The Pursuit of Life by Means Other than Life: On Social Habits and Technological Habitats

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


It is symptomatic that architecture has often been described as the first art. Not a mere epiphenomenon of culture, but the collective equipment of terraforming, on the Earth. The paper will make a case for the ontogenetic role of architecture in relation to noetic processes. One does not simply decide to think differently. It is not a matter of volition. To think differently, one has to feel differently. As a matter of fact, ‘thinking differently’ is a tautology given that thinking occurs only on the condition that it does not conform to some pre-established structure. To think is to be disposed not for re-cognition, but for a genuine encounter with that which forces us to think. From this point of view, the purpose of design is to ‘rewire our brains’ and architecture qualifies as a psychotropic practice. The aim of the paper is to reclaim the importance of architecture for the process of anthropogenesis. Given that the animate has always been utterly dependent on the inanimate, architecture assumes a significant role in what Bernard Stiegler calls epiphylogenesis, or evolution by means other than life. The built environment is recast as an exteriorised artificial organ and the line ‘we build our cities and in return they build us’ takes a literal meaning. Ask not what technology is; ask rather what it can do. The paper will rethink the entanglement of habits and habitats through the process of exo-somatisation. Such an approach is, arguably, a viable antidote to the prevailing ‘carbon chauvinism’.
Period7 Jul 2022
Event titlePhilosophy of Human-Technology Relations: Designing the Techno-Anthropocene
Event typeConference
LocationCopenhagen, Denmark
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • architecture
  • Exosomatisation
  • Anthropogenesis