This Is Not Contemporary
March 16–17, 2023
1100 Architecture + Design Studios
845 West Harrison Street
Register to attend in person
What does contemporariness mean? Does it inform architecture? What role does history have in our articulation of the contemporary? What role might the future have? How can pedagogy take up this mantle of contemporariness? How can education help “grasp the anachronism,” as Agamben puts it? What is it that we need to change? What is contemporary architecture? Can you use specific adjectives to describe it? Which ones? If this is a canon-less, center-less, dispersed era, what are the roles of theory and criticism? Are there systems to validate architectural or theoretical production other than the social media–based “idea” of collective consensus? Do you care about meaning?
In theory and criticism, there is always a mediation and a reconfiguration. Words are not enough. They require a workout, some playful gymnastics, to communicate interpretations, analysis, and diverse forms of translations of what architecture is, implies, or represents via texts and narratives.
The present is also ungraspable. Our minds are overly blurred by the “right here, right now.” That is why Giorgio Agamben suggests that the only way to be contemporary is by adhering to time through disjunction and anachronism. So, what are we talking about when we talk about contemporary architecture?
“This Is Not Contemporary” is a conference trapped between two impossible missions: to use words to define things, and to do that in our own time. The objective is to promote a creative and productive discussion about current work and speculate on the future of practice, criticism, and pedagogies.
Organized by Florencia Rodriguez, director, UIC School of Architecture.
Thursday, March 16
2pm: Introductory remarks by Florencia Rodriguez
Mariana Ibañez, Paul Preissner, Ignacio Galán, Zehra Ahmed,
Moderator: Francesco Marullo
4pm: Coffee break
Andrew Holder, Paul Andersen, Kelly Bair, Beatrice Galilee
Moderator: Antonio Torres
Friday, March 17
9am: Coffee and pastries
Shantel Blakely, Thomas Kelley, Esther Choi, Stewart Hicks
Moderator: Barbara Materia
12–12:30pm: Closing remarks and conversation
This conference is free and open to the public. Register to attend in person or livestream on the school’s YouTube channel.