Rachel Armstrong and Rolf HughesApr 19, 2021
The Art of Experiment
Post-Pandemic Knowledge Practices for 21st Century Architecture and Design
The Art of Experiment: Post-Pandemic Knowledge Practices for 21st-Century Architecture and Design (Routledge, 2020) is a handbook for navigating our troubled and precarious times. In search of new knowledge practices that can help us make the world livable again, this book takes the reader on a journey across time—from the deep past to the unfolding future. Hughes and Armstrong search beyond human knowledge to establish negotiated partnerships with forms of knowledge within the planet itself, examining how we have manipulated these historically through an anthropocentric focus.
Rachel Armstrong and Rolf Hughes speak with Pierre d'Alancaisez about their approach to knowledge-making and organa paradoxa as an apparatus for incorporating the unexpected into research and practices. They also talk about sending cockroaches into space, living Shakespearean bricks, and about the value of experimentation in establishing productive cross-disciplinary collaborations.
- Some of the works discussed in the interview are described and illustrated in a Nature article.
- Caustic Ophelia from Brick Dialogues is on Bandcamp.
- The Hanging Gardens of Medusa can be seen here.
- The cockroaches’ journey into space also inspired a short story It by Rolf Hughes, which was published by the British Interplanetary Society
- Hughes' and Armstrong's earlier collaboration with Espen Gangvik The Handbook of the Unknowable is available in full here.
Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemporary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.