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This year’s Jaap Bakema Study Centre conference aims to critically explore the interplay between architecture and digital culture since the 1970s. How has the emergent data society materialised in architecture? What new typologies have been developed? And what role did architecture play in the emerging discussion about artificial intelligence?

In the global history of digital culture, the 1970s are seen as a transitional period: between the dazzling rise and fall of cybernetics in the mid-20th century, and the popularisation of the personal computer and early critical debates on artificial intelligence and surveillance in the late 1980s. The techno-utopian playfulness of the architecture, art and philosophy of the 1960s was replaced by the application-driven, technological thinking of the emerging post-industrial society. The focus was now on designing specific tools, digital standards and automated services for the future data society. The miniaturisation of technology and in particular the development of microchips initiated far-reaching changes not only in the natural sciences, industry and economy, but also impacted architecture and urban design.

We will look at buildings, archives, networks, concepts and visual culture. Long before the famous, formal explorations of Greg Lynn, Kas Oosterhuis, Lars Spuybroek and Maurice Nio, the digital was already firmly inscribed in the discipline. How to assess the various shifts and impacts of the digital in architecture while applying just such a historical and cultural perspective? 


This is an online event, attendance is free of charge. 


Due to the pandemic, this year’s edition of our annual Jaap Bakema Study Centre conference has to be very different from our previous events. Usually, we announce a call for papers in the spring, but spring this year saw the first lockdown in the Netherlands and many other countries. Now, with the second wave of the virus still gaining momentum, we are in a (partial) lockdown situation once again. With this in mind, we have decided to organise a series of online workshops and keynotes with invited scholars.

Together with Georg Vrachliotis, recently appointed as full professor of the theory of architecture and digital culture at TU Delft, we have developed a programme around current research questions that probe the interrelations between the digital and architecture. This follows up on the earlier events of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre’s Total Space programme.

Programme Wednesday 25 November 2020

Closed Session: Behind the Screens
10.00 - 12.30

A workshop on born digital archives and their peculiarities, with the archive of MVRDV as case study. Contributions probe questions of acquisition and the exhibition of born digital materials, how to work with the technical formats and their software, and how to re-imagine the accessibility of digital archives. With Suzanne Mulder, Frans Neggers and Eline de Graaf. Moderated by Dirk van den Heuvel.

Data Matters
14.00 - 17.00

The planetary digital infrastructure sustaining the current shift to online and virtual forms of production as well as social, cultural, and economic activities, resulted in an increasing bandwidth consumption around the world. This seminar organised by Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Research Department will expand upon the implications of this data explosion, and why it matters for humans and non-humans, even under the current dire circumstances.

With contributions by Marten Kuijpers and Ludo Groen on the ongoing project of Automated Landscapes, and the London Royal College of Arts research studio led by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and Kamil Dalkir with recent graduates Emily Chooi, Meera Badran, Kyriacos Christofides and Helena Francis. Moderated by Marina Otero Verzier.

Keynote Armin Linke: Data Landscapes
19.30 - 21.00

Armin Linke is a photographer and filmmaker who lives in Berlin. Through his work he analyses the transformations of our natural, technological and urban environment as a diverse space of continuous interaction. By combining his own archive with other media archives, Linke challenges the conventions of photographic practice and conventional, singular authorship, whereby the question of how photography is installed and displayed becomes increasingly important. In a collective approach with artists, designers, architects, historians, and curators, a polyphonic narrative is created that combines multiple perspectives. In conversation with Georg Vrachliotis and Dirk van den Heuvel, Armin Linke presents a selection of projects to reflect on the current state of global technological landscapes, from media archives and data archaeology, to control rooms and server farms.