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"Construction of Images / Building of Situations"
Strategies from Art and Architecture

Thursday April 11th, 7:00 pm

The Cooper Union
Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street
(between 3rd & 4th Avenue)
Screening Room 539F

Sabine Bitter
[Sabine Bitter/Helmut Weber - Wien, Austria]
Sabine von Fischer & Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss
[Normal Group for Architecture - New York]

Contemporary art and architecture are often conducted as interdisciplinary research. At which point are we training unprofessionalism? Can this interdisciplinary method produce new forms, images, spaces?

Normal Group for Architecture was founded in 1998 when Sabine von Fischer and Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss started to collaborate on projects that deal with the question of whether architecture can be critical. Hence, the work of Normal Group explores the limits of architecture as a social practice, beyond situations in which it is usually expected to deliver and render solutions without the articulation of problems. Normal Group explores situations that are the result of discrepancies, if not oppositions, between local and global politics, when normalcy implies changing the world in order to accommodate ourselves as opposed to changing ourselves to find a place in the world. For example, HOTEL NORMAL (1999), was done for the local situation of Belgrade, a city isolated by sanctions and globalized by media. Proposing a building apparently made no sense in the anticipation of bombing and where the absurdities had lasted long enough to appear normal.

Sabine Bitter/Helmut Weber / Since 1993, Vienna based artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber have cooperated on projects addressing urban geographies, architectural representations, cultural shifts and related visual politics. Their artistic works focus on emergent sites and overlaps of architecture, urban developments, communications systems and modes of artistic and cultural production as they are mediated through photography, video and new media technologies. The recent project CITY alias -- in collaboration with the Canadian writer Jeff Derksen -- engages with specific moments and sites of globalization, as well as the culture-ideology of globalization, as they are materialized in architecture. With projects dealing with migrancy and communication, architecture and repetition, the aesthetics of social housing blocks, and architecture as a frame for spatial meaning, the works of Bitter/Weber are at the interface of architecture, new media technologies,and systems of representation.