Of swarms, media, and design education

Architect and filmmaker Ed Keller has organized a fantastic day-long conference next weekend here in New York City about multi-agent systems, cities, swarms, media, hives, collectives, outbreaks, disruptions, and more. The idea is to look at how momentary but extremely consequential losses of equilibrium can affect, offer metaphors for, and even physically instigate new design processes.

After all, if there are “unanticipated forms of public space, communication, and subjectivity” emerging in the contemporary metropolis, as Keller suggests, then this conference is an opportunity to discuss how and under what circumstances such things might more frequently appear.

[Image: A British Airways jet swarmed by birds; photographer and location unknown].

Participants include Benjamin Bratton, Katherine Von Jan, Jamer Hunt, Roland Snooks, Cameron Tonkinwise, Mark Leiter, myself, Warren Neidich, and others.

Called Shockwave Riders: Collective Intelligence & TransDisciplinary Pedagogy, the symposium goes from noon to 7pm on Saturday, November 14th; it’s free, open to the public, and hosted by Parsons, The New School for Design, at 560 Seventh Avenue. Here’s a map.

While the overarching conversation will look at multiply-authored systems, from natural processes to global stock markets, the final point is to discuss how all of this might change design education:

This symposium marks a continuation of the School of Design Strategies’ work to map out the ways in which emerging forms of social media, global information exchange and new models of pedagogy meet, and it brings together thought leaders from architecture and urban design, the business world, new media entrepreneurs, and media / culture theorists, to discuss and dispute the consequences of technological change in the next decade and outline strategies for developing a design and design-education models that can meet the challenges ahead.

It lasts all afternoon, and will be well worth stopping by. Check the symposium website for more info, including, as we get a bit closer, the actual timetable for the speakers.

3 thoughts on “Of swarms, media, and design education”

  1. I worked on a project dealing with multi-agent systems. We focused on how to control their behavior and using their scaled traced trajectory hierarchies to weave space and structure. To see the project visit here – http://www.complexphenomena.com – it was also featured in this months surface magazine's "thesis guide".

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