Pratt Institute School of Architecture and School of Liberal Arts & Sciences


Fall 2014 Arch 101 Exhibit

Drawings & Language



Christina Porter Lecture 4.3.2014

The annual Architecture Writing Christina Porter Lecture will take place on Thursday, April 3 at 6:00 PM in Higgins Hall Auditorium. This year it is the Keynote for Poetics at Pratt, a month-long series of events that present and celebrate the writers who are teaching at Pratt Institute. Rachel Levitsky and co-authors Jeff T. Johnson and Andrew Klobucar will perform in readings that emphasize the spatiality of writing. Rachel Levitsky is a Pratt faculty member, poet, activist and author of many publications, notably The Story of My Accident is Ours (2013: FUTUREPOEMS) that delicately limns pathways between emotion and cognition. Jeff T. Johnson and Andrew Klobucar are the authors of LETTERS FROM THE ARCHIVERSE, an ongoing visual poem composed in architectural modeling space that explores materiality in writing. An exhibit of text- image projects by first year architecture students will be displayed in the lobby.

TEXTSCAPES: Adam Dayem, Jeffrey Hogrefe, Dave Pirgram & Filip Tejchman: Higgins Hall Exhibit Spring ’09


In “The Intertwining—The Chiasm,” Maurice Merleau-Ponty propose that “what we call the visible is a quality pregnant with texture, the surface of a depth, a cross section upon a massive being, a grain or corpuscle borne by a wave of Being.”  In further explaining this all encompassing “vision,” he goes on to propose that through this wave of Being, flesh and language become one and the same, and that the expression of this wave of Being, in flesh and language, can be characterized as a landscape that is both subjective and objective and at the same time, highly personal. “And if I was to understand how this wave arises within me, how the visible which is yonder is simultaneously my landscape, I can understand a fortiori that elsewhere it also closes over upon itself and that there are other landscapes beside my own.”

The TEXTSCAPES exhibited here are the result of collaboration between the design studios and introduction to literary and critical studies seminars that are cross linked and integrated under the aegis of The Architecture Writing Program: Language/Making, a transdisciplinary collaboration of the School of Architecture and the School of Liberal Arts and Science.

We began the iterative exchange between two modes of knowledge production by synergistically mapping the philosophy of language that Merleau Ponty proposes onto the structure of the form of the poem “Breathcrystal,” by Paul Celan. In the light of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology we considered the ways that Celan organizes his poem in plateau-like stanzas that juxtapose extremes of sensorial experiences, in landscapes that are marked by highly idiosyncratic accretions of word play, known as neologisms, that combine nouns to form new words that are highly charged, symbolic sounds—such as hungercandle. The mapping exercise led to a language/making workshop in which students were guided to generate neologisms in the manner of Celan and to compose poems following a skeleton provided by “Breathcrystal.” In the final stage of the exercise, students learned to write on their landscapes to create an architecture-of-the-page that utilized innovations in typography that were introduced by the Dadas.

A Roumanian-born Jewish survivor of the Holocaust whose German was an exercise in new forms of language/making, for Celan the language of poetry “does not transfigure or render poetical; it names, it posits, it tries to measure the area of the given and the possible.” The TEXTSCAPES that have resulted from this experiment in architectural education are a language/making that provides for emergent cultural formations to take a similar measure.

Professors Jeffrey Hogrefe and Filip Tejchman

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