Iconic - Architectonic

Conference 31/3/2011

Architecture and Visual Culture from the Middle-East

NOESIS Science Center and Technology Museum - Thessaloniki

in collaboration with ECOWEEK

Being both art and science, while claiming an extremely visible role within society, architecture can offer answers to some initial questions: how do images create meaning - in science, in the arts, or in the everyday life? which are the “technological/media” a priori and the contemporary design principles of such a proliferated culture of images, which is both universal but also specifically local and bound to specific traditions? As being both the process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience, architecture reflects ideally technical, social, and aesthetic considerations, but it is also in itself evidence of various cultural technologies and hegemonic ideologies that are produced through them. It constitutes in effect an investigation of the relation of images with both the society that produces it and the visual regimes, which are reproduced through society. Following the epistemological paradigm shift of the “Iconic Turn”, “Visualistic Turn” or “Pictorial Turn” in research, knowledge production and communication, we are invited to think about strategies of visualization throughout the history of spatialization and ask what is the inherent vital power of images, texts, sounds, rituals and symbols within the imagery produced by architectural representation? How this power has been demonstrated over the course of history on a local and universal scale and which was (and still is) the role of technology within such a development? Is this way to see the world, also a way to model and understand it?
The conference “Iconic – Architectonic” researches these aspects, while focusing on how occidental culture is based on a development of its oriental roots, highlighting the actuality of the technical inventions, symbolic systems and spatial narrations of past cultures for contemporary thinking. In the spirit of “Roaming Images” such an epistemological endeavor and genealogical research brings together practices, technologies and testimonies from East and West. The project invites architects from the Middle-East to discuss with various scholars and philosophers on how cultural traditions of image can envision our near future within a contemporary society of technology and our current visual culture.

organized by Elias Messinas, Giorgos Papakostas and Sotirios Bahtsetzis

Speakers (selection): Giorgos Papakostas (Head of the School of Architecture, A.U.Th), Elias Messinas (Chairman ECOWEEK), Sotirios Bahtsetzis (Curator, Roaming Images), Benjamin Weil (Chief Cuartor, Laboral - Centre for Art and Industrial Creation, Emrah Cakmak (MPhil, Columbia University, New York and Visiting Professor, Sciences-Po, Paris, and Gutenberg, Franfurt)