Poiesis – The Fabric of Making

University of the Arts Berlin.

The Fabric of Architecture


Workshop lecture 25. and of 26. June 2015

Today we use bacteria to produce energy and we train slime molds how to calculate shortest paths. We utilize all sorts of organisms to implement technical functions and envision programmable matter that has the ability to freely change its physical properties dependent upon user input. But what is the common ground underlying the discussion of these different forms of artifacts and technics? The presentation will reintroduce the notion of “poiesis” to conciliate reason and perception with material and information. We consider this philosophical term as the still missing theory of all possible forms of production. The fact that a theory of “poiesis” has never been accomplished might be one reason that European culture hasn’t intellectually mastered technics. So it is hardly surprising that we still lack criteria to govern decisions regarding what should be produced in the nearly endless field of scientific and technical production. Hence this talk is not primarily about knowing “how” but more about knowing “why,” and will present specific examples that reveal some of the fundamental conditions of making.

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