Ari Seligmann Lecture 10/1
Ari Seligmann, "Crafting (Hi)stories, the Discursive Construction of Japanese Architecture"
Dr. Ari Seligmann is a critic, historian and designer who studies contemporary Japanese architecture and urbanism, and relations between architecture and media. He is deputy head of the Monash University Architecture Department and co-founder of the Critical Practices Research Lab, and completed his Ph.D. at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design. He regularly lectures and publishes on the historiography and representations of Japanese architecture, including the recent Japanese Modern Architecture 1920-2015, Developments and Dialogues (2016). His current research examines the multimedia exploration of architectural ideas through the work of Ryoji Suzuki and the contributions of postwar Japanese architectural photographers.
Since the mid-19th century, and accelerated after WWII, Japanese architecture has increasingly received international attention leading Reyner Banham to identify the “Japanization of World Architecture.” This included the frequent introduction of alternatives that challenged and expanded modern and postmodern architectural developments. Yet, more than assessing the widespread impacts of Japanese architectural production reverberating across the globe, this talk focuses on the dissemination of English language accounts of Japanese architecture and how they have shaped how we have come to understand what constitutes Japanese architecture as a category and a collection of work. Dr. Seligmann is interested in how (hi)stories are told through text and images. This talk weaves together several pieces from a larger project on the historiography of Japanese architecture. It examines some of the key discourses and tropes guiding narratives including: the negotiation of tradition and modernization, dichotomies of simplicity and ostentation, genealogical imaginations, and the postmodern proliferation of pluralism. Dr. Seligmann will also reflect on alternative formulations in his own accounts. Within the global dissemination of information, our imagination of Japanese architecture is primarily mediated through the combination of prose and photographs, and the talk will also examine the importance of photography in collapsing historic and geographic distances and in helping to curate the discursive construction of Japanese architecture. Although focused on the Japanese context, these considerations have global implications for the production and reception of architecture and it’s (hi)stories.
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