Assemblage reframing the nearby: Resisting the spectacle through anti-communication (RSD12)

Shucen Liu*, Laurence Dale (Larry) Richards, Claudia Westermann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review


This presentation explores the potential application of systemic design principles in architectural and spatial design practice. It focuses in the first part on the concepts of assemblage as a possible strategy to resist modernity’s tendency to replace meaningful relations with illusions of meaning, drawing upon the theoretical frameworks of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. The concept of assemblage further serves as a basis for a set of design principles to foster community engagement and ecological diversity in an architectural undergraduate final studio. Developed in two stages, De-coding the Nearby and Re-coding the Nearby aim to create resistances against the spectacle of modern life dominated by capital and technology. In a second part, the presentation outlines how anti-communication, as defined by Herbert Brün and further explored by Larry Richards, assists in challenging one-dimensional interactions and encourages multi-dimensional dialogue among inhabitants. The presentation then proceeds to explain how these ideas have assisted in the development of the interactions for the public art project The Order of Things, Rivers and Mountains, which was installed in August 2023 in the village of Wolong in Yunnan, China. Both strategy and basis for a method of evaluation, the concept of anti-communication has served to develop and test the multi-dimensional and multi-scale interactions between people and the artwork.
This presentation is part of the Ecopoetic Formations for Transgenerational Collaboration scheme for which four junior designers were paired with four senior members of the American Society for Cybernetics. The scheme has been initiated in July 2023. It aims to provide the junior designers with an introduction to systemic design and assist them in developing their existing graduation projects or parts of these by integrating systems theory and systemic design principles. This presentation provides an overview of the De-coding the Nearby and Re-coding the Nearby undergraduate design project and the ideas developed in an associated essay by Shucen Liu (junior collaborator), which served as a basis for the collaboration with Larry Richards (senior collaborator) and the extension of the assemblage approach via anti-communication. The presentation further reports on the ideas, designs and thoughts the junior and senior collaborators have developed from July onwards.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD12)
Subtitle of host publicationEntangled in Emergence
PublisherSystemic Design Association
Number of pages13
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Aug 2023


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