November 29, 2017 - "Preliminary Course: From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley"
e-flux Architecture
November 29, 2017
November 29, 2017

Graphic design: Meiré und Meiré.

"Preliminary Course: From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley"
Symposium and workshop: December 2, 2017, 12–9:30pm

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin

2019 will mark the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus. Across the world there has been a shared desire to bring it up to date, but every attempt to revive it is doomed to failure. The Bauhaus was both a forward-looking project and a child of its time.

It sought a synthesis of knowledge in which the various forms of knowledge—technical, scientific, emotional, creative—would be interconnected. This concept was combined with a new pedagogy to emancipate the people, release their potential, and ultimately lead to the creation of a “new man.” Which spaces encourage creativity and innovation? Which sites of knowledge does society need today? Do advanced laboratories of computer, internet and media companies represent the Bauhaus of the 21st century?


Keynote lecture by Fred Turner
"The New Man: From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley"

In 1929, just a decade after the end of World War I, László Moholy-Nagy told the readers of his book, The New Vision, that “The future needs the whole man.” This new kind of person would be trained in the arts of drawing, sculpture, photography, and architecture—ideally at the Bauhaus—and socialized to believe that work and life could be brought together in an ideal community.

Today, almost a hundred years later, the Bauhaus dream of the New Man persists—in Silicon Valley. From the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College, through the counterculture of the 60s to the Facebook factory floor in Menlo, California, the talk by Fred Turner, Professor and Chair of Communication at Stanford University, maps the transformation of modernist visions of the New Man and the persistence of the Bauhaus faith in media, technology and the self as benevolent engines of social change.

"Technologies of Knowledge"
The Bauhaus was concerned with design at the junction of craft and industrial production, the emergence of the “First Machine Age” (Reyner Banham), Fordist industrialization, and the associated consumer society. Gropius’s slogan “Art and technology—the new unity” was at once a diagnosis of the crisis and a promise for the future. Today we are experiencing the emergence of the “Second Machine Age” (Martin Pawley), the conclusion of the transition from the analog to the digital, from the physical to the virtual, from consumption to coproduction. How does technology challenge design today? How can technology be designed? Or should we perhaps be asking the other way around: How does technology design?

Morehshin Allahyari, Artist, activist, and curator, New York
Denisa Kera, Philosopher and designer, Tel Aviv
Shaina Anand, Member of the artist collective CAMP, Mumbai
Orit Halpern, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, London Concordia University, Montréal

Roundtable discussion with the speakers and Jesko Fezer, Bernd Scherer, Georg Vrachliotis, moderated by Claudia Mareis.

"Spaces of Knowledge"
Responding to the needs of the industrial demands, the Bauhaus dedicated spaces of production that were oriented towards the democratization of the design process, fostering experiential knowledge and skills, and facilitating the dialogue between disciplines. At the same time, these spaces also paved the way towards the professionalization of design pedagogy in line with modernist ideals. With the growing commodification of culture and the rise of cognitive capitalism in the second half of the 20th century, design, creativity, and experimentation have regained popularity within new interdisciplinary spaces of production. How are those spaces fostering an updated vision of the “new man”? What are the spatial qualities of these new spaces of knowledge? What are they telling us about the future of knowledge production and knowledge exchange, in both digital and physical terms?

Reinier de Graaf, Architect, partner at OMA, Rotterdam
Henrike Rabe, Architect, researcher at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory at Humboldt-University Berlin
Paloma Strelitz, Architect, member of the collective Assemble, London
Jussi Parikka (What is a Media Lab?), Writer, media theorist, and Professor in Technological Culture and Aesthetics at Winchester School of Art

Roundtable discussion with the speakers and Bianca Elzenbaumer and Fabio Franz (Brave New Alps), Joachim Krausse, Philipp Oswalt, Joanne Pouzenc, moderated by Armen Avanessian.

Final panel designed by Brave New Alps
Brave New Alps produce design projects that engage people in discussing and reconfiguring the politics of social and environmental issues. By combining design research methods with critical pedagogy, community economies, and DIY techniques, they produce spaces for collective learning and making, publications and urban interventions. Transforming the space of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s Theatersaal into a spatial experiment for informal knowledge exchange, Brave New Alps invites the speakers and the public to reflect on the main themes of the day in a convivial set-up.

projekt bauhaus is an international initiative founded to conduct a lively debate on the currency of the Bauhaus. “Preliminary Course: From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley” is the first of a three-part undertaking, followed by a workshop at the Floating University Berlin (2018) and a theater production at the Volksbühne Berlin (2019).

projekt bauhaus is funded by the Bauhaus heute Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung and the Schering Foundation. It is a project by ARCH+ Verein zur Förderung des Architektur- und Stadtdiskurses e. V. in cooperation with the Volksbühne Berlin. 

"Preliminary Course: From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley" is co-curated by Claudia Mareis.

Artistic direction of projekt bauhaus: Jesko Fezer, Christian Hiller, Anh-Linh Ngo, Philipp Oswalt, Joanne Pouzenc, Jan Wenzel

The event will be held in English.
Buy your ticket here.  

info [​at​]

"Preliminary Course: From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley"
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