Ecologies, Economies, Creativity & Crisis

Ambiguous Means of Remaking the World

In what ways can we orient the knowledge practices of art and design in order to provide alternate responses to the reductive, simplifying metrics of market economies? How might we redefine utility and invoke prefigurative practices for thought and action that are preconditioned by sympathy, empathy, intimacy, or even love? From the front lines of a supposed “creative” economy, we might seek to cultivate a hopeful insurgency that says “no” to insipid play, counterfeit transformation and the industrial-professional supposition that singularly and monetary ends require or are justified by naïve means. Earth species Homo creatus economicus is a contradictory mob, at once hyper-productive and creatively destructive. Ignorance and inaction in the face of such ambiguity details collective expressions of the conditions of ecological and creative crisis — crises that are perhaps both symptoms of more difficult to diagnose, incipient maladies besetting the earth and its peoples.

In this talk, Jamie Allen will employ the conceptual rubric of “infrastructure” to discuss potential activations of material ecologies and media technologies as creative practices. The talk will give an overview of developments in critical media application and theory in the context of the Critical Media Lab and Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures in Basel, Switzerland. We will also talk through and review the collaborative activities of these groups with the Media Lab at SciencesPo, Paris as regards the context of the Reset Modernity! exhibition at the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, the follow-up workshop series in Shanghai and related publications.



18.15 – 18.30 Registration

18.30 – 18.40 Welcome Speech by Mr. Erwin Lüthi, Deputy Consul General

18.40 – 19.40 Lecture by Mr. Jamie Allen

19.40 – 20.00 Questions & Answers

20.00 – 20.30 Networking



Jamie Allen ( is a Canadian researcher, artist, designer and teacher, interested in what technologies teach us about who we are as individuals, cultures and societies. He likes to make things with his head and hands, and has worked as an electronics engineer, a polymer chemist and a museum designer in NYC. He lectures, publishes and exhibits worldwide. He lives in Europe, works on art and technology projects, writes a bit, and tries to engage himself with and create prefigurative institutions which that are generous and collaborative, acknowledging that friendship, passion and love are central to artistic, research and knowledge practices. His PhD (summa cum laude) was supervised by Siegfried Zielinski and Avital Ronell. He is currently Senior Researcher at the Critical Media Lab in Basel, Switzerland.