ArchiTEXT asks one great question: What has architecture done for you lately?on Wednesday 13 May 2009 - 12:18:19 | by NEO
(Exhibition at Design Exchange, Toronto, Till 31st May, 2009, Entry Fee: $5)
During my trip to the TED Conferencce 2009 in Long Beach I also visited Toronto. And the renowned architecture citric Lisa Rochon took me to the Design Exchange in the historic stock exchange building of Toronto to meet Zahra Ebrahim. Undoubtedly Zahra was the most enthusiastic and energetic person I met during my trip to Canada. She is working as the ‘Innovator in Residence’ in Design Exchange and the CEO of the ArchiTEXT. At that time in mid February Zahra was telling me about the mission of spreading the essences of intersections of architecture with other disciplines and contexts.
And on that journey of upholding the spirit of architecture to the people of various folds of society Zahra’s ArchiTEXT arranges an exhibition cum research in their ‘laboratory’ of Design Exchange. Hmm they call it ‘laboratory’. It is an experimental venture of taking architecture to a new dimension in the society. ArchiTEXT is questioning “what has architecture done for ‘us’ lately” in a critical way. The ‘search’ for ‘new audiences’ is somewhat the same venture I personally was thinking of for long. What architecture really has done for the mass people of the world? Is architecture really doing something so great as we (the architects) anticipate or believe? Are we (architects) setting our priorities of design as per ‘what the architecture is doing so far for the people lately’? Most often the answer is NO. We are often so sunk either in the fallacy of form or the fallacy of so called sustainability and ‘green products’ or sometimes the indigestible hardcore philosophies. How the ‘people’ is being benefited at the end, what they do feel? Do we really know? Do we really care or at least think of?
Let’s go through what Zahra says about the exhibition:
“What you are about to experience is not what you are expecting. You are not delving deep into research, you are not going to find the answer to the question: What Has Architecture Done For You Lately?, and you are not going to be a passive observer. At archiTEXT, we are exploring new methods of research, and in the pursuit of the answer to this question, we have mobilized the museum as a laboratory, a space for dialogue, a place to fill in the negative space, a place to find answers to questions. What you will find is a marriage of installation art, of conceptual art, of open-ended questions designed to provoke thoughts, reactions, and heighten your curiosity. Our hypothesis is that the combination of non-traditional mechanisms of research will help us access new audiences – audiences that have not yet been engaged with architecture.”
Hopefully this exhibition is going to travel 33 more countries soon with its unique experiments and surveys. Those who are near Toronto within this month (May, 2009) don’t even think of missing this remarkable event at the Design Exchange.
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