Resilient Hope: Extraction, Speculation, and “Smart” Infrastructure

5 Oct 2017
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Stanford University

Event Type
Non-CSTMS Event

Orit Halpern
Associate Professor at Concordia University

Abstract: Today, growing concerns with climate change, energy scarcity, security, and economic collapse have turned the focus of urban planners, investors, and governments towards “infrastructure” as a site of value production and potential salvation from a world consistently defined by catastrophes and “crisis”.

This talk will interrogate the different forms of futurity and life that are currently emerging from this complex contemporary relationship between technology and design by engaging in a genealogy of “smartness” ranging from cybernetic ideas of machine learning in the late 1950’s to early efforts to integrate computing into design at MIT in the Architecture Machine Group in the 1970’s to contemporary greenfield “smart” developments and cities in the United States, India, and Abu Dhabi and the algorithmic financial instrumentation and data center infrastructures that support this speculation. In doing so, the talk will ask how these contemporary practices in ubiquitous computing, machine learning, responsive environments, and “resilient” planning are shaping the design of large scale infrastructures, making certain forms of life vulnerable and sacrificable and producing our imaginaries of the future of life.


Event will be held in the Communications Building 120, Room 101B, at Stanford University.

This event is sponsored by: Stanford University