Symposia

2014: CRITICAL SHIFTS

Interpretations: Critical Shifts Part 1 of 2
Fourth annual symposium hosted by the Critical, Curatorial, & Conceptual Practices in Architecture class of 2015, GSAPP, Columbia University

Critical Shifts is a one-day, student-organized symposium dedicated to exploring the ongoing transformations of critical practice in architecture. The event brings together a diverse group of practitioners in order to investigate how their work (which often combines the activities and approaches of curation, editing, writing, design, teaching, and research) can begin to trace a nuanced map of the fieldʼs current critical terrain.

Understanding this terrain as an active landscape perpetually in formation, the symposium is not concerned with developing totalizing statements about the state of criticism or criticality in architecture. Instead it intends to survey the terrain mapped by its speakers in order to identify, describe, and assess the multiple processes and energies that are actively shaping it. What sorts of critical shifts are happening within the discipline today, and how do they help expand and redefine our understandings of “criticism,” “critique,” and “critical”? What changes in modes of architectural practice do they evidence (fractures, amalgamations, transformations, etc.)? And what do these shifts indicate about architectureʼs current relationship with the public, and thereby the scope of its critical concern and reach?

The symposiumʼs speakers will help us consider these questions across traditional sites of production—the School, the Journal, the Institute, the Studio, the Magazine, and the Museum (fully recognizing that their operations may no longer be so traditional)—as well as contemporary sites such as the Blog and Biennale.

2013: PROMISCUOUS ENCOUNTERS

Interpretations: Promiscuous Encounters
Promiscuous Encounters has two main ambitions: first, to examine the fascinating blurriness and productive interplay between the critical, curatorial and conceptual capacities of architecture, including how and where they intersect and overlap and, second, to expand the definitions of what these terms mean in relation to theory and practice by reexamining the sites of criticality and their modes of operation. When and where, we might ask, is an architectural practice Critical, Curatorial or Conceptual today? Can we, or would we want to, separate these kinds of practices or are we subject to an inevitable and productive promiscuity? Category

2011: EXHIBITION PRACTICE

Interpretations: Exhibition Practice
A daylong symposium that critically unpacks the formative processes of recent architectural exhibitions.

What is the purpose of architectural exhibitions? How are they produced? It is widely recognized that exhibitions have been a fundamental platform for the formulation, production, and dissemination of ideas within architecture; and yet, the processes through which they are created often remain opaque.

Interpretations attempts to unpack specific examples of contemporary architectural exhibitions, taking certain "reference exhibitions" as common points of departure for a larger discussion about the complexities of exhibition practice.

The symposium is structured around three exhibition categories, each compromising one session: contextual, survey, and themed-using this format as a tool to maintain a critically flexible, while still defined, space for discussion.