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Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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    In Which Elizabeth Diller Accuses Us of Being Modernist

    Lian Chikako Chang Mar 31 '10 4

    Hello Archinect!

    Tonight's Return of Nature event was called "The Nature of Information" and featured Liz Diller and Antoine Picon. This was at once the most lucid and the most light-hearted evening in the series. (There were also some unintentionally funny moments: at one point, Scott Cohen said "I'm fired. I mean, I'm tired of...")

    Picon talked about inversions between nature and fiction, and Diller presented the Blur Building, Soft Sell, the 'Joyful Trees' at the Liverpool Biennial (just Google it if you don't know this one), Pure Mix, and the High Line. She entertained more than theorized, but boy, did she entertain, ending with images of flashers "performing" for people on the High Line from their hotel windows in The Standard. About the High Line project in general, she observed that "our biggest architectural act there was to not fuck it up."


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    One question from the audience, addressed to Antoine Picon, was about the line between fictionalizing nature and lying. In response, Picon said: "I'm not pragmatic-- I mean, I'm not a practitioner. I don't draw lines. To make something absolutely true, you often have to lie. Although it's not interesting if you just lie because you're sloppy." And he gave the example of Sullivan, who used columns that were not load-bearing in order to ensure an undisrupted rhythm and harmony. At this point, Liz Diller interjected: "I feel like this is a very Harvard discussion and I'm a strange guest in it. This is a very modernist discussion to have."

    Thanks for reading!
    Lian

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    • 4 Comments

    • Barry LehrmanBarry Lehrman
      Apr 1, 10 1:29 pm
      fictionalizing nature and lying - hah! but what is nature? if humans are not natural, then yes, we can fictionalize nature.
      freeezerburn
      Apr 1, 10 2:56 pm

      isn't nature itself a fictionalization? it's the discussion of the raw and the cooked. without the cooked, there is no raw, there just is just as there is not nature until humans decided they needed to transcend and invented nature to separate themselves from their environment.

      citizen
      Apr 2, 10 2:27 pm

      Lian, Your post's title reminds me of the time one of my favorite studio instructors (now at Yale, I believe) assured us that --despite his and a few others' best intentions to introduce us to the timelessness of historic building types and the importance of designing with context in mind-- we were being educated as true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool modernists.

      This was in my fourth year, at the height of the postmodern classisict uprising (1982). It was obviously true, but it hadn't dawned on us that "the Modernists" continued to matriculate in architecture programs, and were not a quaint cadre limited to the 1920s and '30s.

      Is it any different today, really?

      syp
      Apr 3, 10 1:29 am

      "To make something ABSOLUTELY TRUE, you often have to lie."

      Picon might have to change that sentence into 'to make something SEDUCTIVE, you often have to lie.'

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Lectures and exhibitions, news and events, now primarily from the Bay Area! Please note that all live blogs are abridged and approximate. If you want to see exactly what happened, in many cases a video of the event is posted online by the event's hosts. If you have concerns about how you are quoted, please contact me via Archinect's email.

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