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M+M / Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, "Are We Human? : The Design of the Species"

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BEATRIZ COLOMINA (Professor of Architecture, Co-Director of the Program in Media and Modernity, Princeton University)
MARK WIGLEY (Professor and Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University)


2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years


Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley will present the curatorial concept of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, which they are directing and will open in October 2016. They argue that design always presents itself as serving the human but its real ambition is to redesign the human. The history of design is therefore a history of evolving conceptions of the human. To talk about design is to talk about the state of our species. Humans have always been radically reshaped by the designs they produce and the world of design keeps expanding. We live in a time when everything is designed, from our carefully crafted individual looks and online identities, to the surrounding galaxies of personal devices, new materials, interfaces, networks, systems, infrastructures, data, chemicals, organisms, and genetic codes. The average day involves the experience of thousands of layers of design that reach to outer space but also reach deep into our bodies and brains. We literally live inside design, like the spider lives inside the web constructed from inside its own body. But unlike the spider, we have spawned countless overlapping and interacting webs. Even the planet itself has been completely encrusted by design as a geological layer. There is no longer an outside to the world of design. Design has become the world.


BEATRIZ COLOMINA is Professor of Architecture and co-director of the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University.  Her books include Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies (2014), Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X (2010), Domesticity at War (2007), Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (1994) and Sexuality and Space (1992). Colomina has curated a series of international exhibitions with a team of Princeton Ph.D. students, including Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X, which opened at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, in 2006 and has travelled to twelve venues worldwide; Playboy Architecture, 1953-79 (NAi Maastricht, 2012, and DAM, Deutsche Architektur Museum in Frankfurt, 2014); and Radical Pedagogies (Lisbon Triennale, 2013, Venice Biennale, 2014, Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, 2015). Colomina was the chief curator of Curated by Vienna: The Century of the Bed, a show involving a network of 22 art galleries in Vienna in 2014 and will co-curate with Mark Wigley the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial.


MARK WIGLEY is Professor and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The author of The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (1993), White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995; both MIT Press), and Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (010 Publishers, 1998), he coedited, with Catherine de Zegher, The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationist Architectures from Constant’s New Babylon to Beyond (MIT Press, 2001). He has curated exhibitions at the MoMA in New York, the Witte de With in Rotterdam, The Drawing Center in New York, and the CCA in Montreal. He is the Co-Director with Beatriz Colomina of the Istanbul Design Biennial 2016. His latest book is Buckminster Fuller Inc.: Architecture in the Age of Radio (Lars Muller, 2015).



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