Forethoughts and Afterthoughts on ‘the Productive Organs of Man’


  • Christopher Smith Associate Professor, The University of Sydney



This paper explores the ‘forethought’ of Bernard Stiegler’s Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus (1994). In particular, the paper focusses on the coupling of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and the impact of these figures on the relay of ideas concerning organs, organic matter and technology, or what Stiegler would come to call ‘organized inorganic matter’. The paper will also consider the ‘afterthought’ that derives from Stiegler’s book and its potential to prompt a rethinking of architectural experimentation and organization. The paper turns to Neil Spiller’s Communicating Vessels project and particularly to one joyous mechanism that came to be titled Little Soft Machinery (2006). The project enfolds all manner of architectural oddity, somewhere between the organic and inorganic.

Author Biography

Christopher Smith, Associate Professor, The University of Sydney

Dr Chris L. Smith is the Associate Professor in Architectural Design and Technê and the Chair of the Architecture History and Theory research group at the University of Sydney. His research is concerned with the complex connection of bodies and buildings—a connection he locates at the interdisciplinary nexus of philosophy, biology and architectural theory. Chris has published an edited book, Architecture in the Space of Flows (2013) and 9 book chapters aver the last 5 years. He has a monograph in production with Bloomsbury (London) titled Bare Architecture: a schizoanalysis, [for publication 2017]. Presently Chris is concentrating upon an Australian Research Council project focussed on the architectural expression of scientific ideals in bio-medical laboratories and a forthcoming co-authored book titled LabOratory.


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