Alexandra Heimes: Die kybernetische Stadt. Planetarische Stadtplanung im Kalten Krieg 1950–1970
Lecture in the context of the exhibition BACK TO FUTURE. Technikvisionen zwischen Fiktion und Realität (3 Dec 2021 – 28 Aug 2022) at the Museum für Kommunikation Berlin
Cybernetics, the science of self-regulating systems, has stirred countless imaginations on how to renew human civilization. An eccentric example would be urban planning drafts presented by the artist Nicolas Schöffer or the architect and composer Iannis Xenakis during the postwar decades. According to these drafts, the city of the future could have been imagined as a place of megalomanic buildings that soar kilometers into the sky and that have become widely independent from earth thanks to their cybernetic organization. Now, it seems as if some offshoots of these imaginations live on until this very day.
The literary scholar Alexandra Heimes is a research asscociate in the project Archipelagic Imperatives. Shipwreck and Lifesaving in European Societies since 1800.
Fig. above: Photo of a cybernetic sculpture by Nicolas Schöffer (1965) as part of the exhibition “Artistes & Robots,” Paris (2018)