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July Seminar

When Does It Happen?

July 15, 2015, 8:00pm Eastern

Where Does It Happen?

The Google Hangout Link is here.

Who Will It Feature?

MartMart Schaefer, who says the following of himself:

i am a designer with a particular interest in “poetic placemaking” and employing cinema, painting & poetry as alternatives to traditional architectural communication methods. after transitioning from a 20-year career in graphic design, i recently completed a master of architecture at portland state university. looking back, i find it telling that the work i’m most proud of is that which was least representative of the typical architecture process we were encouraged to follow. fortunately i had mentors & peers who were interested in pushing the boundaries of architectural representation and blurring the line between art and architecture and who never stood in the way of my experiments. i live in portland oregon with my partner, her 13-year-old son and three cats.

What Will The Topic Be?

Mart says:

What are the possibilities of envisioning a mode of architectural production that resists commodification and the tyranny of functionalism? In spite of those who would champion its potential to enact positive social change, it is seemingly impossible for architecture to exist outside of capitalist modes of production. By fulfilling an instrumental role, architecture ties itself to a commodity system wherein the difference between green roofs and gas chambers is merely one of morality. “Eight Sentences on a Functional Death” is an installation comprised of series of conceptual architectural drawings which explore the role of architecture in the mass murder committed by the Nazis at the Trebinka extermination camp in Poland. Questions of agency, ethics and value are raised by this work and the suggestion is put forth that the only way to escape this servitude is for architecture to be put on trial, ultimately stripped of its functions, and condemned to a purely conceptual existence.

While not immediately apparent, theopoetics (esp. as I’ve encountered it via Jack Caputo) heavily influences my work and thought on creative practice. My particular view on architecture is inspired by a combination of “refusal” thinkers, weak thought and the messianic, avant-garde art practice, etc. I argue that the architect needs to work from a place of uncertainty…must return to it again and again and again with each new project, each new design decision. Every decision should be made in the face of absolute uncertainty, of disbelief in its ability to effect any “positive” change, for this demonstrates real faith in architecture.

Material(s) to Engage in Advance

The text we will be considering is here, and Mart will walk us through key points of it in the first part of our time together Wednesday.

Questions/Topics to be Addressed

Mart asks us to consider the following:

I am interested further developing the idea of a theopoetics of architecture, but the philosophical component is much more difficult for me than the architectural component. Throughout my thesis year, I had plenty of input from academics in the architecture discipline. Now I would benefit immensely from putting my idea in front of an audience of people with interest and experience in theopoetics who could help me strength the parts that are working and point out those which aren’t.

How Do I RSVP?

Let us know right here and on Facebook too if you use that.