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20 MARCH 2013

Radical Pedagogies in Architectural Education

"Pedagogical experiments played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the 20th century. In fact, the key hypothesis of our Radical Pedagogy[1] research project is that these experiments can be understood as radical architectural practices in their own right. Radical in the literal meaning from the Latin radice, as something belonging or relating to the root, to its foundations. Radical pedagogies shake foundations, disturbing assumptions rather than reinforcing and disseminating them. This challenge to normative thinking was a major force in the postwar field of architecture, and has surprisingly been neglected in recent years. ...

Architectural pedagogy has become stale. Schools spin old wheels as if something is happening but so little is going on. Students wait for a sense of activist engagement with a rapidly evolving world but graduate before it happens. The fact that they wait for instruction is already the problem. Teachers likewise worry too much about their place in the institutional hierarchies. Curricular structures have hardly changed in recent decades, despite the major transformations that have taken place with the growth of globalisation, new technologies, and information culture. As schools appear to increasingly favour professionalisation, they seem to drown in self–imposed bureaucratic oversight, suffocating any possibility for the emergence of experimental practices and failures. There are a few attempts to wake things up here and there but it's all so timid in the end. There is no real innovation.

In response to the timidity of schools today, the Radical Pedagogy project returns to the educational experiments of the 1960s and '70s to remind us what can happen when pedagogy takes on risks. It's a provocation and a call to arms."

(Beatriz Colomina with Esther Choi, Ignacio Gonzalez Galan and Anna–Maria Meister, 28 September 2012, The Architectural Review)

1). Radical Pedagogy is an ongoing multi–year collaborative research project by a team of PhD candidates in the School of Architecture at Princeton University, led by Beatriz Colomina and involving seminars, interviews and guest lectures by protagonists and scholars. The project explores a remarkable set of pedagogical experiments of the 1960s and '70s that revolutionised thinking in the discipline. Each student is working on one of these experiments and collectively mapping the interconnections and effects of these experiments towards a major publication and exhibition.

Fig.1 Tournaments in the Course 'Culture of the Body', at the Valparaíso School, 1975. Courtesy of Archivo Histórico Jose Vial, Escuela Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

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TAGS

1960s1970s20th centuryacademic disciplinesactivism • Alberto Perez-Gomez • Alexander Girard • Alexis Josic • alternative visions • Anna-Maria Meister • architectural discourse • architectural educationarchitectural pedagogyarchitectural practice • architectural radicalism • architecturearchitecture schoolsartificial intelligence • autochthonous tools • Beatriz Colomina • brave new worldBuckminster Fullerbureaucratic reduction • bureaucratic structures • call to arms • capitalist structures • Cedric Price • challenging conventionsCharles Eamescold war • collective defiance • conceptual speculation • consumable plastics • conventional logicconventionalityconventions • cultural milieu • cultural transformation • curricular structures • curriculum innovation • cybernetics • Dalibor Vesely • Daniel Libeskind • David Leatherbarrow • decentralised university • Denise Scott Brown • design disciplinedesign educationdesign formalismdesign fundamentalism • disciplinary assumptions • disciplinary limits • disciplinary protocols • disciplinary self-reflexivity • emerging practices • Emilio Ambasz • Esther Choi • experimental pedagogy • experimental practices • experimental teachinggeopolitical landscape • George Candilis • George Nelson • Germano Celant • Giancarlo De Carlo • Gillo Dorfles • globalisationGyorgy KepesHannah Arendthegelian dialecticHenri Lefebvrehermeneutics • Ignacio Gonzalez Galan • information culture • institutional authority • institutional critique • institutional hierarchies • institutionalisation • instrumentality • Jean Baudrillard • Joseph Rykwert • linguisticsman machine • mass produced desire • mass productionmodernist tradition • Mohsen Mostafavi • new social ordernew technologiesNicholas Negroponte • non-architecture • non-school • Octavio Paz • pedagogical experiments • pedagogical institutions • pedagogy • pedagogy experiments • phenomenology • post-technological society • professionalisation • progressive pedagogical initiatives • provocationquestioning traditions • radical architectural pedagogies • radical architectural pedagogy • radical architectural practices • radical pedagogical experiments • radical pedagogies • radical pedagogy • radical practice • radical practices • radical strategies • radical upheaval • radicality • radice • rapidly evolving world • Ray Eamesreconceptualisationredesigningreinterpretationresearch project • retreat into formalism • return to order • Robin Evans • science fictionself-reflexivity • Shadrach Woods • socio-political • socio-political efficacy • spaceships • speculative interventionsspeculative proposalssubversive actions • Suzanne Keller • taking risks • techno-utopia • technological • technological advancestechnological determinism • Texas Rangers • The Architectural Review • transformational engagementUmberto Ecoutopian perspectiveutopian technological prophecyVietnam war

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 MAY 2011

The Purpose and Focus of Research for Costumes

"One of the greatest challenges for any practitioner in the performing arts is to create a believable and completely honest 'world of the play,' no matter how abstract or obscure it might be to the modern eye. A costumer's overarching objective is essentially to create forms of clothing that are appropriate to any and every type of character, taking into account not only the obvious variables of nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation and creed, but also those of geography, climate, occupation, familial and/or marital status, physiology, personality, psychological state, ideology, historical milieu and so forth. ...

Evocative research, the most liberating form of research for a costumer, is found all around us. This form of research, includes the visual arts but expands to encompass highly abstract art, music, nature, fantasy, film, language, demography and sociopolitical perspectives. Used by directors, actors and designers alike, it creates a basic vocabulary of concept and style upon which to begin discussions of production design. For example, one of the first discussions regarding a play or opera might be the director bringing to the table a piece of music or a painting that to them conveys the mood and spirit they are looking to evoke in the production. For example, a painting by Gustav Klimt might have a specific palette and a detailed use of texture and pattern that evoke key emotions from the director and serve as an excellent springboard for a stylized concept. A director could even bring in a list of adjectives that describes his or her response to the play, and a production team would be expected to visually interpret these words. It is the combination of evocative and factual research that brings focus, cohesiveness and consistency to a production design. Finding fundamental themes or through–lines upon which to base the clothing of the characters therefore allows the designer to create a more controlled environment and a more unified aesthetic."

(Linda Pisano, Timeless Communications September 2010)

Fig.1 Gloria Swanson in the ruins of the Roxy Theatre. Eliot Elisofon. New York City, October 14, 1960. © Time, Inc.

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TAGS

actorsartistic practicearts practitioner • basic vocabulary • believability • brings into focus • characterclothingcohesiveness • colour palette • consistencycostume design • costumer • demographydesignerethnicityevocative research • factual research • fashionform of research • forms of clothing • fundamental themes • key emotions • list of adjectives • nationalityoperapatternperforming artsproduction design • production team • response to the play • socio-politicalsocioeconomic status • sociopolitical perspectives • stylised concept • texturetheatre designer • theatre director • theatre productiontheatrical play • through-line • unified aesthetic • visual artsvisual interpretation • world of the play • world of the story

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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