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Date | 15.05.2017, 7.00 p.m.
Venue | Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Main Building, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, 211

Within the lecture series A Sense of Crisis summer 2017 curated by Kathrin Aste, Platform Geography Landscapes Cities.


© Uwe Brunner


Without a doubt – crises have always existed. However, it seems that currently the crisis is booming again. As a spatial and temporal turning point in a phase of transition, crisis always also means change. Consequentially, if it is considered as a productive state, the resulting consciousness of crisis produces a motivation to act that can be the foundation for the redesigning of concrete constellations.

The lecture series A Sense of Crisis appeals to the critical zeitgeist of architecture and questions its relation to the crisis.  Fundamentally, architectural projects encompass a great spectrum of critical potential due to their complex content-related, spatial and temporal make-up.

Still, the question remains: Can spatial concepts and strategies in architecture act as a decisive field of societal negotiations and changes? Or has architecture’s ability to criticize lost its vision?

In order to steer these changes positively, the ability to speculate in the sense of a creative, open thought process seems to be crucial. Hypotheses such as, for example, Bloch’s concrete utopia innately stem from the field of theory and speculation. »But, instead of looking for knowledge about what is, as the actual theory does, it is an exercise or a game with the possible extensions of reality. Intellect becomes the capital of concrete thought exercises in the utopian way of thought, depends on primary knowledge about reality, and contributes to a better understanding itself. The epistemological options of the utopian game then relate the concrete utopia to reality in an indirect, but very effective way.« Raymond Ruyer.

The lecture series tries to explore the consciousness of crisis in architecture and its potential with emphases on geography, landscapes and cities by considering eight positions from different fields such as architecture, landscape architecture, cultural studies and art.

Supported by: Halotech Lichtfabrik | Pema | Ing. A. Sauritschnig Alu-Stahl-Glas GesmbH



27th March | Christophe Girot | Bas Princen | Chair: Kathrin Aste | 7pm | IKA 211a

Lecture Christophe Girot | Landscape Topology

Girot © Villa Zimmermann Garten in Brissago © Atelier Girot 2017 

How does one enter a site, topically? Through a topological method that is specific to landscape architecture. With advanced capabilities of a point cloud models, topology can simulate more fully physical aspects of a site. Whether this method leads to a better design depends on the designer’s creative capacity to grasp a landscape's essence. As a method, then, topology is neither infallible nor does it guarantee better designs, but with a renewed effort to employ physical landscape models as departure point, it can cast an entirely different light on our approach to design. It is precisely this faculty – to navigate through a terrain precisely via a geographically informed, 3D digital space – that makes the difference in the approach of a design. Beyond the explicit, physical properties of a site, topology brings up the cultural limitations with which the designer is faced: language and concepts of nature that he or she may have to promote.

Through repeated testing, it is possible to see a project evolve virtually before its eventual realization. Looking at a landscape as a full, physical body provides an entirely different reading of reality than a conventional two-dimensional layered map, and, as a result, also promotes a different operating mode. Topological methods place the landscape designer at the heart of a virtual site that can help distinguish various elements of a place with a differentiated viewpoint. The virtual space of a point cloud model enables entirely new relationships and meanings to emerge between the very same landscape elements, namely because they now appear in a completely different order than in a 2D plan. In this way, the point cloud model introduces the notion of perceptual relativity in landscape design, which is quite different from conventional codes of planning and perspectival imaging.

Christophe Girot wurde 1957 in Paris geboren und ist Professor am Institut für Landschaftsarchitektur am Departement Architektur der ETH Zürich. Seine Lehr- und Forschungstätigkeit umfasst die Entwicklung neuer topologischer Methoden im Landschaftsentwurf, den Einsatz Neuer Medien in der Landschaftsanalyse- und Wahrnehmung, sowie die Erforschung der Geschichte und Theorie des Landschaftsentwurfs. Der Schwerpunkt seiner praktischen Tätigkeit liegt in der Auseinandersetzung mit der zeitgenössischen Landschaft.

Lecture Bas Princen

Princen As a part of the exhibition Earth Pillar, Placer Mine II (Rosebel), 2016 

»I will focus on the aspect of 'a document (that describes a piece of the world), the construction of an image, the image in a space, and the image as object and if it is then still a document that describes the world’ in short, the transformation of reality into an object.» Bas Princen
Bas Princen is an artist and photographer living and working in Rotterdam and recently in Zurich. He was educated as industrial designer at the Design Academy Eindhoven and later studied architecture at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam. Since then, through the use of photography, his work focuses on urban landscape in transformation, researching the various forms, outcomes and imaginaries of changing urban space.
Recent exhibitions include: Breuer Revised at the Met in NY, 2017, Earth Pillar, solo Gallery, Paris, 2016, Constructing Worlds in the Barbican Art Gallery, London 2014; Room of Peace in the Arsenale exhibition Monditalia, at the 14th Venice Biennale; Reservoir, deSingel Antwerp 2011; Five Cities, Depo, Istanbul 2010; Refuge, Storefront for art and architecture NY 2010; Invisible frontier, AUT, Innsbruck 2008; Nature as Artifice, Kroller Muller Museum, Otterloo and Aperture Foundation, New York 2009; Spectacular City, Nai, Rotterdam, 2006; The Venice Biennale of Architecture 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012
In May 2004 he published his first book Artificial Arcadia with 010 Publishers; further monographs include Rotterdam with Witte de With Publishers 2007; Galleria Naturale for Linea di Confine, Rubierra 2008, Five Cities Portfolio with SUN Publishers 2009 and Reservoir with Hatje Cantz 2011, and The Construction of an Image 2016 with Bedford Press.
In 2004 he won the Charlotte Kohler Prize for promising young artists and architects in the Netherlands and at the 2010 Venice Biennale of Architecture he was awarded the silver lion for his collaborative work with Office Kersten Geers David van Severen.

15th May | Angelika Fitz | Andreas Spiegl | Chair: Marco Russo | 7pm | Aktsaal

Lecture Angelika Fitz | What Can Architecture Do?

Fitz © Boxwallahs, New Delhi, 2000 | Foto: DeEgo 

Since 2008 »the crisis« has increasingly become a crucial mode not only to reflect on but also of experiencing the present. Paradoxically, quite a few architects are again gaining in self-confidence at the moment with regards to their capacity to impact on the shaping of society. But just as the major social movements and traditional political parties belong to the past, architecture manages to exist largely without isms. Society no longer asks what architecture should be but what it can do. What does this mean for the endeavours of an architecture museum?

Angelika Fitz is a cultural theorist and curator in the fields of architecture, art and urbanism. Many of her curatorial projects have been conceived as long-term platforms for knowledge transfer and co-production. 2003 and 2005 she curated the Austrian Contribution to the Architecture Biennial in Sao Paulo. Her recent projects include We-Traders. Swapping Crisis for City and Actopolis. The Art of Action. Since January 2017 she is heading the Architekturzentrum Wien as its new director.

Lecture Andreas Spiegl | Crisis and Critique: Two Reasons for Self-Assignment (with and without a building ground)

Crises and Critique – two concepts that etymologically share the same ancient-Greek word krinein (separating, reasoning): Stating a critical situation still echoes the same origin of crisis and critique. Crisis detects a situation that is changing and separating from the status quo; and criticizing points to the attempt to change the dominant notion of things in order to enable another perspective for reasoning. Both can provide a cause for a change. In this sense the lecture outlines a concept of architecture that identifies crisis and critique with a reason for designing alternative solutions and transformations with and without a ground – an architecture of acting that is not waiting for orders.

Andreas Spiegl (*1964) studied Art History at the University Vienna, Austria. He is working as Senior Scientist at the Institute for Cultural Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna where he was also Vice-Rector for Research and Teaching from 2003 to 2011, since 2015 he is head of the Institute for Cultural Studies. He is mainly working on the intersection of media theories, subject theories and theories of space. He has published a numerous texts on contemporary arts and art theory.

22nd May | Francois Roche | Cristina D.Moreno + Efrén G.Grinda | Chair: Oliver Domeisen | 7pm | Atelierhaus Prospekthof

More Informations are to come.

Roche © François Roche 

12th June | Andy Lomas | Matteo Zamagni | Chair: Marjan Colletti | 7pm | IKA 211a

Lecture Andy Lomas | Morphogenetic Creations

Lomas © Andy Lomas, constrained forms stereo installation 3 

Inspired by the work of Alan Turing, Ernst Haeckel and D'Arcy Thompson, Morphogenetic Creations is an ongoing series of art works that explore how intricate complex structure and motion can be created emergently using computer generated models of morphogenesis.

The aim is for deep emergence, with rules for growth specified at the level of interactions between individual cells. Digital simulation techniques are used to algorithmically encode the rules, and processes are run over many thousands of time steps. Typical final structures consist of up to a hundred million individual parts, yielding levels of detail that would be difficult or impossible to obtain using more conventional techniques.

The results are both alien and familiar. Using a combination of evolutionary methods and machine learning, the space of possibilities is explored to discover areas of rich emergent behaviour. Creating forms using unnatural selection: survival of the intriguing instead of the fittest.

Andy Lomas is a digital artist, mathematician, and Emmy award winning supervisor of computer generated effects. His art work explores how complex sculptural forms can be created emergently by simulating growth processes. Inspired by the work of Alan Turing, D'Arcy Thompson and Ernst Haeckel, it exists at the boundary between art and science.

He has had work exhibited in over 50 joint and solo exhibitions, including at the Royal Society, SIGGRAPH, Japan Media Arts Festival, Ars Electronica Festival, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Watermans and the ZKM. His work is in the collections at the V&A and the D'Arcy Thompson Art Fund Collection, and was selected by Saatchi Online to contribute to a special exhibition in the Zoo Art Fair at the Royal Academy of Arts.

In 2014 his work Cellular Forms won The Lumen Prize Gold Award, as well as the Best Artwork Award from the A-Eye exhibition at AISB-50, and an Honorary Mention from the jury at the Ars Electronica Festival.

He is a Visiting Lecturer at UCL, The Bartlett School of Architecture and a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths University of London. His production credits include Walking With Dinosaurs, Matrix: Revolutions, Matrix: Reloaded, Over the Hedge, The Tale of Despereaux, Avatar, and he received Emmys for his work on The Odyssey (1997) and Alice in Wonderland (1999).

Lecture Matteo Zamagni | Collective reformations

Zamagni © Photo Michael Wolf 

Chaos has become a common synonym of the world. In places where the internet is available, informations are spreading across keeping people informed about current situation, but most often are accompained with a huge portion of misinformation. At a stage where there is no sharp distinction between what's real and what's not, a need for change is felt from every part of the world, especially in the arts where such pressure is expressed with very straightforward statements. It is considered that as many as 80% of the people will be sucked in cities in a few years, intensifying the amount of pressure on citizen's shoulders.

New solutions are currently in the making and more have yet to come. One of which consist of creating sustainable localized communities around the world acting as small microcosms. Communitarian experiences however are not new, during the 19th century, many of them were born but the majority of them collapsed in less than few months; This underlines the importance to have strong infrastructure upon which to build such experiments.

Matteo Zamagni is a new media artist based in London. He expresses his ideas through multi-media platforms: Video Direction, real-time and off-line graphics and interactive installations; The root of his projects comes from ongoing research into the connections between spirituality and sciences. He explores the boundaries between the physical and the invisible dimensions, the macro and micro scale of matter, the conscious and unconscious mind. He has been working for various new media artists and studios such as Quayola, Field.io and Hito Steyerl.