“Thresholds 50: Before // After” is now available

Edited by Jola Idowu, Ardalan SadeghiKivi, Meriam Soltan and Antonio Pacheco, this special 50th anniversary edition of Thresholds Journal, looks backward and forward, at pasts, past futures, and present possibilities.

On the occasion of its 50th issue, Thresholds 50: Before // After includes scholarly articles, interdisciplinary investigations, and creative contributions from art, architecture, and related fields that explore the thematic concerns of BEFORE and/or AFTER. Thresholds is the peer-reviewed journal produced by the MIT Department of Architecture and distributed by the MIT Press.

“What is a moment in time if not a marker between past and present? We might be surprised to find that what comes before and what follows any given instant are often not so different from one another—time and events have a way of finding a certain consistency, a rhythm and flow that can tend to resist change. But then, suddenly, all hell breaks loose. The power goes out; dams break; tires go flat; governments collapse. To quote a statement famously attributed to Vladimir Lenin, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Meant to reference the punctuated equilibrium of history and to give primacy to the chaotic tumult of revolution, it bears noting that inflection points can happen by other means as well. For Thresholds 50: Before | After we parsed history for subtle moments of massive change, for instances where the beginnings of upheaval and long-running transformations might be found. Our goal? To look at a collection of in-between moments that hint at the future and remind us that the past is sticky, persistent, and, in many ways, always with us. 

Through a collection of new peer-reviewed essays, short essays, and critical creative works, Thresholds 50: Before | After helps uncover how inflection points play out in real time, in hindsight, and across media.” 

–Excerpted from "Editors’ Introduction: At the Threshold of Before and After"  

In celebration of the 50th issue of Thresholds, the conversation also takes the chance to turn “meta” through a collection of nine previously published essays that revisit ideas and moments of struggle Thresholds has grappled with in the past. Through a mix of past contributors, former editors, alumni, and current MIT Architecture students and professors, we work through a series of “annotations” meant to dissect these previously published texts and offer commentary from a present perspective.

The issue concludes with a roundtable discussion between current Thresholds faculty advisor Timothy Hyde, former Thresholds faculty advisor Mark Jarzombek, Thresholds Advisory Board member Ana María León, and Thresholds founding editor Alona Nitzan-Shiftan. 

 Read the current issue.