Deindustrial Aesthetics
2022–2023 Lecture Series: Engaging Pluralism, Fall Edition
Oct. 14, 2022
M.D. Anderson Hall and Zoom Webinar

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Deindustrial Aesthetics: In conversation with Scott Colman, Rice Architecture

This talk will be about Berndt and Hilla Bechers’ interest in structures that no longer do what they were made to do.  The argument will be, first, that different accounts of that moment — different theories of what making is and more particularly of what making art is — are legible in their work and, second, that choosing between these opposing theories of action and of art involves choosing also between two very different politics. The conclusion will be that most contemporary artists and architects (along with nearly everybody else) have been making the wrong choice.

Sponsored by Moody Center for the Arts exhibition, Urban Impressions


Walter Benn Michaels is a professor of English at UIC who writes on literature, photography and politics. His most recent books are the tenth-anniversary edition of THE TROUBLE WITH DIVERSITY: HOW WE LEARNED TO LOVE IDENTITY AND IGNORE INEQUALITY and THE BEAUTY OF A SOCIAL PROBLEM: PHOTOGRAPHY, AUTONOMY, ECONOMY. A collection of his and Adolph Reed’s essays — NO POLITICS BUT CLASS POLITICS — is forthcoming in January 2023.


Engaging Pluralism
When ideologies and cultures collide, new ways of working with and living in the world emerge. As a form of political philosophy, pluralism draws upon this dynamic condition, promoting the coexistence of multiple approaches and worldviews. Yet in the context of compounding crises and unchecked inequality, this is far from a neutral position: it becomes a commitment to struggle and discourse. Drawing from a broad-ranging group of speakers, Rice Architecture’s annual lecture series, Engaging Pluralism, explores how architects and designers can work with friction, contradiction, and multiplicity to effect broader social, cultural, and environmental change. It is an all-school platform for reflecting on the possibilities and challenges of designing for a pluralistic society.

All lectures are free and open to the public and, unless noted otherwise, will be held in person in Farish Gallery, MD Anderson Hall, with a livestream component. In the event that COVID-19 circumstances prohibit in-person lectures, the series will be held virtually via Zoom. Each lecture has been submitted for AIA CES approval.

This lecture series is made possible through the generous support of the Betty R. and George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund; the William B. Coleman Jr. Colloquium Fund for Architecture; the Wm. W. Caudill Lecture Series Fund; and Rice Design Alliance (RDA), the public programs and outreach arm of Rice Architecture, which includes the generous support of its members and RDA Underwriters:  Harvey | Harvey-Cleary; Tellepsen Family; Big State Electric; Brochsteins; CED Houston; MAREK; Turner Construction; and Walter P. Moore. Additional support is provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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