Critically Now Event Series Supports Screenings, Classes, Exhibitions

exhibition shot of black and white and colored posters on a wall with black tape above and below

Architecture Beyond Borders was on display in the East Sibley Exhibition Hallway in the spring 2017 semester. photo / Daniel Toretsky (B.Arch. '16)

September 8, 2017

Established in the spring semester to respond to current events such as the travel ban, immigration and statelessness, civil liberties, infrastructure projects, climate change, and automation and employment, Critically Now: A Pop-Up and Growing Event Series brought together open classes, exhibitions, film screenings, and seminar and studio collaborations in the architecture department.

Critically Now was launched by architecture faculty members Esra Akcan, associate professor; Richard Meier Assistant Professor of Architecture Luben Dimcheff; Jeremy Foster, associate professor; George Hascup, professor; Aleksandr Mergold, assistant professor; Edgar A. Tafel Assistant Professor Caroline O'Donnell; Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Assistant Professor Jenny Sabin; and Sasa Zivkovic, assistant professor.

During the semester, Critically Now held open classes led by Akcan, Foster, and Visiting Assistant Professor Tao DuFour. Additionally, Critically Now supported the screening of two films: Havana Vignettes, which was shot during a field trip to Cuba led by DuFour; and Reversing Oblivion, a documentary by Ann Michel '77 and Phil Wilde '73, which features a field trip taken to Poland by one of Mergold's architecture option studios.

Also supported by Critically Now was the exhibition Architecture Beyond Borders, designed and organized by O'Donnell and Daniel Toretsky (B.Arch. '16), with guidance from Akcan and 20 participating faculty. On display for two weeks in April, the exhibition featured works from — or by architects from — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and was intended as a sign of solidarity with Cornell's global community and of commitment to Cornell's founding principle — "Any person, any study."

Critically Now is expected to grow over time, continuing to invite the participation of faculty, staff, and students in the examination of architecture's role and critical potential in current events. Fall events include colloquiums on the topics of "The Architecture of Diplomacy: U.S. Embassies" and "Will this robot take my job?," and lectures by Akcan and DuFour and Visiting Critic Lior Galili, among others.

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