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

Filed under: ecology, teaching,

HT6 The Ecological Calculus

The Ecological Calculus

Dr Jon Goodbun

HT6 seminar at Bartlett, UCL, MA Architecture


In order to understand our place in the world today we need to understand the nature of systems – ecosystems, social and cultural systems, technical systems, spatial systems, material systems, biological systems: systems which in their dynamic and networked assemblages operate as what has been called world systems. The global economy is a mangled nest of interconnected complex systems. Our bodies and minds are a part of this, and are sympoietically produced within this, even whilst they are also constantly autopoietically re-producing their own conditions of emergence: this is the double internality of the human condition. Everything that we make, do and think changes the nature of these systems, and of ourselves, in subtle and not so subtle ways… sometimes reinforcing, sometimes undermining, sometimes transforming, sometimes bifurcating existing systems. One characteristic of complex systems’ behaviour is that they are hard to predict, hard to plan… and yet we have to manage under that condition, and we have to make choices and value judgements even whilst we lack a total cognitive mapping of our current or future possibilities. Thus every ecology (ecology is another word for a nest of complex systems) is always a political ecology. And it is in the nature of our thinking to not really understand them, to not intuitively grasp complex systems. As architects, urbanists and designers we study and co-produce important parts of these systems. The production of space – material and cognitive – is a key part of the constant reproduction of these world systems.
In this seminar we will review a series of key texts drawing upon ecological theory, cognitive science, science and technology studies and explore their often complex co-development with thinking about architecture and cities.


Each week we will approach these texts through a given dialectical frame:

affordance/abduction

entropy/order

empathy/alienation

analogue/digital

pattern/matter

planning/emergence

which together outline a new ecological calculus: an epistemology of pattern and perception.


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

Filed under: ecology, research, teaching

About

rheomode is the research base of Dr Jon Goodbun
.

I have a background in architectural theory, design research and practice, which over the last two decades has focused ever more on environmental and ecological research and practice, and what this means for how we think about space. or spacetime, as a semiotic mediating field of material, biological and mental worlds. This has led me to work with ideas and thinkers who present challenges to some of the very premises of modern science, and the divisions between both the natural, social and political sciences, and between the sciences and humanities… divisions which are the legacy of western enlightenment thinking. I have pursued this work both in mainstream academic institutions such as the RCA, but also non-orthodox institutions such as Schumacher College, the Pari Institute and Burning Man, as well as in activist political arenas, and a series of independent educational and research initiatives.

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Contact

You can reach me:
.
jcgoodbun (a) mac.com

Twitter Feed @jongoodbun

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