Architecture + Ecriture:
May 68 in Paris
Architecture & Ecriture celebrates writing as a critical and creative practice. As the literary branch of the Architectural Association Visiting School, we welcome architects as well as writers, curators or artists interested in spatial theory and literature to join us in Paris from 29 June to 8 July 2018 for the production of new written and performative pieces. This year we will interrogate and respond to the literary production of May 68.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the events of May 68 in Paris. This spring, the city will be reflecting on the student led revolutionary movement which started in Universities and the streets of Paris and eventually took an international political dimension.
Architecture & Ecriture will look back at articles, essays and other short form writings published in the period preceding the events of May 1968.
The year running up to the event is incredibly prolific: Guy Debord publishes The Society of Spectacle, Michel Foucault talks Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias, Roland Barthes writes his essay “The Death of the Author” for the American Avant-Garde magazine Aspen,* Helene Cixous submits her doctoral thesis on the exile of James Joyce,** Luce Irigaray submits hers on the language of the demented, whilst Jacques Derrida publishes three major books: Speech and Phenomena, Writing and Difference and Of Grammatology. The period preludes to the formulation of a new vision, which some say has failed to materialize, yet has retained an undeniable aura and is still very much at the heart of current discussions around systems of commodification, theories of space, the identification of the subject and the role of media in the construction of the image.
Modeled on the Literary Salon, Architecture & Ecriture draws largely, though not exclusively, from French cultural studies and literature. During our stay in Paris, we will explore how various forms of writing, and in particular the form of the essay, can contribute to the development of architectural and spatial thinking.
The Salon is a space of discussion and total immersion and Architecture & Ecriture operates as a research platform where participants are taught as well as invited to contribute new ideas to the current discussion about architectural writing and spatial theories.
On the very first day of the programme, philosopher and activist Gabriel Rockhill will be running a joint seminar with the Critical Theory Workshop group from La Sorbonne and present his Counter-History of the period. We will then visit the Icons of May 68 exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France before embarking on a writing workshop with poet Claire Potter. Through a series of seminar discussions and individual tutorials you will develop your own response to 1968 and produce a printed version of your writings with bookbinder Laurel Parker.
We know now that a text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the ‘message of the Author-God) but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture. —Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author
AAVS Paris is based at Paris College of Art. PCA is an independent art and design school located in the creative 10th arrondissement in Paris, minutes away from the Gare du Nord and Eurostar terminal. Established in 1986, the school is a vibrant international and interdisciplinary lab, with art studios, photography and printmaking facilities.
We will make the most of our time in Paris and visit selected exhibitions and archives. Participants will take part in a series of workshops, talks and seminars led by guest writers and thinkers from both inside and outside the AA School of Architecture. After close reading of a selection of texts, participants will engage in writing and be offered the possibility to present their work for discussion.
All sessions are based at Paris College of Art, unless otherwise specified. Paris College of Art is located 15, rue Fénelon, 75010 Paris
Please note that times and activities may be subject to changes when necessary, please take note of the latest updates issued by the programme director during the Visiting School.