Are Words Good Enough
One of the main guests at the 2021 Creative Exchange: Landscapes of Care event was Amica Dall, who holds a degree in English literature and anthropology and is one of the fifteen founders of the non-hierarchical multidisciplinary London collective Assemble, which produces architecture, art, urban design, and research—and in doing so focuses on the social and material processes of urban development. Amica was invited to share the analysis results - of all 457 call entries in 2021 - in the well-known format of the Annual Reflection Summary and propose common grounds for a common future.
"Are Words Good Enough
Reading these proposals at pace and with concentration is both a privilege and trial. To read so many proposals, so constrained in format, produced across a whole year by such a great range of people is a little dizzying. It's the view of a crowd from a height, a view which both reveals and occludes. The volume and breadth of proposals, together with the constraints of the format amplify this: what holds the proposals apart is hopeful and encouraging, what they have in common is an accidental diagnostic - a scan of an invisible skeleton that holds together our thinking and conversation.
Shifting through the set of proposals each time faster and faster creates yet other perspectives, including some dream-like qualities, there are jump cuts, flickering montages, magical logic, uncanny recurrences. Some words loop and swing through the dream cloud like birds diving for insects at dusk: ‘suggests’, ‘opens’, ‘enables’, ‘reveals’, ‘invites’, ‘explores’, ‘provokes’, ‘inhabits’. These words are open-ended, loose, tremulous words. Where are these words coming from, and what place do they have in a discipline so long and so deeply attached to certainty, and the elimination of ambiguity? Do we mean what we say when we say them? Do we know how to do what we mean to do? Do we know what it means to do it?
In the text that follows, I’m going to use a reading of the language used to describe these proposals as a way to reflect on those questions. My proposition is a fairly good picture of the language of recent European and North American architectural discourse as presented by these proposals, taken as a whole, and most particularly in the way that language has been received, adopted and deployed by students, young practitioners and educators. Perhaps that seems like a rather bizarre thing to do, a sort of wilfully obtuse cross-reading, concentrating on the basket and not on the eggs. I hope I’ll persuade you otherwise..."
Continue reading: 2021 Annual Reflection Summary by Amica Dall
Watch the video: Public presentation by Amica Dall (Landscape Session)
The core of the 2021 Creative Exchange: Landscapes of Care were the nine live discussions with twenty-seven young artists and experts from various disciplines selected on the 2021 Call for Ideas, the platform’s tool for encouraging emerging creatives to present their innovative architectural ideas to a wide range of decision-makers and stakeholders, and fifteen curators, directors, and program managers that will carry out the events in the 2021 European Architectural Program.