Are Friends Electric?

“We will become vastly smarter as we merge with our technology,” says Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director of Engineering. “Let there be a digital future, but let it be a human future first,” counters Shoshana Zuboff, author of Surveillance Capitalism, an analysis of “the scandalous abuse of digital capabilities” in our information civilization. Today’s philosophical assessments of the role of technology are torn between such extremes. The same is true of the worlds of art and architecture, inhabited as they are by techno-optimism as well as extreme scepticism. At a moment when we can no longer imagine a world without technology, it is vital to ask how we—the human inhabitants of this planet—imagine the world and its technologies?

Editors
Nick Axel
Daniel Birnbaum
Nikolaus Hirsch

Are Friends Electric? is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and Moderna Museet within the context of its exhibition Mud Muses: A Rant about Technology.

1–6
Adam Greenfield
Sincerity Systems
Laura Kurgan, Dare Brawley, Brian House, Jia Zhang, and Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
Homophily: The Urban History of an Algorithm
Sven-Olov Wallenstein and Koo Jeong A
Ontologies of the Virtual
Nick Axel, Daniel Birnbaum, and Nikolaus Hirsch
Editorial
Contributors
Lars Bang Larsen

Lars Bang Larsen is an art historian, writer, and adjunct curator of international art at Moderna Museet, where he most recently curated Mud Muses: A Rant about Technology.

Dare Brawley

Dare Brawley is a researcher and designer and is currently assistant director of the Center for Spatial Research at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.

Ian Cheng

Ian Cheng is an artist based in New York. He recently participated in the Venice Biennale and Okayama Art Summit, and writes about worlding on Ribbonfarm.

Adam Greenfield

Adam Greenfield is a London-based writer and urbanist. His next book, on the theory and practice of municipalism, is forthcoming from Verso in late 2020.

Miranda Hall

Miranda Hall is a researcher at the New Economics Foundation. She is also currently involved in setting up a childcare cooperative in South London and is part of Womens Strike UK and  London Renters Union.

Brian House

Brian House is an artist and Assistant Professor at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. In 2018-2019 he was a Mellon Associate Research Scholar at CSR. His work with computation and sound has been exhibited at MoMA, MOCA, ZKM, and Ars Electronica.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Simon Fraser University's Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media in the School of Communication. 

Florian Idenburg

Florian Idenburg is a co-founder SO–IL, an architectural practice in New York. He is co-author of the forthcoming Human(s) Work (Taschen, 2020).

Koo Jeong A

Koo Jeong A is an artist who works on the reinvention of spaces with site specifc works. Her works frequently include architectural elements, drawings, fictions, poetries, publications, installations, sculptures, films, audio works and architecture projects.

Laura Kurgan

Laura Kurgan is Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where she directs the Center for Spatial Research (CSR) and the Visual Studies curriculum.

R. H. Quaytman

R. H. Quaytman is an American contemporary artist, best known for paintings on wood panels, using abstract and photographic elements in site-specific "Chapters," now numbering thirty-four. Each chapter is guided by architectural, historical and social characteristics of the original site.

LeeAnn Seun

LeeAnn Suen is an architect based in Boston, Massachusetts. She is co-author of the forthcoming Human(s) Work (Taschen, 2020).

Ben Vickers

Ben Vickers is a curator, writer, explorer, publisher, technologist, and luddite. He is CTO at the Serpentine Galleries in London, co-founder of Ignota Books, and an initiator of the open-source monastic order unMonastery.

Sven-Olov Wallenstein

Sven-Olov Wallenstein is Professor of Philosophy at Södertörn Högskola in Stockholm.

Kim West

Kim West is a critic and researcher, based in Stockholm. He holds a PhD in Aesthetics from Södertörn University, and is an art critic for the Nordic online arts journal Kunstkritikk. 

Liam Young

Liam Young is a speculative architect and director who operates in the spaces between design, fiction, and futures. He is cofounder of the urban futures think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today and the nomadic research studio Unknown Fields.

Jia Zhang

Jia Zhang is a Mellon Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University's Center for Spatial Research. Jia recently completed her PhD at MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media where her dissertation addressed personal uses for public data using interactive visualization.

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