SEA Conversations

Many Languages Many Architectures 

Winter 2020-2021
The overwhelming philosophical ubiquity of the Cartesian substructure in our everyday built environment seems to frame the horizon of architectural practice. Invented merely over the last two centuries, orthography has come to shape the dominant mode in which buildings are taught, administered and produced across the globe. As a by-product of the European Enlightenment, asserting its scientific stronghold, orthography tends to foreclose interpretations (and thereby alternative translations) of ideas into experiential forms that humankind eventually inhabits. Such a visual language for pedagogy and practice should necessarily be linked to other forms of communication within a culture. Clearly then, the mode of spatial imagination is informed by the ways in which it is spoken, read, thought, written, drawn or even sculpted
Even if recent ambitions of architecture attempt to neutralize space into a homogenized entity, one can safely assume the geographical and cultural diversity across the globe. Could these diversities allow us to philosophically interrogate and expand upon the methods in which the design of spatial relationships can take place? This season of conversations at SEA aims to dwell upon the spatial syntax beyond the existing predominant visual and narrative forms that architecture seems to be suspended in. We aim to suggest and celebrate: many languages, many architectures. Over the sessions, the series shall invite spatial practitioners who have been experimenting with forms of imagining and dialoguing with architecture. We intend to join their thoughts with the hope of expanding the limits of spatial imagination. How does the question of language - in its expanded understanding - shape architecture? Such beginnings may allow us to generate a discussion around the politics of representation in architecture, and the avenues it opens/forecloses for spatial thinking.