Social Design: Public Action | International Symposium 26–27 September 2013 | University of Applied Arts Vienna


The Symposium is hosted by the University of Applied Arts Vienna and curated by Lukas Feireiss.

It will be divided into four interconnected thematic clusters:
– New Forms of the Social and Political
– Politics in the Realm of Things
– Contesting the Urban Arena
– Community and Co-existence


The Symposium will be held at the university’s Exhibition Centre Heiligenkreuzer Hof
Entrance: Schönlaterngasse 5 or Grashofgasse 3 1010 Vienna, Austria


Participation is free.

To register, please send an email to until the 23 September.

Social Design Public Action Reader

Day 1, Thursday 26 September

9:00–9:30 Registration

9:30–9:50 Welcome

Gerald Bast, Rector
University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

9:50–10:20 Introduction

Anton Falkeis, Architect
Head of Department Social Design
University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

New Forms of the Social and Political

Questioning the transformational power of new forms of the social, political and cultural within the global urban realm.


Marisa Mazria Katz, Writer / Journalist
Creative Time Reports, New York, USA
Oliver Percovich, Founder
Skateistan, Kabul, Afghanistan

11:20–11:30 Coffee Break


Leonidas Martin, Artist / Activist, Madrid, Spain
Tatjana Schneider, Architect, University of Sheffield, Spatial Agency, Sheffield, UK

12:30–13:00 Roundtalk I

(Katz, Percovich, Martin, Schneider)

13:00–14:30 Lunch Break

Politics in the Realm of Things

Examining new conditions of public repre­sentation beyond the sphere of professional politics and governance.


Ion Sørvin, Architect
N55, Copenhagen, Denmark
Thomas Lommée, Designer
Intrastructures, Brussels, Belgium

15:30–15:40 Coffee Break


Constanza Macras, Choreographer / Dancer
Constanza Macras I Dorkypark, Berlin, Germany
Saskia Sassen, Sociologist
Columbia University, New York, USA
London School of Economics, London, UK

16:40–17:00 Coffee Break

17:00–17:30 Roundtalk II

(Sørvin, Lommée, Sassen, Macras)


Presentation SLUM Lab Magazin; Social Design

Day 2, Friday 27 September

Contesting the Urban Arena

Understanding critical creative practices as laboratories of civilization and applied societal design in highly contested contexts of collective identities.


Jeanne van Heeswijk, Artist
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Beatrice Galilee, Curator
Lisbon Architecture Triennial 2013, London, UK

11:00–11:30 Coffee Break


Steve Lambert, Artist
Center for Artistic Activism, New York, USA
Peter Fattinger, Architect
Fattinger Orso Architects, Vienna, Austria

12:30–13:00 Roundtalk III

(Heeswijk, Galilee, Lambert, Fattinger)

13:00–14:30 Lunch Break

Community and Co-Existence

Re-thinking architectures of relationships, processes and agencies of the collective and the individual in the contemporary city.


Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, Architect / Urban Planner
Urban-Think Tank / Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland
Anil Kumar Gupta
Indian Institute of Management / Honey Bee Network, Ahmedabad, India

15:30–15:40 Coffee Break


Emeka Okereke, Photographer
Invisible Borders, Nigeria
Alexander Römer, Architect
Exyzt / Constructlab, Paris, France

16:40–17:00 Coffee Break

17:00–17:30 Roundtalk IV

(Brillembourg, Klumpner, Gupta, Okereke, Römer)

17:30–17:45 Closing Note

Anton Falkeis, Architect


Alfredo Brillembourg

Alfredo Brillembourg was born in New York, where he received his Bachelor of Art and Architecture and his Master of Science in Architectural Design in 1986 from Columbia University. In 1992, he received a second architecture degree from the Central University of Venezuela and began his independent practice in architecture. In 1993 he founded Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) in Caracas, Venezuela. Since May 2010, Brillembourg has held the chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH) Zürich in Switzerland.

Anton Falkeis

Anton Falkeis is an architect and Professor at the Institute of Architecture, University of Applied Arts Vienna. He has been teaching and lecturing at several universities and in 2012 he was guest professor at Nanjing University of Art, China. Anton Falkeis served as the Vice-Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna from 1999 to 2003, Head of architectural programme, department of Arts and Education (since 2001), Head of Department, Special Topics in Architecture (since 2007) and Head of Department Social Design (since 2011). He also holds the Expertise Chair of the new Master programme Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation.

Peter Fattinger

Austrian architect Peter Fattinger is co-founder of Fattinger Orso Architektur, a Vienna-based design and fabrication studio working at the intersection of architecture, art and design. The work ranges from small object design, interior projects, exhibition design to public art installations, cultural productions and urban interventions, as well as lecturing and teaching. Motivated by the will to maintain the conceptual, architectural and economic control of their projects the studio ideally acts as developer, designer and constructor, working beyond the classical spectre of architectural practice.

Beatrice Galilee

Beatrice Galilee is a London-based curator, writer, critic, consultant and lecturer of contemporary architecture and design who specializes in the dissemination of architecture and design through media, curatorial practice, research, editing and teaching. Beatrice is the Chief Curator of the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Close, Closer. She is the co-founder and director of The Gopher Hole, an exhibition and event space in London, architectural critic at Domus, and associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Anil Kumar Gupta

Anil Kumar Gupta is a professor in the Centre for Management in Agriculture at Indian Institute of Ahmedabad. He also founded the Honey Bee Network, looking for undeveloped inventions and talent. These discoveries are documented and often shared with the global community. Since 1988, the network’s database of original inventions has grown to over 12,000, and its newsletter is now published in eight languages and distributed to 75 countries. Gupta also worked with the government of India to establish the National Innovation Foundation, which holds national competitions to encourage new inventors and helps sustain them through the National Micro Venture Innovation Fund.

Jeanne van Heeswijk

Jeanne van Heeswijk is a visual artist who creates contexts for interaction in public spaces. Her projects distinguish themselves through a strong social involvement. With her work Heeswijk stimulates and develops cultural production and creates new public (meeting-)spaces or remodels existing ones. To achieve this she often works closely with artists, designers, architects, software developers, governments and citizens. She regularly lectures on topics such as urban renewal, participation and cultural production.

Marisa Mazria Katz

Marisa Mazria-Katz is a NY-based journalist / editor born and raised in Los Angeles. She has contributed to numerous publications and television channels on culture, politics and design, including: The New York Times, Time, Financial Times, and The Guardian. Today, Marisa is the editor of a new Creative Time initiative called Creative Time Reports. The program’s key goals are to restore the voice of the artistin society by pushing them back in the spotlight as critical thinkers who actively participate in the issues of our time.

Hubert Klumpner

Hubert Klumpner was born in Salzburg, Austria. He graduated from the University of Applied Arts Vienna and later received a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University. In 1998 Klumpner joined Alfredo Brillembourg as Director of Urban-Think Tank (U‑TT) in Caracas, Venezuela. Since May 2010, Klumpner has held the chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland.

Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert is an American artist who connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. Lambert carefully crafts various conditions where he can discuss these ideas with people and have a mutually meaningful exchange. He is founder of the Anti-Advertising Agency, and artist-run initiative which critiques advertising through artistic interventions. Together with Stephen Duncombe he founded the Center for Artistic Activism as a place to explore, analyze, and strengthen connections between social activism and artistic practice.

Thomas Lommée

Belgian designer Thomas Lommée is founder and director of Intrastructures, a pragmatic utopian design studio that generates models, tools and products for social and environmental restoration. Intrastructure aims at innovating current infrastructures, not by reinventing them from scratch, but by rearranging and interconnecting what is already there and by hacking into society in search for the perfectly odd connections.

Constanza Macras

Constanza Macras is an Argentinian choreographer based in Berlin. She studied fashion design and dance in Buenos Aires, Amsterdam and New York. In 2003 she founded together with Carmen Mehnert CONSTANZA MACRAS I DorkyPark. The company integrates dancers, actors and musicians with performers that range from 4 to 72 years old, combining text, live music, dance and video. Her productions critically explore transformations of personal and physical identities, and the borders of segregation and immigration within urbanized and globalized environments.

Leonidas Martin

As an artist, professor and activist Leónidas Martín has invigorated the wave of Spanish protests beginning in 2011 known as M15. When not teaching new media and political art at the University of Barcelona, writing about art and cultural politics for online and print media, or directing and producing documentaries, Martín organizes social actions with the Barcelona-based artist collective “Enmedio” (which translates to “among” in English).

Emeka Okereke

Emeka Okereke, born in 1980, is a Nigerian photographer who lives and works between Africa and Europe. He is a member of Depth of Field (DOF) collective, a group made up of six Nigerian photographers and is the Founder and Artistic Director of “Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project” an annual photographic project which assembles up to ten artists from Africa towards a roadtrip across Africa. He uses photography, poetry, video and collaborative projects to address the questions of co-existence (beyond the limitations of predefined spaces), otherness and self-discovery.

Oliver Percovich

Oliver Percovich is the founder and executive director of the non-governmental organization Skateistan. Founded in 2007 in Kabul is now an international non-profit charity providing skateboarding and educational programming in Afghanistan and Cambodia. Skateistan is non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds.

Alexander Römer

Alexander Römer is an architect and carpenter based in Berlin and Paris, and has been a member of collective EXYZT since 2005. Since 1997 he has been developing ideas and practices around accessible, low-budget and participative construction methods and moments in the expanded field of architecture and art with constructlab.

Saskia Sassen

Dutch-American sociologist Saskia Sassen is currently Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Centennial visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. Saskia Sassen’s research and writing focuses on globalization (including social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities and terrorism), the new technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. In each of the three major projects that comprise her 20 years of research, Sassen starts with a thesis that posits the unexpected and the counterintuitive in order to cut through established “truths”.

Tatjana Schneider

Tatjana Schneider is a senior lecturer at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, where she teaches design studio, history and theory. She is co-founder of Spatial Agency a collaborative research, web-and print publishing project that presents a new way of looking at how buildings and space can be produced. Moving away from architecture’s traditional focus on the look and making of buildings, Spatial Agency proposes a much more expansive field of opportunities in which architects and non-architects can operate. It suggests other ways of doing architecture.

Ion Sørvin

The Danish artist, activist and founder of N55, the Copenhagen-based art collective, has been challenging conventional notions of living, architecture and land ownership. Sørvin has been fighting for simple freedoms, his work and lifestyle is an example for other ways to live a fulfilling life, alternative economic models and no need to compromise. Sørvin says that N55 believes in educating people: “The only way I can work is to create good examples.” Sørvin is aware that only by adopting a consistent position does he have a hope of influencing the planners, architects and the public who decide how societies and cities will develop.

Moderator: Lukas Feireiss

Lukas Feireiss runs the interdisciplinary creative practice Studio Lukas Feireiss, focused on the discussion and mediation of architecture, art and visual culture in the urban realm. In his artistic, curatorial, editorial and consultive work he aims at the critical cut-up and playful re-evaluation of creative and spatial production modes and their diverse socio-cultural and medial conditions. Lukas Feireiss teaches at various universities worldwide.

(Speakers are listed in alphabetical order)


Anton Falkeis

Head of Department Social Design
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Oskar-Kokoschka-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Lukas Feireiss

Studio Lukas Feireiss
Lobeckstrasse 30–35 / 408, 10969 Berlin, Germany

Anja Seipenbusch-Hufschmied

Head of Department Public Relation and Event Management
Susanne Leder
Elisabeth Falkensteiner
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Oskar-Kokoschka-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria
T +43-1-71133-2160