Hey! You there!

Programme by Simon Höher

Hey! You there!  Controlling Addresses and Addressing Control in the City

Louis Althusser speaks of a police man who calls out this phrase on a street to a number of individuals – with some of them reacting to it, and others not. This brief story served as a starting point to examine the different sides and strategies of control, addressability, and neutrality in today’s connected city. More specifically, we were interested in tactics of governance and protest, of planning and probing, and of exploration and obfuscation in digital and analog urban space. We discussed perspectives from urban design to linguistics to second-order cybernetics to try and to understand how a city controls itself, and we designed interventions to put that understanding to a test on more practical terms, by means of artistic, speculative, and provocative interventions.

The course was structured in three parts and worked as a lab rather than a lecture: a place to collectively test and try out promising questions within a shared context, using methods of foraging and foresight in literature and urban space. As a result, participants developed reflections to discern different variants of control through power and addressability, and to translate this difference into urban action themselves.

Althusser, Louis. 1971. On Ideology. London / New York: New Left Books.

Barthes, R., & Clerc, T. (2007). The Neutral: Lecture course at the College de France (1977-1978). New York: Columbia University Press.

Bratton, Benjamin H. 2016. The Stack - On Software and Sovereignty. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press (p.191-219).

Brunton, Finn, and Helen Nissenbaum. 2011. “Vernacular Resistance to Data Collection and Analysis: A Political Theory of Obfuscation.” First Monday 16 (5).

Kittler, Friedrich. 1996. “The City Is a Medium.” New Literary History, no. 27: 717–819.

Serres, Michel. 1982. The Parasite. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2015. Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. S.l.: Princeton University Press.


Simon Höher heads the Hybrid City Lab, an urban and public design studio in Berlin, and chairs ThingsCon, a European initiative to promote responsible connected technologies. In his work and research he explores systemic concepts of design, technology and society in a global context.


11 - 12 March 2021

15 - 16 April 2021

20 - 21 May 2021


Simon Höher

Summer Semester 2021