January 9, 2020 - e-flux Architecture - Software as Infrastructure
e-flux Architecture
January 9, 2020
January 9, 2020

e-flux Architecture

Igor Sladoljev, Sveta Gorlatova, Gleb Papyshev, and Artem Nikitin, Presense (still), 2019. Video.

Software as Infrastructure
Symposium at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen)
January 11, 2020, 12:30-6:30pm

Shenzhen Center for Design
No.8 Zhongkang Rd, Shangmeilin, Futian District
Block A 302, Shenzhen Sculpture Academy


From ridesharing and food delivery to social networks and decentralized services, software has become the new urban infrastructure. Software runs on sprawling networks of cables, data centers, and satellites, but the city runs on software. Then again, one could argue that the city has always run on software. “Program,” after all, as a concept, encompasses not only downloadable software packages but also architectural plans and governmental policy.

What are the urban and architectural potentials latent within the software of today? What would it mean for its logics of development, deployment, and use to be treated as a medium for imagination, speculation, and projection? What does it mean to design for the city today whose experience and performance is determined less by its physical structure as it is by variably downloadable content and continuously updated frameworks?

On January 11, 2020, e-flux Architecture presents a day-long symposium entitled "Software as Infrastructure" as part of "Eyes of the City" at the 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen), with an editorial series to follow. The event features contributions by David A. Banks, Fredrik Hellberg, Weiwen Huang, Andrés Jaque, Amelyn Ng, Mary Ann O’Donnell, Lucia Tahan, Helen Runting, and Andrew Witt.

David A. Banks is currently visiting Assistant Professor of Geography at University at Albany, SUNY, co-chair of Theorizing the Web, and along with Jenny Davis, co-editor of The Society Pages' Cyborgology,

Fredrik Hellberg founded Space Popular with Lara Lesmes in Bangkok in 2013. Based in London since 2016, the practice works at multiple scales: from furniture and interior design to architecture, and the design of virtual worlds. In 2018, their exhibition "Value in the Virtual" was hosted by ArkDes.

Weiwen Huang is a co-founder of FuturePlus Academy. Previously, he was director of Shenzhen Municipal Planning Bureau's urban and architectural design department, deputy chief planner of Shenzhen Municipality's Urban Planning and Land Resource Commission, and a Loeb Fellow at Harvard GSD, among other positions.

Andrés Jaque is the founder of the Office for Political Innovation, an architectural practice based in New York and Madrid, and an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia GSAPP, where he directs the Master of Science program in Advanced Architectural Design.

Amelyn Ng is an Australian architect, writer, and cartoonist currently working on issues in graphics, epistemology, and theories of information-richness in architecture. Amelyn is a 2019-2021 Wortham Fellow at the Rice School of Architecture.

Mary Ann O’Donnell is an independent artist-ethnographer and co-founder of the Handshake 302 Art Space in Shenzhen. Since 2005, she has been blogging at Shenzhen Noted. With Winnie Wong and Jonathan Bach, she co-edited the volume Learning from Shenzhen (University of Chicago Press 2017).

Lucia Tahan is a Berlin-based architect whose practice deploys human experience design in spatial and digital systems. She has produced work ranging from software to construction to critical writing, while developing architecture projects and exhibitions as speculative political tools.

Helen Runting is an urban planner and urban designer. Helen is Chief Editor of the Swedish planning journal PLAN; a founding co-editor of the architecture journal LO-RES; member of the collective Svensk Standard; and founding partner in the Stockholm-based architecture office Secretary.

Andrew Witt is a co-founder, with Tobias Nolte, of Certain Measures, a Boston/Berlin-based design futures and technology incubator, and an Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard GSD. He was previously Director of Research at Gehry Technologies and a director at GT’s Paris office

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