Gediminas Urbonas & Nikola Bojić
MW 930-1230

New Models and Modeling as Practice: Disobedient Objects

Models are powerful abstractions that have impacts on the way we think, feel, act and construct our worlds. They are unreal artifacts that mold reality. We rely on models, trusting their superior relevance and immanent ability to produce and reproduce objects, spaces, and above all – knowledge. Even the slightest change in the morphology of the model can transform reality as we know it. American historian and philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn recognized a revolutionary potential in these changes, whereas French mathematician René Frédéric Thom explained that these seemingly unrelated or insignificant changes can cause a catastrophe. Indeed, introducing different forms of irregularities or disobedience within the dominant system of models and modeling can produce catastrophe and revolution, and this is exactly what we will be exploring within this class.

The class is developed around the concept of disobedient interference within the existing models of production of space and knowledge.

Modeling is the main modus operandi of the class as students will be required to make critical diagrammatic cuts through processes of production in different thematic registers – from chemistry, law and economy to art, architecture and urbanism – in order to investigate the sense of social responsibility and control over the complex agendas embedded in models that supports production of everyday objects and surroundings. Students will be encouraged to explore relations between material or immaterial aspects and agencies of production, whether they emerged as a consequence of connection of mind, body and space, or the infrastructural, geographical and ecological complexities of the Anthropocene. These production environments will be taken as modeling settings.

Final projects and accompanying documentation will be aggregated in an exhibition and publication that brings together selected disobedient modeling practices in culture, technology and science. The format of the exhibition and publication will be curated as a modeling experiment in its own right, a register of theoretical and methodological entanglements between different modeling agendas that will emerge during the semester-long research.