Right Now, Session 4: Character, posture & legibility (September 26, 2015)

After introducing the panelists, Dora Epstein Jones proposes some themes–figures, legibility, systematization, aesthetics–and asks, “Cute, or not cute?” Peter Trummer objects that, “I’m not interested in what I think anymore.” Andrew Zago suggests that the concept of cute might have too many overlapping facets to be useful. Jimenez Lai points out that citations and quotations are how everyone–especially academics–communicates, so labeling them postmodernism is a red herring. Anna Neimark suggests that vernaculars like stock details can aid getting conversations going. To the question,”Does the detail have a scale anymore?” Florencia Pita describes the proliferation of details in the absence of a big picture as a rich ground of research. Trummer proposes that the real issue is the insufficiency of the subject, which leads to a discussion of buildings with and without authors, and the play of the presumed author in thesis pedagogy. Epstein Jones expresses concern over creeping Gestaltism. Florencia Pita cites Wölfflin’s discussion of Rembrandt’s outline-less figures as precursors of abstraction. Epstein Jones concludes with some rapid-fire questions: “Outlines, or not?” “Hard corners or soft corners?” and “What’s your volume dial set at?”

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