Critics Night

‘How can culture exist in a stream of Photoshopped incontinence?’ That was the rhetorical question in Sam Jacob’s column for e-zine Dezeen. Sites such as Dezeen have opened the floodgates to a daily inundation of messages and reports about design and architecture. Countless projects are fed to us through sets of enticing images accompanied by slick press write-ups. Never before has it been so easy to show off your work to the rest of the world.

The format of sites such as Dezeen has made it possible for them to develop an earning model where they have purged themselves of expensive, personal and earnestly written criticisms. Editors have become little more than trend spotters. Amidst everything that is being thrown at us, architecture and design criticism appears to have been reduced to a series of likes, hits and retweets. Yet perhaps the Internet and Twitter also offer opportunities for new forms of critical reflection. For example, is the networked environment in fact not the perfect place for public participation and for criticism that moves more easily between and across the lines of the traditional design domains? In short, what have we lost in this digital era, and what have we gained? What opportunities are there for criticism, and what are the hazards? These are the questions that will be discussed during an interactive session organised by ArchiNed, DesignPlatform Rotterdam and The New Institute.
Sam Jacob (FAT Architecture – architect, critic and Professor of Architecture at UIC) will give a presentation at the event, based on his column on Dezeen, about criticism in the digital era. Eric Kluitenberg (Institute of Network Cultures – theoretician, writer and lecturer) will sketch a context by specifically addressing the developments in the media, and the phenomenon of mass participation in the production of non-professional media forms. Edwin Gardner (Monnik – writer, research and architect), Marit Overbeek (coordinator of online construction, blogger and tweeter) and Levien Nordeman (Willem de Kooning Academy – lecturer and researcher in the field of new media and culture) will use examples to show us the way toward new forms of criticism. And you, as armchair experts, will be invited to take part in a discussion about a series of premises that will be put forward. Lucas Verweij will be the moderator for the evening.

Critics Night is part of the Pruys-Bekaert Programme initiated by ArchiNed and DesignPlatform Rotterdam. It also kicks off a series of lectures and debates organised by The New Institute that deal with the present state of affairs in criticism.

About the Pruys-Bekaert Programme

The Pruys-Bekaert Programme is intended as a stimulus for both the art of design writing and design and architecture criticism in the Low Countries, to provoke a written dialogue between designers, critics and ‘the wider public’. The project arose out of the Simon Mari Pruys Prize for design criticism and the Geert Bekaert Prize for architecture criticism, which will be awarded every two years. The Pruys-Bekaert Programme is an initiative of ArchiNed and Design Platform Rotterdam.

Practical information
Date: 17 October
Time: 7.30pm-10.00pm
Location: The Study Room at The New Institute
Address: Museumpark 25, Rotterdam
Admission: Standard 7.50 euro, students 3.00 euro
Languages: English/Dutch
To sign up: Critics Night