Contemporary Practices I
Nowadays, everyone has free and immediate access to architectural works, just as everyone has the free and immediate possibility to say or write something about them. Digital platforms, websites, webzines, blogs, curated archives, Pinterest boards, Instagram profiles, Facebook groups, YouTube channels, Apps, Videogames… all these and other tools have expanded the quantity, speed and reach of information about built and unbuilt projects as never before. At the same time, though, these tools seem to make projects ungraspable, since the more architecture colonizes the web, the more narratives can be built around it, to the point that everything and its opposite can be said about the same work. But is it so? At a closer look, the vast majority of project descriptions found on the web are reworkings of their firms’ press releases, which end up defining the words and images by means of which their works are understood. And so, the possibility for a multiplicity of viewpoints to coexist on the web, is denied by the resilience of few, all-positive and superficial mainstream narratives. As a consequence, architectural knowledge is exchanged for information, judgment leaves the place to opinion, and projects become commodities for visual consumption, whose relevance is established by the number of likes: criticism disappears, theory becomes advertising. The seminar intends to address this problematic condition, providing students with knowledge and conceptual tools that can help them better understand, evaluate and criticise contemporary architecture. Also, the seminar intends to test the capacity of digital media to support alternative kinds of architecture criticism, inviting students to experiment with new and creative ways of discussing about the work of contemporary authors.
Start Date: 17.03.2020