Víctor Muñoz Sanz: Lights-Out. Environments and Interfaces of Nonhuman Labor

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Lights-out operations refers to the management of a production or logistics facility through the use of remote management software. Fully automated and largely unmanned, these are places challenging conventional notions defining architectural space, such as light, ventilation, or human movement and proportions; also its perception, for those executing control at a distance observe these spaces, and those who still inhabit them, as data landscapes on a screen. Under the logic of spatial and management platforms for automated labor, human and nonhuman animals see their bodies and behavior conditioned, and new forms of territorial occupation, segregation, and social contestation emerge.

This talk will offer a panorama of the emerging spatial typologies and configurations, users and user needs resulting of the increasingly widespread use of automation technologies in production and logistics. Through close examination of anonymous architectures, patent drawings, promotional brochures, robots, workplaces, and stories of the humans behind them, this research shows how the architectural result of corporate innovations and revolutionary industrial platforms alter conventional architectural practices—offering a glimpse of Giedion’s “anonymous history” as it is happening today.

Víctor Muñoz Sanz is an architect, researcher and educator based in The Netherlands. He holds the degree of Architect from ETSA Madrid (2006), a Master of Architecture in Urban Design, with distinction, from Harvard University (2011), and a Ph.D. cum laude in Architecture from ETSA Madrid (2016). His work examines the notion of workscapes—that is, the architectures and territories of human and nonhuman labor, and the spaces shaped by initiatives and innovations of industrial entrepreneurs. After extensive fieldwork supported by the Druker Travelling Fellowship of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, he wrote his doctoral dissertation Networked Utopia on the transnational urbanism of the Bata Shoe Company. Since 2016, Víctor has been looking at contemporary spaces of industry in the context of radical shifts in the politics and technologies of production, in different institutions and research formats. As Emerging Curator 2015-16 at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, he led a conversation on the legacy of corporate driven actions in industrial offshoring destinations, released in the form of the audio-documentary Off:Re:Onshore. As postdoctoral researcher at TU Delft, he is part of Cities of Making, a research project exploring opportunities for strengthening urban manufacturing. Following an honorable mention in the 2016 Call for Fellows of Het Nieuwe Instituut with a proposal on the emerging spaces of automation, he has pursued research on this topic, jointly conducted as principal co-researcher of the project Automated Landscapes at Het Nieuwe Instituut, and at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft. His work on automation was shown as part of the Dutch contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018; in essays in Volume, e-flux Architecture, Work Body Leisure, and Harvard Design Magazine; and in lectures organized by Universidad Nebrija, Bilbao Urban Regeneration Forum 2018, Het Nieuwe Instituut, TU Delft, Goldsmiths’ Centre for Research Architecture, University of Sheffield, and University of Edinburgh. He teaches studios on this topic in master and post-master level at TU Delft. From September 2019, he will be fellow in residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.

Photo: Dairy farm De Klaverhof, Moerdijk, 2018 (Víctor Muñoz Sanz).

Supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in the Czech Republic.


Vítkova 2, Prague 8
Czech Republic
WED-FRI 13-19, SAT 14-18