Digital Minds

Digital Minds

 5th Rencontres de l’EDAR 2021Interdisciplinary doctoral seminar 11.06.2021

What role does digital culture play in EDAR doctoral research?

The Rencontres de l’EDAR 2021 aim to formulate an initial answer to this question. Stories of the vicissitudes, the potential for innovation and the research problems related to digital culture and technology will be at the centre of the debates that will bring together the EDAR community and key witnesses to the digital turn in research.

A major issue for research at EPFL, the digital transition is commonly referred to in the singular, while at the same time constituting a specific aspect of the historical transition that is at work today on the climate, energy, health, and social fronts too. However, if we consider the field of architecture and sciences of the city, digitisation – understood as the transfer of knowledge from the physical world to the digital world, determining the conditions of immaterial reproduction and simulation of material processes – in fact identifies a specific discontinuity within a bundle of processes with disparate temporalities. Over the very long term, it is part of the history of calculated representation which, since the Middle Ages, has progressed in parallel with the evolution of construction and building site techniques. Over the very short term, it refers to the advent of the big data regime and artificial intelligence, impacting in very specific ways different fields of study, such as statistical sociology, territorial analysis, typological studies, history writing, or constructive experimentation.

Therefore, it seems necessary to recognise the wide variety of forms taken by digital culture in relation to EDAR research in terms of study topics, research questions or methodologies. Thus, digitisation counts in the definition of research topics relating, for example, to forms and processes of representation; project conception and design; construction; territorial analysis, modelling and simulation; and history, theory, and criticism. At the same time, it influences operational methodologies relating to investigation, corpus constitution, knowledge production, as well as data verification, archiving and accessibility. It guides the constitution of bibliographies, the system of references and the researcher’s “imaginary museum”. It conditions the elaboration of collection or study case systems, within which to make comparisons; it determines the choice (or arrangements) between quantitative or qualitative approaches, as well as between classification approaches – species, families, types, etc. –, or monographic approaches as a study of a unicum. Finally, digitisation is as much an accelerator of interdisciplinarity as it is a condition for strong disciplinary specialisation.

The Digital Minds 5th Rencontres de l’EDAR, conceived as a “snapshot” of current research, will make it possible to uncover the effective impact of digital culture on the subjects, methods, fabrication, and scientific results of EDAR’s scholars research.

The seminar will take place in a hybrid manner, on site with a limited number of people (phd students registered to course AR-610) with respect to the sanitary regulations, as well as on Zoom,

Click here to view the program.