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AGENDA | Take Note

February 8, 2010

The CCA [Canadian Centre for Architecture] presents the exhibition Take Note. A selection of pivotal moments in the ongoing relationship between writing and architecture. The exhibition explores the intellectual dimension of architecture, specifically the ways in which architects visualise their ideas and transcribe them in their notes, producing writings that contribute to cultural advancement and transform architecture by tying it to developments in various spheres.

In the 1960s, architects pursued ways of establishing a counterculture by opposing dominant habits of the profession – writing instead of building, writing as a form of drawing, and reading as a way of understanding. According to Take Note curator Sylvia Lavin, “a small oppositional element in architecture forged its own counterculture by turning its energies away from building toward writing. In its hands, the page became a site for design and texts became architectural works in their own right. Born of a desire to foreground the intellectual dimension of architecture by associating it with developments in conceptual art, linguistics, and philosophy, this turn toward writing soon engaged architecture with broader questions of pop culture, mass media, advertising, and emerging technologies, setting in motion a fundamental transformation of the discipline whose momentum remains unabated to this day. Take Note offers an album of snapshots of key episodes in that transformation.”

With outlines echoing the contours of the works on display, the CCA-designed exhibition installation draws an imaginary line symbolising the logic of the architects and highlighting their theoretical discourse, posted above each object. The central essay, presented in the Octagonal Gallery, is anchored to seven points of reference, representing the seven architects whose related documents (essays, photographs, animated objects, posters and booklets) are cross-referenced in the display cases using footnote numbers. Two multimedia animations introduce the exhibition’s spatial theme and concept, designed by the American production and animation company Imaginary Forces, well known for frequent collaboration with architects.

The origins of Take Note lie in a seminar on the historiography of Formalism that led to an exhibition and a series of ongoing research projects related to the Institute for Architecture and Urban
Studies. Peter Eisenman, founding director of the IAUS, is the author of Notes on Conceptual Architecture, the work that provided the students with the historical and theoretical ground zero for Take Note.

Exhibition time: 4 February to 30 May 2010, Octagonal Gallery. More info, here.

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