Symposium: “What Criticism?”

The title of this series intends to confront the idea of just one way of practicing or understanding criticism nowadays, as well as to shamelessly suggest a refuting of its supposed pure existence. As Foucault pointed out already in 1978, critique is by nature “condemned to dispersion, dependency and pure heteronomy,” and its contemporary forms emphasize those conditions in many aspects that urge for conscious reflections and a renewed vocabulary.

As we know, critique was originally born in the century of systematization, legitimatization and organization of facts of the modern times. It offered a mode of thought to relate rationally to its present, making philosophy and the critical attitude the abstract construct of the also modern being. This attitude was meant to work as the alert, the B-side of a political and social order, its denunciative Other that exposed a determined kind of relationship to what exists.

We might say that at this point of history, that reductive and dialectic method has been proven to have failed and become obsolete. The extreme changes of communication that took place during the last decades and the ones we cannot yet predict, the shift from continuity to iteration, our devices, and the entire set of things and skills that define our existence, all necessarily challenge us with questions about mostly every preset concept. At the same time, as we know, these new platforms amplified audiences and multiplied voices, putting criticism’s roles and actions into discussion again, live and globally.

Dispersion and dissolution are not at all equivalent to disappearance or the cease of existence, but on the contrary; they imply a spilling, dissemination, and distribution.

This conceptual sprawl, this revolution from a contained discourse towards a collective formation, poses new questions such as: How to embrace this new properties and opportunities without losing significance? Do we need to achieve some constitutions to give sense to this intellectual practice? What are its new possible forms? Where does the difference between simple dissemination and the active distribution and commitment to the transformation of our environment rely? Are there that many forms of criticism? Can we think critically about architecture and cities without the aim for sense and virtue? Does criticism need to be useful?


Presentation and keynotes

Florencia Rodríguez


The Impossible Friendship

Participants: Felicity Scott, Iker Gil, Jiminez Lai

Moderator: TBD


Forms of the Uncertain

Participants: Uriel Fogué, Andres Lepik, Michael Kubo, Inga Saffron

Moderator: TBD




Criticism = Love

Participants: Troy Payne, Urtzi Grau, Ciro Najle

Moderator: Alexandra Lange


Dissemination vs Cultivation

Participants: Meredith Tenhoor, Anthony Acciavatti, Michael Abrahamson

Moderator: TBD


Closing Remarks

Florencia Rodríguez

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