The UQAM Centre de Design presents Vers un imaginaire numérique

The exhibition looks at the role of digital tools in the process of generating forms in design and architecture.

Indeterminate Set, Dana Cupkova, 2017

The UQAM Centre de Design presents an exhibition that takes a historical and contemporary look at the role of digital tools in the process of generating forms in design and architecture.

The Vers un imaginaire numérique exhibition showcases a selection of photographs, films, high-quality reproductions, interactive software reconstructions, and works by present-day practitioners.

Thirty designers, architects and artists are exhibited, including Kristy Balliet and Kelly Bair, Phillip Beesley, Joanna Berzowska, Dana Cupkova, Felicia Davis and Delia Dumitrescu, Golan Levin, Zach Lieberman, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Leslei Mezei, Frieder Nake, George Stiny, Jer and Diane Thorp, and Elizabeth Vander Zaag.

Historical records include over 150 items from personal and archival collections of research institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon in the United States, the University of Cambridge in England, the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and Bell-Northern Research in Canada.

The show examines the confluence of technical developments in graphics and software with the emergence of new aesthetic languages and theoretical sensibilities in design, architecture, and other creative fields.

According to the UQAM Centre de Design’s website, the exhibit explores how design such as software, materials, images and action have become computerized.

“With a few clicks and pressing on a few keys, designers, architects and artists transform unruly materials into precisely sculpted forms, creating imaginary worlds in the form of pixelated landscapes and immersive visions animated by algorithms and human action,” says the UQAM Centre de Design.

By combining rare and visually striking historical documents with a selection of contemporary works of art, Vers un imaginaire numérique reveals how 20th century technologists in the United States, Canada and Great Britain interpreted design using computer ideas and methods.

Vers un imaginaire numérique further includes a series of experimental interactive reconstructions created with the first computer-aided design systems, including the Sketchpad by Ivan Sutherland and the HIDECS 2 by Christopher Alexander and Marvin Manheim.

UQAM Centre de Design states that Vers un imaginaire numérique expands and adapts to the Canadian context the exhibition Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational Design, which was launched at the Miller Institute of Contemporary Art in Pittsburgh in 2017.

Developed by curator Daniel Cardoso Llach, Associate Professor of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, the UQAM Design Center has expanded the exhibition with new materials from the history of computer design in Canada, discovered by co-curator Theodora Vardouli, Assistant Professor at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University.

The materials are complemented by a selection of contemporary works by Canadian designers, architects and artists specializing in digital art and computational design. Professor Nicolas Reeves of the UQAM School of Design contributed as a local advisor to the exhibition, particularly for the section on the pedagogy of the digital imagination.