Production sites is a symposium that scrutinises new cultures of architectural knowledge by examining the sites where knowledge is produced. As a discipline, architecture has largely framed knowledge through the idea of building types, formal styles or sites for design action. Yet participatory design modes, digital technologies, and event-based models present alternatives that probe the divisions between real and imaginary sites, experiential and ideatic encounters, aesthetics and technology. Thus Production sites is a response to fundamental transformations in terms of how cultural knowledge and meaning are currently produced.
In contemporary art, theories emerge from a common thematic framework among groups of artists, providing the theoretical tools to analyse contemporary works (Bourriaud). In architecture, Jonathan Hill’s Weather Architecture shifts theory from the realm of abstract reflection to that of practice-based observation by addressing sites (landscape, weather) as co-producers of architecture and culture. In philosophy, Gernot Böhme’s conception of atmosphere proposes the experience of physical sites and spaces as a source of theory, focusing on the user as an active participant, whose conscious presence in space forms an important source of architectural knowledge. Bernard Cache’s conceptualisation of architectural images expands disciplinary knowledge towards sites of imagination - places of becoming and unlimited potentiality (Earth Moves). In that, he readjusts the interrelations between architecture and the urban, in particular. The ‘sites’ of writing and their relation to ideas, objects or architectural spaces, are investigated in Jane Rendell’s work. At the interface of architecture and public art, Rendell explores the potential of theory as a form of architectural practice, and positions the spatiality of the text as a form of site-writing.
These theorists have opened up the debate about potential alternative sites for architectural knowledge and they have frequently done so by querying the boundaries between architecture and other disciplines; theory and practice; writing and making. They approach architectural knowledge as an evolving practice that is physically situated, and in which the culture of place, the experience of space and the politics of location inform contemporary production of ideas and architecture. These site-focused approaches probe the questions: how can knowledge drawn from the observation or analysis of the particular become relevant to the discipline at large? What are emerging alternative sites, where knowledge is generated or from which it is also drawn? How do these relate to traditional sites and well-established typologies such as the architect’s office, the university, the museum, the exhibition, or the library? How do new scenarios present an adaption or substitution of these frameworks? What are the modes of production that are related to these sites, and the associated tools and methods? And, apart from architects themselves, are there other producers of knowledge relevant to the architectural discipline, such as users, curators, theoreticians, activists or “cross-benchers” (Markus Miessen)?
The thematic matrix is production + sites :
- Generation, organisation, presentation, mediation (production)
- Domestic/intimate, Institutional/formal, urban/public (sites)
We invite contributions for an edited book on the topic of “production sites” with confirmed contributions from Professor Jonathan Hill, Professor Jane Rendell (Bartlett UCL) and Gernot Böhme (TU Darmstadt). Please submit an 1000 word proposal for a book chapter (7000 words), or a visual essay of project-based work (2500 words), or interviews (2500 words). If accepted, you will be invited to present and discuss your work at two symposia/workshops: either at the Bartlett/UCL on 29-30 July 2015, or at The University of Sydney on 29-30th October 2015. Please indicate your preference for either or both events in your submission.
Please email your abstract for review: productionsites[at]ucl.ac.uk
For enquiries, please contact the organisers: Sophia Psarra (s.psarra[at]ucl.ac.uk); Sandra Löschke (sandra.loschke[at]sydney.com.au)