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Digital architecture and difference: a theory of ethical transpositions towards nomadic embodiments in digital architecture

Bar, Tal; (2018) Digital architecture and difference: a theory of ethical transpositions towards nomadic embodiments in digital architecture. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis contributes to histories and theories of digital architecture of the past two decades, as it questions the narratives of its novelty. The main argument this thesis puts forward is that a plethora of methodologies, displacing the centrality of the architect from the architectural design process, has folded into the discipline in the process of its rewriting along digital protocols. These steer architecture onto a post-human path. However, while the redefinition of the practice unfolds, it does so epistemically only without redefining the new subject of architecture emerging from these processes, which therefore remains anchored to humanist-modern definitions. This unaccounted-for position, I argue, prevents novelty from emerging. Simultaneously, the thesis unfolds a creative approach – while drawing on nomadic, critical theory concepts, there surfaces an alternative genealogy already underpinning digital methodologies that enable a reconceptualization of novelty framed with difference to be articulated through nomadic digital embodiment. Regarding the first claim, I turn to the narratives as well as to the mechanisms of digital discourse emerging in two modes of production – mathematical and biological – in exploration of the ways perceptions of novelty are articulated: a) through close readings of its narratives as they consolidate into digital architectural theory (Carpo 2011; Lynn 2003, 2012; Terzidis 2006; Migayrou 2004, 2009); b) through an analysis of the two digital methodologies that support these narratives – parametric architecture and biodigital architecture. In parallel, this thesis draws on twentieth-century critical theory and twenty-firstcentury nomadic feminist theory to rethink two thematic topics: difference and subjectivity. Specifically, these are Gilles Deleuze’s non-essentialist, nonrepresentational philosophy of difference (1968, 1980, 1988) and Rosi Braidotti’s nomadic feminist reconceptualization of post-human, nonunitary subjectivity (2006, 2011, 2015). Nomadic feminist theory also informs my methodology. I draw on Rosi Braidotti’s cartographing and transposing (2006, 2011) because they engender a non-dualist approach to research itself that is dynamic and affirmative, insisting on grounding techniques – grounding in subject positions that are nevertheless post-human and nonunitary. This leads to a redefinition of novel digital practices with ethical ones.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Digital architecture and difference: a theory of ethical transpositions towards nomadic embodiments in digital architecture
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10042282
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