Can the Universal be Specific?
Symposium in Berlin & call for papers
November 12, 2016, 1pm
The year 2019 will mark the centenary of the foundation of the Bauhaus. Project Bauhaus aims to take critical stock of the ideas of the Bauhaus and to render the utopian surplus of the Bauhaus productive for the present. In the five years leading up to the centenary, from 2015 to 2019, Project Bauhaus offers a new question to debate every year and invites everyone to join the experimental inquiry into a renewal of art, design and architecture in relation to contemporary society. In 2015 we started with the question: “Can Design Change Society?”
This year, the focus is “Can the Universal Be Specific?” With this question Project Bauhaus is reengaging with the ideas of universalism and internationalism posited by classical modernism—and critically reexamining their emancipatory potential. At the event, different positions will be presented from the fields of political anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, art, architecture, and design, exploring the space for negotiation that lies between the universal and the specific—and in this tension, unearthing contemporary approaches to design.
Since the advent of postmodernism people have been questioning the concept of the “universal.” Today, designers, architects and investors make a point of emphasizing the “site specificity” of their projects—although this is often little more than a rhetorical gesture. Local constructions of identity are fashionable again. This is true in the political sphere as well—increasingly, national and regional special interests are being marshaled against the idea of an international world community, and this in a time when the challenges facing us can only be tackled through global cooperation. Yet the design of universal infrastructure, on the other hand, is determined by multinational corporations and media firms. Actors such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Airbnb, and Uber have concentrated on developing overarching platforms that supply universal structural frameworks for a host of different applications, and in doing so have fundamentally altered the global economic system.
The symposium at Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in Berlin addresses the following topics:
1pm: Why Universalism?
Welcome: Sabine Drewes
Introduction: Anh-Linh Ngo, Christian Hiller, Philipp Oswalt
1:30pm: Conflicts of Universalism
with Ina Kerner, Karin Wilhelm, Walter Prigge, presented by Philipp Oswalt
3:45pm: Architecture of the Universal
with Marion von Osten, Anne-Julchen Bernhardt & Jörg Leeser / BeL Sozietät für Architektur, Christian Benimana / MASS Design Group, presented by Stephan Trüby
6pm: Universal Products
with Ruben Pater, Hans Peter Hahn, Aristide Antonas, presented by Ethel Baraona Pohl
8:15pm Algorithmic Universalism
with Ruben Pater, Matteo Pasquinelli and Karin Wilhelm, presented by Ethel Baraona Pohl and Jesko Fezer
All presentations will be interpreted simultaneously into English or German.
Tickets are available here: eventim
An event organized by Project Bauhaus and the ARCH+ Verein zur Förderung des Architektur- und Stadtdiskurses e.V. in cooperation with the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation. Funded by the bpb (Federal Agency for Civic Education) with support from the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), an institute for international and cultural relations.
Call for papers
For the second annual publication of Project Bauhaus, which will appear as an ARCH+ issue on the theme: "Can the Universal Be Specific?," we are seeking contributions in the form of critical essays, studies, case studies, projects, realizations, and designs.
More information on the call for papers is available online (Deadline: December 19, 2016).