Artifice

\”The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one has as yet discovered.\” Oscar WildeThis seminar will examine the difficult concept of artifice as an underlying condition of architecture\'s mood swings from the authenticities of modernism to the inauthenticities of postmodernism to the uncertainties of contemporary discourse.Artifice can reference a technique, an object, or a subject. It describes a deliberate, refined practice of making; it also denotes the resulting thing or idea as the product of a calculated scheme; and it can connote as well a cognitive state or conscious behavior that intends towards dissimulation. Artifice consequently provides as a crossing point of several epistemological modes, including aesthetics, ethics, ideology, and praxis. This multivalent concept called artifice is a root condition of architecture, yet its centrality to architecture has not always been readily admitted, because along with its invocations of skill and ingenuity, artifice also carries with it implications of cunning and contrivance. But with claims of authenticity still carelessly asserted and valorizations of inauthenticity still confidently pronounced, perhaps a thoughtful consideration of concepts of artifice will propose more nuanced assessments of architecture\'s strategies of legitimation. At the very least, it promises to cast alternative views upon the evolution of postwar modernism through postmodernism to the contemporary moment.Taking as its historical period the latter half of the twentieth century, this reading seminar will approach the concept of artifice through the various categories that encircle it- Design, Sincerity, Originality, Ugliness, Fiction, Mimicry, Virtuality, and others. These categories will be explored through readings drawn from architectural, literary, legal, and cultural theory with the hope that the accumulation of these categorical explorations will expand the repertoire of concepts with which to engage modern, postmodern, and contemporary architectural discourse.Prerequisites: Successful completion of 4205 & 4206, or equivalent history course that covers postwar architecture or postwar landscape architecture.