Princeton University School of Architecture alum Igor Bragado has been awarded the 2018-2019 Rome Prize by the Royal Spanish Academy in Rome. Bragado is co-director at Common Accounts, a design-research practice started with School of Architecture alum Miles Gertler. He currently teaches at The Cooper Union and Cornell University in New York City.
Bragado's project for the Royal Academy of Rome proposes a rearticulation of the current commemorative constructions that operate simultaneously in the urban sphere and social networks, and put in the foreground the ritual and political capacity of a body as media construction. At the beginning of the 16th century, Roman state funerals went from being small constructions in interiors of religious temples to sophisticated choreographies of urban events with a massive inter-state dissemination. Channeled through an architecture and bodies that circulated globally through images in multiple media, death acquired at that time, through the new typology of the Modern Apparati, a communicative character that injected authority and ceremony in a diplomatic impetus.
The hypothesis of the birth of a mediatic death as a global political effort in sixteenth-century Rome through an architectural complex is presented vis-à-vis the moment of current crisis given an unresolved deceased body as a means of communication. The arrival of social networks just a decade ago has altered the social sphere of the funeral, where the volume with which we build a digital archive daily along with the problems of ownership of personal virtual information have been superimposed on a new ceremonial responsibility of the cult to the body by a mass audience.