about indexing a milieu of potentiality (the n-dimensional domain of the instruments), how can such a literacy be employed to create the meaningful, the unexpected, the carefully crafted?

2. City, Civility and Post-Political. Models of Freedom and Conflict

Chair: Selena Savic ATTP, TU Wien

City and Civility share the etymological root *kei- also common to civic and civilization, pointing back to the act of “lying” with a secondary sense of “beloved, dear”. We lie our cities with love and reason, we inhabit them, imbue them with lawfulness and order, we struggle in them, redesign and rebuild them, take stances, challenge governments, and meat each other. Contemporary city, with all its faces, is the world we have created, yet we struggle to find room for participation and engagement – how can we articulate inventive models for addressing civility, rather than remaining entrenched in oppositional sovereignties?

Civility relies on an articulation of trust, freedom and conflict. The suggestion with the ‘post-political’ is that it comes at a time of a perceived alienation from politics, and it takes up the debate on the end of history that can be traced back to Hegel. Throughout different articulations of post-history, post-political, and post-democracy, it appears that in some way, we have eradicated the real conflict for the sake of liberal ideology, which in turn has evacuated courage, imagination and idealism. Besides inequality, this has brought about a transformation of politics into a technocratic apparatus of automated counting and ordering.

In this panel, we propose to address the questions of technocracy and post-political with projective models that characterize lawfulness freedom and contradiction constitutive of civility. The rise of urban civic movements worldwide and the active involvement of architects, researchers and artists therein testifies to the importance of this new ground of scientific and artistic engagement. Such requests for a deepened and improved democracy also reach the studio, the atelier and the laboratory, and reunite with the recent rise in architectural and scientific attention to societal issues, as well as with the foregrounding of citizens as co-creators. The panel invites contributors interested in inventing ways to position within these topic that make the city and civility.

2.1. If the resolution of conflict between alternative socio-economic movements lends itself to technocracy, how can we articulate our relationship to technics and to civility in novel, augmenting ways without falling into technocratic traps?

2.2 What kind of persona is the architect-citizen? When we speak of participation and responsibility, particularly that of an architect (planner) that has high stakes in a city space-making and decision-making, we tend to see the citizens on one and the city-makers on opposing sides of spatial involvement. Increasingly, thought, it becomes evident that the separating line does not hold and that we need to theorize new forms of spatial engagement and responsibility.

2.3 How could we (re)articulate lawfulness freedom and contradictions so that we respond more accurately to the conditions of contemporary city?

3. Cognitive and sensory strategies for understanding and shaping our environment, from the room to the territory.

Chair: Darío Negueruela ALICE, EPFL, Julien Lafontaine ALICE, EPFL, Leonardo Impett Max-Planck Institut für Kunstgeschichte

Human capacities to modify our environment largely depend on our engagement with others and with space. Such engagement, in turn, deploys different cognitive and affective strategies that have an influence in the kinds of spaces conceived and constructed. In this respect, active involvement in space and with others can be said to bear consequences for how and what we learn. Gestures, figurations and attitudes perform thus a mise en espace, transcribing social phenomena onto space with the help of specific physical and conceptual supports, or scaffolds, highlighting how space is operational to the reflection on living together (vivre ensemble).  

This track aims at addressing the combined and interdependent role of the physical and space making implications of emotions and the cognitive consequences of spatial conditions in forms of sociality. The consideration of the epistemic capacities of the body in space invites us to move from a more abstract, computational and individualist model of knowing towards a more situated, collaborative and enactive framework. Moreover, if we consider knowledge not to simply be a “cold” understanding, but to invest a crucial bodily dimension, we begin to understand how different modalities of engagement with others and with space give way to the birth of constellations of meaning. This interdependent and non-deterministic stance to space making through physical conceptual, sensory and social scaffolding elicits the following questions:

3.1 If basic spatial figurations and gestures contain and give shape to our world, how can rearrangements of our imaginaries, ideas and emotions give form to novel spaces? What is the unnoticed relevance of everyday physical actions for imagining a different future? How can they perform as foundational acts capable of breaking with spatial and social inertias?

3.2 To what extent or in which manner these proto-spatial gestures, figures and attitudes help us articulate alterity in our increasingly segregated contemporary urban contexts? How do they enact spatial conditions of encounter and avoidance upon which urbanity is based?

3.3 If our experiential and situated perspective reunites our appraisals of diverse scaled phenomena in one continuous thread of embodied experience, where space plays a non-trivial role,; In which ways actively working with such affective and cognitive strategies can provide us with a capacity to address the conception and construction of our cities in a trans-scalar way? And what would be the tools to translate into physical space concepts that are derived from these strategies ?.

Contributions to this track may address the effects of spatial arrangements in the modes of social interaction, compare the effects of the eventful on the formation of cognitive frameworks in contrast to everyday actions and practices, or focus on the consequences of an epistemological approach to space through attention to the sensory, atmospheric experimentation or philosophies of practice. This track particularly welcomes critical reflections on the crossing between epistemology of space and the nature of human agency that emerge from these above-mentioned issues. Moreover, attention to reflective narratives dealing with the bodily dimension in spaces of conflict or cooperation is encouraged.


Please submit your abstract before Sept. 10th  2018 to:

In your submission, please follow the following instructions:

  • name the subject of the email: scaffolds_submission_your name
  • attach a pdf of your abstract with the name:  scaffolds_submission_accronym of your abstract title.


Open Track 1:  When Tools become Instruments: Masterful Articulations in Architecture and the Arts:    Coming soon

Open Track 2:   City, Civility and Post-Political. Models of Freedom and Conflict                

Ayache, Elie. 2010. The Blank Swan: The End of Probability. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: John Wiley & Sons.

Bratton, Benjamin. 2015. The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty. Software Studies. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Bühlmann, Vera. 2018. ‘Architectonic Disposition: Ichnography, Scaenography, Orthography’. In Posthuman Glossary, edited by Rossi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova. London: Bloomsbury.

Carpo, Mario. 2017. The Second Digital Turn: Design beyond Intelligence. Writing Architecture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Easterling, Keller. 2014. Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space. London ; New York: Verso.

Flusser, Vilém. 2013. Post-History. Univocal series. University of Minnesota Press.

Harvey, David. 2011. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Reprinted. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

Mouffe, Chantal. 2005. On the Political. Thinking in Action. London ; New York: Routledge.

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Supiot, Alain. 2017. Governance by Numbers: The Making of a Legal Model of Allegiance. Hart Studies in Comparative Public Law. Oxford ; Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Open Track 3: Cognitive and sensory strategies for understanding and shaping our environment, from the room to the territory.

Amphoux, P. (2002). De l’analyse des ambiances à la conception architecturale ou urbaine, 15.

Barthes, R. (2013). How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces. Columbia University Press.

Clark, A. (1997). Being there: putting brain, body, and world together again. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

De Boever, A., Murray, A., Roffe, J., & Woodward, A. (Eds.). (2012). Gilbert Simondon: being and technology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Hillier, B. (1996). Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture. Cambridge University Press.

Koch, D. (2015). …and avoidance. In Proceedings  of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium (pp. 22:1-22:12).Krueger, J. (2011). Extended cognition and the space of social interaction. Consciousness and Cognition, 20(3), 643–657.

Simmel, G. (1950). The Metropolis and Mental Life. In D. W. from K. Wolff (Trans.), The Sociology of Georg Simmel (Originally published in 1903, pp. 409–424). New York: Free Press.

Simondon, G. (1992). The Genesis of the Individual. In J. Crary & S. Kwinter (Eds.), Incorporations (First Soft Cover Edition edition, pp. 297–319). New York, NY: Zone Books.

Sterelny, K. (2010). Minds: extended or scaffolded? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 9(4), 465–481.