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Public Performances: The Arts and Politics of Architecture

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Public Performances: The Arts and Politics of Architecture
The Otto and Marlys Coelln Symposium

Saturday, March 23, 2019
Architecture + Design Studios, University of Illinois at Chicago
845 W Harrison St

Register here

This one-day symposium, presented in conjunction with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s international design competition for a new Center for the Arts, will examine the ways in which architecture both delivers and deviates from contemporary expectations for its political, technical, and aesthetic performances.

At a moment when the idea of higher education as a public good is in question, the symposium proposes that the imaginative potential of such a project relies on redefining “public” so that it might complement and conscript “private,” rather than meekly contradict it. Starting from this position, the symposium aims more generally to advance possibilities for architecture as a particular kind of world-making that circulates through words, matter, and images.

Each of the symposium’s three panels will address a particular sense of the performative in order to engage distinct lines of research and production. In these three acts, the event seeks to locate an architectural project for performance after identity, measurability, and theatricality.

The symposium is co-hosted by the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) and the UIC School of Architecture, with support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.


Opening remarks

Act I: Script (Architecture after Identity)
Script addresses the ways in which architecture constitutes its publics as a form of enactment or speech act: its program is always something declared rather than a mere transcript of predetermined necessities.

Christine Mary Dunford, UIC
Sanford Kwinter, Pratt Institute
Shohei Shigematsu, OMA
Kenneth Warren, University of Chicago
Moderated by Robert Somol, UIC

Act II: Screen (Architecture after Measurability)
Screen understands the construction of architecture as a mediator of urban, environmental, and material exchanges: its envelope channels energies that exceed the metrics of its highly regulated but under-imagined demands.

Sarah Dunn, UIC
Thom Mayne, Morphosis
Albert Pope, Rice University
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Princeton University
Moderated by Judith De Jong, UIC

Act III: Stage (Architecture after Theatricality)
Stage recognizes architecture’s power to include the unpredictable ways it is framed and choreographed by others: it establishes a platform for appropriation that can be played in more ways than those directed by its clients or creators.

Todd Cronan, Emory University
Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, Johnston Marklee
Daniel Shea, photographer
Andrew Zago, UIC
Moderated by Walter Benn Michaels, UIC


Please register here.

Registration for the symposium is free, but space is limited. Please note that seating is first come, first served. When Gallery 1100 reaches capacity, attendees will be able to view the conference via simulcast in an adjacent space.