Kazys Varnelis is the Director of the Network Architecture Lab at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and is on the architecture faculty at Columbia. Varnelis is a co-founder of the conceptual architecture/media group AUDC, which published Blue Monday: Absurd Realities and Natural Histories (2007) and has exhibited widely in places such as High Desert Test Sites. He is editor of The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles, Networked Publics and The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews with Robert A. M. Stern (all 2008). He has also worked with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, for which he produced the pamphlet Points of Interest in the Owens Valley.
From Alice Twemlow’s introduction to Kazys Varnelis:
As students and practitioners of design criticism, clearly we are interested in designed objects but we’re also interested in the infrastructures and networks within which objects—and people and ideas—circulate. Sometimes those infrastructures and networks become the objects of study themselves. In Karrie Jacobs’ Urban Curation class, for example, students explore New York’s sewage plants, bridges, the BQE, the Roosevelt Island tram, and Port Authority and write an essay on the most beautiful piece of urban infrastructure.
This fascination with the connective tissue of cities is also what appears to drive tonight’s speaker, Kazys Varnelis who is the Director of the Network Architecture Lab at Columbia University, and who writes at length and in depth on the impact of recent changes in telecommunications and demographics on the contemporary city and other issues related to our increasingly networked existence. He is editor of the Infrastructural City. Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles, Networked Publics and The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews with Robert A. M. Stern, all published in 2008. He has also worked with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, for which he produced the pamphlet Points of Interest in the Owens Valley.
In the book he is currently writing, The Meaning of Network Culture: A History of the Contemporary, he argues that many of the key tenets of culture since the Enlightenment—the subject, the novel, the public sphere—are being radically reshaped by their relationship to the network. Also of interest to us is the way in which Kazys disseminates his thinking; much of it is available online and this book will be published in installments online, with revisions visible, which readers can comment upon.