When Cedric Price declared “technology is the answer, but what was the question?” he could not have understood the extent to which such a logic would underpin the economic and industrial logics of disruption that have since become increasingly determining of social life and urban experience. Indeed, his statement was made over ten years before Shenzhen, what is today the metropolitan heart of the world’s trillion-dollar consumer electronics manufacturing infrastructure, even became a city. Price not only subordinated the question of form to that of function, as Louis Sullivan did at the cusp of modernity more than half a century prior. Rather, he opened up the very idea of function to that of engineering and design, and in so doing destabilized the relevance and legitimacy of all extant forms.

Price’s declaration was made on the cusp of the digital revolution. Issues facing the future of urban settlement are vast, and the solutions that might be provided today are of a definitively different nature and performance than those that were possible during Price’s time. According to Nicholas Negroponte, all things digital are simultaneously local and global, large and small, inside and outside of any given boundary. The digital world is not crisp, but rather porous and diffuse. It brings together previously separate worlds, like those of discovery, invention, and expression. It has even become the DNA of each. The natural world and the artificial world are becoming the same. Change will happen very rapidly.

Digital × is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Norman Foster Foundation within the context of its 2019 educational program.

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8 essays
Danny Hillis
Nick Axel What brought you to this idea of building a 10,000-year clock? Daniel Hillis I started thinking about it in the late 1980s, early 1990s. …
Ben Vickers
Nick Axel How did the project of unMonastery come about? Ben Vickers In 2011, I was working for the Council of Europe doing social network analysis…
Hasier Larrea
Nick Axel Your work stems from a series of false correlations, the first one of which is the correlation between the amount of space and the functiona…
Mary Lou Jepsen
Nick Axel You launched Openwater a few years ago. Can you tell us about it? What’s it trying to do? Mary Lou Jepsen The idea of Openwater is to p…
Amber Case
Nick Axel What is calm technology? Amber Case The question of calm technology is how to have things in our environment that focus our attention on …
David Moinina Sengeh
Nick Axel You have a background in healthcare, and in particular, in designing joints for prosthetic limbs. But you’re now heading the Directorate of …
Nicholas Negroponte
Nick Axel You founded the Architecture Machine Group (AMG) with Leon Grossier in 1967 at MIT to investigate and speculate upon the emerging relationsh…
e-flux Architecture and Norman Foster Foundation
Digital × is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Norman Foster Foundation within the context of its 2019 educational program, featuri…
Interviews & Conversations, Data & Information, Technology, Architecture
Futures, Autonomy

Digital × is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Norman Foster Foundation within the context of its 2019 educational program.


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