Fri 12 May, 2023 | 15:00 - 16:30 CET

Work Meeting

#5 Decoso Meeting

Cybernetics for a 4th World. A Latin American World Model on Cooperative Development represented in the Buildings for UNCTAD III (Santiago de Chile, April 1972).

Venue: Online


Registration here

During the short span of Salvador Allende’s presidency Chile hosted the Third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD III). Studying the buildings and artworks created for the conference presents an aesthetic and technology for an alternative development – a 4th World. David Maulén de los Reyes will talk about his research on UNCTAD III, the political epistemology, co-op design strategies, and second-order cybernetics that informed the design of the buildings.

The work meeting with David Maulén de los Reyes and Kenny Cupers discusses the programming of participation and the becoming “environmental” of architecture. We ask, how diverging epistemologies shaped socialist cybernetics and materialized in design.

“The society proposed in the model is not a consumer society; production is determined by social needs and not by profit…consumption is not an end in itself.” Catastrophe or New Society? A Latin American World Model (1976, 25)




Contributor Biographies

  • David Maulén de los Reyes

    David Maulén de los Reyes teaches history of technology at the Metropolitan Technological University (UTEM). Maulén has published widely on the relationship between art, science, and new technologies in the context of social change, educational reforms, and urban planning, especially in Chile and Latin America in the twentieth century. He curated the third Biennial of the National Museum of Fine Arts MNBA “Situation of Chilean Contemporary Art”, designed the project “Genealogical Trajectories of Buildings for the 3rd United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD III,” and worked as regional curator at the IFA project “Everyone is a Bauhaus. Past and future of a concept,” at ZKM. He has contributed to the platform “Is Modernity Our Antiquity?” XII Documenta in Kassel. He was co-editor of the special issue on Cybernetics in Latin America published by Springer’s AI & Society Journal, research that he has continued developing.

  • Kenny Cupers

    Kenny Cupers is a Professor of Architectural History and Urban Studies at the University of Basel, where he leads the Critical Urbanisms program. He is committed to the development of the urban humanities through collaborative pedagogy and public-facing research at the intersection of architectural history, urban studies, and critical geography. He has published widely on mass housing, architectural modernism, and planning history. Cupers is currently working on two book projects. The Earth that Modernism Built is a historical study of German imperialism in southern Africa and central Europe that traces how land and life were turned into objects of design. The second project explores infrastructure as African worldmaking. In this context, Cupers is currently working in Kenya with Kamirithu community actors, Dr. Makau Kitata, and African Digital Heritage to build a digital archive of decolonization, and with Save Lamu to address social and environmental justice in Africa’s mega-infrastructure boom.

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