typical thursday projection mapping

Spatial experiments by Andrew Serfling, as part of Thesis Lab 2014

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exhibition-publication: April 26

Poster Design: Kaitlyn Payne
Research: Thesis Lab 2014

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dragon and clouds

Source: Japan Times

Source: Kiritz
First I thought there is a mistake in the title, but no, it is the Dragon and Clouds painting by Soga Shohaku. Not waves, but clouds. Interesting combination. Soga Shohaku created the painting at his 34th year. Now at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Dragon and Clouds
Un ryû zu
Japanese, Edo period, 1763
Soga Shôhaku, Japanese, 1730–1781

165.6 x 135 cm (65 3/16 x 53 1/8 in.) each panel after remounted as fusuma
Medium or techniques
Fusuma; ink on paper

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GJ chair

GJ chair by Grete Jalk, 1963. Photo by Douglas Miller (via Galleri Well)


An acting workshop in architecture school?

In April 2013, as part of the MIT "Right to Architecture" Symposium, organized by Professor Nasser Rabbat and AKPIA,  I had presented the paper "Right to Architecture in Crisis" that addressed how performance and architecture are closely related in moments of crisis. Here is the abstract of my position:

Crisis comes with conflicts, instability, anxiety, and many other practical but also psychological problems. Democracy and freedom are often deteriorated to ensure stability; the public space disappears to allow the space of obedience to establish itself until the crisis dissolves. Recent movements, like the Occupy Movement, or Greece’s and Spain’s Indignants reacting to these conditions inhabit public space and transform it in a similar way to that of performing arts’ interventions. Based on the presumed relationship between dance (χορός/ khοrós) and space (χώρος/ chóros) as in the Ancient Greek Theater, the paper examines the possibility of performance to become crowd’s medium to participate in the production of architecture. More specifically performance within architecture is examined in the collaborative and interdisciplinary practice of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who have been pioneers addressing architecturally the social, the body-politics, and surveillance-control problematics; the curatorial positions of Pedro Gadanho, in which performance implies participation; and the artistic work of Alex Schweder in which relationships between occupied spaces and occupying subjects are permeable. The paper eventually speculates a new type of architecture during crisis times that challenges the dysfunctional codes implied by the institutions, where the role of crowd is being redefined from the spectatorship to active engagement. 
At the same time, in  some of my courses, as for example the Thesis Lab studio I have been doing for 3 years at WIT, and the Installations and Public Space seminars I have been doing for 2 and 1 terms at BAC, my students research through various methods the role of performance in relationship to audience engagement in art or architectural work. 

  Stanislavski system / The Method / Method acting (excerpt text via Britannica):
Stanislavsky method, also called The Method, or Stanislavsky system ,  highly influential system of dramatic training developed over years of trial and error by the Russian actor, producer, and theoretician Konstantin Stanislavsky. He began with attempts to find a style of acting more appropriate to the greater realism of 20th-century drama than the histrionic acting styles of the 19th century. He never intended, however, to develop a new style of acting but rather meant to codify in teaching and performing regimens the ways in which great actors always have achieved success in their work, regardless of prevailing acting styles. The method requires that an actor utilize, among other things, his emotional memory (i.e., his recall of past experiences and emotions). The actor’s entrance onto the stage is considered to be not a beginning of the action or of his life as the character but a continuation of the set of preceding circumstances. The actor has trained his concentration and his senses so that he may respond freely to the total stage environment. Through empathic observation of people in many different situations, he attempts to develop a wide emotional range so that his onstage actions and reactions appear as if they were a part of the real world rather than a make-believe one. A risk in the Stanislavsky method is that, when role interpretation is based on the inner impulses of the performer, a scene may unexpectedly take on new directions. (This temptation was opposed by Stanislavsky himself, who demanded that the actor subordinate himself to the play.) Some directors are disposed against the method, seeing in it a threat to their control of a production. Many, however, find it especially useful during rehearsals in uncovering unsuspected nuances of character or of dramatic action. The method was widely practiced in the Soviet Union and in the United States, where experiments in its use began in the 1920s and continued in many schools and professional workshops, such as the prestigious Actors Studio in New York City.
 Meisner technique (excerpt text via Michael Checkov Actor Studio Boston):

The Meisner technique is a progressive system of structured improvisations for developing concentration and imagination, freeing instincts and impulses, and achieving “the reality of doing” in performance.“My approach,” Sandy Meisner said, “is based on bringing the actor back to his emotional impulses and to acting that is firmly rooted in the instinctive. It is based on the fact that all good acting comes from the heart, as it were, and that there’s no mentality to it.” In Meisner’s view, great acting depends on the actor’s impulsive response to what’s happening around him. His key exercise, spontaneous repetition, is designed for the actor to develop the capacity to respond impulsively to every stimulus. Meisner’s approach trains the actor to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” to discover or create personally meaningful points of view with respect to the (written or improvised) word, and to express spontaneous human reactions and authentic emotion with the utmost sense of truth. Robert Duvall said of his teacher: “I owe everything I am, everything I’ve achieved as an actor to Sanford Meisner.... He made me aware that acting is... not speaking a text but creating behavior so that the emotional life underneath brings the text to life.”  Meisner technique is elaborated in the books, Sanford Meisner on Acting, by Mr. Meisner, and The Actor’s Art and Craft, by William Esper.
Grotowski Plastiques (excerpt text via Vanessa Boss):

In order for the actor to have the capabilities to express the “total act”(Grotowski, 125) without physical limitations, the actor must train in both vocally and physically. There are a series of physical exercises, which are used to allow the actor to become more in tune with their bodies and their internal presence. Grotowski was influenced greatly by oriental theatre including yoga, leading to the creation of what are known as plastiques. These exercises include a series of different positions, gestures and tumbles.Grotowski was greatly influenced by the Indian philosopher Patanjali who believed that “yoga removes the impurities from the body creating one being able to clearly notice their true self.”(Grotowski, 252) It is through the learning of physical techniques that in performance, the actor has the capability to physically move organically through almost a kind of improvisation. However what appears externally is the structure learnt through technique. The purpose of the exercise plastiques is to challenge the actor, not just physically but psychologically. Grotowski had developed these exercises following much experimentation. Originally, yoga was used to test whether or not the exercises could improve an actor’s “concentration” (Grotowski, 252) skills. Eventually what Grotowski found was that Yoga was the worst training an actor could possess, for it induces a lack of “thought”(Grotowski, 252) and slows the “breathing”(Grotowski, 252). “That means
all life processes are stopped and one finds fullness and fulfillment in conscious death, autonomy enclosed in our own kernel.”(Grotowski, 252) However what Grotowski did find to his advantage, was that “the associations of the body are also the associations of the feelings” (Grotowski, 253). At the same time, Grotowski recognized what yoga did do, was allow “a natural adaptation to space” (Grotowski, 253). Therefore he decided to modify these exercises to involve human interaction. By involving a partner in these exercises, the actor’s creativity looses limitations and can benefit further psychologically. From here, more and more physical exercises were developed most commonly through the actor’s desire to search for meaning, for presence. Dzieci similarly use these plastiques as a tactic to resolve a problem or to answer a question. For “Makbet”, the actors rehearsed specifically for certain physically demanding scenes, as Rebecca explained as “being present to what’s happening in my body.”(Rebecca Sokoll, Dzieci) In specific exercises, the Dzieci actors would learn a series of actions and once these actions became easy, they would increase in difficulty. “We are always increasing the demands, once we get really good at one thing, we are always increasing the difficulty.”(Matt Mitler, Dzieci) Through the addition of further challenges, what is most interesting is the struggle or the process to achieve such actions. Dzieci is constantly learning more about them selves through their bodies and through their physical and spiritual presence. Matt describes the struggles he personally faces and how he to resolve them: “I would put it in a way that I have to ask for help, I need to be in a place of deep question and I have to ask for help. Where I ask for help, what I ask for help, becomes something more interesting.”(Matt Mitler, Dzieci) This process is a never ending one, for the body is constantly changing as are the experience that the actor faces. However what is constant is the actor’s insight into their internal core. Specifically an example of a plastique in which Grotowski personally uses when training actors in his Laboratory involves the activation of the vertebral column. According to Grotowski, “The vertebral column is the centre of expression. The driving impulse, however, stems from the loins. Every live impulse begins in this region, even if invisible from the outside” (Grotowski, 191) This clarifies the connection between an actor’s physicality and emotion, being that energy first starts from within and the ability for it to be pushed into expression is found through a level of psychophysical awareness. The exercise is known as “Slow Motion” (Grotowski, 188), as described in “Towards a Poor Theatre” involving the actor to:

“Start from a standing position”
“From a headstand, change to a shoulder stand”.
“With the legs still in the air, transfer the weight of the body from the shoulder
to the back of the neck, the arms and hands on the ground for support.”
“Rolling - still in slow motion - with legs outstretched”
“Return to original standing position” (Grotowski, 188)
“This exercise must be done with a certain imaginary force. You must imagine you are in constant contact with someone in order to give the exercise a definite direction. The great expressive force of this exercise lies in the control of the leg muscles. The toes are constantly stretched in a fixed direction. When one of the legs reaches the point at the end of the movement on the ground, the arm takes over. Here coordination is essential. Just before the leg movement finishes, the arm starts moving in the same direction and in the same way.”(Grotowski, 189) It is important to highlight the necessity for the actor to be present in his body as though he is interacting with another. This is significant since the body is physically reacting to another, and through these reactions brings “truth” (Matt Mitler, Dzieci) to the movement.

Folland suggested to use architecture as a starting point for character development. How would one embody an animal, or a chair to create a character? Some other interesting concepts were framed around questions such as performance for a space, or building a space for performance. We also discussed the differences / similarities between acting and performance, linked to institutionalized or scripted acts, and fictious narratives. Folland thought the work of film director, and professional dancer Daphna Mero, in particular, her later efforts to deconstruct the space through the body are very relevant in relation to this interdisciplinary approach. 

Folland performed a series of exercises together with the students for approximately 2 hours. For the specific workshop we focused on mastering presentation of one's project and how body and voice exercises can help people to talk and disseminate their ideas to the public.

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Solitude comes in variations.
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore, 2002


history flow

Fernanda Bertini Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, A graph chart showing the frequency of edits on a Wikipedia page: Chocolate, 2003. Source: Ffffound, MOMA exhibition 2014

Bauhaus Stairway

Bauhaus Stairway,  Oskar Schlemmer, 1932, Source: Silvola

Bauhaus Stairway, Roy Lichtenstein, 1988. Source: Sanjeev


spun seat

Spun Chair, Thomas Heatherwick, 2010. Source: Dezeen

Spun Chair, Thomas Heatherwick, 2010. Source: wn

18 Happenings in 6 Parts

Poster and ticket for 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, by Allan Kaprow. New York: Reuben Gallery, 1959 Source: MOMA
About the event (via Media Art Net): «In his groundbreaking happening, presented at the Reuben Gallery in New York in the fall of 1959, Kaprow synthesized his training in action painting with his study of Cage’s scored and performed events. Working from a carefully conceived and tighlty scripted score, he created an interactive environment that manipulated the audience to a degree virtually unprecedented in 20th century art. The audience were given programs and three stapled cards, which provided instructions for their participation: ‹The performance is divided into six parts...Each part contains three happenings which occur at once. The beginning and end of each will be signaled by a bell. At the end of the performance two strokes of the bell will be heard...There will be no applause after each set, but you may applaud after the sixth set if you wish.› These instructions also stipulated when audience members were required to change seats and move to the next of the three rooms into which the gallery was divided. These rooms were formed by semitransparent plastic sheets painted and collaged with references to Kaprow’s earlier work; by panels on which words were roughly painted, and by rows of plastic fruit. (...) In contrast to Cage, whose encouragement of the participation of audience members war motivated by his desire to relinquish authorial control, audience members in many of Kaprow’s Happenings became props through which the artist’s vision was executed.» (source: Paul Schimmel, «Leap into the Void: Performance and the Object», in: Out of Actions: between performance and the object, 1949–1979, MoCA Los Angeles, New York/London, 1998, pp.61f.)

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grapefruit book

Grapefruit Book, Yoko Ono

On 4 July 1964 in Tokyo, Yoko Ono self-published her masterpiece, Grapefruit, in a limited edition. For at least a decade she had been creating event scores: instructions for performance pieces in the genres of poetry, painting, music, event and object making (or object alteration or object destruction). The scores were typed on ordinary white postcards and dated – and sometimes annotated – by Ono in blue ink.  Much has been written about the wide-ranging influence of these event scores on Fluxus, conceptual, and performance art. A quick glance at the list of dedicatees for the various pieces gives a good idea of the early audience for these events: John Cage, David Tudor, La Monte Young, Nam June Paik, Morton Feldman, Peggy Guggenheim, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, George Brecht, Ray Johnson, Isamu Noguchi, Diane Wikoski, as well as George Maciunas, who was given these cards by Ono in 1964. 

Notes: Text found in Sotheby's, book was spotted in MOMA's John Cage exhibition, book photo found in Wikipedia and cloudpiece image found in IDEA: a collection of). Partial PDF via MONOSKOP

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Happy Easter 2014!

photo by Maria Toloudi



almond tree

Photos: Maria Toloudi

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Σαρμανίτσα.  Είδος κούνιας που χρησιμοποιείτο στην περιοχή της Ηπείρου. Είναι μικρό ξύλινο φορητό κρεβατάκι, καμωμένο από τρεις κοντόπλατες σανίδες καρφωμένες σε σχήμα σκαφιδιού και στερεωμένες σε δύο τέτοιες κάθετες με στρογγυλή βάση,  πλατύτερη  και πιο ψηλή προς το κεφάλι και χαμηλότερη των ποδαριών η άλλη. Υπήρχαν σαρμανίτσες σκέτες, άλλες χρωματισμένες με διάφορα επάνω στολίσματα, όπως λουλούδια κ.α. Εκεί μέσα τυλιγμένο στα σπάργανά του, σε τρόπο που μόνο το κεφάλι μένει κάπως ελεύθερο, ξαπλώναν  το μικρό πάντοτε ανάσκελα. Αφού το έδεναν με μια ειδική μάλλινη παρδαλή τριχιά(φασκιά) που την περνούν πολλές φορές στις τρύπες που υπάρχουν επίτηδες στις ημικυκλικές πλαινές σανίδες, έτσι που να είναι αδύνατο να λυθεί από μοναχό του, το σκεπάζανε.  Ήταν τόσο καλά στερεωμένο στη σαρμανίτσα, το μωρό ώστε πολλές φορές οι μανάδες βύζαιναν το μωρό στρέφοντας ελαφρώς αυτήν και το σώμα τους, χωρίς να ελευθερωθεί το μωρό.  Για να μη πουμπωθεί (σκάσει) το μωρό , υπήρχε πάνω απ΄το κεφάλι (του εξάρτημα της κούνιας) ειδικό ξύλινο στεφάνι που το έλεγαν «κρόθο». ‘Ετσι το μωρό ανάπνεε και κοιμόταν άνετα και κουνώντας το η μάνα του νανουρίζοντας ταυτοχρόνως, αποκοιμιόταν.  Το κούνημα της σαρμανίτσας γινόταν και με τα πόδια, όταν η μάνα είχε πιασμένα τα χέρια με γνέσιμο, μπάλωμα, ή πλέξιμο.

Όπως λέει και το ηπειρώτικο δημοτικό τραγούδι ”Εγώ  ν  ο μαύρος γέρασα κι εσύ θέλεις παιχνίδια. Θέλεις στην κούνια βάλε με θέλεις στη σαρμανίτσα, και με τα πόδια κούνα με και με τα χέρια πλέξε, και με το στόμα Χάιδω μου γλυκά λογάκια λέγε….”. Το μικρό ως που να περπάταγε καλά στα πόδια του εκεί περνούσε τον πιο πολύ καιρό  και μέσα σ΄αυτή το κουβάλαγε η μάνα του και στις δουλειές τις αγροτικές, ώρες μακρυά από το σπίτι και μαζί της το ΄δερναν και αυτό οι βροχές και τα λιοπύρια, τα κρύα και οι αγέρηδες. Το παρνε μαζί της ακόμα και στην εκκλησιά. Βιβλιογραφία: Σπύρος Στούπης- Πωγωνησιακά και Βησσανιώτικα, Εκδόσεις Δωδώνη

Πηγή  (μέσω gtroza)


the sounds of metals or Gehry's guts


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hacking ethics

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Thesis Lab Review: Notes

Thesis Lab 2014 has been about experimental architecture. It asked two big questions. 
On relevance: What matters as a contemporary architectural thesis?
On vision: What architects need and want to do with their practice?

The discussion at the end of the review opened up to the students who have been very enthusiastic about their experience in Thesis Lab. Some of them valued the freedom, the constant experimentation even at the very end, and the production of full-scale installations-architectures that offered themselves as experiences to us on a regular basis. (Within a term of 4 months, some students have completed 10 of those). In many occasions external critics expect (or not at all) from the students to "translate" their installation into what they call as architecture. In this class students took different approach to propose a building, a pavilion, another installation, or even a publication, as the final outcome of their experimentation. Many of those argued how their spatial experiments have been "architecture." The focus of the thesis studio has been indeed to find new forms of architecture and how the latest can become relevant to address bigger global contemporary concerns. The now historical example of the architects-artists Diller Scofidio & Renfro (DS+R), makes a good case to liberate many of the architects not to expect a translation between the installation and the building. It is hard to see the direct connections between the two different forms of work that DS+R have been testing throughout their careers. What is clear in their case (with the exception of the latest MOMA drama) is that whether it is a building, or a stage design, or an artwork, their creations make us shift our perspectives, boring routines, and have better quality of surroundings. 

Three particular students in Thesis Lab 2014 experimented full-scale weekly. They utilize all resources available, lot of time, and took risk to create multiple architectures for us to experience every Thursday, usually in room B. Their method has been to sculpt space, to make columns, walls, projections, to manipulate air, light, sound, color, shadows, kinesis, etc, to eventually construct new atmospheres in the crit room. The room, that can be compared to museum's white cube, acted as an open three-dimensional canvas for their creativity. One can imagine the effect of this formal experimentation in the future creations of these individuals. But even the current works can be easily re-configured to multiple functional spaces. Their motivation and investment to synthesize, compose, and critically experience these works have been impressive. Their examples contribute to the redefinition of Installation(s) term to belong more to the intersection of art and architecture (So one does not have to expect a translation). Their work is an expansion of a field started by Gordon Matta-Clark and continued by other contemporary ones (such as Junya Ishigami). 

Beyond these three examples of installations that act as experiments-experiences, there has been another set of installations, of different style, that of guerilla tactics. Two students have been installing their work to provoke their peers in joining them into a larger, more collaborative architectural experiment: They were motivated to create space through a publication. Their experiments created the need to rethink how public space is shared and used by the various individuals and groups of academia. Many questions were raised about the process and methods to occupy these spaces, the relevance of aesthetics (and polished work), as well as the enthusiasm or tolerance by the public to those temporal interventions. 

The emphasis is on the word temporal that comes with a large range. Temporary or/and ephemeral architecture has been in many cases the context of the studio work (in different scales too: expos, pavilions, kinetic structures). The role of play, performance, and events in architectural expressions definitely affects the duration of those architectures. Why architecture has to last forever (or very long)? There should be enough room for fantasy, imagination, and dreams to affect the current environments. 

Another issue tackled in many of the works had to do with the social whether this is linked to segregation, public realm, or shared spaces (and resources).

A list of all the works presented can be found in the Thesis Lab 2014 review invitation [Bee-Zee Link].
Notes on class methodology can be found in the text Why Thesis Lab? [Bee-Zee Link] also published at Wentworth Graduate Architecture Thesis Book (2014).
The documentation of the course work can be found in the Thesis Lab exhibition-publication [Bee-Zee Link].

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Thesis Lab 2014: invitation to final review

Thesis Lab 2014, WIT, Image credits: Tom McCormack

WIT, APRIL 8, 2014

Part A (12:30-3pm)

Guests: Jessica Cole, Kim Poliquin, Ian Taberner, Etien Santiago, Andrew Ferentinos, Ben Peterson

Thesis Projects:

12:30pm // Crit room C

o   Stitching Society: Through Integrated Community Design, Michelle Bellucci

1pm // Crit space G

o   Micro-tecture: Reimagining the Urban Bus Stop and Bench, Caitlin Pandolph

o   Spectacle of Kinetic Structures: Bringing Function through Attraction, Jim Gibbons

2pm // Crit room A

o   Bio-Breathe Pavilion, Nick Gregshak

o   Liquidity of Architecture: Through Material and Tectonic Exploration, Ashley Brassette

Part B (3-6pm)

Guests: Carol Burns, Jennifer Lee, Jonathan Foote, Kaitlyn Payne, Sinead Gallivan, Zhanina Boyadzhieva

Thesis Projects:

3pm // Crit room A

o   Converse / Construct: Cur[e]ating a Contemporary Form of Agora, Pat Brady

o   The {Symbiotic} Cloud: Architecture of the Garage, Tom McCormack

4 pm // Crit room D

o   Interactive Surveillance: An Urban Network for Public Play, Richard Pignataro

5pm // Crit rooms E & B

o   Transparency & Illusion:  An Experience of Perception, Dan Santacroce

o   Blending by Destroying: Color, Light, and the Destruction of Form, Andrew Serfling

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Free-See-Saw is a hybrid urban furniture and play that aims to become a dialectic space for New Yorkers. Through Free-See-Saw people have the possibility to change existing equilibriums and redefine their role through play. Through its playful character, Free-See-Saw suggests a more informal use of public space that it is somehow lacking today. The urban furniture becomes a performance, a space for spectacle, where the role of subject-object, performer-viewer is not clearly defined. The intervention has also the possibility to imply the need not only for participation, but also collaboration or co-operation among New Yorkers.

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Women in Design lunch with Caroline Jones

Women in Design (WID) have been organizing a series of very relevant and eye-opening informal lunch/breakfast meetings, each time featuring a distinguished female professional of the architectural realm.  In this text, I am recapping my notes from the April 2nd WID lunch with Caroline Jones, Professor of Art History at MIT, at Byerly Hall Room 231 in the Radcliffe Yard. 

Caroline James, on the two women behind the Denise Scott Brown petition, and current WID group leader, opened up the discussion with a provocative statement by Elias Zenghelis. The quote was shared by Cynthia Davidson, director of the nonprofit Anyone Corporation, and editor of Log: Observations on Architecture and the Contemporary City, in a previous breakfast meeting organized by WID and Loeb fellows. Borrowing James' text from the breakfast/meeting recap:
"She [Cynthia Davidson] also cited her interview from Log 30 Winter 2014 with Elia Zenghelis, who said, 'I believe, generally speaking, that women are better at architecture than men, even though in my 45 years of teaching, of my four best students, three were men. I believe this is the case only because the men paid greater attention to the fundamental importance of the frame and context of architecture in human culture and history, and therefore to the importance of theory. This is a responsibility that talented women still have to undertake.' Davidson didn’t pass judgment on Zenghelis’ statement, but she seemed to be pointing out a belief held by an authority in architecture."
Jones, who found the Zenghelis' quote "shocking," embraced James' invitation to discuss what is considered as Theory. In relation to theory within the art/architectural realm, Jones referred to her experience teaching in Boston University (BU) before coming to MIT in 2001. At that time, even a word like "method" sounded very theoretical (and scary). But even nowadays, for her current teaching approach, Jones favored teaching dominant threads  (instead of canons) on visual domains. 

Other participants brought up the dipoles: social practice (grounded and practical) versus theory, or contemporary theory versus conceptual art (conceptual artists that are not necessary theorists). In relation to art/architecture, Jones shared how her courses are elective, and therefore peripheral to Master of Architecture students at MIT. She mentioned the difficulty of being an Art historian within an Architectural Department: Architects know about art, but artists do not know a lot about architecture. Jones discussed the difference between architects who recognize the need for the discourse (even if it is not them who write) in relationship to artists that do not want to say much (in order to keep things ambiguous, to maintain a space of projection, and for viewer's interpretation). To resolve some of the aforementioned issues in her class, she asks from the students to pretend to be this other person who writes about the work (for example the curator, the producer who puts the show, etc). 

Jones discussed as well her current research (and book) on art and globalism as a Radcliffe fellow: How art functions in world’s fairs, national pavilions, and biennial culture; how art operates differently when it is in the context of a global assemblage; and how the artist becomes subject to these global discourses. In the meeting, she explained that the discussion of the 80s on durational works of art are still relevant: Biennal is not just a spectacle, it is a provocative space where different economies of experience take place. A biennal can spread the ambitions of an architect. Within this context, architecture can become a way to debate about things. It can become political. 

On the practice versus theory dipole, James mentioned how for example Denise Scott Brown (the theorist of the pair) does not like to separate the roles among the two. And James asked: Does the dichotomy practice - theory need to exist? By referring to Scott Brown's manuscript on photography, the discussion on theory opened up to other media, beyond writing, as a way to understand architecture. 
A series of questions occurred: Is theory writing? Is theory talking? Is theory, like in philosophy, facts and principles? At this point, another Radcliffe fellow, Lucia Allais, architectural historian and theorist, and currently assistant professor at Princeton University, entered the room and the discussion. Lucia Allais's contribution to the dialogue evolved around issues of gender, salaries, negotiation, pregnancy, maternity in the academic context: How can we learn to "hear" authority? How one found in a position of power (for example professor in an Ivy League school) has the responsibility to educate the others (students not used to seeing pregnant professors) through their own example. 

Allais, being annoyed by Zaha Hadid as the only "handy" example of female architect in various contexts and discussions, expressed her concerns of practice being more gendered than theory. And she explained that in Hadid's era everyone practiced "theory" in the similar way to Hadid: Through the immaterial drawing and the avant-garde. To further support her claim about the gendered practice, Allais mentioned the fact that many architectural firms position women as project leaders, but do not credit and recognize those female leaders. The recognition always go to the brand name of the firm or the  owners. This comment later was discussed by Caroline Jones in relation to the "collaborative" practice, but branded under the name of Olafur Eliasson. Jones who met Olafur Eliasson at his recent artistic residence at MIT, recalled him defending the use of his name to maintain the practice. Many participants shared opinions and views on collaborations, how small and big team or firm works, and how one can protect or share credits. Jones tackled how authorship and collaboration may be different in architecture versus art. And it was around this topic and time that the meeting had to end. 

To be continued?

She also cited her interview from Log 30 Winter 2014 with Elia Zenghelis, who said, “I believe, generally speaking, that women are better at architecture than men, even though in my 45 years of teaching, of my four best students, three were men. I believe this is the case only because the men paid greater attention to the fundamental importance of the frame and context of architecture in human culture and history, and therefore to the importance of theory. This is a responsibility that talented women still have to undertake.” Davidson didn’t pass judgment on Zenghelis’s statement, but she seemed to be pointing out a belief held by an authority in architecture. - See more at: http://blogs.gsd.harvard.edu/loeb-fellows/women-in-design-breakfasts-with-cynthia-davidson/#sthash.VrEYkKhd.dpuf
She also cited her interview from Log 30 Winter 2014 with Elia Zenghelis, who said, “I believe, generally speaking, that women are better at architecture than men, even though in my 45 years of teaching, of my four best students, three were men. I believe this is the case only because the men paid greater attention to the fundamental importance of the frame and context of architecture in human culture and history, and therefore to the importance of theory. This is a responsibility that talented women still have to undertake.” Davidson didn’t pass judgment on Zenghelis’s statement, but she seemed to be pointing out a belief held by an authority in architecture. - See more at: http://blogs.gsd.harvard.edu/loeb-fellows/women-in-design-breakfasts-with-cynthia-davidson/#sthash.VrEYkKhd.dpuf

She also cited her interview from Log 30 Winter 2014 with Elia Zenghelis, who said, “I believe, generally speaking, that women are better at architecture than men, even though in my 45 years of teaching, of my four best students, three were men. I believe this is the case only because the men paid greater attention to the fundamental importance of the frame and context of architecture in human culture and history, and therefore to the importance of theory. This is a responsibility that talented women still have to undertake.” Davidson didn’t pass judgment on Zenghelis’s statement, but she seemed to be pointing out a belief held by an authority in architecture. - See more at: http://blogs.gsd.harvard.edu/loeb-fellows/women-in-design-breakfasts-with-cynthia-davidson/#sthash.VrEYkKhd.dpuf

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