Bologna - Italy    23 - 27 / 09 / 2024

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Cersaie 2012: Conferences and Seminars
Design goes sci-fi: Cini Boeri and Bruce Sterling

Tuesday 25 September - 2.00 p.m.
Galleria dell'Architettura - Gallery 25/26

Cini Boeri is one of the timeless figures in the field of Italian design and architecture. Made in Italy personified. Bruce Sterling is one of the grand masters of international science fiction. If you prefer, Bruce Sterling is cyberpunk.

Why bring them together?

What’s the meaning of the exercise?

The idea isn’t as crazy as it may appear. Cini Boeri has crossed swords with science fiction a number of times in her career. It might appear strange but it’s true. Do you remember Blade Runner? When Deckard stops to drink a glass of whisky? That amazing glass? Well, that glass is a jewel of design created by Cini Boeri: it’s CIBI by Arnolfo di Cambio, from 1972.

But Sterling himself knows a good deal about design. He has been involved in design, production and products in numerous extradisciplinary forays conducted over the years.
Fifteen years ago, he had already described today’s world in which rapid prototyping is set to become a new industrial revolution. 3D modelling, augmented reality and the “new aesthetic” are the themes that he has explored most actively and reactively for years. If we want to understand where the world of production is headed and the arena in which contemporary culture and commerce will interact over the next few years, he’s the person to ask.

Bruce Sterling and Cini Boeri. For the first time together, a forward-looking Italian designer meets a science fiction writer attentive to the transformations of the present. On the one hand, what twenty years ago was referred to as cyberpunk and has become a documentary of the world of 2012. On the other, a tenacious and methodical research project exploring new products and new processes that is just as compelling as the most imaginative science fiction stories.

The old world is morphing into a new reality. With new aesthetic, cultural and commercial codes. At once a narrative and a description, the two combine to create something truly special. A timeless Italian designer and a master of contemporary American fiction, one always looking to the future, the other who knows the past like few others. It promises to be a memorable encounter.

We look forward to seeing you.


Speaker Cini Boeri More

Cini Boeri

Architect and Designer

Biographical notes
Cini Boeri graduated from Milan Polytechnic in 1951. After a brief collaboration with Gio Ponti’s practice, she worked for many years at the firm of Marco Zanuso.
She started up her own practice in 1963, concentrating on civil architecture and industrial design.
She has designed single-family houses, apartments, museum exhibits, offices and shops in Italy and abroad, devoting a great deal of attention to the functionality of space and the psychological relationships between humans and the environment. Her work in the field of industrial design has focused in particular on furnishing elements and building components.
She has given conferences and lectures at a number of universities in Italy and abroad, including Berkeley, Barcelona, the Nucleo del Deseno Industrial in São Paulo, the College of Architects of Rio de Janeiro, the Cranbrook School in Detroit, the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Vico Marcote, Switzerland, and Pacific Design Center and UCLA in Los Angeles.
From 1981 to 1983 she led courses in architectural design and industrial and furnishing design at Milan Polytechnic’s Architecture faculty.
She was a member of the Board of Directors of the XVI Triennale in Milan and has been on the jury of numerous international competitions.

Milan, Compasso d’Oro, mention (1970), Milan, Premio Compasso d’Oro, Strips (1979), Ljubljana, gold medal for “Rever” door, BIO 10 (X Bienniale Disegno Industriale) (1984), Stuttgart, Design Center Stuttgart, Design ‘85 award for the Prisma collection (1984), New York, Roscoe Prize (1984).
Stuttgart, Design-Auswahl ‘90 (1990), Milan, Medaglia d’oro “Apostolo del Design”, Sala Puricelli, Fiera di Milano - Rima Editrice (2003), Milan, Dama d’Argento award “Gli uomini e le donne che fanno grande Milano - I Maestri del Design” Spazio Ferrè - Associazione Amici del Museo Poldi Pezzoli (2006), Milan, “Milano Donna” award, Palazzo Reale, Sala delle Cariatidi (2007), Florence, “Piramidi dell’Accademia Italiana” award, Teatro Saschall, Accademia Italiana (2008), Los Angeles, The IIC Lifetime Achievement Award from the Italian Cultural Institute (2008), Chicago, Good Design Award (2008), Rome, XXII Compasso d’ Oro ADI, Compasso alla Carriera (2011), Rome, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, nominated Grand Officer of the Republic (2011)

Le dimensioni umane dell’abitazione, Franco Angeli editore, Milan 1980
essay, La dimensione del domestico, in M. Bertoldini (editor), La casa tra tecniche e sogno, Franco Angeli editore, Milan 1988
essay, Progettista a committente, in Struttura e percorsi dell’atto progettuale, Città Studi, Milan 1991
C. Avogadro (editor), Cini Boeri, architetto e designer, Silvana Editoriale, Milan 2004

Bruce Sterling More

Bruce Sterling

Biographical notes
Bruce Sterling is an Austin-born (April 14th 1954) science fiction writer and Net critic, internationally recognized as a cyberspace theorist who is also still based there. However, as a child he also spent a lot of time in India, which can partly explain why today still Sterling is fond of Bollywood movies. Sterling studied journalism. He published his first book, Involution Ocean, in 1977. However, he first started becoming famous in Austin by organizing every year a Christmas party where he would present digital art. In the 80s Sterling published Cheap Truth a series of fanzines, which are magazines for fans of a particular performer, group, or form of entertainment. He did so under the surprising but revealing pen name of Vincent Omniaveritas. In latin, “vincit omnia veritas” means “truth conquers all things”. Sterling’s writings have been very influential in the cyberpunk movement in literature, specifically the novels Heavy Weather (1994), Islands in the Net (1988), Schismatrix (1985), The Artificial Kid (1980).
In 2003 Bruce Sterling became Professor of Internet studies and science fiction at the at the European Graduate School where he teaches intensive Summer seminars. In 2005 he became "visionary in residence" at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Sterling lived for several years in Serbia with Jasmina Tesanovic his second wife, a Serbian author and film-maker. In September 2007 he moved to Italy where he found a peaceful place to live in Turin. Sterling has travelled the world giving many speeches and collecting awards too. For example, the Campbell Award in 1989 for his novel Islands in the Net, the Hugo Award both in 1997 and 1999 for his novelettes Bicycle Repairman and Taklamakan respectively, the Hayakawa Award in 1999 also for Taklamakan, as well as the Clarke Award in 2000 for his novel Distraction.
Along with William Gibson, another one of the major figures of cyberpunk, Bruce Sterling co-authored the novel The Difference Engine (1990), a novel which is part of the steampunk sub-genre. The novel forms an alternate or speculative history set in 1855 London, which is anachronistically advanced. Bruce Sterling is the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Bruce Sterling published Black Swan in 2010, which has been critically acclaimed. In an interview by Rhys Hughes, Sterling is being asked about the philosophical depth of the book, to which he answers in an insightful manner:
As well as being a leading science fiction writer, Bruce Sterling has been involved with numerous projects and written several books of futurist theory. He was the founder of the Dead Media Project, an on-line reliquary, or archive, to forgotten, or dead, media technologies. In this way, he looked to the past through the future, anticipating, almost, in the shininess of new media, its utter destruction for the advent of something else:
Bruce Sterling also founded the Viridian Design Movement, an environmental aesthetic movement founded on the ideas of global citizenship, environmental design and techno-progressiveness. Bruce Sterling's numerous book-length essays both question and promote how the future is shaping our concepts of self, time and space. In Shaping Things (2005), he offers a history of shaped objects, moving from the most rudimentary hand-made artifacts through to the complex machinery which defines our current existence. In Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2002), Bruce Sterling examines how today’s technologies will affect our future lives.
Written in a wry, intelligent style, Bruce Sterling’s book makes bold claims on the future, examining scientists’ use of medicine to extend our lives while examining at the same time our seemingly bottomless thirst for oil. Bruce Sterling’s most acclaimed book, The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Order on the Electronic Frontier (1993) is a deep history of the birth of cyberspace, following the periphery of the development of technology from the first telephone hackers to the government’s attack on several prominent hackers in 1990.
Bruce Sterling’s novels include: Intuition Ocean (1977), The Artifical Kid (1980), Heavy Weather (1994), Holy Fire (1996), Distraction (1998), Zeitgeist (2000), The Zenith Angle (2004), Kiosk (2007), and most recently The Caryatids (2009). His essay collection and non-fiction books include: The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Order on the Electronic Frontier (1993), Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2002), and Shaping Things (2005).
Bruce Sterling has blogged extensively in the blog, Beyond the Beyond published by Wired Magazine and has written many articles, including: “Beyond The Beyond Just another WordPress weblog” in Wired (2009). “Fiction: In the Future, Doing Science Is Like Blogging” in Discover (2009). “SoCal DigiCult” in Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2009). “Design Fiction” in Interactions (2009). “Hartmut Bitomsky's Dust” in Art Forum (2008). “Do-Bad Architecture - Assessing the influence of socially responsible architecture” in Architectural record (2008). “Self-Reliance 2008 - Like your Leatherman? Love your iPhone? Still to come: The ultimate open-source ultragadget” in The Atlantic monthly (2008). “Dispatches from the Hyperlocal Future - That's hyperas in linked and local as in location. It's a new kind of city in which you're never out of touch and never out of options” in Wired (2007). “Two Short Stories – ‘The Interoperation’” in Technology review: MIT's magazine of innovation (2007). “Mechanization Spurns Command” in Parkett (2007). “MEDIA Green Fashion” in Art Forum (2006). “Petrol Society - As it All Melts Away - Rising prices could erode the oil base of our consumer society, from plastics to textiles. Some scenarios” in Newsweek (2006). “Design Fiction - Der Science Fiction-Autor hat uber die Zukunft des Design nachgedacht. Ein Auszug aus seinem neuen Buch” in Form (2006). “Ivory Tower” in Nature (2005).
Finally, Sterling has also released a number of anthologies: Visionary in Residence: Stories (2006), A Good Old-Fashioned Future (1999), Globalhead (1992), Crystal Express (1989) and Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology (1986).

Moderator Stefano Mirti More

Stefano Mirti

Coordinator of the Id-Lab projects in Turin and professor of design at the Bocconi University of Milan
Biographical notes
Stefano Mirti, designer (Id-Lab) and lecturer in design at Bocconi University in Milan, coordinates the Id-lab (Interaction Design Lab) projects in Turin. He graduated in architecture at Turin Polytechnic, where he also went on to do a research doctorate.
He studied for his post-doctorate in Japan (Tokyo University, Tadao Ando Lab) and subsequently taught at the Tama Fine Art Academy in Tokyo. Since 2006 he has been responsible for the NABA design programme and worked as a consultant for Turin World Design Capital 2008. From 2001 to 2005 he was Associate Professor at the Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, an education and research institute created by Olivetti and Telecom Italia. From 2000 to 2001 he taught at Tama Art University (Tokyo) and carried through various design projects, including the polycarbonate house and neon gardens. He also set up Now the Future, a digital atlas that documents design initiatives and events all over the world. Before going to Japan, he was one of the founders of Cliostraat, a group of architects, artists and photographers who design buildings, parks, public structures and exhibition halls. Mirti has won the European Architectural Prize three times (in 1995, 1997 and 2001). In 2004 he won the Bronze Medal for Cultural Merits of the Republic of Italy. His work has been exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, at the Triennale in Milan, at the Biennale in Venice and at the Beijing First Biennale of Architecture.



Video interview

Bruce Sterling