The field of design has radically expanded. As a practice, design is no longer limited to the world of material objects, but rather extends from carefully crafted individual looks and online identities, to the surrounding galaxies of personal devices, new materials, interfaces, networks, systems, infrastructures, data, chemicals, organisms, and genetic codes, as Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, curators of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, put it in their manifesto (→). Our response to the Biennial’s theme—Are We Human?—draws from “The Obligation to Self-Design” (e-flux Journal 0, →), a text by Boris Groys in which a genealogy of design is traced from the design of the soul and the design of the self to "the design of life as a whole." Superhumanity seeks to explore and challenge our understanding of “design” by engaging with and departing from the concept of the “self.” Superhumanity aims to probe the idea that we are and always have been continuously reshaped by the artifacts we shape, to which we ask: who designed the lives we live today? What are the forms of life we inhabit, and what new forms are currently being designed? Where are the sites, and what are the techniques, to design others? Over fifty writers, scientists, artists, architects, designers, philosophers, historians, archeologists and anthropologists will bring new insight to these and related questions over the coming four months. Contributions will be published both on the e-flux website and dispatched as emails. To join the Superhumanity mailing list, please subscribe to e-flux Architecture here.
In addition to online publication, a Superhumanity reading room was exhibited from October 22 to November 20 at DEPO (Tütün Deposu Lüleci Hendek Caddesi No.12, Tophane 34425 İstanbul) as a part of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial.
Superhumanity is a project by e-flux Architecture at the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, produced in cooperation with the Istanbul Design Biennial, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand, and the Ernst Schering Foundation.
Lucia Allais is an architectural historian and theorist who teaches at Princeton University, a member of Aggregate, and an editor of Grey Room.
Shumon Basar is a writer, editor, and thought councellor.
Ruha Benjamin is assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of People's Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press, 2013).
Franco Berardi, aka “Bifo,” founder of the famous Radio Alice in Bologna and an important figure in the Italian Autonomia movement, is a writer, media theorist, and media activist. His most recent book is And: Phenomenology of the End (Semiotext(e), 2015).
Daniel Birnbaum is Director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
Ina Blom is the author of The Autobiography of Video. The Life and Times of a Memory Technology (Sternberg Press, 2016).
Benjamin H. Bratton is author of The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (MIT Press, 2016) and Education Program Director of Strelka Institute. He is also Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego, a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc.
Giuliana Bruno is Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She recently published Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
Zeynep Çelik Alexander is an architectural historian who teaches at the University of Toronto.
Simon Denny (b. 1982, Auckland, New Zealand) is an artist based in Berlin. His recent exhibitions explore the implications of Blockchain technology on sovereignty.
Keller Easterling is an architect and writer from New York City and a professor at Yale University. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014) examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity.
Hu Fang is a story teller whose most recent book of stories is Dear Navigator (Sternberg Press and The Pavilion, 2014).
Rubén Gallo teaches at Princeton University and is author of Freud's Mexico (MIT Press, 2010) and Proust's Latin Americans (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).
Liam Gillick is an artist. He recently published Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820 (Columbia University Press, 2016).
Boris Groys is an art critic, media theorist, and philosopher. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Andrew Herscher is a fellow at the Stanford Arts Institute, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, and author of Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (Stanford University Press, 2010), The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit (University of Michigan Press, 2012), and Displacements: Architecture and Refugee (Sternberg Press, forthcoming).
Tom Holert is an art historian and cultural critic based in Berlin who works on learning curves and knowledge vessels at the crossroads of politics, economy, contemporary art, design and architecture.
Brooke Holmes is Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University.
Francesca Hughes is an architectural theorist and educator who teaches at the AA, London. Author of The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure and the Misadventures of Precision, she is currently working on a pre-history of the Universal Discrete Machine
Andrés Jaque is the founder of the Office for Political Innovation, a Madrid/New York based practice that brings inclusivity into daily life through architecture.
Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar, currently an Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is the author of the forthcoming book Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit?
Sylvia Lavin is a professor of architecture at UCLA.
Yongwoo Lee is a media historian and cultural studies scholar based in New York and Seoul. He teaches media and cultural studies of modern Korea, film theory and popular culture in East Asia, intellectual history of wartime Japan and postwar Korea, Korean contemporary art and post/colonial historiography in the Department of East Asian Studies at New York University.
Lesley Lokko teaches architecture and writes novels. She is Associate Professor of Architecture and the Director of Graduate Programme at the University of Johannesburg.
Chus Martinez is Professor and Head of the Art Institute at the FHNW Academy in Basel.
Ingo Niermann is a writer and just published the novel Solution 257: Complete Love (Sternberg Press, 2016).
Ahmet Öğüt is an artist who often collaborates with individuals whose expertise lies outside the field of art to construct situations that bring about shifts in perspective.
Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines.
Spyros Papapetros is Associate Professor of History and Theory in the School of Architecture and the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University. He is author of On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life (Chicago University Press, 2012).
Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, Shuddhabrata Sengupta) have been variously described as artists, curators, editors, and catalysts of cultural processes. They live and work in Delhi.
Juliane Rebentisch is Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the University of Arts and Design in Offenbach/Main, Germany.
Sophia Roosth is the Frederick S. Danziger Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. Her first book, Synthetic: How Life Got Made, will be released by the University of Chicago Press in March 2017.
Felicity D. Scott is Associate Professor of Architecture, Director of the Ph.D. program in Architecture (History and Theory), and Co-director of the Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture (CCCP) program at Columbia GSAPP. Her most recent book is Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-insurgency (Zone Books, 2016).
Jack Self is Director of the REAL foundation and curator of the 2016 British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.
Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty are urbanists and cofounders of the School of Environment and Architecture in Mumbai.
Hito Steyerl is a filmmaker and writer who lives in Berlin.
Kali Stull is an activist and a recent graduate from the Master of Public Health program at the University of Pittsburgh, where her research focused on nonhuman agencies which affect human health.
Pelin Tan is Associate Professor at the Architecture Faculty, Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey
Alexander Tarakhovsky is a scientist, writer, and artist.
Paulo Tavares is currently a researcher at FAU-USP, Brasil, and a long-term collaborator of Forensic Architecture.
Stephan Trüby is Professor of Architecture and Cultural Theory at the TU München and associate of the magazine ARCH+. He was head of research and development for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, directed by Rem Koolhaas.
Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Founding Director of anexact office in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Sven-Olov Wallenstein is Professor of Philosophy at Södertörn Högskola in Stockholm.
Eyal Weizman is an architect, Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, and director of Forensic Architecture.
Mabel O. Wilson is a Professor at Columbia GSAPP where she teaches architectural design, history and theory. She recently published Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Smithsonian Books, 2016).
Brian Kuan Wood is a writer and an editor of e-flux journal.
Liam Young is a speculative architect who operates across design, fiction and futures.
Arseny Zhilyaev was born in 1984 in Voronezh. An artist and museologist, Zhilyaev lives in Moscow and is on the editorial board of Moscow Art Magazine.