[ISEA94] Paper: Roy Ascott – The Architecture of Cyberception


Post-biological technologies enable us to become directly involved, body and mind, in our own transformation, and they are bringing about a qualitative change in our being. The emergent faculty of cyberception, our artificially enhanced interactions of perception and cognition, involves the transpersonal technology of global networks and cybermedia. We are learning to see afresh the processes of emergence in nature, the planetary media-flow, the invisible forces and fields of our many realities, while at the same time re-thinking possibilities for the architecture of new worlds.

Cyberception not only implies a new body and a new consciousness but a redefinition of how we might live together in the interspace between the virtual and the real, calling for a wholly new social environment and a reconsideration of every aspect of our ways of being.
Western architecture shows too much concern with surface and structures – an arrogant ‘edificiality’ – and is too little aware of the human need for transformative systems. There is no
biology of building. A city should offer its citizens the opportunity to participate in the process of cultural emergence. Its infrastructure, like its buildings, must be both intelligent and publicly intelligible, comprising systems that anticipate and react to our individual desires and needs as
much as we interact with them. A “grow bag” culture is required in which seeding replaces designing, and where architecture finds its guiding metaphors in microsystems and horticulture rather than in monumentality and warfare.
Currently, architecture has no response to the realities of cyborg living, or the distributed self, or to the ecology of digital interfaces and network nodes. It has produced a shopping cart world of pre-packed products wheeled around the sterile post-modernity of a mall culture. Buildings,
like cities, should grow. As products of creative cyberception, they must become the matrix of new forms of consciousness and of the rhythms and realisations of post-biological life.

  • Roy Ascott Pioneer of telematic art, his seminal projects include “La Plissure du Texte” (Electra ’83, Paris), “Planetary Network” (Venice Biennale 1986) and “Aspects of Gaia” (Ars Electronica 89, Linz). His work is widely published in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. He is a consultant to many European institutions including the C.E.C., Ars Electronica Center, CETEC, Universite Paris Dauphine, the European League of Institutes of the Arts and editorial advisor to Leonardo (MIT Press), Intermedia (Madrid) and IDEA (Paris). He is Director of CAIIA – the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts at Gwent College of Higher Education in Wales. He was Professor fuer Kommunikationstheorie, Hochschule fuer angewandte Kunst in Vienna1985-92 and Dean, San Francisco Art Institute, California 1975-78.