rheomode

…………………………the research base of jon goodbun

The River Thames as Semio-Ecological Entity

This year’s HT6 Ecological Calculus seminar on the Bartlett, UCL MA Architecture programme will seek to encounter the River Thames as an eco-mental system.

Ecology: Aesthetics: Semiotics: Law: Labour


HT6 has consistently facilitated a dialogue around questions of ecological experience, cognition and spatial systems of various scales, materialities and forms (including ‘architecture’). This year we will trace an ecological calculus through some situated field-based engagements. Primarily, we will seek to really encounter the River Thames, as some kind of a being, from five points of view: Ecology; Aesthetics; Semiotics, Law, Labour.


We will have a series of situated readings, documentations and dialogues, at various locations on the Thames, looking at texts, films and other artefacts, drawing upon ecological theory, environmental rights and justice, cognitive science, cybernetics, Marxist and feminist materialisms, and science and technology studies, and we will explore their often complex co-development with thinking about architecture, cities and spaces.


Declared dead in the 1950s, the Thames is once again home to many diverse ecosystems, and complex hybrid ecological and structural relations with our own spieces-practices. Just a few thousand years ago London’s river – known locally as Father Thames – fed into a vast Thames-Rhine European river delta which now sits below the North Sea – and which is now dredged to provide aggregate for reincarnation into British and European construction projects. The origin myths of London are strange and submerged – involving two giants, Gog and Magog, and Brutus of Troy – but we can at least be certain that the river provided essential affordances for the emergence of the city of Londinium as an outpost of the Roman Empire, and has co-evolved with the city over the millennia since.


We will have a series of situated readings, documentations and dialogues, at various locations on the Thames, looking at texts, films and other artefacts, drawing upon ecological theory, environmental rights and justice, cognitive science, cybernetics, Marxist and feminist materialisms, and science and technology studies, and we will explore their often complex co-development with thinking about architecture, cities and spaces.


Dr Jon Goodbun trained as an architect, and is a researcher, practitioner and educator at the RCA (MA Environmental Architecture), the University of Westminster (Msc Advanced Environmental Design), and the Bartlett (MArch). His research focuses on the intersection of ecological theory, cybernetics, cognitive science and urbanism. He is experimenting with informal teaching with Rheomode and Derailed. Recent publications include Scarcity: Architecture in an Age of Depleting Resources (Wiley) and Design of Scarcity (Strelka). He can be found online at www.rheomode.org.uk and twitter: @jongoodbun

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