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'The Ultimate Erotic Act': On the Performative in Architecture

Friday February 06 / 5pm / Room N-107


Mechtild Widrich is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She received her M.Phil. in Art History from the University of Vienna and a PhD in History, Theory, and Criticism from the Department of Architecture / Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2009). 2011-13 she was postdoctoral fellow and at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH), and 2013-15 Research Fellow in the Eikones module “Cities on the Move”.

Her research focuses on the intersection of art and architecture, and on global art geographies. Her book Performative Monuments. The Rematerialisation of Public Art came out in 2014 with Manchester University Press. Mechtild published in the Journal of Architectural Historians (JSAH), Log, Art Journal, Grey Room, Texte zur Kunst, The Drama Review (TDR), Performance Art Journal (PAJ), Performance Research and thresholds. Texts can be read on www.academia.edu.

She has received fellowships from the Fulbright Association, MIT, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., and the Max-Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. She is member of the advisory board of the Jewish Museum Vienna and founding member of the Art and Architectural History Assembly, an international network between university scholars working on the intersection of art and architecture.


This event is part of the Margins and Hyphens Seminar Series

Architectural histories and theories consistently aim for a radical redefinition of their role within broader discourses in the humanities. Acknowledging this persistent appetite for reassessment, this seminar series proposes to frame these concerns according to two basic formatting devices: the hyphen and the margin.

As defined in the Chicago Manual of Style’s section on “Manuscript Preparation Guidelines for Authors,” in order “to leave enough room for handwritten queries, margins of at least one inch should appear on all four sides of the hard copy” of a manuscript. In the most pragmatic sense, the margin serves as the necessary space for the expansion, clarification, and nuancing of the main body of a text. The margin is the liminal space in which a work is demarcated, challenged or even aligned with another entity. It is a critical distance.

On the other hand, the CMS stresses that the “only hyphens that should appear in the manuscript are hyphens that would appear regardless of where they appeared on the page.” Compound words alone, formed by a minimum of two distinct entities, allow for such orthographic figuration. The hyphen, a tool for juxtaposition, amalgamation, synthesis, facilitates the disciplinary frictions that texture the surfaces of architectural discourse.

Margins and hyphens—as spatial, epistemological, and formatting considerations—unavoidably shape documents. In Margins and Hyphens, we seek to bring into focus how they shape critical positions through the texture of writing itself.

Organized by Michael Faciejew, Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, Victoria Bugge Øye.

For additional information and to receive pre-circulated papers, please e-mail FACIEJEW@PRINCETON.EDU