Previously at the ICA - Events

The Serving Library: Bulletins of the Serving Library #3 and a ‘catalogue of sorts’ for the exhibition Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language at MoMA New York, 2012 (front cover detail).

Symposium: Architecture and the Spaces of Information / Part 2

11 Sep 2016

This one-day symposium accompanies the publication of Architecture & Culture, issue 4.1: Architecture & the Spaces of Information (guest edited by Ruth Blacksell and Stephen Walker).

Speakers will discuss overlapping practical, material, production and media environments across the disciplines of architecture, art and editorial design, and how these connections have advanced relationships between audience/user/reader and architectural space.

Between the 1960s and 1970s, practices and discourses of art moved towards conceptual works, which were often situated beyond the conventional confines of the gallery. Artworks from this period often appropriated and interrogated architectural and editorial space. In turn, these appropriations evolved into new types of contemporary practice, which might be described as art, architecture, editorial design or all three.

A characteristic of these developments was the progression of these spatial environments in both architecture and publishing from the physical (and static) to the virtual (and dynamic), together with the adoption of the vocabulary of information architecture as a means for artists and art discourse to articulate these new spaces for practice. This relates to Marshall McLuhan’s assertion that:

"Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments" (Aspen, number 4, 1967).

As McLuhan’s insight hints, these new forms of practice have required the understanding and appropriation of an entirely different mediating context and structure: a different way of engaging the spectator as a participant who no longer has to be physically positioned in proximity to the work, existing now as ‘reader’ or ‘contributor’ rather than an embodied ‘viewer’ within this expanded conception of the exhibition space.

With reference to modern and contemporary examples of practice situated between art, architecture and editorial design speakers will consider the trajectories of these changing relationships between space and information as they take up ever more complex spatial dispositions.


Tim Gough: The Architectural Book: Are We So Sure It’s Not Architecture?

Igea Troiani & Alison Kahn: Beyond the Academic Book: New “Undisciplined” Corporeal Production.

Ruth Blacksell: Claude Parent & Dexter Sinister/The Serving Library: Intersections of Architecture, Art & Editorial Design.

Andrew Hunt: Focal Point Gallery: A New Institutional Model?

Ana Bonet Miro: Alexander Trocchi’s Sigma Portfolio and Joan Littlewood’s Bubble City pamphlet: Ludic Sites for a Mobile Fun Palace Programme.

Organised by Dr Ruth Blacksell and Dr Stephen Walker.

The journal will be available at the event and can be accessed online.

Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. 2016 

This event follows the Part 1 symposium in 2015, which accompanied the Fox Reading Room exhibition Everything is Architecture: Bau Magazine from the 60s and 70s. Speakers at this first event examined the role of the magazine in the development of critical and theoretical architectural discourse through experimental and playful approaches to editorial strategy and document layout.

Dr Ruth Blacksell is based in London; she is Director of the MA in Book Design in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at The University of Reading and is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at The University of Kingston.

Dr. Stephen Walker is a Reader in Architecture at Sheffield School of Architecture, where he is Director of PhD Programmes.

Tim Gough is an architect based in London and a partner in Robertson Gough, an artist-architect collaborative. He is Senior lecturer at Kingston University Department of Architecture and Landscape, running design studio 3.2 and lecturing on the theory and history of architecture.

Dr Igea Troiani is an academic, architect and independent filmmaker teaching at Oxford Brookes University. She is founding director of the independent film company, Caryatid Films and of the Oxford based architectural practice, Original Field of Architecture Ltd. Included in her interests are the expansion of possibilities of interdisciplinary architectural design, drawing and thinking beyond established institutionalized standards and conventional textual expositions.

Dr Alison Kahn is an anthropologist, documentary filmmaker and media curator teaching at Oxford Brookes University. As a specialist in visual and material anthropology she is interested in the use of film and multimedia as tools for research. Alison is currently participating in an AHRC-funded collaborative project between UCL, King’s College London and Oxford Brookes University researching the Future of the Academic Book.

Dr Andrew Hunt is a curator and writer based in London. Between 2008 and 2014 he was Director of Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, and in 2012 he was a member of the Turner Prize jury. He is founder of the Slimvolume imprint, which, to date, has published editions and books by over 250 artists. He is currently a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at Kingston University.

Ana Bonet Miro is an architect and lecturer in Architectural Design and Architectural Technology at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, where she is also a PhD candidate. Her doctoral research is on the evolution of Joan Littlewood’s Fun Palace Programme during the 1960s and 1970s.

In partnership with the University of Reading, Department of Typography and Graphic Communication

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