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Superhumanity

Design of the Self

2018

Nick Axel, Beatriz Colomina, Nikolaus Hirsch, Anton Vidokle, and Mark Wigley, Editors

Superhumanity

A wide-ranging and challenging exploration of design and how it engages with the self

Superhumanity seeks to explore and challenge our understanding of “design” by engaging with and departing from the concept of the “self.” This volume brings together more than fifty essays by leading scientists, artists, architects, designers, philosophers, historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists, probing the idea that we are and always have been continuously reshaped by the artifacts we shape.

The field of design has radically expanded. As a practice, design is no longer limited to the world of material objects but rather extends from carefully crafted individual styles and online identities to the surrounding galaxies of personal devices, new materials, interfaces, networks, systems, infrastructures, data, chemicals, organisms, and genetic codes.

Superhumanity seeks to explore and challenge our understanding of “design” by engaging with and departing from the concept of the “self.” This volume brings together more than fifty essays by leading scientists, artists, architects, designers, philosophers, historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists, originally disseminated online via e-flux Architecture between September 2016 and February 2017 on the invitation of the Third Istanbul Design Biennial. Probing the idea that we are and always have been continuously reshaped by the artifacts we shape, this book asks: Who designed the lives we live today? What are the forms of life we inhabit, and what new forms are currently being designed? Where are the sites, and what are the techniques, to design others?

This vital and far-reaching collection of essays and images seeks to explore and reflect on the ways in which both the concept and practice of design are operative well beyond tangible objects, expanding into the depths of self and forms of life.

Contributors: Zeynep Çelik Alexander, Lucia Allais, Shumon Basar, Ruha Benjamin, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Daniel Birnbaum, Ina Blom, Benjamin H. Bratton, Giuliana Bruno, Tony Chakar, Mark Cousins, Simon Denny, Keller Easterling, Hu Fang, Rubén Gallo, Liam Gillick, Boris Groys, Rupali Gupte, Andrew Herscher, Tom Holert, Brooke Holmes, Francesca Hughes, Andrés Jaque, Lydia Kallipoliti, Thomas Keenan, Sylvia Lavin, Yongwoo Lee, Lesley Lokko, MAP Office, Chus Martínez, Ingo Niermann, Ahmet Ögüt, Trevor Paglen, Spyros Papapetros, Raqs Media Collective, Juliane Rebentisch, Sophia Roosth, Felicity D. Scott, Jack Self, Prasad Shetty, Hito Steyerl, Kali Stull, Pelin Tan, Alexander Tarakhovsky, Paulo Tavares, Stephan Trüby, Etienne Turpin, Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Eyal Weizman, Mabel O. Wilson, Brian Kuan Wood, Liam Young, and Arseny Zhilyaev.

Superhumanity

Nick Axel is the deputy editor of e-flux.

Beatriz Colomina is professor of architecture at Princeton University. She is coauthor (with Mark Wigley) of Are We Human? Notes on an Archaeology of Design.

Nikolaus Hirsch is an architect and curator based in Frankfurt, Germany.

Anton Vidokle is the founder and director of e-flux.

Mark Wigley is professor and dean emeritus at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He is the author of numerous books, including Buckminster Fuller Inc.: Architecture in the Age of Radio.

About This Book