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Governing through Design: an interdisciplinary phenomenon

Applicant Mareis Claudia
Number 189933
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Institut für Experimentelle Design und Medienkulturen Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, FHNW
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (without UTE) - FHNW
Main discipline Interdisciplinary
Start/End 01.03.2020 - 29.02.2024
Approved amount 2'391'825.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Interdisciplinary
Architecture and Social urban science
Sociology
Arts

Keywords (11)

Design Thinking; Urban Planning; Governing ; Infrastructures; Smartness; Resilience; Recursive Publics; Wicked Problems; Ecology; Decolonization ; Planning

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Internationale Institutionen wie die UNO versuchen sich mittels Design Thinking neu aufzustellen; infrastrukturelle Planung firmiert unter dem Begriff urbanes Design; und ökologisches Handeln wird zunehmend zu einer Frage adäquater Programmierung. Das vorliegende Projekt untersucht, inwiefern Methoden und Praktiken aus Gestaltung und Design politisches Denken und Handeln in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts beeinflusst und verändert haben und widmet sich aktuellen Formen des Regierens durch Gestaltung. Die Forschenden erweitern das Feld der Designforschung damit um eine interdisziplinäre Perspektive und beleuchten gleichzeitig die zunehmende Politisierung von Design.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Eine interdisziplinäre Gruppe von Forschenden der Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (Institut für Experimentelle Design- und Medienkulturen), der Universität Basel (Fachbereich Urban Studies) und der Concordia University Montréal (Department of Sociology and Anthropology) widmet sich der Untersuchung von Designstrategien in der Gestaltung von internationalen Institutionen und Entscheidungsprozessen, in der infrastrukturellen Umgestaltung von urbanen Zentren und ländlichen Räumen, sowie im computergesteuerten Management von sozialen und ökologischen Prozessen.

Zentral für das Projekt ist eine bottom-up Perspektive: anstatt von global einheitlichen Designpolitiken auszugehen, kombinieren die Forschenden Feldstudien und Archivaufenthalte in Afrika, Asien, Europa, und Nordamerika um lokal spezifische Verbindungen von Design, infrastruktureller Planung, und politischer Steuerung zu untersuchen. Ziel des Projekts ist es, ein neues Feld der interdisziplinären Designforschung zu etablieren und aktiv an gesellschaftlichen Debatten teilzunehmen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

‘Governing through Design’ verbindet Perspektiven und Methoden aus Designwissenschaft, Urban Studies, Medienwissenschaft, Anthropologie, Soziologie, Politikwissenschaft und Wissenschaftsforschung um zeitgenössische Verschränkungen von Design und Politik zu untersuchen. Das Projekt greift damit aktiv in aktuelle Debatten um Handlungsmöglichkeiten im Zeitalter des Anthropozän ein und sucht die zumeist global gedachten Lösungsansätze mit Untersuchungen lokaler Zusammenhänge zu konfrontieren.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.12.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Design Struggles. Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives
Paim Nina, Mareis Claudia (ed.) (2021), Design Struggles. Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives, Valiz, Amsterdam.
Alexa's Body. What the Interface Obscures and How Design Could Help Us See
BruderJohannes (2021), Alexa's Body. What the Interface Obscures and How Design Could Help Us See, in Paim Nina, Mareis Claudia (ed.), Valiz, Amsterdam, 283-297.
Common sense politics: religion and belonging in French public space
Weitzel Michelle D. (2020), Common sense politics: religion and belonging in French public space, in French Politics, 18(4), 380-404.
Resilient Natures
HalpernOrit (2020), Resilient Natures, in Social Text, November, 1-13.
Considering Plant-Based Meat Substitutes and Cell-Based Meats: A Public Health and Food Systems Perspective
Santo Raychel E., Kim Brent F., Goldman Sarah E., Dutkiewicz Jan, Biehl Erin M. B., Bloem Martin W., Neff Roni A., Nachman Keeve E. (2020), Considering Plant-Based Meat Substitutes and Cell-Based Meats: A Public Health and Food Systems Perspective, in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4, 1-12.
Donkey Kong's Legacy. About microprocessors as model organisms and the behavioral politics of video games in AI
BruderJohannes, Donkey Kong's Legacy. About microprocessors as model organisms and the behavioral politics of video games in AI, in Tsantsa, (26).
Optimal Brain Damage: Theorizing the Nervous Present
Halpern Orit, Bruder Johannes, Optimal Brain Damage: Theorizing the Nervous Present, in CultureMachine.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
African Center for Cities South Africa (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Kunstuniversität Linz / IFK Linz Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Western Syndey University Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Exzellenzcluster ›Matters of Activity. Image Space Material‹, HU Berlin Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
STS CH Conference 2021 - Multiplying Matters Talk given at a conference The Algorithms of Mindfulness 17.02.2021 Lausanne, Switzerland Bruder Johannes;
AI Governenance & Governmentaity Seminar Individual talk Engineers' Brains, Deeps Minds, Optimal Brain Damage 17.02.2021 Montréal, Canada Bruder Johannes;
STS CH Conference 2021 - Multiplying Matters Talk given at a conference Donkey Kong's Legacy 16.02.2021 Lausanne, Switzerland Bruder Johannes;
Reprise de Vues Talk given at a conference Keynote 28.01.2021 Paris, France Halpern Orit;
Lunchtime Lecture Design University St. Pölten Individual talk Design Matters. Designforschung im Zusammenspiel mit den Geistes- und Naturwissenschaften 14.01.2021 Design University St. Pölten, Austria Mareis Claudia;
Association for Political Theory Annual Conference Talk given at a conference Drones, Sirens and Prayer Calls 12.11.2020 University of Massachusetts Amherst (virtual), United States of America Weitzel Michelle;
Jahrestagung des Exzellenzcluster ›Matters of Activity. Image Space Material‹: ›The Analog in the Digital‹ Talk given at a conference Truth to Materials: Entangled histories of design and material politics 11.11.2020 Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany Mareis Claudia;
HKW Anthropocene Campus Talk given at a conference "Mont Pélerin Re-Write"/Between Spaces Between Lines 29.10.2020 Berlin, Germany Halpern Orit; Bruder Johannes;
ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture Talk given at a conference Data & Bias 26.10.2020 ON-LINE/ San Franscisco, United States of America Halpern Orit;
Co-Working Materials. Für einen aktiven Materialismus Talk given at a conference Vom ›richtigen‹ Gebrauch des Materials. Materialdebatten Mitte des 19. Jh. revisited 08.10.2020 IFK Wien und Kunstuniversität Linz, Austria Mareis Claudia;
Middle East Studies Association Talk given at a conference Common Sense Politics: Religion and Belonging in French Public Space 08.10.2020 Virtual (pandemic), United States of America Weitzel Michelle;
The Global Architect Individual talk Infrastructural Inheritance in the Colonial Moment 07.10.2020 Milan, Italy Cupers Kenny;
Transitions politiques et sociales contemporaines en Afrique et en Asie Talk given at a conference Infrastructural Inheritance and Transnational Mobility in an East African Corridor 23.09.2020 Pavia, Italy Cupers Kenny;
American Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Sense-based Reactions and National Security: The Gaza Conflict 13.09.2020 Virtual (pandemic), United States of America Weitzel Michelle;
4S / EASST Conference 2020 Talk given at a conference Cosmogrammatics 18.08.2020 Prague, Czech Republic Bruder Johannes;
Contested Connections: Infrastructures, Capitalism and Geopolitics (European Workshops in International Studies EWIS) Talk given at a conference Infrastructural Inheritance and the Futurity of an East African Corridor 07.07.2020 online, Belgium Cupers Kenny;
COOP-Design Research Programme Bauhaus Dessau Foundation Individual talk The Design Turn – Historical experiments into an epistemology of practice 09.06.2020 Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau , Germany Mareis Claudia;
Vorlesungsreihe ›Schnittstellen‹ Individual talk Design als dritte Wissenskultur 19.05.2020 Kunstuniversität Linz, Austria Mareis Claudia;
Urban Futures Lab, Torino Individual talk Planetary Experiments 10.05.2020 Torino, Italy Halpern Orit;
Politics of the Ordinary: Political Theory Conference Talk given at a conference Everyday Sounds of Political Violence 25.04.2020 University of Chicago (virtual), United States of America Weitzel Michelle;
POMEPS Middle East North Africa Junior Scholar Workshop Talk given at a conference National Listening: Strains of Trauma and Resilience 27.03.2020 George Washington University (Virtual), United States of America Weitzel Michelle;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop: Humanitarian Design & Testbed Urbanism 04.02.2021 Zoom, Switzerland
Questions and Methods at the Intersection of Infrastructure, Design, Capitalism, and Coloniality. 14.12.2020 online zoom, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
World Economic Forum Frontier Risk Working Group Workshop 01.01.2021 Davos/Geneva, Switzerland Halpern Orit;
Anthropocene Campus - "The Shape of a Practice" Workshop 21.10.2020 Berlin, Switzerland Bruder Johannes;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
AI Governance and Governmentality Series 01.01.2021 Montreal, Canada

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Want Carbon-Neutral Cows? Algae Isn’t the Answer WIRED International 2021
Media relations: print media, online media Burgers Won’t Save the World But Fast Food Might. WIRED International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Episode #6: Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis in conversation with Gökhan Karakuş #74PODCAST, ›How Can We All Make it into the Future?‹ International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Perception, Racism, and Islamophobia in French Soundscapes Europe Now International 2020
Talks/events/exhibitions Podiumsdiskussion HKB Bern: Arts in Context – Kunst Forschung Gesellschaft (Live-Streaming) German-speaking Switzerland 2020

Awards

Title Year
Honorable Mention: Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award (Social Science) 2020

Abstract

The central question of this grant is: How does design govern today? We ask what work design - as an interdisciplinary approach to solving social, political and environmental problems - has done throughout the second half of the twentieth century to transform governmentality, and how the values of design continue to define governmental strategies in the 21st century. Since the postwar period, “design” has been increasingly called upon to solve problems caused by economic restructuring, political instability, and environmental disaster. Against this background, we do not take design simply as a product-oriented discipline but suggest that through its becoming central to governmentality, it requires a wider definition today. “Governing through Design” will be the first global and interdisciplinary study of how design governs in the 21st century. Such a study requires expertise from design studies, urban studies, architectural history, media studies, cultural anthropology, political science, and science and technology studies. Our team brings these disciplinary perspectives together in order to be able to examine the interdisciplinary nature of design today. Our research consortium consists of the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel, the faculty of Urban Studies at the University of Basel and the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University, Montréal. In order to grasp design as an interdisciplinary phenomenon, we have identified three major trajectories through which we can observe the modalities and effects of this new governmentality from the mid-twentieth century to today. We will concentrate on three exemplary cases where design has come to govern: 1) by turning publics and the public domain recursive, 2) by rendering territories and their populations resilient, and 3) by augmenting environments with smart computational technologies. We have organized our research into three main research clusters and twelve subprojects, each cluster led by one of the PIs. Cluster A) recursive publics examines design as a site for a new kind of political practice and vice versa, where technocratic ideas of progress and the desire for a new, “non-foundational” politics are reciprocally articulated. Cluster B) resilient territories revolves around the question about how territories and their populations are reorganized around specific infrastructures, to enforce resilience on a planetary scale. Cluster C) smart environments focuses on how infrastructure, design, and computing are increasingly integrated to manage the environment and urbanization. Drawing on the concept of “global assemblages” (Ong/Collier 2005) we want to situate contemporary approaches to governing social, political, and environmental risks and uncertainties through design by assembling a set of intersectional and temporally distributed case studies, situated in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Our methods include archival research, qualitative interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, and contemporary mapping techniques. In order to strengthen the interdisciplinary collaboration and explore novel ways of disseminating research, we will cooperate with a group of renowned architects and designers throughout the project. It is thus unique in producing reflexive feedback between scholarship, design research and pedagogy, and public engagement.The projected outcomes of our research will include: 1) two PhD theses, 2) individual peer-reviewed articles, 3) a co-authored publication by the PIs, postdocs and advanced researchers on the topic of the grant, 4) a concluding international conference, and 5) a web based publica-tion of the project’s results in cooperation with designers of Marshall Brown Projects, Lateral Of-fice, and M-A-D. All research outputs and publications will be published open access.
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