Reinhold Martin, author of The Organizational Complex (MIT Press, 2003), will present the keynote lecture for “Cambridge Talks IX: Inscriptions of Power; Spaces, Institutions, and Crisis.” Beginning but not ending with Michel Foucault’s elusive, omnipresent “power-knowledge” couplet, this talk will examine the aesthetic and technical properties of certain infrastructures through which this couplet is manifest. These infrastructures, which could be called architectural, will mainly be found in research universities in the United States during the late nineteenth century, with genealogical ties to the business corporation. I will try, however, also to show the limits of transferring the Foucauldian analytic directly onto architecture as commonly construed. Likewise for the “new materialism” that has more recently shed significant light on the multifarious life of “things.” Instead, a “gay science” of corporate power, centered on the university, can only arise during those brief intervals when architecture appears, repeatedly, as one among many media.
Cambridge Talks is the annual conference organized by students in the PhD Program at Harvard GSD.
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