On Thursday 14 April, starting at 10 am, Warren Neidich will give a lecture entitled “Epigenetic Architecture and the Statisticon” at the University Master’s Degree in Biodigital Architecture in UIC Barcelona.
This lecture is constructed in two parts. The first section will elucidate the theoretical framework of genetic and generative architecture first proposed by John Fraser‘s seminal book “An Evolutionary Architecture” (1995), in order to delineate its difference from the concept of epigenetic architecture. Epigenetic architecture rather then simply generating intermingling parts which through their interaction provoke novel forms in the world based on selective fit, goes one step further by wanting to understand their effect upon a developing material brain. To do so we will need to define key terms such as neural plasticity, epigenesis, material engagement and extended cognition. Terms that in passing he will also link to ideas of the archive, cultural memory, architectural history and smart buildings and brains.
In the second part he will define a term that he developed in 2014 called The Statisticon. When architecture transitions from being predominately about built space to that of infrastructure for the display and presentation of the internet of things it has the potential for becoming an interactive agent in data production and collection. As such its function is no longer about the articulation and organization of framed time and space as it was for Foucault in his example of the panopticon but concerns rather prognostication and modulation of the flows of mobile time and space more akin to Deleuze’s idea of the dividual in the moment of the society of control. Our futures are something already written in code and that code is tethered to the algorithms producing computational buildings as well as social trajectories mitigating chance encounters in optimally efficient environments in the world. The statisticon is the seamless connection between data-scapes and mind-scapes where no apparatus intervenes as a mediator. We will unpack this arguments further with examples of brain computer interfaces, neural dust and cortical implants and counter them with examples of emancipatory architectures such as those of Rem Koolhaas’ idea of Junkspace and John Cage’s idea of Noise.
In conclusion, he claims use this idea of epigenetic architecture as a constituent of generalized neural ethics; the right of every individual living on the earth to maximize the full developmental potential of his or her neural plasticity. He defends that art and architecture are essential for the production of complex connections in the brain, that ultimately have implications for the freedom of thought itself.