At the height of its activities across publishing, teaching, and exhibition-making in the 1960s, Archigram was largely seen as a peripheral agitant to the architectural mainstream. The last five decades have, however, demonstrated the broader influence and relevance of Archigram’s speculative projects and ethos. As one of the earliest to explore architecture’s engagement with rapid change in urbanism and technology, popular culture, and the rise of the user-consumer and a globally interconnected and hyper-mediated world, Archigram left an indelible mark on how architectural practice is conceptualised in relation to society. This has been evident in the work of generations of practitioners within and outside architecture.

In 2018, the Archigram Archive entered the collections of M+, the new museum of visual culture in Hong Kong. Through its dense layering of infrastructure, media, and commerce, Hong Kong can be read as an Archigram city. M+ and the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong are organising a series of events on 12–13 February 2020 to mark the arrival of the Archigram Archive in Hong Kong and to reappraise Archigram’s multidisciplinary practice and global relevance. Part of the museum’s ongoing M+ Matters series, the events will feature an evening conversation with Archigram members followed by a full-day public symposium. The symposium will include a round-table discussion among selected participants and Archigram members.

Building on existing scholarly attention paid to Archigram’s work and recent publications of Archigram’s archive, the symposium—titled ‘Archigram Cities’—seeks to further mine the historical, theoretical, and practical dimensions of the group’s interventions, methodology, and networks of influence, in particular their direct (or incidental) impact on design and cultural production across a wide set of geographies and disciplinary fields. The symposium is, therefore, particularly concerned with exploring Archigram’s relationships with, or influence on, cultural practices and discourses in Asia and other under-studied contexts since the 1960s.

We invite scholars, practitioners, and educators in the field of architecture and beyond to propose papers addressing such strands of inquiry as:

  • Archigram’s advocacy for an architecture of indeterminacy, adaptability, and temporality. How did such modes of designing and living reflect their time and place, and how have they informed, either directly or indirectly, both formal and informal urbanism in Asia and other parts of the world today?
  • Archigram’s brand of futurism through their embrace and integration of technological developments—including cybernetic planning and systems design—as integral components of everyday lives, and how these led to their contribution to high-tech modernism of the 1970s
  • Archigram’s engagement with the local and regional, while operating within a ‘global village’ through referencing work by like-minded practices in Britain, Italy, France, and Japan, as well as the international dissemination of their work through publications, exhibitions, and pedagogical platforms. How did dissemination of Archigram’s work across geographies lead to the adoption, translation, and even mistranslation of their ideas in unexpected ways and places?
  • Archigram’s appropriation of languages, methods, and techniques of visualisation—including comic strips, film, graphic design, and Pop Art—as tools to expand the boundaries of architectural representation, and its dialogue with other disciplines
  • Archigram’s unabashed engagement with capitalistic production and the leisure industry to reimagine cities as sites for consuming culture and desire, and how this contributed to the postmodern sensibilities of the 1980s and notions of the contemporary city today

Submissions
Interested participants are asked to submit a three-hundred-word abstract, along with a title and a CV of maximum two pages to archigramsymposium@mplus.org.hk by 21 October 2019. Organisers will structure the symposium based on the papers received. Successful applicants will be notified of their acceptance between 4 and 8 November 2019. Draft papers, limited to ten double-spaced pages, are due on 8 January 2020.

 

Timeline

23 August 2019 Call for submissions
21 October 2019  Deadline for submission of abstracts
4–8 November 2019 Review and selection of papers
8 January 2020   Draft due
8–15 January 2020 Review of draft
15 January–7 February 2020  Finalisation of draft
7 February 2020     Final draft due
13 February 2020 Symposium

Please direct any queries to archigramsymposium@mplus.org.hk.

As part of ‘M+ Matters: Archigram Cities’, the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong are organising an exhibition of architectural drawings. Students, practitioners, and educators are invited to submit original drawings suggestive of or influenced by the types of strategies, attitudes, and issues present in Archigram’s work. Details can be found here.

Co-presented by:

Mplus
Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong

See more