Seminar 17 // 25, 26, 27 June 2009 // London

Seminar 17 // 25, 26, 27 June 2009 // London

location tba

1. Irit Rogoff session, The Implicated - A Model for the Curatorial?

2. Guest Speaker Aaron Levy, Director and Curator Slought Foundation, Philadelphia; Curator of the US Pavillion, Venice Architecture Bienniale 2008. Presentation by C/K student Ines Moreira.

3. Group Discussion; Launch of Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art at UCL

Further information about the sessions can be found below:

THURSDAY 25 June: location tba

11am-1pm The Implicated - A Model for the Curatorial? - presentation by Irit Rogoff*

2-4pm Discussion and feedback from the group deliberations at the last meeting. Ines has sent a graph that gives some ideas, but we need to discuss this in detail, decide on the dates for next year, who we might want to invite and how we want to structure seminars. Irit would also like to hear back from a few of you regarding the lexicon terms. This is particularly important as we will be finalising the design of the site in the next weeks. Please let everyone know if you are going to flesh out a term. *there will be no texts circulated for this presentation

FRIDAY 26 June: location tba

11am-1:30pm Guest Speaker: Aaron Levy Founding Executive Director and Senior Curator of the Slought Foundation, Philadelphia; Curator of Into the Open: Positioning Practice , the official U.S. representation at La Biennale di Venezia, Venice Architecture Bienniale 2008. Click for more info

Throughout the twentieth century, exhibitions have been the primary vehicle for inviting people to consider not just the spirit of art or architecture, but the very future of their societies. Futurama, for example, a well-known exhibit/ride at the 1939–/40 World’s Fair in New York, showed how the world might appear twenty years into the future (1960), when such things as automated highways and vast suburbanization would presumably become the norm. Futurama conveniently married visions of nation-state excellence with industrial promotion and advancement, providing an effective way for the public to believe in a progressive, technological future. Such iconic exhibitions, concentrated in a rather concrete physical space, literally sought to model the future. They authoritatively staged the imagery of our becoming through a seductive narrative of urban and technological evolution. In Publics and Counterpublics, Michael Warner refers to the sort of public that might have attended Futurama as a “future public,” because a public, he argues, is not simply a given assemblage of existing persons publicly engaging in a culture of rational discussion. For publicness wholly depends for Warner on the imaginary function of a public; Futurama is addressing not its immediate audience but rather the audience it hopes to establish. “Anyone who wants to transform the conditions of publicness, or through publicness transform possible orientations to life,” Warner states, must also desire to transform the possible contexts of speech. In an otherwise hostile environment, one must seek out new forms of rhetorical address by acting “in a manner designed to be a placeholder for a future public.” In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the desire to create cultural placeholders for future publics – what Bruno Latour refers to in Making Things Public as “thought-experiments” -- manifested itself in different ways, through “open works” that recast art and architecture as a social network or system. Arguably, today this role and responsibility has been entrusted to the curator and the institution. In our seminar, I would like to explore these and related issues in relation to our work at Slought Foundation in Philadelphia, where we encourage sociability and activism through public programs that are purposely critical and provocative. As a young organization, we stand for a quintessentially American do-it-yourself culture that is intellectually entrepreneurial and newly resurgent. Our projects take place in Philadelphia against a backdrop of inequality, urban blight, and socioeconomic disparity, which is very much in keeping with the practices and sites of conflict represented in our project for the US Pavilion in Venice at the 11th Internaational Architecture Exhibition (2008). In Venice, I was interested in exploring how architecture can go beyond building (director Aaron Betsky's overall theme for last year's biennale), but also how architecture can go beyond the biennale itself. I wanted to invite viewers to think of architecture not just as a physical infrastructure but also as a social practice. Moreover, I wanted to invite viewers to think of exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale not just as spectacular pageants (which they obviously are) but also as thought-experiments addressing future publics -- namely, provisional publics that have not yet come to be. In its earliest incarnation as a proposal to the US Department of State, my colleagues and I had envisioned the exhibition as an opportunity to give international visibility to a new generation of grassroots architects who are reclaiming a role in shaping community and the built environment. In the days leading up to the press conference in Venice, it became quite clear to me that the exhibition’s import had undergone something of a shift, and had become quite different. Indeed, the project had paradoxically moved past the pavilion, beyond the exhibition itself. It now encouraged visitors to consider how the issues explored could be mobilized in their own contemporary practice, beyond the original time and space of the display. What is possible when architects become developers, working as artists, curators, or even community activists, and when publics are encouraged to act not just intellectually but also entrepreneurially?

Click for texts

2:30-5pm location tba Presentation by Ines Moreira performing building sites: micro spatial practices and curatorial knowledges

7-10pm location tba Drinks and dinner

Click for texts

SATURDAY 27 June: location tba

11am-2pm Group Discussion

2-6:30pm Launch of Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art at UCL . Panel with Molly Nesbit, Maria Hlavajova, Boris Groys and Vasif Kortun.Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre which you enter by the main UCL entrance on Gower Street.

Click for more info

Click for texts

back to Archives

Seminar Dates: 
Wed, 24/06/2009 - 23:00 - Fri, 26/06/2009 - 23:00