Inscriptions Exhibition

Location: Cambridge, MA
Year: 2018
Status: Complete

In the Winter of 2018, Andrew Holder and K. Michael Hays co-curated a survey exhibition of contemporary work - predominantly by American architects with one foot in the academy and another in the realm of practice. If recent theory has highlighted architecture’s turn to evident resemblance and signification, we argued this tendency has also produced its other: The landscape of contemporary practice is filled with work whose motivating interests are anterior to meaning and averse to thematization; they are, in a way, pre-speech. Projects in this mode are born of the original human postulate to claim a place in the world, to confirm having been there, to mark out a difference.

Inscriptions is a broad survey of work that problematizes, resists, and exceeds signification by appealing to other kinds of cultural engagements, agreements, and fantasies of architecture’s origins. Important projects by Harvard University Graduate School of Design faculty spanning more than 35 years of practice are interspersed as conceptual keystones among works from emerging architects across the American academy, offering a theory of the structural relationships that bind and organize even the apparent delirium of the contemporary field.

The content of the exhibition is the subject of a book published by the Harvard Graduate School of Design University Press.

Project Lead: Adam Strobel

Project Team: Mindy Seu (exhibition design), Christina Shivers