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School of Architecture

Introduction

Dean, School of Architecture – Adrian Lahoud

Degree shows are many things. They are rituals of transition. Completion ceremonies. Technologies of enchantment. Catharsis machines. Chaos operas. We normally use the exhibition and a curator to understand ourselves, to see ourselves from an external vantage point. This exhibition is unlike any other we have experienced. Staff and students are distributed across hundreds of living rooms and bedrooms here in the UK and overseas. As a result, the school is invisible to itself. Therefore, we have had to rely on screen-based media to try to reconstruct a sense of ourselves, intellectually, emotionally, aesthetically, politically.

This years’ degree show is a meditation on this new online state of existence and its dependence on screen based and information technologies. In response the School of Architecture has decided to conduct an experiment. It marks the first time that every element of every student project is digitized, tagged and organised into a database. Working with Farzin Lofti-Jam and a team of developers, we saw this as an opportunity to re-invent conventional curatorial approaches grounded in individual subjectivity. Instead, we are deploying AI and machine learning API’s available through Amazon Web Services to dynamically sort and re-organise every element of every student project according to different object and language recognition strategies.

Rather than ask curators to select student work, we asked curators to critically reflect on these technologies in collaboration with the machinic selection of student work by the API’s.

We were thrilled that Jasbir K. Puar, Shannon Mattern, Susan Schuppli, Samaneh Moafi and Amy Cheung accepted our invitation to participate in this important moment of reflection.

Critical self-reflection is a crucial part of institutional practice. The studio environment is a dense, information rich setting that encourages experimentation and the circulation of forms, images, techniques, and colours. Absent of the studio, what new patterns and common tropes might be revealed by treating student work as a machine-readable data set? What new insights into differences between individuals, studios, and programmes become visible? This is the task that we have set ourselves this year.

It is no exaggeration to say that this has been an unimaginably difficult year for many of us. In conclusion I want to take this opportunity to thank students and staff in the School of Architecture for the way you have supported each other through this crisis. The compassion, care and trust you have shown is a source of great pride for all of us and is what gives us courage to experiment in the way that we have.

Degree shows are mirrors held up to catch the reflection of your work and yourselves in motion. I hope you are a bit unrecognisable to yourself.

Especially, I hope you are very proud of how far you have come.

Discover our Curated, Computed Stories in collaboration with our distinguished curators.

Programmes

6 Curated, Computed Collections

School of Architecture
A machine-readable dataset, resulting in a curatorial collaboration between the School of Architecture, artificial intelligence and six invited critics.
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16 December 2020
15:30 (GMT + 0)
Various online events - 16-18 December, 2020

Earthseeds

Exploring & celebrating the incredible work of City Design & Environmental Architecture graduates
Read More
13 July 2020
23:00 (GMT + 0)
Zoom

RCA2020 Architecture Opening

16 July 2020
18:00 (GMT + 0)
Zoom

60 Minutes of Graduation at Home

A response to the current context of pandemic deregulation and the impossibility physical shows
Cross-College

Jasbir K Puar: Fifteen Critical Texts

A collection of stories and work curated by critic Jasbir K Puar from work by graduates of MA Architecture and MA Interior Design.
Cross-College

Raining Cats and Dogs

Pets, pests and beasts
Cross-College

RCA2020: One Designer’s View (Part Two)

Curated by Ian Griffiths
Cross-College

Addressing Ageing Collection

Curated by Colum Lowe
Cross-College

Slivers and Remnants

Curated by Esther Leslie
Cross-College

Big Brother

Surveillance and cyber-security
Cross-College

Distant Encounters

Curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, FRSA
Cross-College

Mis/Communication

What goes wrong, and sometimes can be set right
Cross-College

Landscapes

The land beneath and beyond the metropolis
Cross-College

Shannon Mattern: Looking from a Distance

A collection of stories and work curated by critic Shannon Mattern from work by graduates of MA Architecture and MA Interior Design.
Cross-College

Journeys, Experiences and Identities

Curated by Christopher Bailey CBE
Cross-College

Back to Basics

Traditional techniques and forgotten methods
Cross-College

Towards a Digital Placeness

Curated by Es Devlin
Cross-College

The Touch of a Human Hand and Heart

Curated by Denise Ream
Cross-College

Susan Schuppli: Models

A collection of stories and work curated by critic Susan Schuppli from work by graduates of MA Architecture and MA Interior Design.
Cross-College

Still Living in the Material World

Curated by Deyan Sudjic
Cross-College

Macrocosm

Curated by Emma Shipley
Cross-College

New Worlds

U/Dys:topia
Cross-College

Unreal RCA

Unreal Engine
Cross-College

Humour and Story

Curated by Roger Guyett
Cross-College

RCA Drawing Presents

Draw with us
Cross-College

Peekaboo Pikachu

Curated by Joyce Wang
Cross-College

Samaneh Moafi: Humans, People

A collection of stories and work curated by critic Samaneh Moafi from work by graduates of MA Architecture and MA Interior Design.
Cross-College

Amy Cheung: Colour

A collection of stories and work curated by critic Amy Cheung from work by graduates of MA Architecture and MA Interior Design.
Cross-College

Again and Again

Recycling, reuse and repetition
Cross-College

A Sense of Humanity

Curated by Paola Antonelli
Cross-College

New Frontiers

Curated by Edward Enninful
Cross-College

Super/Sonic

Shh, listen
Cross-College

Touch Me

Exploring the haptic
School of Design
School of Architecture

Scholarship Student Showcase: Schools of Design and Architecture

Works by scholarship holders in the Schools of Design and Architecture.
Cross-College

Alternative narratives

Curated by Irini Papadimitriou
Cross-College

Future Continuous

Curated by Dr Nick de Leon
Cross-College

Quite Queerly

Sexuality and gender
Cross-College

A curation by Caroline Grainge

Curated by Caroline Grainge
Cross-College

SustainLab Presents: Tipping Points

Art practice and the environment
Cross-College

Generations

Society and intergenerational relationships
Cross-College

London

Our home
Cross-College

Searching for Presence

Curated by John Thackara
Cross-College

Optimistic, Singular and New

Curated by Jony Ive
Cross-College

Human++

Curated by Yves Béhar
Cross-College

A curation by Fabien Baron

Curated by Fabien Baron
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