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CCCP Symposia

Renegotiating Precarity
November 17, 2018

This symposium explores the causes and symptoms of precarity through specific structures like the home, the office, and the jobsite.

Participants included Peggy Deamer, Andrew Ross, Lindsey Wikstrom, Laura Diamond, Douglas Spencer, George Caffentzis, and Silvia Federici. Conversations moderated by Felicity D. Scott, Mark Wasiuta, and Manuel Shvartzberg.

Wages are stagnating and rents are rising. Work is not only hard to find, but increasingly exploitative and insecure. People are forced to take on more jobs and loans just to get by. Privatization has turned entire cities into playgrounds for financial speculation, as social support systems have been withdrawn under the banner of austerity politics. In short, precarity has become a generalized condition.

As a discipline that intersects with almost every aspect of life, architecture provides a context in which we can gauge the neoliberal regime of perpetual debt and unremitting labor. The symposium organized by the Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices program, Renegotiating Precaracity, will explore the causes and symptoms of precarity through specific structures like the home, the office, and the jobsite. One of its aims is to examine the effects of the always and never changing economic order on the way we live and work, while maintaining a focus on the role of architecture within it. However, precarity is not intended to be viewed as a fixed or given set of conditions, but as a field of struggle that continually has to be renegotiated. The other aim of the conference is, therefore, the identification of possible alternatives and sites of resistance.

Interpretations: Destabilizing Ground(s)
October 8, 2016

This symposium addressed the tension between stability and instability, both within architecture and beyond it.

Speakers included Daniel Barber; Kian Tajbakhsh; Lindsey Wikstrom; Caitlin Blanchfield and Nina V. Kolowratnik; Susan Schuppli; Sampson Wong; and ESTAR(SER). Conversations moderated by Mark Wasiuta and Felicity D. Scott.

Architecture—as a discipline, a discourse, a practice, and a profession—is immersed in multiple, largely predefined systems. Politics, finance, forms of production, institutions, knowledge, methodologies, theoretical concepts, and channels of dissemination: all inform both architecture’s conditions of stability and its potentials to transform. These constrictions both govern architecture’s normative operations and harbor alternate capacities. Thus, given architecture’s imbrication within such a larger network of power, critical modes of operating remain central to creative and intellectual work, even if they undermine architecture’s very claims to stability. Practices of destabilization within the field have historically proven catalysts for change: disrupting cultural, technological, political and epistemological paradigms, redefining disciplinary boundaries, and addressing new tropes of representation, design and thought.

This year’s CCCP symposium addresses the tension between stability and instability, both within architecture and beyond it. Speakers from a broad range of disciplines have been invited to discuss destabilization as a way of performing change, whether in their own work, in their discipline, or in the world. The symposium asks: Is destabilization a practice we can consider critical to architecture and other fields? Has it been eclipsed by critical terms like speculation and disruption? What is the difference between a destabilizing practice and a disruptive one? How do architecture’s multivalent connections to other fields open new possibilities? If displaced from their specific context, how can particular methodologies destabilize structures of thought or knowledge production? And finally, to what extent are all such destabilizations and disruptions progressive moves? What is the political valence of destabilization?

Critical Shifts
April 5, 2014

This symposium explored the ongoing transformations of critical practice in architecture.

Participants included Aaron Levy, Adam Bandler, Cynthia Davidson, Felicity D. Scott, Justin McGuirk, Ligia Nobre, Marina Otero Verzier, Mark Wasiuta, Mark Wigley, Matteo Ghidoni, and Tina Di Carlo.

Critical Shifts 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.

Promiscuous Encounters
March 23, 2012

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?

Participants included Joseph Grima, Keller Easterling, Andrés Jaque, Reinhold Martin, Mitch McEwen, Markus Miessen, Felicity D. Scott, Pelin Tan, Rodrigo Tisi, and Mark Wasiuta.

Exhibition Practice
April 22, 2011

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.

Participants included Mark Wigley, Beatriz Colomina, Kurt W. Forster, Joseph Grima, Ute Meta Bauer, Barry Bergdoll, Keller Easterling, Damon Rich, Felicity D. Scott, Mirko Zardini, Sarah Herda, Tobi Maier, and Mark Wasiuta.

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.