Focus Talks 2020
2020 Creative Exchange, 12. - 13. February @ MAO Ljubljana
Focus Talks address some of the most pressing issues in the profession and engages with various aspects of the current state of architecture in Europe and beyond. As part of the 2020 Creative Exchange, the topic of this year's Focus Talks is Curatorial in Architecture presented from the perspective of different architecture practitioners, curators, institute directors, critics and writers. Sign in and stay in touch with the latest developments in the profession.
James Taylor-Foster is a writer, editor and curator working in the fields of architecture, design, e-culture and technology. He is the curator of contemporary architecture and design at ArkDes, Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design, in Stockholm.
Trained in architecture, he has worked in both the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. He was formerly editor-at-large at ArchDaily. In 2016 he co-curated the Nordic Pavilion at the 15th Biennale Architettura di Venezia and in 2018 participated in the central exhibition at the 16th.
With bylines at Metropolis, PIN-UP, Domus, Volume, Mousse, Disegno, SSENSE, and Real Review among others, he has been a regular voice on Monocle 24. james has been a visiting critic or lecturer at the University of Cambridge, The Bartlett (UCL), University College Dublin, the Architectural Association, Design Academy Eindhoven, the Strelka Institute, the Berlage Institute, KTH, and MIT.
Between 2018 and 2019 he was an advisor for the Housing the Human project and is currently chair of the advisory board of the Future Architecture Platform, a pan-European platform of architecture festivals, organisations, producers, and emerging creatives. In 2019, james was resident at the Bergman Estate on Fårö.
Léa–Catherine Szacka is an architect, critic and researcher based in Manchester and Paris. She is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Architectural Studies at the University of Manchester and visiting tutor at the Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design. After studying architecture in Montreal and Venice, Szacka obtained a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture (2012). She has been visiting fellow at the centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History in Brisbane (2015), visiting professor at the Harvard GSD Rotterdam studio abroad program (2018) and visiting fellow at Monash University Art Design & Architecture (2019).
Szacka’s work focuses on the history and theory of postmodern architecture, with a particular focus on preservation, as well as media and curating. Léa-Catherine is the author of Exhibiting the Postmodern: The 1980 Venice Architecture Biennale (Marsilio, 2016) – 2017 SAH GB Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion – and of Biennials/Triennials: Conversations on the Geography of Itinerant Display (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2019). She is also co-author of Le Concert: Pink Floyd à Venise (B2, 2017) as well as co-editor of Mediated Messages: Periodicals, Exhibitions and the Shaping of Postmodern Architecture (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Concrete Oslo (Torpedo, 2018). Her writing also appeared in Log, OASE, AA Files, Volume, Art Papers, The Journal of Architectural Education, and The Journal of Architecture.
Austrian design curator and cultural producer Thomas Geisler curated international exhibitions for the Vienna Biennale (2015 and 2017), London Design Biennale (2016 and 2018), Vitra Design Museum, and many others. He is the director of the Museum of Decorative Arts – Dresden State Art Collections (SKD). Before that he was the director of the Werkraum Bregenzerwald – the crafts and trade initiative of the Bregenzerwald region – where he was leading exhibitions and other initiatives, overlapping innovative craftsmanship, design and architecture. He was also the curator and head of the Design Collection at the MAK Vienna. He played a pivotal role in establishing the Victor J. Papanek Foundation at the University for Applied Arts Vienna and is a co-founder of Vienna Design Week.
Marina Otero Verzier is an architect and the director of research at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. She leads research initiatives such as “Automated Landscapes,” focusing on the emerging architectures of automated labor, “Architecture of Appropriation,” on squatting as spatial practice. Recently, she curated the exhibitions “Spirits in the Material World” by Heman Chong (2019), “Steve Bannon: A Propaganda Retrospective by Jonas Staal” (2018), co-curated “Malware: Symptoms of Viral Infection” (2019), “I See That I See What You Don’t See” at La Triennale Di Milano (2019), and was an member of the Artistic Team for Manifesta 13.
Previously, she was the curator of “Work, Body, Leisure,” the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale (2018), Chief Curator of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale together with the After Belonging Agency, and the director of Global Network Programming at Studio-X- Columbia University GSAPP (New York). Otero is a co-editor of Unmanned: Architecture and Security Series (2016), After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay In Transit (2016), Architecture of Appropriation (2019), and editor of Work, Body, Leisure (2018). Otero studied at TU Delft, Columbia GSAPP, and ETSA Madrid, where she completed her PhD. Her thesis 'Evanescent Institutions' examined the emergence of a new paradigms for cultural institutions. She teaches architecture at RCA in London.
Mariana Pestana is an architect and independent curator interested in critical social practice and the role of fiction in design for an age marked by technological progress and an ecological crisis. A member of the collective The Decorators, an interdisciplinary practice that makes collaborative public realm interventions and cultural programmes. Recently co-curated the exhibitions The Future Starts Here (V&A, 2018) and Eco Visionaries: Art and Architecture After the Anthropocene at (MAAT, 2018; Matadero & Royal Academy, 2019). Author of The Real and Other Fictions (Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa, 2013) and Fiction Practice – Prototyping the Otherworldly (Onomatopee, 2019). Appointed curator of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennale taking place 26 September – 8 November 2020.
Creative Exchange is the most insightful annual gathering of architecture lovers and professionals and is held every February in Ljubljana. It brings together platform members and 25 of the most progressive emerging talents selected through the Call for Ideas. It offers opportunities to connect and keep up with the latest developments and tendencies in architecture
It marks the start of the European Architecture Program, a series of the most significant and interconnected architectural happenings and events in Europe.