Please join us tomorrow for the fourth VMPEA workshop of this quarter, featuring:
PhD Candidate, East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Comparative Literature, UChicago
“Context After the End of Monumental Public Space: Toward an Archipelagic Reimagining of Urban Resistance in the Theory and Design of Isozaki Arata”
Discussant: Zhiyan Yang
PhD Candidate, Art History, UChicago
Friday, November 18, 2022
6:00–8:00 pm CT, Zoom
Please note the unusual date and time. This is a remote event.
**There are pre-circulated paper and slides for this workshop. You can find them in the other post with password “context”.
★Co-Sponsored by Art & Politics of East Asia workshop★
Jacques Derrida questioning Isozaki Arata and Asada Akira after Isozaki and Asada’s joint-presentation at the Anyone conference on May 11, 1991.
The expulsion of protestors from Shinjuku Station West Exit Plaza in 1969 conventionally marks the end of monumental public space as a site for urban protests in Japan. Departing from this moment, this chapter explores the wanderings of the architect and theorist Isozaki Arata (1931–) in search of new sites for urban resistance. Isozaki builds on his earlier work on the environment and the cybernetic city to theorize this urban resistance as an alternative context that constructively short circuits the urban network, and he terms this “extra-context.” Putting into dialogue scholarship from across media studies, architectural theory, and urban history, I contend that Isozaki adopts extra-context not only to disrupt the unrestrained and homogenizing flows of information networks under globalization but also to oppose a transparency between built space and the environment as epitomized in imperialist architectural projects of the interwar period. Drawing on Isozaki’s writings in “Japanese-ness” in Architecture (Kenchiku ni okeru “nihonteki na mono,” 2003; first partially serialized in Critical Space between 1998 and 2000) and especially his extensive collaborations with the critic Asada Akira (1957–), I furthermore show how tracing Isozaki’s design via extra-context discloses a shift in his approach—from the eclectic citation of global forms in projects of the 1980s like Tsukuba Center, to the archipelagically derived performance halls of the 1990s. I thus aim to expand the critical possibilities of Isozaki’s work by attending to how the tethering of extra-context to the archipelagic resonates with and defies ecocriticism and other related discourses that explore the relation between ocean and media.
Anthony Stott is a PhD candidate in East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Comparative Literature who specializes in contemporary Japanese literature, media, and thought. His dissertation considers formations of artists and intellectuals around the preeminent Japanese-language journal of theory and criticism Critical Space (Hihyō kūkan, 1991–2002) through the lens of critique and its limits.
Zhiyan Yang is a doctoral candidate specializing in the history of modern and contemporary East Asian Architecture. He is currently completing a dissertation on post-socialist architecture through the lenses of architectural media and cultural production, including exhibitions, journals, history surveys and its intersection with contemporary visual culture and art. He received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013 and MA from the University of Chicago in 2015. Zhiyan served as a researcher and overseas liaison of the Contemporary Chinese Art Yearbook Project spearheaded by Peking University and the University of Chicago since 2015. He has also previously interned at Xu Bing Studio in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.