[ISEA2011] Panel: Mar­cos Novak – “Πασαί Τέχναι βροτοίσιν εκ Προμηθέως”: Prometheus and Epimetheus: Fields of Fore­sight and Hind­sight in World­mak­ing

Panel Statement

Panel: The Volatility and Stability of WorldMaking as Techné

The con­cept of Techné has been in­ter­twined with world­mak­ing from an­tiq­uity to the pre­sent. The na­ture of this re­la­tion­ship has not been con­stant, how­ever. Run­ning through from Or­pheus, Hes­iod, Aeschy­lus, Aris­to­tle, and Zeno the Stoic, among oth­ers, these con­cepts were per­sis­tent el­e­ments of a com­plex but highly co­her­ent world­view. Within this out­look, techné sig­ni­fied not only the tech­niques of mak­ing, but, more im­por­tantly, the sig­nif­i­cance of mak­ing. This was un­der­stood as some­thing di­rected, as a vec­tor, not as just a point. More­over, this vec­tor of mak­ing was it­self em­bed­ded in a field of val­ues that con­sti­tuted the very mean­ing of “civ­i­liza­tion.” Con­tem­po­rary ap­proaches to techné, be they philo­soph­i­cal or prac­ti­cal, omit much of this di­rect­ed­ness and em­bed­ded­ness, too often re­sult­ing in tech­nique void of mean­ing, the cre­ation of works that are mu­tu­ally can­cel­ing, and a con­tri­bu­tion to the mak­ing of a world and worlds that are more bro­ken than whole. This paper will dis­cuss how the an­cient in­sights are rel­e­vant – and in­deed im­per­a­tive – to our predica­ment with re­spect to con­tem­po­rary world­mak­ing, both as art and as life.

  • Pro­fes­sor Mar­cos Novak di­rects the transLAB at UCSB (US). He is re­searcher, artist, the­o­rist, and transar­chi­tect. In 2008, “Trans­mit­ting Ar­chi­tec­ture”, the title of his sem­i­nal 1995 essay, be­came the theme of the XXIII World Con­gress of the UIA (Union In­ter­na­tionale Des Ar­chi­tectes), the largest ar­chi­tec­tural or­ga­ni­za­tion in the world. His pro­jects, the­o­ret­i­cal es­says, and in­ter­views have been trans­lated into over twenty lan­guages and have ap­peared in over 70 coun­tries, and he lec­tures, teaches, and ex­hibits world­wide. Draw­ing upon ar­chi­tec­ture, music, and com­pu­ta­tion, and in­tro­duc­ing nu­mer­ous ad­di­tional in­flu­ences from art, sci­ence, and tech­nol­ogy, his work in­ten­tion­ally de­fies cat­e­go­riza­tion. He is uni­ver­sally rec­og­nized as the pi­o­neer of ar­chi­tec­ture in cy­ber­space, of the crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion of vir­tual space as ar­chi­tec­tural and urban place, and of the use of gen­er­a­tive com­pu­ta­tional com­po­si­tion in ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign. He is a Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Santa Bar­bara, where he is af­fil­i­ated with CNSI (the Cal­i­for­nia NanoSys­tems In­sti­tute), MAT (Media Art and Tech­nol­ogy), and Art. He named and was in­stru­men­tal in the de­sign of the UCSB Al­loS­phere (the three-story high sphere for the cre­ation of im­mer­sive vir­tual en­vi­ron­ments, the largest such fa­cil­ity in the world) and cre­ated its in­au­gural pro­ject, the AlloBrain@AlloSphere, using fMRI scans of his own brain. He is cur­rently work­ing on a new Al­lo­topes pro­ject for the Al­loS­phere. In 2004, he was hon­ored to be­come a Fel­low of the World Tech­nol­ogy Net­work.