Conferences on Sick Architecture – Live

Sick Architecture Talks is a conference program accompanying the opening of Sick architecture, an exhibition curated by Beatriz Colomina, Silvia Franceschini and Nikolaus Hirsch at CIVA. Moderated by Nick Axel, Associate Editor of e-flux Architecture, Sick Architecture Talks will feature presentations from over twenty architects, artists, writers and scientists.

Architecture and disease are closely linked. The architectural discourse is always woven through the theories of the body and the brain, constructing the architect as a kind of doctor and the client as a patient. Architecture has been portrayed as both a form of prevention and healing for thousands of years. Health is supposed to be the main objective of the architect, as Vitruvius already said in the 1st century BC. Yet architecture is also often the cause of disease, from toxic building materials to sick building syndrome. Architecture itself has become sick.

Every age has its characteristic afflictions, and every affliction has its architecture. The age of bacterial diseases, especially tuberculosis, gave rise to modern architecture in the first decades of the 20th century, to white buildings detached from the “damp ground where diseases breed”, as Le Corbusier put it. In the post-war years, attention focused on psychological problems. The architect was often considered a kind of shrink; the house is not just a medical device for the prevention of disease, but for providing psychological comfort or, as Richard Neutra put it, “nerve health”. The 21st century is the era of neurological disorders, with depression, ADHD, borderline personality disorder, burnout syndrome, allergies and “environmental hypersensitivity” defining the contemporary experience of architecture and the built environment.

Meanwhile, the pandemics are back. COVID-19 is completely reshaping architecture and urban planning. The virus has exposed structural inequalities of race, class and gender, prompting a call for social transformation and perhaps an architectural revolution. The exhibition, as well as the series of online publications Sick architectureoffers a broader historical and conceptual framework for such conversations.

Sick Architecture Discussions
May 6, 2pm-8pm CET

2:00 p.m. CET, Presentation
Nicolas Hirsch
Beatrice Colomina

2:20 p.m. CET, Toxicity panel
Clemens Finkelstein, “sick world-building syndrome”
Victoria Bugge Øye, “Coop Himmelblau and the Making of Environmental Health”
Maxwell Smith-Holmes, “Toxic Workplaces, Contaminated Homes, and Irradiated Landscapes”
Kara Plaxa, “An Epidemic of Toxic Masculinity”
Holly Bushman, “Regenerated Bodies”

3:20 p.m. CET, Coping panel
Iason Stathatos, “Architecture of Hunger”
Caroline Voet, “Hospice”
Victoria Bergbauer, “Prosthetic Village”
51N4E, “All Together”

4:10 p.m. CET, border panel
Angelika Joseph, “Alcohol After the Apocalypse”
Jeremy Lee Wolin, “Exclusion by Design: The Angel Island Immigration Station”
Guillermo S. Arsuaga, “Ellis Island: Architecture at the service of biopower”
Sammy Baloji, Johan Lagae and Simon De Nys, “Cordon Sanitaire”

5:05 p.m. CET, break

5:35 p.m. CET, Keynote
Mark Wigley, “Chronic Whiteness”

5:55 p.m. CET, Contagion panel
Angela Brown, “Immunocompromised Architecture: Henry Klumb and the Puerto Rican House”
Dante Furioso, “Sanitary Imperialism”
Andrea Bagnato, “Terra Infecta”
An Tairan, “Touch, Disease, and the Sacred Artifact”

6:50 p.m. CET, Psychiatry panel
Marie de Testa, “Hysteria as scenography”
Alexandra Sastrawati, “Depressed Worlds”
Giuseppina Scavuzzo, “Basaglia”

7:50 p.m. CET, Keynote
Emily Apter, “Covid-Denialism”

Comments are closed.