Design:Vertical&Horizontal Growth Conference HSE Day

DESIGN:VERTICAL&HORIZONTAL GROWTH CONFERENCE / HSE DAY

About

With the Cumulus vision to actively promote exchange of knowledge and design experience on a global and interdisciplinary scale,three Russian schools from St.Petersburg and Moscow — HSE Art And Design School (National Research University ‘Higher School of Economics’), St. Petersburg University, and Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University have joined their efforts to host an online conference in collaboration with Cumulus.

’Design: Vertical & Horizontal Growth’ was a precursor to the official annual Cumulus Conference. Postponed due to COVID-19, this will now take place in Moscow and St.Petersburg in June 2022. Since staying connected is critical in the on-going COVID-reality, three Russian universities decided to make participation free of charge. The conference was held in digital format in October 2020.

’Design: Vertical and Horizontal Growth’ aims to encouraging the Cumulus community to express their opinions on the role of design as a humanizing practice in the context of multidirectional development complicated by the COVID pandemic.

We decided to invite the participants to explore issues surrounding the design community’s involvement in the innovation process. How can design thinking help society overcome its fear of and resistance to the main challenges of our time? In what ways could we bridge the gap between traditional living patterns and the changes rapidly occurring in all areas of society today?

We need a communicative model that would smooth over the differences between the horizontal and the vertical processes.

The perpendicular development vectors — x and y — shape the space of interpretation, aims and objectives of design. The horizontal vector represents cultural values and the conventional lifestyle; this is an area of social comfort. The vertical vector represents innovations that destroy the familiar way of life. Our discussion focuses on design as a practice of searching for areas of growth, support and balance, which make it possible to reconcile the traditional way of life and cultural values with the innovative approach to solving problems arising in society.

The three-day conference was held from 28 to 30 October 2020. Each day has covered one of the conference’s tracks: Future Human, Creative Industry, Inter-action. Each host (SpbU, SpbPU, HSE) was responsible for one track. This approach has presented a diverse Russian art and design academic community eager to exchange ideas with colleagues worldwide.
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HSE Day was focused on the track ’Future human’. We invited researchers from all over the world to share their ideas about a human body as a platform of transformations, both morphological and media.

Download the digest

DESIGN:VERTICAL&HORIZONTAL GROWTH CONFERENCE / HSE DAY

We are happy to share the proceedings of all 3 days of the conference. In the document you will find papers, reviews, and interviews with our keynotes.

Future human

DESIGN:VERTICAL&HORIZONTAL GROWTH CONFERENCE / HSE DAY

The concept of the human body and its capacities is today under review due to the development of technologies changing the body structure by means of surgery, genetics and technological correction. As a result, the body becomes a platform of transformation. Today it is an object of design: ‘extended body’ and ‘morphological freedom’ come to the foreground. What new ways of considering one’s body does this imply? How does one adapt to an extended self? What is the new subjectivity of an augmented human?

Furthermore, the ‘online shock’ we have witnessed during the pandemic has given rise to a media extension. As the global lockdown forced both business and personal communication to go totally online, the concepts of one’s presence and face-to-face encounters have taken on a new aspect. How could we describe the effect of this ‘extended communication’ which, henceforward, will involve us all? What are the effects of the ‘mediated’ body? How are science, art and design reacting to this online extension we are forced to undertake?

Keynote speakers

Lev Manovich (City University of New York, USA): «Artificial Intelligence, Aesthetics, and Future of Culture»

While debates on questions such as «will AI replace artists» and «can AI be truly creative» continue, AI has already been shaping contemporary global culture for a number of years. Examples include systems that model our taste and aesthetic preferences, recommending books, music, and movies, enhancing photos, designing websites and data visualizations, writing newspaper articles, making movie trailers, TV scripts, etc. If contemporary culture is organized around templates, conventions, and vocabularies of repeated elements, why its creation has not been automated a long time ago? Is there any data to suggest that AI culture automation will contribute to a decrease in cultural diversity over time? Or does it on the contrary increases cultural diversity? Can we imagine what design, media, and art we will have in 20-30 years? What do you need to learn now to be the leading designer in future decades when AI is more advanced? And what about «general-purpose cultural artificial intelligence» — will it ever be achieved, and what it may look like?

Laini Burton (Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia): «Filters and Fakery — The 21st Century Mask»

The mask has emerged in recent times as a particularly charged design artefact. This presentation was discussed the mask in two seemingly opposing yet connected ways.

Here Laini Burton discussed the development of the digital mask, applied through various applications and software technologies, including face editing applications and the recent development of the ‘deepfake’, which can both damage and protect identity. In this analysis, Laini Burton revealed the interpretive dilemma that masking continues to present as a method of representation.


Dmitry Bulatov (National Center for Contemporary Arts, The Baltic Branch, Russia): «Posthuman curating»

The paper is an attempt to interpret the posthuman curating. Its key tasks comprise the analysis of theoretical grounds of curating in the field of art&science as well as correlation of curatorial activities with the current scientific, philosophical and technological context of the modern society. The presentation will give special attention to evolution of a curator figure in a context of emerging technologies development — robotics, IT and biomedicine. These technologies are not only a means of communication in works of art of the 21st century but they also facilitate the emergence of various agents of curatorial activity which demand us to understand the ‘nonhuman’ curating while avoiding their purely biological definition. Artificial neural networks (ANNs), viruses, human-machine hybrids and becoming a mineral are among such agents as well as other manifestations of inorganic, anonymous and indefinite curatorial activity. The main issue under study here is the ‘living’ aspect — the pool of existing opportunities that can be found in this autonomous and ‘nonhuman’ dimension.

Round Table with Ars Electronica Curators: «Art and Technology Trends in Pandemic Realty»

Speakers:

Christl Baur — The head of the Ars Electronica Festival
Olga Vad — Curator, co-founder of NADO Curatorial Agency
Helena Nikonole — New media artist, curator, and educator
Andriesh Gandrabur — Sound designer and curator. Head of «Sound art and sound design» program, HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL


Helena Nikonole (Artist, independent curator, Russia): «Art & Science Practices: Beyond Human»

Irina Sirotkina (Institute for the History of Science and Technology, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow): «Cyborgs or Wearable Technologies? Commentaries on the future body in the Neuralink project»

Alexander Zhuravlev (HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL) «The return of avatar as ever-changing postdigital identity»

Ammer Harb (Politecnico di Milano, Italy): «Humans, Technology and Speculative Design Futures: Can we see the invisible?»


Kellie Walters (Garmin International, USA): «Nance: Satirical Jewelry Design for Feminist Perspectives in Augmentation»

Moderators

Tatiana Rivchun
Tatiana Rivchun

PhD., Professor, Deputy Dean of Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design at HSE University, co-founder of HSE Art and Design School, Executive producer of Telling Stories International Festival.

Liudmila Aliabieva
Liudmila Aliabieva

PhD., Academic Director of The Doctoral Programme in Art and Design at HSE University, Editor-in-Chief of Russian Fashion Theory: the Journal of Dress, Body & Culture (2006 present), editor of the book series Fashion Theory Journal Library, Board member of Fashion Theory: the Journal of Dress, Body and Culture and Fashion Studies, curator of fashion and exhibition programs at the Krasnoayrsk Book Fair (since 2010)

Alexandra Persheeva
Alexandra Persheeva

PhD., Assosiate professor at HSE Communication, media and design faculty, head of theory-based courses at HSE Art and Design School. Researcher specializing in contemporary art, focused on video art and theory of moving image, author of a book «Video art. Viewer’s montage» (2020) and an online course «The art of video» (PostNauka).

Olga Vad
Olga Vad

Curator, co-founder of NADO Curatorial Agency. In 2014-2019 — Curator of the Polytechnic Museum, Program Director of the Polytech Festival of Science, Art & Technology (2018). In 2016 she worked in the curatorial team of Ars Electronica Festival (Linz, Austria). In 2013-2014 — Head of the TransCultural Express project, a cultural exchange program between the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York).

Program

11:45 — 12:00. Opening remarks: Eija Salmi (Cumulus Association), Tatyana Rivchun and Liudmila Alyabieva (HSE Art and Design School)


12:00 — 12:40. Lev Manovich (City University of New York, USA): «Artificial Intelligence, Aesthetics, and Future of Culture»

While debates on questions such as «will AI replace artists» and «can AI be truly creative» continue, AI has already been shaping contemporary global culture for a number of years. Examples include systems that model our taste and aesthetic preferences, recommending books, music, and movies, enhancing photos, designing websites and data visualizations, writing newspaper articles, making movie trailers, TV scripts, etc. If contemporary culture is organized around templates, conventions, and vocabularies of repeated elements, why its creation has not been automated a long time ago? Is there any data to suggest that AI culture automation will contribute to a decrease in cultural diversity over time? Or does it on the contrary increases cultural diversity? Can we imagine what design, media, and art we will have in 20-30 years? What do you need to learn now to be the leading designer in future decades when AI is more advanced? And what about «general-purpose cultural artificial intelligence» — will it ever be achieved, and what it may look like?

Moderator: Tatyana Rivchun

12:40 — 13:00. Helena Nikonole (Artist, independent curator, Russia): «Art & Science Practices: Beyond Human»

TBA

13:00 — 13:20. Irina Sirotkina (Institute for the History of Science and Technology, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow): «Cyborgs or Wearable Technologies? Commentaries on the future body in the Neuralink project»

TBA

13:20 — 14:00. Laini Burton (Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia): «Filters and Fakery — The 21st Century Mask»

The mask has emerged in recent times as a particularly charged design artefact. This presentation will discuss the mask in two seemingly opposing yet connected ways.

First, the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent global Black Lives Matter protests have drawn the mask into mainstream consciousness and use through necessity. Laini Butron will explore the mask concerning the emergence of surveillance technologies, protest movements and health concerns. The politically charged issues of face recognition technology, Black Lives Matter and other political protests, and climate change have given rise to a range of masking strategies which secure the right to anonymity and safeguard wellbeing. The motives for masking are identified here as mirroring those of its earliest uses; that is, the protection of privacy, reputation and wellness.

Second, as social media proves itself to be a force of identity construction and commodification in the early twenty-first century, the digital mask has become increasingly naturalised.

Here Laini Burton will discuss the development of the digital mask, applied through various applications and software technologies, including face editing applications and the recent development of the ‘deepfake’, which can both damage and protect identity. In this analysis, Laini Burton will reveal the interpretive dilemma that masking continues to present as a method of representation.

14:00 — 14:20. Alexandra Staruseva-Persheeva, Tatiana Fadeeva (HSE Art and Design School, Russia): «See you in Zoom: digitally extended presence as a new normal»

The 2020 Lockdown has forced grand institutions (from British House of Commons to Venice biennale) as well as business and individuals to transfer their activities almost entirely into the web. Digital presence, which a year before would hardly qualify as a presence at all, in 2020 has become legitimate, officially approved and mutually agreed upon. The current issue focuses on specific traits of contemporary digital embodiment, online dialogue and combined meetings that take part in «real life» and conference apps simultaneously. We argue that digitally extended communication — which has long ago been described in science fiction — is now taking shape due not to a burst of technology but a change in social conventions established during the period of pandemic and has become the calling up an update in logistics, project management, education process, etiquette Etc. We aim to examine the change in spheres of art, design and humanitarian education in order to outline features of digitalized presence and Zoom-mediated communication. The goal is to seize the look of «new normal».

14:20 — 14:40. Alexander Zhuravlev (HSE Art and Design School, Russia): «The return of avatar as ever-changing postdigital identity»

The world of social networks and instant messengers providing round-the-clock communication of users was preceded by a phenomenon of avatar, without which it would be inconceivable. An avatar is a picture that is uploaded as a representation of oneself, one’s personality. First it was like choosing a profession, wardrobe, other things that would allow you to say once and for all: «It’s me!» or «I am!»

The avatar usage in recent years has evolved. The main quality of the virtual environment — making everything possible — gradually inspired more frequent changes of avatars and experiments with users’ appearance using masks and applications. In this case, subjectivity does not limit itself to one form declaring: «This is me! And this! And you will not believe, this is also me, and this is not even my final form! »

14:40 — 15:20. Dmitry Bulatov (National Center for Contemporary Arts (The Baltic Branch, Russia): «Posthuman curating»

The paper is an attempt to interpret the posthuman curating. Its key tasks comprise the analysis of theoretical grounds of curating in the field of art&science as well as correlation of curatorial activities with the current scientific, philosophical and technological context of the modern society. The presentation will give special attention to evolution of a curator figure in a context of emerging technologies development — robotics, IT and biomedicine. These technologies are not only a means of communication in works of art of the 21st century but they also facilitate the emergence of various agents of curatorial activity which demand us to understand the ‘nonhuman’ curating while avoiding their purely biological definition. Artificial neural networks (ANNs), viruses, human-machine hybrids and becoming a mineral are among such agents as well as other manifestations of inorganic, anonymous and indefinite curatorial activity. The main issue under study here is the ‘living’ aspect — the pool of existing opportunities that can be found in this autonomous and ‘nonhuman’ dimension.

15:20 — 15:40. Ammer Harb (Politecnico di Milano, Italy): «Humans, Technology and Speculative Design Futures: Can we see the invisible?»

Recent technological developments have geared humans with profound opportunities to shape better futures. Although these advancements might seem astounding, it might also have serious ethical implications and societal consequences. The aim of this paper is to situate and connect design with the topical philosophical discussions about the future of humanity. In this paper, I problematize the relationship between humans and technological futures. I give a short account on the ethical implications of emerging technologies. I also discuss how humans are dealing with a post-anthropocentric future of multispecies, other critters and possibly other human species. Furthermore, I highlight the role of design practice as an aiding agent and catalyst in shaping better futures. I also attempt to answer why critical, discursive and speculative design practices could be fundamental tools in designing our technological futures.

15:40 — 16:00. Kellie Walters (Garmin International, USA): «Nance: Satirical Jewelry Design for Feminist Perspectives in Augmentation»

Society is heading through augmentation towards artificial super intelligence. Many advances are focused on reaching the singularity with minimal critical considerations that create short-term deliverable controls that allow AI to develop within constraints. This paper uses the tool of satirical design of an augmented jewelry piece designed with a theoretical base artificial intelligence, economic, and feminist theory in order to expose the gaps our current society has and implications if these gaps present in AI development. This project does not pose a solution to critical considerations in augmentation, but instead stresses the importance of critical satirical industrial design in the sector of augmentation, posing it as a tool to show possible concerning realities if there is limited focus on diverse perspectives in critical considerations.

16:00 — 17:00. Round Table with Ars Electronica Curators (Christl Baur, Olga Vad, Helena Nikonole, Andriesh Gandrabur): «Art and Technology Trends in Pandemic Realty»

TBA

17:00 — 18:00. «Non-player Piano» Sound Performance

Non-Player Piano sound performance, created by the Sound Art & Sound Design department in collaboration with Mubert AI App. Non-Player Piano was created specifically for Ars Electronica Festival 2020. The performance will be performed on Moscow River and include live music improvisations aided by an artificial neural network «trained» to analyze the surrounding environment, such as the weather, time of day, location, speed, and type of movement.

Project Credits / Acknowledgements Pavel Zgordan (RU), SNS (Maxim Silenkov) (RU), Andriesh Gandrabur (RU), Evgeny Voronovsky (RU), Valeria Kogan (RU), Victor Avsaragov (RU), Victor Glazunov (RU), Eva Reicher (RU), Grigory Shmidko (RU), Roman Zharov (RU), Kirill Kustov (RU), Dmitry Levshin (RU), Georgy Safarov (RU), Irina Ineshina (RU), Aris Project.

Partners

The «Design: Vertical & Horizontal Growth» Conference is organized in partnership with Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and Saint Petersburg State University in collaboration with Cumulus. Learn more about conference’s days curated by our partners:

29.10.2020
Creative Industry
Hosted by Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
https://www.cumulusrussia2020.org/

30.10.2020
Inter-action
Hosted by St. Petersburg University
https://dvhg-spbu.online/


HSE Conference DAY is supported by Storytel, one of the leading audiobook and e-book streaming service that offers unlimited listening and reading of more than 500 000 titles on a global scale. Our vision is to make the world a more empathetic place with great stories to be shared and enjoyed by anyone, anywhere and anytime. Storytel is a digital platform provider as well as a comprehensive publishing group. Storytel operates in 20 markets around the globe and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

Cumulus International Association

Cumulus is the only global association to serve art and design education and research. It is a forum for partnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices. Cumulus consists currently of 340 members from 61 countries.
Learn more on https://www.cumulusassociation.org/

About HSE

40 300
students
7 000
professors and researchers
245
educational programmes

HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL is a subdivision of the Higher School of Economics National Research University, one of the leading universities in Russia, a participant of the majority of authoritative international educational ratings (QS, ARWU, Times Higher Education, U.S. News Best Global Universities Subject).

It’s not only a huge scientific laboratory, but a representative expert platform as well: the HSE personnel are actively involved in the key expert discussions, they are members of many collegiate and consultative bodies and are opinion leaders of the most important issues in the sphere of education, social policy, healthcare, demography, labor market, transport, public administration, and technological development.