Control and Uncertainty: Towards a Paradigm of Prototyping
Authors: Zihao Zhang and Xun Liu
Cite this paper
Zhang, Zihao, and Xun Liu. “Control and Uncertainty: Towards a Paradigm of Prototyping.” Landscape Architecture Frontiers, vol. 8, no. 4, 2020, pp. 10–25, doi:https://doi.org/10.15302/J-LAF-1-020032.
Zhang, Zihao, and Xun Liu. 2020. “Control and Uncertainty: Towards a Paradigm of Prototyping.” Landscape Architecture Frontiers 8 (4): 10–25. https://doi.org/10.15302/J-LAF-1-020032.
Zhang, Z., & Liu, X. (2020). Control and Uncertainty: Towards a Paradigm of Prototyping. Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 8(4), 10–25. https://doi.org/10.15302/J-LAF-1-020032
This paper maps out a new paradigm of prototyping that acts as an alternative to the model-making paradigm. By juxtaposing the cybernetics movement with landscape design, the authors have mapped out a development in landscape discourse that mirrors the movement of cybernetics in the 20th century and early 21st century. The early deterministic and linear understanding of systems dynamics is replaced by an emergent and open-ended view. Taking on a framework of emergence, the authors highlight a special type of model that does not fit within the conventional modelpredict- control framework. Rather than models that represent another living system, these models are living systems in themselves with autonomy and lives. This special type of model can be understood as prototypes. Prototyping replaces model-making and exhibits three distinctive qualities: 1) A prototype has a life of its own, which serves as the basis for design and creativity; 2) The real usefulness of a prototype lies in its undefined identity rather than its defined and direct application; And 3) the identified quality provides a wide range of possibilities, thus changing our relationship with the future from chance and prediction to anticipation and hope.