Architectural intraventions: pedagogical experiments with 'technical democracy' in design studio projects
Tomás Criado (Humboldt University of Berlin)
Paper short abstract:
A reflection on a series of pedagogical 'intraventions' in architecture training, experimenting with different predicative and experiential modes of putting STS insights, and most particularly technical democracy, to work.
Paper long abstract:
Between 2015 and 2018 we worked at Technical University of Munich's Department of Architecture. As STS-inspired anthropologists, teaching architecture students offered a unique opportunity to experiment with pedagogic modes of putting STS insights to work: in a dialogue about the politics of urban infrastructures and environments, paying attention to what it means to engage in their design. Such was the case of a series of pedagogic interventions at an MA level around a central conceptual concern: exploring the meaning and prospects of one of STS's central aspirations, 'technical democracy'. Thus, in this presentation we will pay specific attention to the predicaments in and around the conception and undertaking of a series of design studio projects, reflecting on the attempts at having pedagogic effects. In fact, we plan to show a transition from an initially 'predicative' pedagogical mode-where the main works on technical democracy were read and explained, hoping this to have an impact on our students' architectural practice-to a series of more 'experiential' ones, where the challenge of technical democracy was repurposed in three ways: as (1) co-laboration, (2) entrapment, and (3) intravention. The latter-intravention-became particularly relevant in a series of studio projects called 'Design in Crisis': where students learnt to become affected by multi-sensory aspects of the situations in which they design, and the more-than-human actors they should design with. This has entailed the production of architectural toolkits, which in our opinion have functioned a re-learning device of sorts, having an impact on our students' design practice and aims.
Smugglers, idiots and loyal cheats: situated intervention as method out of control