12th-13th September 2019
@ the Creative Hub, Tallinn; Kultuurikatel aka Tallinn
Architect, Dr Yael Reisner, TAB 2019’s head curator, was the two-day symposium’s convener, curator and main moderator.
The long term taboo and the first buds of new interest in beauty
Many architects still associate the use of the word beauty with shallowness, old world, or non-progressive values, a cultural bias that is expressed in architecture and also in politics, psychology, poetry and music. Paradoxically, the first measure of good architecture continues to be its capacity to create a great aesthetic experience.
The pursuit of beauty ceased to be a lead generator of architectural design in the early 1940s, when objective considerations were promoted as rational and pragmatic and subjective decision making seen as irrelevant.
Advances in disciplines such as neurobiology suggest that civilisation could not exist in the absence of pleasure, including the experience beauty. Beauty is part of the neurobiological structure that makes us not only happier, but healthier.
In parallel I dived into the world of Mathematics and its ongoing trust in beauty, and since 2018, I was drawn to the contemporary triple O movement in philosophy, (the Objects Oriented Ontology), particularly to Graham Harman – its founder – and to his numerous books and articles.
The first buds of a new interest in aesthetics are emerging in architectural discourse too. This cultural shift returns us to the individual’s role in generating new knowledge but increasingly in collaboration with technology and the logic of machine ‘thinking’, forming a new partnership for our post-digital era. Its influence on human intuition and decision making is coming to the fore in many disciplines, breathing new life into the status of aesthetics and beauty.
An Interdisciplinary Symposium
Listening to the symposium is an opportunity to catch up with the now in a number of disciplines including: architecture, neuroscience, neuroaesthetics, poetry, mathematics, artificial intelligence and digital technologies related to these fields. Symposium participants include both distinguished scholars and leading architects and designers.
The experience of beauty is similar in architecture, poetry, mathematics, music, and in the visual and performing arts, being characterised by qualities such as elegance, profundity, originality, clarity, seriousness, significance, ambiguity. The list goes on, because no one can define beauty in simple terms.It is quite striking when one considers the significance of visual thinking to intuition and good design, how subjectivity and intuition lead the way in creative activity, and how beauty is related to all of that.
Mies.TV’s Documentary Film : Why Does Beauty Matter?
The Film was taken during TAB 2019’s opening week . It’s a 27 min. document built up through the basic questions asked by its makers, featuring in-depth interviews with the head curator Yael Reisner, some of the participating architects: Space Popular,Sou Fujimoto, March Studio,KTA, Fologram, as well as Nick Luscombe (DJ), Graham Harman (philosopher), Ron Aharoni (mathematician) and Enoch Taylor (neuroscientist).
To Watch the Film Click On this Link: https://youtu.be/JjZbmJddlzI
Yael Reisner’s Introductory Lecture, opening the TAB 2019’s 2-day Symposium
The four extra symposium’s moderators
Dr Fleur Watson, (curator, author and editor, Melbourne), Kaja Pae, (architect, physicist, and Maja magazine’s editor in chief, Tartu/Tallinn), and Prof. Martyn Hook, (Dean of Melbourne School of Architecture & Urban Design at RMIT University, Melbourne) and Barnaby Gunning(Architect, London).
All the symposium’s sessions took place in panels of duos.
Two people, or, two groups, one moderator, and a discussion after presentations. Each one was invited to present for 10 minutes, and after the two presentations each duo was asked to have a discussion for 10 minutes, thus, each session took 30 minutes, more or less.
The symposium’s participants:
Enoch Taylor (a PhD candidate, and an associate of UCL Laboratory of Neurobiology and the TCNJ Experimental Philosophy Laboratory),Ron Aharoni (Israeli mathematician, Prof. at the Technion, Haifa), Graham Harman (the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Sci Arc, LA), Maria Lee (Poetess, Tallinn),the musicians who wrote the exhibition’s soundscape: Nathan Tulve and Jakob Tulve, and all the exhibitors at the curatorial exhibition in the Estonian Museum of Architecture – the architects: Sou Fujimoto (Tokyo), Kadri Kerge Tallinn/NY), Space Popular (London), Barnaby Gunning (London) & Yael Reisner (London), Atelier Manferdini (LA), Paula Strunden(Amsterdam), March Studio(Melbourne), Kadarik Tüür Architects (Tallinn), and soma architecture (Vienna/Innsbruck – plus, the Steampunk outdoors installation’s architects – Gwyllim Jahn(Melbourne), Cameron Newnham (Fologram, Melbourne), Soomeen Hahm(London), Igor Pantic(London), and Gilles Retsin(London), the outdoors installation’s curator), and Kim Listmann(ABB’s Research Lab Group manager, Zurich).
Please do note:
The first five sessions here are in duos in different combinations between the neuroscientist, philosopher, mathematician, and the poetess. The seven following session are between the participating architects, where they talk about their practice in general. There are five more duo-sessions between the participating architects at the website entry TAB 2019’s Curatorial Exhibition, where the architects talk about their installations at the curatorial exhibition.
1st session: Why Beauty Matters?
Enoch Taylor(Neuroscientist) & Ron Aharoni(Mathematician), moderated by Yael Reisner.
2nd session: New reasons for the interest in beauty
Enoch Taylor(neuroscientist) & Graham Harman(philosopher), moderated by Yael Reisner.
3rd Session: The interest in beauty through history
Graham Harman(philosopher) & Ron Aharoni(mathematician), moderated by Yael Reisner.
The keynote lecture: Why Architecture and Beauty Need Each Other?
The keynote lecture given by Graham Harman, the American Distinguished Professor of Philosophy(Sci Arc, LA).
4th Session: The Desire for Beauty
Maria Lee(Poetess) in conversation with Ron Aharoni(Mathematician), moderated by Yael Reisner.
5th Session: The Subjective Experience of Beauty and its Relevance
Enoch Taylor(neuroscientist)& Maria Lee(poetess), moderated by Yael Reisner.
Please do note that all the participants architects’ sessions at the symposium talking about their exhibited installations, are shown at the website’s Entry/Project: TAB 2019’s Curatorial Exhibition, whereas here you could watch the sessions about their work in general, hence, the given title Retrospective On Architectural Practice.
Retrospective on Architectural Practice – 1st Duo:
Barnaby Gunning and Yael Reisner(London) & soma architecture(Vienna/Innsbruck). Moderated by Fleur Watson.
Retrospective on Architectural Practice – 2nd Duo:
Space Popular(London) & Paula Strunden(Amsterdam), moderated by Yael Reisner.
Retrospective on Architectural Practice – 3rd Duo:
Sou Fujimoto(Tokyo) & March Studio(Melbourne), moderated by Yael Reisner.
Retrospective on Architectural Practice- 4th Duo:
Gilles Retsin(London), the outdoors Installation Competition Program’s curator & the winning architects of the installation STEAMPUNK: Gwyllim Jahn,(Melbourne) Cameron Newnham (Fologram, Melbourne), Soomeen Hahm(London) and Igor Pantic(London). Moderated by Martyn Hook.
Retrospective on Architectural Practice – 5th Duo:
Atelier Manferdini(LA)/ Elena Manferdini & the Steampunk outdoor installation’s architects: Gwyllim Jahn,(Melbourne), Soomeen Hahm(London) and Igor Pantic(London), moderated by Yael Reisner.
Watch it through this link:
Retrospective on Architectural Practice – 6th Duo:
Kadri Kerge(Tallinn/NY) & Kadarik Tüür Architects(Tallinn), moderated by Kaja Pae(Tartu/Tallinn).
Retrospective on Practice – Beauty and the Smart Home – 7th Duo:
Kim Listmann – the engineer representing ABB – in conversation with Rodney Eggleston(March Studio) and Barnaby Gunning, moderated by Barnaby Gunning.
ABB was TAB 2019’s headline partner
Watch the extra 5 videoed Duo-sessions at the Symposium’s in the TAB Curatorial Exhibition’s Project/Website Entry, as they are about the very exhibited installations, where the participating architects discussed beauty through the lens of habitation.
More Photos taken by Evert Palmets at the TAB 2019’s two-day-Symposium: