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The abstract principals of contemporary networked culture have become socially and technologically formalized, eight years after their prediction by Manuel Castells’ in “The Rise of the Network Society”. Form is now conceptualized by architects, engineers and artists, as reflexive, contingent and distributed, at the same time that it threatens to dissolve into the structures of dynamic relations and flows of information that are said to constitute it. This conference will address the emergence of networked and distributed models of design and their connection to architectural design practice and the broader implications for form. As one of the first symposia to critically examine the forces and opportunities of today’s dynamic relationship between physical and networked environments, DF:NP will sketch a provisional history of the network for designers, as well as a trajectory of things to come.

Recent developments in information technology have resulted in the entrenchment of networks and distributed systems as the dominant spatial paradigm, effectively challenging fundamental design issues of autonomy, originality, place, practice and form, which reconfigure disciplines through the implementation of distributed logics and collaborative “open” practices. As a benchmark, this conference will analyze how the disciplines of art, science and architecture are responding to rapidly changing mobile, wireless and ultimately information embedded environments.

The conference will be organized around a multidisciplinary framework operating at three different scalar levels:

At the Meta level, the conference will first address Form and the Network, raising issues of architectural morphology of and within networked society, by building a provisional history of networked design processes and production. Then the second session, Form and Technology will consider current research on the relationship between experimental digital technologies and emergent form.

The third panel Micro: Form and Operation will address theories of operative design strategies, social relationships and bodiless form.

The fourth panel Mega: Form and Presence, will investigate how larger scale networks and their reconfiguration of time and space are altering professional design practices, while critically considering a logic of connection as the primary site of design.