Prototyping the Idiotic City

 Michael Guggenheim chairing session.

Goldsmiths –– RHB 137
Tues 5 June 2018 @ 9:30AM –> 4:30PM



Alison Powell, London School of Economics

Gyorgyi Galik, Royal College of Art, London/Umbrellium

Jennifer Gabrys, University of Goldsmiths

Mike Michael, University of Exeter

Noortje Marres, CIM, University of Warwik

Ola Söderström, University of Neuchâtel

Uriel Fogué, ESAYA, UEM

CISP & Fondecyt N°1180062


In recent years, the notion of smartness has gained pervasive prominence in various spheres of social life and the ways that cities can be known, planned and governed. Data collection is now enabled through embedded sensors and devices in urban space, particularly in the development of the Internet of Things. Autonomous mobility and other smart city initiatives make cities appear to be manageable and controllable in (near) real-time through smart analytics and dashboards. In developing these innovations, new modes of laboratorization and experimentation are deployed in order to test technological ‘solutions’. Against the grain of a sterile technotopia proposed by the smart city, we want to problematize the various kinds of smartness that are programmed and inscribed into this debate, as well as question the newness of it. What, in other words, are the failures and breakdowns that slow down and counteract the supposed smoothness of the smart city? Through a one-day workshop we invite researchers to creatively incorporate the “murmur of the idiot” (Stengers, 2005) into situations in which new relationships with our ‘smart’ surroundings can be built. During the event, each presenter discusses an idiotic object or situation. Each speaker, together with the audience, will then try to further the idiocy of other speakers cases.

For more information see the attached.

Organising committee

–            Michael Guggenheim (Goldsmiths, University of London) –               Martin Tironi (School of Design, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) –               Liam Healy (Goldsmiths, University of London) –               Fabian Namberger (Goldsmiths, University of London)


Event is free, please register here:


9.30 Introduction: Martin Tironi

09.50-11.10 (chair: Michael Guggenheim)

Mike Michael: Toward the Untoward: Idiocy, Multiplicity and The London Fatberg

Gyorgyi Galik: If We Are So Smart, Then Why Aren’t We Healthier?

11.30-12.50 (chair Alex Wilkie)

Jennifer Gabrys: The Participatory Platform in the Idiotic City

Alison Powell: The Unknowable City. A New Ethics of Sense

12.50-1.50 lunch

1.50-3.10 (chair: Marsha Rosengarten)

Noortje Marres: Title TBC

Uriel Fogué: The Lazy Reading Club: Prototyping the Idiotic City in Cushioned Infrastructures

3.30-4.10 (chair: Martin Tironi)

Ola Söderström: A Schizo-Analysis of the Smart City

4.10 Final comments: Liam Healy, Fabian Namberger