Infrastructural Ecologies: A Projective Urbanism

This research seminar will explore cultural ideas of ecology specifically as they relate to life in the contemporary metropolis. We will begin by defining ecology in its broadest sense, as a set of ideas about the interrelationships and interactions among humans and their physical, social, and experiential worlds—not simply a project of the natural sciences. Theoretical readings by Félix Guattari, Reyner Banham, and others will be featured, as well as contributions from a forthcoming book titled Projective Ecologies.

The seminar will also explore the projective possibilities of the unique and often bizarre interactions among the infrastructural systems, emergent and adapted environmental ecologies, and social and jurisdictional relationships along two infrastructural lines of water in the greater Los Angeles region: the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the Los Angeles River. We will use three years’ worth of research from previous seminars (Recalibrating Infrastructure) on infrastructural systems and dynamics as a basis for our work. We will research through drawing, experimenting with various available software platforms (scripting, processing, flow modeling, animation, etc.) to inform and project ideas about the city. And we will ground our work in theoretical discussions about issues of representation, modeling, and visual culture—with a full understanding that ideas are generated through speculation, projection and experimentation.

Note that this is not a software instruction class, as we will rely on individual students’ own skills and experiences with what you already know as well as your initiative to learn new platforms. Given this, it is critical that students have demonstrated drawing ability and interest in digital representation to enter the class.