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Fall 2016 Lecture Series

Lectures are free and open to the public. For some lectures, members of the MIT community with IDs will be admitted 30 minutes prior to the lecture and the general public will be admitted as space permits.

Except as noted, lectures are at 6:00 pm in Room 7-429, located at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA.  An interactive map may be found on-line at: http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg

Videos of our recent lectures are available on our YouTube channel.   Videos are uploaded within the week following each lecture.

Sep 12, 2016 - 6:00pm

Photography, especially studio portraiture, became instantly popular on the Swahili coast of eastern Africa and by the 1880s residents of such port cities as Mombasa and Zanzibar avidly collected and commissioned photographs of locals and distant others. Although photography was used as a medium for the performance of selfhood later on, during its early history it was about murkier, even intractable meanings.

Sep 15, 2016 - 6:00pm

SO–IL is an award winning architectural design firm that envisions spaces for culture, learning and innovation. From their offices in New York, SO–IL partakes in the production of buildings, interiors, furniture and landscapes around the world. As a collective of diverse thinkers and makers, the office engages with the ever changing social, economic and natural environment through active dialogue that considers context, function, and opportunity. SO–IL believes that physical structures have the power to offer a sense of wonder and place.

Sep 16, 2016 - 6:00pm

Faculty Alexander D'Hooghe, Anton Garcia-Abril and Debora Mesa, Rania Ghosn, John Ochsendorf, Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas present their projects for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, Reporting from the Front, curated by Alejandro Aravena.

Sep 20, 2016 - 6:00pm
Sep 22, 2016 - 6:00pm

Most of the places we have visited and chosen to design preserve traces manifesting that of which heritage values have resisted. In some cases they appear strong, permanent and consolidated features, in others, they appear just as a thin filigree.

We approach the places we decide to design in a similar way of how the translators approach the texts they love- investigating, listening, building with them an empathetic dialogue, whilst bridging them to a different time.

Sep 26, 2016 - 6:00pm

"Imaginary property" is an artistic research project on the halting problem of a society after the spectacle when Guy Debord’s “autonomous movement of the non-living” has become almost trivial but fully embedded in biopolitics. The concept of imaginary property characterises a new regime of ubiquitous image-production which throws into crisis conventional conceptions of the vexed relationship between selfhood and ownership. It can be understood in two directions: the becoming-property of images and the becoming-imaginary of property.

Sep 30, 2016 - 5:00pm

Whilst play forms evolved in decisive ways since the nineteenth century, through the acquisition of rules, these also disseminated worldwide instituting a de facto globalization avant la lettre. A second recognizable phenomenon in the domain of play was the novelty of its inscription in purpose-made arenas, allied to strenuous efforts placed in what we may term its domestication. Ludic space which can be conjured up anywhere, was thus shaped, framed and inscribed according to rational principles.

Oct 1, 2016 - 9:00am
20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA : E15, bottom floor : Bartos Theater

Purity and contamination have long figured in the accounts of the European Renaissance. Scholars, in the last few decades alone, have mapped the role these ideas have played in debates about godliness and sin, cleanliness, gender, and ethnicity, among other domains. Less thoroughly studied, though, is how these two intertwined categories informed European approaches to art and the built environment, both as it was created and experienced. It is precisely this lacuna that our conference aims to address.

Oct 3, 2016 - 6:00pm

Five years ago, a new chapter in Syrian art was set in motion when a popular uprising in the southern city of Daraa began. The uprising inspired an unprecedented outburst of political commentary and creativity. Syrian artists living at home and abroad responded with an outpouring of images; some were anonymous and circulated clandestinely through various channels such as social media, while others were shown in galleries in Beirut and Dubai.

Oct 4, 2016 - 6:00pm

Make It Real is a talk about how architecture performs things into the world. It presents an understanding of performance that goes beyond beyond professional KPI’s and building efficiencies to consider the way architecture precipitates abstract ideas into the world. Through recent projects dealing in architectural replicas and re-enactments, buildings that are simultaneously stages and performances, and objects that are as much representations as things, the talk considers architecture’s position between fiction and reality, as a mechanism by which abstract ideas become the world.

Oct 5, 2016 - 6:00pm
e15-001: The ACT Cube

Cristina Ricupero will present her curatorial approach to the exhibition "Secret Societies" (Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and CAPC de Bordeaux, 2011–2012) and also other more recent exhibitions.

Oct 12, 2016 - 6:00pm

Martino Stierli, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art, will talk about his ongoing research and exhibition project on the architectural production of Socialist Yugoslavia, as well as his new role at MoMA and the task of challenging the canon of modern architecture.                               

Oct 14, 2016 - 5:00pm

In this lecture, Jose will discuss the use of gaming platforms as a crowdsourcing mechanism for ecological urban development. The game Block’hood developed by Jose focuses on notions of ecology, entropy, and co-existence, generating a dynamic system from which players can learn lessons from the real world. The presentation will unfold the development of Block’hood and discuss the implications of using distributed technologies as a form of design and education.

Oct 17, 2016 - 12:30pm

We spend most of our time in built spaces that substantially affect our health, well-being, and productivity. The built environment has a large influence on climate change, mainly due to the energy we use to keep acceptable levels of indoor comfort. Yet, we are still systematically measuring high occupant dissatisfaction, even in green certified spaces, particularly with acoustics, air quality and thermal comfort. How can we enhance occupant satisfaction without increasing our environmental impact?

Oct 19, 2016 - 6:00pm

Elora Hardy presents a lecture as part of the 'Fast, Cheap, and Out of the Box' Design Option Studio taught by Skylar Tibbits, Neil Thomas, and Aran Chadwick.

Oct 21, 2016 - 5:00pm

The designer, planner, and architect as change agent is not often fully explored in professional contexts yet it is critical that we do.  Deanna Van Buren of FOURM design studio and Designing Justice + Designing Spaces explores this capacity in her practice by re-envisioning new worlds and alternative futures that address everything from the transformation of  digital space to the crisis caused by mass incarceration.   She will present realized and envisioned projects across this unique spectrum resulting from her firm's examination of the interrelatedness of shared processes in the creatio

Oct 24, 2016 - 6:00pm

"The Structure: Works of Mahendra Raj" unravels the oeuvre of Mahendra Raj's sixty prolific years of practice as a structural engineer. His unusually inventive and intuitive work reveals bold and pioneering engineering solutions for buildings in exposed concrete over the years. Most of his structures are now artefacts that narrate the energetic period of nation building in post-independent India.

Oct 27, 2016 - 9:00am
Oct 31, 2016 - 6:00pm
E15-001: The ACT Cube

Today, yesterday’s LEFT has collapsed into what is referred to as “progressivism,” which aspires toward a MIDDLE, and today’s right has evolved into a neoliberalist faction and an ever more powerful faction in the form of an aggressive populism characterized by irrationalism, racism, xenophobia and misogyny.

Nov 1, 2016 - 6:00pm

The fact that the Internet creates "echo chambers" has become a truism. Rather than a boundless cyberspace, we seem trapped in ever smaller pigeon holes. To understand how this has happened--and to imagine a different future--this talk examines the concept of homophily (the assumption that birds of a feather flock together), which grounds much network analysis. It argues that we need to use critical theories from the humanities to create more public and just online networks.

Nov 7, 2016 - 6:00pm
E15-001: The ACT Cube

"The animal of the molecular revolution will be neither mole nor snake, but a drone-animal-thing that is solid, liquid, and a gas." — from Dividuum Raunig will present a philosophy of dividuality as a way of addressing contemporary modes of production and forms of life.  Raunig’s bad news is that dividuality is responsible for much of the intensified exploitation and subservience in contemporary machinic capitalism. Algorithms, derivatives, big data, and social media technology all contribute to the rampant expansion of divisive management strategies and desires for self-division.

Nov 7, 2016 - 6:00pm

The Islamic State’s destruction of archeological sites including Palmyra and Nimrud in 2015 was widely covered in the Western media, and has launched a flurry of projects with the goal of combatting the destruction through the use of digital technologies. Technologies such as 3D modeling and printing have been hailed as salvific, and their ability to preserve threatened sites, reconstruct destroyed ones, and disseminate knowledge of the past cheaply and easily all over the globe have been called the only possible remedy for IS’ destruction. But is it really so simple?

Nov 14, 2016 - 6:00pm


Nov 15, 2016 - 6:00pm

The majority of projects and works that we have designed to date have been related with public architectures and fragile, incomplete urban contexts. Within this working framework, our aim has been to try to dignify what is public as a collective space and to define an architecture that is specific to its environment.

Nov 18, 2016 - 12:00pm

Liam Young, Jeffrey Schnapp, Greg Lynn, Carlo Ratti, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Soo-in Yang and Meejin Yoon will speculate on the imminent urban futures and fictions catalyzed by new technologies in mobility, network systems, augmented reality, mapping, and simulation and their impact on urban form. The panel will identify the opportunities and challenges of these transformations.

Nov 18, 2016 - 5:00pm

Detroit Resists is a group working on behalf of an inclusive, equitable, and democratic city. The group emerged in response to the U.S. Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale and, as two of the members of the group, we will discuss some of the practical and political dimensions of this response.

Nov 21, 2016 - 6:00pm
32-123, Stata Center

The 5th Edward and Mary Allen Lecture in Structural Design

Please note date and location change: Lecture will take place on November 21, 2016, 6 PM, in the Stata Center, Room 32-123.

Dec 1, 2016 - 6:00pm

Modern architecture, with the émigré architect as its messenger, sought to create a world in which buildings were material media performing acts of global transmission and dissemination.

Dec 2, 2016 - 5:00pm

A strange happenstance. First, as a designer, critic, and historian, Ian Bogost has been working on the applications of games and play to domains outside of entertainment for many years. The ongoing adoption of games in architecture and urban design have largely been focused on game technologies and design techniques, but such a literal approach to the lessons from games might miss the forest from the trees

Dec 5, 2016 - 6:00pm
E15-001: The ACT Cube

About art, metamorphosis and exploring experience to enhance a different political imagination

Ducks are capable of abstract thinking. This recent scientific discovery is no surprise to ducks; they are ducks, after all. The discovery just reveals that we, non-ducks, are deeply fascinated by sharing traits that are integral to our own idea of rationality. If taken seriously, the discovery is a revolution, marking in a very nice, duckish way the impossibility of taking the premises of humanism and anthropocentrism as our permanent horizon.