CAP (Centre for Art and Philosophy) is an interdisciplinary research platform based at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Most of its members have been or are still working at the department as lecturers, researchers or affiliates.

The Ecology of Design (Public Lecture)


Public lecture by Henk Oosterling at The Ecology of Design: Everything is Made of Something, an evening of spirited debate and open conversation. Speakers responded to the statement "Everything has become a matter of relational design, focused on affect and feeling," which forms the central theme of Dutch architect and theorist Lars Spuybroek's book The Architecture of Continuity, which places the digital revolution in historical and philosophical context, dismissing popular 20th-century theories.

Today, our whole lives – all our decisions, all our politics, all our concerns – are nothing but matters of design. Until the 19th century, human beings believed God threw the facts in our face, disrupting our lives, and demanding constant penitence in our ongoing struggle with those facts. Now things have reversed completely: we design everything, and each thing can be different and unique. This is not so different from the world of ecology: plants affect animals, and animals affect each other. Every relational system operates on affect, or, as we more often call it, feeling. In an evening with designers, theoreticians and historians, two questions were addressed: Does an ecology of design mean a design of feeling? And can we consider the notion a reversal of the past fifty years, in which design was thought of as language, or worse, as criticality?

Caroline van Eck (art historian, University of Leiden)
Henk Oosterling (philosopher and strategic advisor)
Siebe Thissen (curator and advisor art in public space, CBK Rotterdam)
Lars Spuybroek (architect and theorist, NOX)