The Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) presented the following lectures in honor of SAIC’s 150th Anniversary:
Nora Wendl composes architectures and architectural histories by borrowing strategies from the adjacent fields of fiction, poetry, art, and literature. She has exhibited and presented widely. Her writing has appeared in Journal of Architectural Education, Thresholds, On Site: Review, Architecture and Culture, Forty-Five and elsewhere. She co-edits Contemporary Art about Architecture: A Strange Utility (Ashgate, 2013) with Isabelle Loring Wallace, and her poetry chapbook Glass Document will be released through Ugly Duckling Presse (Brooklyn, NY) in late 2016 as part of their original web book series. She is currently Assistant Professor of Architecture at Portland State University.
When and Where is Design Criticism?
This panel explored the impact of design criticism and its discourse through the lens of institutional support for design from museums, galleries, and private collections. The panel featured leading voices in contemporary design criticism, looking at the academic, institutional, and commercial aspects of design that address the “intensification” of designed objects and the magnification of design's effective programs in a 21st-century context.
J. Meejin Yoon is an architect, designer, and educator whose work and research investigates intersections between architecture, technology, and public space. Yoon’s work has been widely recognized for its innovative and interdisciplinary nature. She is a Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yoon co-founded Höweler + Yoon Architecture LLP and MY Studio and won the Audi Urban Futures Award in 2012, the United States Artist Award in Architecture and Design in 2008, Architecture Records Design Vanguard Award in 2007, the Architecture Leagues Emerging Voices Award in 2007, and the Rome Prize in Design in 2005.
Local Anxieties: Relocating Architecture in a Global Public Space
Part I: Death and Afterlife of the Post-Industrial City:
Panelists Mechtild Widrich, Shiben Banerji, Martino Stierli, Jorge Otero-Pailos, and Mabel Wilson.
Part II: Going Global? The Art-Education-Speculation Complex
Panelists Kadambari Baxi, Sarah Herda, Jacques Herzog, Glenn D Lowry, Martino Stierli, Mechtild Widrich.
Outside Design, a collateral event of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, explored the turn in art and design toward biotechnology and ecological systems. Curated by Jonathan Solomon, SAIC's Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects, this show brought together five firms whose research-based work developed new knowledge at the edges of design practice.
Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, urbanist, and designer. His recent work includes Makoko Floating School, an innovative floating-structure prototype located on the lagoon in the heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project called African Water Cities being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design, and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities. For the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, which was on view October 3, 2015 - January 3, 2016, Adeyemi partnered with SAIC to develop and build a functioning vendor kiosk for exhibition in Millennium Park. After the Biennial exhibition, the kiosk was moved and installed permanently on the Chicago Lakefront.
This lecture traced the history of Modernology, an approach to observing and documenting Japanese urban environments and behaviors that was invented in the early 20th century and has inspired many subsequent generations of fieldwork by groups of architects, artists, anthropologists, sociologists, and hobbyists. After 20 years of being a practicing architect in Japan, Thomas Daniell is currently Head of the Department of Architecture and Design at the University of Saint Joseph, Macau.
Taboo Subjects: Nance Klehm Foul Odors and Loathsome Sites: a Practical Reorientation to our Wastestreams
The Anthropocene Age has arrived, in which homo sapiens is a decimating species whilst exponentially growing its own numbers. At a time when the word "organic" defines responsible living, how do we put two and two together and harvest the rich minerals and organisms present in human excrement? How can it be turned into compost and used to grow plants for human consumption? As much a cultural taboo as an environmental taboo, Nancy Klehm helped pull the thorn of our prejudices and demonstrated that there is a real solution.
Taboo Subjects: Lucy Pringle Crop Circles, Windows of Perception
For hundreds of years, large geometric designs have appeared in the fields of England's West Country. Some crop circles emit an energy that has permanently or temporarily disabled cameras and computers. Dowsers, using pendulums and dowsing rods, record dramatic shifts of the energy lines in crop circles, and mathematicians are confounded by some of their geometric constructions. Lucy Pringle shared her findings, as well as discussed the presence of energy in buildings and their environs that are recordable with dowsing rods.
Taboo Subjects: Ashley Hlebinsky, From Protector to Perpetrator: Demystifying Firearms
The design and manufacture of firearms stands as one of the great achievements of the Industrial Age. The process pioneered the "American System" of manufacture that standardized mechanical reproduction on a massive scale. Gun and ammunition design has its own logic and, when demystified, can inform other disciplines. Ashley Hlebinsky discussed the ways in which firearms are stigmatized in culture and how those perceptions can lead to obfuscation of the distinction between firearms and firearms violence in history.
Fascinated by the secrets that lie hidden in everyday objects and inspired by ancient or traditional customs, humans create designs that link beauty and narrative with craftsmanship and technical ingenuity. During the lecture, participants focused on the sources of inspiration, the design process (from the concept to the making), the research themes, as well as the final products in their new habitats. They learned the importance of the search for the correct details, technical solutions and experimentation. The lecture offered a glimpse behind the scenes of the studio.
A panel discussion that featured Mejay Gula, Julia Sedlock, and Amanda Williams. Moderated by Andrew Santa Lucia.
Chicago architect, designer and critic Andrew Santa Lucia staged a dramatic intervention in the McCormick House on commission from the Elmhurst Art Museum. Guided by the religion “Miesian Mysticism,” a proposed faith he uncovered during his exploration of Mies van der Rohe’s formal vocabulary and historiography, Santa Lucia transformed both wings of the modernist structure into altar rooms. In his words, “Altars help to make houses into homes precisely by reclaiming and misusing the territories of the interior—walls, floors, furniture, windows, nooks and crannies—for the sake of an individual’s belief system.”
Through the addition of large-scale architectural elements—walls and platforms—as well as niches, small and large boldly colored ritual objects, candles, and atmospheric lighting, Santa Lucia’s intervention alludes to two types of sacred space: the one that a house becomes when it is filled with homemade altars, a common practice among certain religious devotees, as well as a historic space that converses with the man who built it, perhaps a comment on the McCormick House. Santa Lucia both challenges and participates in the ongoing veneration of van der Rohe, the “modern master." In this panel, he critiqued his cult of personality while creating a space for worshipping architecture.
Martin Kastner is the founder and principal of Crucial Detail, a multidisciplinary design practice and production studio in Chicago. Born in the Czech Republic, Kastner trained as a blacksmith and spent some time restoring historical metalworks at a castle in Western Bohemia before moving onto natural materials design and sculpture. He founded Crucial Detail in 1998, shortly after his arrival in the US. Crucial Detail has explored the synergy of food and design, working at the forefront of fine dining in collaborations with the world's best chefs.
Anicka Yi uses perishable and impermanent media to investigate relationships between materials and materialism and consumption and consumerism. Her work probes the sensorial experience of art, exploring the use of scent as a reaction to the predominant presentation of art as visual. In 2013 the New York–based artist had a solo show at Lars Friedrich gallery in Berlin, Germany, and in 2014, she had a solo show at 47 Canal, New York. Sponsored in partnership with the William Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lectureship in Fiber and Material Studies.
Joep van Lieshout
In 1995 Joep van Lieshout founded his studio Atelier Van Lieshout, and since then he has been working under the studio's name to undermine the myth of the artistic genius. Throughout the past two decades, Atelier Van Lieshout has produced works that straddle art, design, and architecture, such as sculpture and installations; buildings and furniture; and utopias and dystopias. What these works have in common are a number of recurring themes, motives, and obsessions such as systems, power, autarky, life, sex, and death. Atelier Van Lieshout has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Presented in partnership with SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program and the William Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lectureship in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects.
Human Resources: We Make the Road by Walking
We Make the Road by Walking was conversations on how learning learns. How is all pedagogy political? How is education entangled in structural systems? What is an education experiment? How can institutions of students, faculty and administrators make the road by walking, as Paulo Frerie and Myles Horton say. In other words, how can we as architects, as artists, as designers render the world more real, rather than produce renderings of the world? Participants included Nico Dockx, Lydia Kallipoliti, Matthew Jesse Jackson, Joseph Grigely, and Eric Ellingsen.
Human Resources: Design Pessimism
In today’s complex world, society’s optimistic outlook needs to be challenged. Is it reasonable to think that we can “make things better,” or is a pessimistic approach more realistic? Can design play a role in the acknowledgment of our global SNAFU? Participants included Sara Huston, Melissa Orlie, John Paananen, Stuart Sim, and Bess Williamson.
Human Resources: Globaloney: How the Sausage is Made
How is the sausage made? From the postwar animation studios of Mexico City to home offices in Slovakia and the call centers of Gurgaon, this panel brought together an array of documentary, ethnographic, and historical accounts of outsourcing and file exchange in the related fields of animation, architecture, and stock digital modeling. In presentations and discussions, the speakers addressed the ways that images and language circulate through the channels of international subcontracting while questioning longstanding assumptions about integration in global production. Particants include Aneesh Aneesh, Hannah Frank, Asha Schechter, and Samuel Stewart-Halevy.
Human Resources: Life After Participation
Once upon a time, we wanted to end the dictatorial design of architecture: a tyrannical service which, we feared, had gone awry. Participation emerged—a warm-feeling, consensus-driven, democratic methodology. Yet decades later, “participation” and its semantic cousins (“community,” “collaboration”) have become slippery terms often capable of causing the damage they originally sought to prevent, leveraged by corporate offices and pedagogues alike. Markus Miessen, one of participation’s most vocal critics, spoke on his work and theories at SAIC. His talk was followed by presentations and arguments by architect Mitch McEwen and art historian Mechtild Widrich. Participants included Markus Miessen with Mitch McEwen and Mechtild Widrich.
David Gissen is the author of books, essays, exhibitions, and experimental writings and projects about historic and contemporary environments, landscapes, cities, and buildings. Gissen is an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts, where he lectures and teaches in the areas of architectural, urban, and landscape history, theory, writing, and design. Gissen lectured about his recent series of projects that reopen historical debates regarding the relationship of language and architecture, while suggesting alternative forms for the representation of the built environment.
Sissel Tolaas was born in 1965 in Stavanger, Norway, and her practice is based in Berlin. Tolaas studied chemistry, mathematics, linguistics, languages, and art at the universities of Oslo, Warsaw, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Oxford. Tolaas has worked across the fields of art and science on the topics of smell, smell and language, and communication since 1990. She lectured about smell and its implications for contemporary life.
An Te Liu
An Te Liu lives and works in Toronto. Liu’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Ursula Blickle Stiftung, EV+A Ireland, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Liu has been artist in residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, which published the monograph, An Te Liu: Matter in 2009. More recently, the catalog An Te Liu: MONO NO MAwas published by the Gardiner Museum in conjunction with his solo exhibition there.