P+ARG Conference Keynote: Kazys Varnelis, "Network Histories: Milgram and Baran in Perspective"
The foundational work done by social psychologist Stanley Milgram and telecommunications researcher Paul Baran on networks in the 1960s remains profoundly influential today, establishing the basis of network theory. But both projects are more complicated than they seem: Milgram’s famous “Six Degrees of Separation” appears to have been largely fabricated while Baran’s plan for a “Distributed Network” is inevitably read within a retrospective mythography. This talk sets out to uncover not so much a theory of networks as an ideology of networks, seeking not a celebration but rather an understanding.
About Kazys Varnelis:
Kazys Varnelis is a synthesist, identifying as an historian, maker of architecture, and artist.
Varnelis holds a PhD in the History of Architecture and Urban Development from Cornell University. He is Director of the Network Architecture Lab and co-founder of AUDC, entities that are both think tanks and practices, conducting research, producing publications, and exhibitions. With AUDC he has published Blue: Absurd Realities and Natural Histories (2007) and exhibited at High Desert Test Sites and other venues. With the Network Architecture Lab, he has edited the Infrastructural City. Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles and Networked Publics (both in 2008) and exhibited at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania as well as the New Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.