C 3 – Architectural Concepts of Order in long-term Artistic Projects since 1980
Looking at architecture through art: Art students are working off the CalArts Campus, 1971, Courtesy of the California Institute of the Arts Library Archives.

SECTION C – Order as Design

C 3 – Architectural Concepts of Order in long-term Artistic Projects since 1980

Sina Brückner-Amin, Rembert Hüser

Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main


The seemingly obvious certainties of architecture have always been accompanied by its fundamental criticism via the medium of art. The fact that artists deconstruct built environments and build counter-worlds that do not follow the rules at the moment, but rather test and subvert their bearing and reach in alternative scenarios, opens up the possibilities of a dialogue that is not always acknowledged. The mutually influential fields of art and architecture often run next to each other in a conceptually carefully separated manner.

Now, since the 2010s at the latest, it is evident that the sciences are catching up more conceptually with what had already been tackled in a whole series of artistic works in the 1960s and 1970s: namely, to keep the respective fields of practice co-present to such a high degree that it is no longer possible to clearly determine in which area the respective use is carried out. Not only is art on site increasingly approached from the perspective of architecture, art also sees itself and acts explicitly as a part of architecture in these works (Wallace/Wendl 2013). The fact that order is to be understood more as a combination of different media, institutions and practices as opposed to their differences is the current state of affairs in the field of expanded media debates (Schüttpelz/Gießmann 2015, Michell 2017). Theoretical explorations of the relationship between, for example, architecture and science (Galison/Thompson 1999) or architecture and comic strips (van der Hoorn 2012) are designed as collaborations.

Against this background, long-term artistic projects since the 1980s and 1990s appear particularly revealing. These projects do not only take into account the radical media upheavals during those years, the social popularization of computer technology and the commercial use of the Internet, and the incipient digitalization of all areas of life, but also position themselves simultaneously in various fields of practice with moving inventories. Can these long-term projects themselves be understood as a history of ongoing collisions and renegotiations of architectural and non-architectural narratives of order?

Rembert Hüser’s project explores, as examples, the drawings and films of Heinz Emigholz (Architecture as Autobiography, The Basis of Make Up), the drawings and architectural models of Mike Kelley (Educational Complex, Candor), and the drawings of Richard McGuire (Here, The New Yorker Magazine), and examines how and at what points these three long-term projects newly accentuate previous artistic projects that had dealt with the breaking through of the orthogonal, the ordered layers (floors) of the building or the problematization of the demarcation of a territory through architecture.

The dissertation project of Sina Brückner-Amin is interested in the bureaucratization of art practice within the university system of Los Angeles between 1945-1970. By developing concepts of “master planning” in the legislative, architectural, and pedagogical fields, the project ties cybernetic theory formation and rationalization tendencies of the post-war period back to their material traces and contrasts the discourse on “experimental” and “radical” art education in California with the Radical of order. The tripartite structure is the result of the material under study: the Master Plan for Higher Education (1945-1960), the built architectures of the art departments of UCLA and the California Institute of the Arts, and the art education practiced – and thus influenced – by them.