Etienne Turpin

Etienne Turpin is a philosopher; he studies, curates, and writes about complex urban systems, the political economies of data and infrastructure, visual culture and design, and Southeast Asian colonial scientific history.

He is director of the GeoSocial Intelligence Research Group and Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the SMART Infrastructure Facility, Faculty of Engineering & Information Sciences, and Associate Research Fellow at the Australian Center for Cultural Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia.

He is also the founder and director of anexact office, a design research practice committed to multidisciplinary urban activism, curatorial and artistic experimentation, and applied philosophical inquiry, based in Jakarta, Indonesia and Berkeley, United States. Etienne is currently the co-editor of the intercalations: paginated exhibition series, co-published by K. Verlag and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Germany. The series examines how the Anthropocene thesis transforms both the visual economies of art production and current modes curatorial practice through curatorial-editorial experimentation with the book as a form for exhibition making.

This academic year, he is also a visiting professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is teaching advanced data-driven design and co-curating the symposium Data Made Me Do It, which examines the consequences of ubiquitous computing and big data on ideas of agency and politics in contemporary design.

He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2013); and, co-editor of Art in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, forthcoming December 2014) and Jakarta: Architecture + Adaptation (Universitas Indonesia Press, 2013). He is currently writing his first monograph, Terrible is the Earth, which examines episodes of intense interactivity among philosophical, infrastructural and ethical registers pressurized by perceived and intended hostilities.

Etienne is currently in Jakarta, where he directs, a research project studying the social consequences of infrastructure transformation as a result of rapid development and climate change. Through community engagement, institutional ethnography, and novel approaches to social media platforms, data gathering, and designed engagement, Etienne’s research develops new tools, techniques, and methods to help democratize processes of urban transformation by meaningfully engaging the concerns and capacities of the urban poor.


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