Digital Culture, Space and Society

Computer and networks like the Internet have transformed our perception of space. They are also synonymous with the development of a new type of society often characterized as informational. Although its full scope has become visible only in the past decades, the digital revolution is rooted in a relatively long history. The massive expansion of information at the beginning of the twentieth century, or the intensive use of computer-aided simulations during the Cold War, represent key episodes of this history. The course will study these episodes as an introduction to the contemporary questions raised by the digital revolution in the domain of urban and architectural planning and design.A first set of questions regards the reshaping of sociability that is taking place under our eyes. What are its consequences on the way cities and building are conceived? Should one design for cyborgs? The use of the computer by planners and architects raises another set of interrogations regarding the consequences of such an evolution. Does it jeopardizes the physical basis of architectural design as some critics put it? What is taking place under our eyes is perhaps a radical shift in our definition of materiality, a shift the effects of which extend far beyond the urban and architectural realm.Themes covered by the course: 1. The Rise of the Society of Information. 2. Cold War, Computers and Simulation. 3. Systems Theory and Urban Debates in the 1950s and 1960s. 4. Cybernetics and Architecture. 5. The Development of the Internet. 6. Virtual Communities and Public Space. 7. Urban Nomadism and Telepresence. 8. Cyborgs Stories. 9. Cities and Events. 10. Architecture and the Virtual: An Historical Perspective. 11. The Poetics of Computation. 12. Contemporary Approaches in Digital Architecture. 13. Towards a New Materiality.