It is perhaps for this this reason that many misunderstand the Deconstructivist movement. Deconstructivism is, in fact, not a new architecture style, nor is it an avant-gard e movement against architecture or society. It is the unleashing of infinite possibilities of playing around with forms and volumes. Post war, the country was undergoing radical changes and revolutions, and the impact of these revolutions on architecture was inevitable. Geometry, whether in art or architecture, became irregular.
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In conjunction with her doctoral thesis defense, Di Carlo answered some questions regarding the myth and the force behind this soon to be year-old exhibition. Why did you choose to study this exhibition? I wanted to choose something that was very topical and current, looking at the very next movement within architecture culture.
At first I was going to look across three institutions —The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt— but this proved to be too large a topic, so in the end I chose to focus on just the one exhibition.
And, in doing this, I wanted to choose an exhibition around which a certain myth had been created. Is exhibiting architecture different to exhibiting other cultural expressions? Yes, I think so. Architecture is difficult because one is never working in the medium itself, but is also working with other media to represent, for better or worse, their thinking and the development of a project. This is something that is very difficult to convey to a general audience, and the modes of production, I would argue, test the very limits of what it means to display architecture.
This has been a subject of great debate over the last fifteen years, and one of the reasons I chose to study at AHO. The grant for Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture allowed one great depth through which to study making exhibitions within architecture culture.
You say the exhibition constructed an apparatus, and was constructed by an apparatus; in what way do these constructing elements interact, what do they generate? All of the elements of the apparatus — the media, installation, catalogue, symposia, and the stakeholders — must interact and in the case of Deconstructivist Architecture, interacted to canonize this event, despite the fact that the curators denied just such an intent.
Foucault mentions that there is no inside nor outside to an apparatus — and so too here, it is a relational structure between these elements that could account for the shift.
The curators — Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley, for example, could be considered as two of the primary stakeholders. Their power to choose who would be in and who would be out, played a great part in the making of history and the exhibition and it was a substantial part of the apparatus.
But in general, what all these elements generated was debate and outrage; and these polemics fueled the press, which became not only a crucial element in the apparatus but in constructing a cultural shift. The proliferation of discourse created by this exhibition, could you say a little more about this.
What happened, who took part, what marks did it leave? How does this take a new direction from previous history of exhibitions? The discourse created by the exhibition started, as Mark Wigley would state as his desire for the symposium, an argument. Part of the point of this, and as again would be stated at the symposium, was to reinvigorate what critics had called the socially bankrupt and moribund discourse of architecture — at the time, this was late postmodernism that had been absorbed into the market.
The key players in the polemics were both Johnson and Wigley, but also the critics and scholars in the press became pivotal. Voices such as Michael Sorkin, Catherine Ingraham and Sylvia Lavin all took part, as did many journalists from the more popular press.
Could you say something more about the critical tools and analytical strategies of Deconstructivist Architecture. The critical tools and analytical strategy of the exhibition functioned and played out in what would be called a very deconstructivist scenario.
Things that were denied on the one hand, were reaffirmed on the other and through the very same apparatus that was in play. In fact It could be said that it happened even more strongly because of their very denial — such a denial fueled the polemics and debate within the press.
I would say it is much broader. It has once again exploded into the international scene and culture at large. And there are a host of biennales and triennials now, in Oslo, Lisbon and Chicago, just to name a few.
In conjunction with her doctoral thesis defense, Di Carlo answered some questions regarding the myth and the force behind this soon to be year-old exhibition. Why did you choose to study this exhibition? I wanted to choose something that was very topical and current, looking at the very next movement within architecture culture. At first I was going to look across three institutions —The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt— but this proved to be too large a topic, so in the end I chose to focus on just the one exhibition.
The Impact of Deconstructivist Architecture
As a guest curator at the same institution in alongside Mark Wigley now Dean Emeritus of the Columbia GSAPP , Johnson took the opposite approach: rather than present architecture derived from a rigidly uniform set of design principles, he gathered a collection of work by architects whose similar but not identical approaches had yielded similar results. Original press release The first—deconstruction—is a form of philosophical and literary analysis created in the s, which questions and dismantles traditional modes of thought. In its suspicion of objectivity, this particular strain of critical thinking encourages one to think not just of what a text says, but what it does — and what the relationship between the two may be.