Design Anthropology:
Critical Speculations

Online 16–17 March 2023

18.00–20.00 CET

1:00-3:00PM EDT

University of Applied Arts Vienna and The New School for Social Research, New York City

The Papanek Symposium 2023, Design Anthropology: Critical Speculations, will be co-convened by Alison J. Clarke, Professor of Design History and Theory, University of Applied Arts Vienna and Shannon Mattern, Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research, New York, 16–17 March 2023.  Supported by Barbara Adams and Aryana Ghazi-Hessami at The New School, NYC and Michelle Jackson-Beckett at the Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts Vienna. Registration information to be announced.

Programme

Day One | 16 March 2023 | 18.00-20.00 CET

Speculative Curatorship

18.00-18.10 CET 
Welcome and Introduction
Alison J. Clarke and Shannon Mattern

18.10-18.30 CET
Michelle D. Commander, Associate Director, Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery, New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYC

18.30-18.50 CET
Bodhi Chattopadhyay, University of Oslo, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages  

18.50-19.10 CET
Elizabeth Chin, Professor, ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California

19.10-19.30 CET
Jonathan M. Square, Assistant Professor, School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons School of Design, NYC  

19.30-20.00 CET 
Q&A Panel Discussion 

 

Day Two | 17 March 2023 | 18.00-20.00 CET

Spatial Ecologies

18.00-18.10 CET  
Welcome and Introduction  
Alison J. Clarke and Shannon Mattern 

18.10-18.30 CET 

Victor Buchli, Professor, Anthropology, University College London  

David Jeevendrampillai, Research Fellow, Anthropology, University College London and the Institute of Advanced Studies  

18.30-18.50 CET 

Nicole Cristi, PhD candidate, Anthropology, University College London    

18.50-19.10 CET 

Elaine Gan, Professor, Science in Society Program, Wesleyan University, USA  

19.10-19.30 CET 

Brandi T. Summers, Associate Professor of Geography, University of California, Berkeley   

19.30-20.00 CET  
Q&A Panel Discussion 

Speakers

Michelle D. Commander

Michelle D. Commander is Deputy Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.  Speaker, writer, educator and curator, she is the author of Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic and Avidly Reads Passages. Commander is editor of the collection Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery & Abolition and series editor of the Schomburg Center's series with Penguin Classics. She recently served as consulting curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room. 

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay is Associate Professor in Global Culture Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway. He leads the international research group CoFUTURES and is leader (PI) of two major research projects funded by the European and Norwegian Research Councils, which explore contemporary global futurisms movements from a transmedial perspective. Chattopadhyay runs the Holodeck, a state-of-the-art games research lab at UiO and is Imaginary College Fellow at the Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University. Chattopadhyay is the recipient of the World Fantasy Award (2020), the Johannes H Berg Memorial Prize (2019), the Foundation Essay Prize (2017), and the Strange Horizons Readers’ Poll Award (2013).  

Elizabeth Chin

Elizabeth Chin is an anthropologist with a varied practice that includes performative scholarship, experimental ethnography, vernacular electronics, dance, and community engagement.  Recent publications have appeared in Feminist Anthropology and ICM Interactions. As editor in chief of American Anthropologist, she is dedicated to transparency and to practicing an ethic of care.  She is currently professor in the MFA program Media Design Practices at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. 

Jonathan M. Square

Jonathan M. Square is Assistant Professor of Black Visual Culture at Parsons School of Design, NYC. He was previously a lecturer in the Committee on the Degree in History and Literature at Harvard University and a fellow in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is curator of Past is Present: Black Artists Respond to the Complicated Histories of Slavery at the Herron School of Art and Design (2022-2023) and Afric-American Picture Gallery that opens at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in 2025. Square also runs the digital humanities project Fashioning the Self in Slavery and Freedom. 

Victor Buchli

Victor Buchli is PI of the ERC funded project: ETHNO-ISS and Professor of Anthropology at University College London, UK.  His research focuses on the new material culture and manufacturing economy emerging in Low Earth Orbit. Victor’s previous interests have been the anthropology of architecture and the material culture and architecture of utopian planning in the Soviet Union and Post-socialist Kazakhstan.  

David Jeevendrampillai

David Jeevendrampillai is an Anthropologist of Outer Space. His research focuses on emerging notions of planetary citizenship in particular reference to Earth Imagery from the International Space Station. He is a post-doctoral researcher on  ETHNO-ISS and is the Director of the Centre for Outer Space Studies at UCL. The themes of his research include, but are not limited to, citizenship, outer space, democracy, communities of knowledge, technology, digital and visual cultures.  

Nicole Cristi

Nicole Cristi is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UCL and a researcher in material culture studies and design theory in Chile and Latin America. Her work focuses on the intersection of design/politics and the anthropology of technics; it explores design's making and production processes throughout the history of the discipline until today. Cristi is co-author of the book Resistencia Gráfica (LOM, 2016) and a member of the Centre for the Anthropology of Technics and Technodiversity (CATT). Her current research explores biofabrication practices in Chile, challenging the category of tecnología [technology] from situated practices of care and the co-activity between humans, microorganisms, technical objects, institutions and territory.

Elaine Gan

Elaine Gan is an artist-theorist and assistant professor at Wesleyan University, Science in Society Program. Research, creative practice, and teaching engage with the fields of feminist science & technology studies, multispecies anthropology, environmental/digital arts and humanities, and experimental media. Her transdisciplinary practice involves writing, drawing, installation, and time-based media to explore social relations and coordinations that emerge between species, machines, and landscapes, with a special interest in de/colonial botany, plants, and fungi. Gan is co-editor of an interdisciplinary anthology titled Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (Minnesota Press, 2017) and director of the Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab.

Brandi T. Summers

Brandi T. Summers is associate professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research examines the relationship between and function of race, space, urban infrastructure, and architecture. Her book, Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City (UNC Press, 2019), explores how aesthetics and race converge to map blackness in Washington, D.C., and the way that competing notions of blackness structure economic relations and develop land in the gentrifying city. Summers has published several articles and essays that appear in both scholarly and popular publications, including New York Times, The Boston Globe, Urban Geography and Places Journal.