Architecture Between Spectacle and Use
Friday, April 29, 2005 - April 30, 2005
This Clark Conference, convened by Anthony Vidler, asked: What is architecture today, where does it come from, and where is it going? In recent times, critics have accused architecture of entering too fully into the “society of the spectacle” and falling prey to corporate advertisement and consumerist display. Are such judgments justified, or are the new buildings, projects, and ideas that have generated such excitement and public interest in recent times a creative response to the fundamental social, cultural, and economic needs of a wider public? This conference examined the ways in which architecture found itself caught between the art of display and the accommodation of use—and asked whether the discipline has learned from the social idealism of earlier modern movements, from new technologies, and from environmental sensitivities, or whether it has abandoned its historical aims and ambitions in favor of celebrity and spectacularity.
With speakers from the professions of architecture, art history, and architectural criticism, the conference explored the problems and possibilities of contemporary architecture in the light of the global nature of practice, the history of architecture’s modern reception, and new approaches to the technologies of design, as well as philosophical issues about the “meaning” of architecture.
This conference was supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Mario Carpo, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Canada; Beatriz Colomina, Princeton University; Mark Dorrian, University of Edinburgh, Scotland; Kurt W. Forster, Fakultät Architecktur Balhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany; Hal Foster, Princeton University; Sarah Goldhagen, Harvard University; K. Michael Hays, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Mark M. Jarzombek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Reinhold I. Martin, Columbia University; Felicity Scott, University of California, Irvine; Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh; Tony Vidler, The Cooper Union School of Architecture; Mark Wigley, Columbia University
In order of discussion
Questioning the Spectacle
Spectacle Architecture in the Aftermath
Scharoun’s Philharmonie and Gehry’s Los Angeles Philharmonic Hall
Urban Spectacle and the Rotary Eye
The Spectacle of the Future
Histories and Genealogies
The Trans(formations) of Fame
Snapshots: Monumentality in Postwar Architecture
Mass Customization: Corporate Architecture and the "End" of Politics
Architecture: The Expanded Field
The Spectacle of Neutrality
Skin as Spectacle, Engineer as God
Conference Discussion - Opening Response