The model above illustrates an invitation to a lecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design called “Architecture Before Speech: A Conversation.” I thought it must be a discussion of how humans built early habitation prior to the development of spoken language. Interesting! But the image above created instant skepticism, and then I read the theme of the event. Here are its first two sentences:
If recent theory has highlighted architecture’s turn to evident resemblance and signification, we argue this tendency has also produced its other: The landscape of contemporary practice is filled with work whose motivating interests are anterior to meaning and averse to thematization; they are, in a way, pre-speech.
At least it must be admitted that the theme and the architecture are of a piece. In writing the headline to this post, I first used the word goofy, then changed it to deadly, thus giving my post a positive spin. If this is truly how the nation’s top architects and theorists are talking to each other, the death of modern architecture cannot be far off.
Read the rest of the introduction, which only gets worse, and the list of practices participating in the exhibition. The latter is priceless, and suggests the lengths to which architects today go to produce a spurious differentiation not just in their work but in the names of their practices. It’s a gas, the whole thing.
But how did the following line get into this invitation?
A reception for the exhibition will take place in the Druker Design Gallery immediately following the lecture.
Some things are too important for advanced communication!