Too Big to Scale

Too Big to Scale

On Scaling Space, Number, Time and Energy

Growth and shrinkage: on scaling and its significance in the 21st century



Title Information

Edited by Florian Dombois and Julie Harboe

1st edition

, 2017


208 pages, 4 color and 73 b/w illustrations

14 x 20 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-793-8


The twenty-first century has been marked by our almost boundless ability to imagine things at a larger, or smaller, size; at a faster speed; capable of solving complex problems using less energy. Our imagination on the topic of scale has driven technological progress, but it has also long inspired the creation of art. With the onset of industrialization in the nineteenth century, experimentation with scale across almost all disciplines accelerated to an entirely different dimension.

The result of a 2015 symposium at Zurich University of the Arts, Too Big To Scale brings together essays by a diverse interdisciplinary group of artists, designers, engineers, and scholars who explore the significance of scale within their respective disciplines. The contributions take as their point of departure the camera, which combines three pathways for scaling—film speed, lens size and speed, and frame rates for fast and slow motion. The possibility of copying images adds a fourth variable, replication. The camera, as the contributors show, does not merely depict our world but can also be seen as actively producing our thoughts and imagination.

With contributions by Haseeb Ahmed, Olivier Chazot, Florian Dombois, Andrew Fisher, Simon Grand, Julie Harboe, Juliet Koss, Adrien Lucca, Frank Schweitzer, Mirjam Steiner, Helmut Völter, Sarine Waltenspül, Christoph Weckerle, and Reinhard Wendler.

Authors & Editors

Haseeb Ahmed

Olivier Chazot

Florian Dombois

, born 1966,  holds a PhD degree in geophysics and lives and works as an artist in Zurich, where he also teaches as a professor at Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK.

Andrew Fisher

Simon Grand

Julie Harboe

, born 1962, is an art critic and curator and currently also works as a researcher and lecturer at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Juliet Koss

Adrien Lucca

Frank Schweitzer

Mirjam Steiner

Helmut Völter

Sarine Waltenspül

Christoph Weckerle

Reinhard Wendler