October 15, 2020 - Deep City - Deep City: Climate Crisis, Democracy and the Digital
e-flux Architecture
October 15, 2020
October 15, 2020

Deep City

Courtesy Deep City.

Deep City: Climate Crisis, Democracy and the Digital
International Latsis Symposium: Open Forum / Lausanne, Singapore, Hong Kong
March 24–27, 2021

Submission deadline: November 4


Big data, smart systems, machine learning—it is inevitable that these new technologies will change the way we study, build and manage our cities. At the same time resurgent interest in consensus and contributive action seems to oppose an exclusively data-driven urbanism. Is the opposition of machine intelligence and democracy inevitable, or are shared trajectories possible?

Politicians, social scientists, urbanists, and architects find their working methods and disciplinary knowledge challenged by insights derived from big data, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). As both citizens and experts in the many respective fields, our mission must be to bring in our disciplinary knowledge and civic engagement to support the appropriate development and discussion of data-driven tools, to consider both their biases and potentials, and to promote broader social literacy and criticality. Ultimately, it is a question of both decanting the technical quality of these new instruments of design, management and decision making, as well as enhancing democratic control over them. How do we do this? Do our disciplines currently lack adequate strategies to understand, let alone critique or exploit the knowledge-products of machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data?

The International Deep City Latsis Symposium will present an innovative conference concept where the digital and the physical will join to create a global dialogical field connecting different cities and time zones, augmenting the physical experience through the digital and augmenting the digital through a unique approach to the physical. The Rolex Learning Center at EPFL in Lausanne and partner sites Singapore (in collaboration with SUTD Singapore University of Technology and Design) and Hong Kong (in collaboration with Hong Kong University), will host a series of keynotes and paper presentations, as well as workshops, political debates, exhibitions and guided tours from March 24 to 27, 2021.

Deep City themes
–Data, democracy and sovereignty: towards new urban and political imaginaries
–New digital tools for urban governance
–New material agencies
–Making ground for new negotiations between the technological, the ecological and the social
–Resilient cities in the post-Anthropocene
–Machine learning and artificial intelligence as new forms of design rationality

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Keller Easterling, writer, designer, and professor at Yale University
Benjamin Bratton, Programme Director of the Strelka Institute and professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego
Shannon Mattern, Professor in the Department of Anthropology at The New School
Yves Citton, Professor of Literature and Media at the Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis and Executive Director of the École Universitaire de Recheche ArTeC

Call for submissions
To ground and foster meaningful exchange, we launch a call for submissions ranging from projects and operational practices to speculative and theoretical questionings which might be written, built, coded, drawn, figured, imagined, filmed, modelled or conveyed in any other way. Proposals are to be submitted with a 300-word abstract. Accepted submissions will be presented in the distributed assembly of projects, imaginaries, theoretical challenges and multimedia offerings that will take place during the event, as well as on a subsequent publication.

Participants will be able to attend and present their work in person at any of the event's three main sites or online through the Deep City platform where they’ll be able to participate and discuss with the event’s global audience.

–The deadline for submissions is November 4, 2020.
–Information on program, formats and registration fees are available in www.deepcity.ch.
–Any further question can be addressed to deepcity [​at​] epfl.ch.


Deep City: Climate crisis, democracy and the digital is organized by the EPFL labs ALICE (Atelier de la Conception de l’espace) and LDM (Media and Design Laboratory), in collaboration with Fondation Latsis.

Deep City
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