Today the feedback, spin, and other acts of interpretation that were once the preserve of historians and other experts are often virtual, instantaneous, and open to input from a broad audience. What does this mean? Mimi Zeiger, critic and journalist based in Los Angeles, will consider expanded models of architectural criticism and discursive platforms. Alexandra Lange, New York-based critic and 2014 Loeb Fellow, will explain why architects should use Twitter and Instagram to show their influences—what they read, the design pilgrimages they make, the colleagues they admire—not just to promote themselves. Florencia Rodriguez, editor of Plot (Buenos Aires) and 2014 Loeb Fellow, will explore the question of criticism’s social or disciplinary responsibility; should it be “useful”? A discussion will follow, with GSD student writers and bloggers.
Moderated by Shantel Blakely of Harvard GSD Public Programs.
Reread Remix is a cross-platform criticism workshop that explores the act of critical writing as it translates from the page to the screen to performance. The workshop questions the role of the critic in a digital age, cautiously embraces the potential of the social web, and posits a collective criticism as a productive mode for expanding discourse.
Prior to the workshop, participants were asked to read and respond in a public manner to the following texts:
Ada Louise Huxtable, Plastic Flowers are Almost All Right (1971)
Reyner Banham, Bricologues a Lanterne (1976); see also: Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver, Adhocism (1972; 2013)
Working in groups, students made critical commentary, using the 140 character limit of Twitter, on the texts or on the discussion going on in the workshop. All tweets were tagged #rereading. Students then chose 3-5 of their tweets to perform in rapid succession. The goal of the reading was to continue the translation between platforms and to apply the immediacy of performance to critical practice.
The internet gets blamed for a lot of things, our current crisis of criticism being just one of its victims. The explosion of free content, the rise of unpaid bloggers, a diffuse democracy of likes and retweets, has surely weakened the authority of traditional critics. But in this new landscape Mimi Zeiger sees a host of new possibilities for architectural debate. Explaining her notion of ‘collective criticism’, she shows how platforms like Twitter can help build momentum on critical issues that often fall through the cracks of the pressroom floor.