Solicited: Proposals - Nick Axel, Nikolaus Hirsch, and James Taylor-Foster - Editorial


Nick Axel, Nikolaus Hirsch, and James Taylor-Foster

Elements of an Exhibition. Illustration: Andreas Samuelsson/Agent Molly & Co.

Solicited: Proposals
October 2021

Dear reader,

What happens in an architecture exhibition? What, and who is it for? What does it do, and how does it do it? Solicited: Proposals is a shared effort to parse the architecture exhibition, to untangle and rethink its meaning and its potential for today.

It begins with contributions by Esther Choi, Jia Yi Gu, Gilly Karjevsky and Rosario Talevi, Vasif Kortun, Prem Krishnamurthy, Maria Lind, Federico Martelli, Mpho Matsipa, Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock, and Molemo Moiloa, and Shirley Surya. Through the lens of a single element, each contribution seeks to reimagine the architecture exhibition: what it allows for and does not allow for; what it enables, what it disables; what it constructs and deconstructs.

On behalf of ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design, and e-flux Architecture, we are now soliciting additional proposals. Details about how to submit your ideas are included below.

Reimagining the architecture exhibition

The exhibition is a crucial format for representation and reflection. Architecture exhibitions speak to both disciplinary and non-disciplinary, local and non-local concerns, creating a dialogue and offering the potential to strengthen both. In positioning ideas and objects in dialogue, presenting them for scrutiny and debate, they create spaces of togetherness, of considered dissent, of understanding.

The relevance of architecture exhibitions is constantly changing, and they are worth continual reconsideration. Solicited: Proposals seeks to frame freethinking within challenges that are older than today and that could feed into questions around what institutions are, could, can, and should be. It informs ongoing work in rethinking the rooms, experiences, and curatorial approaches currently underway at ArkDes in Stockholm.

Elements of the exhibition

An exhibition is a complex machine of both tangible and intangible moving parts, each of which are possible avenues into considering and radically rethinking what makes them both useful and relevant.

This project begins with nine elements that constitute exhibitions: the seating, the collection, the timeframe, the object list, the threshold, the outdoors, the queue, the budget, and the interpretation. There are a practically endless number of elements, however. Consider: the list of participants, the plinth, the ten-minute tour, the press release, the title, the caption, the opening hours, the cappuccino, the locker, the ticket, the greeting, the livestream, the no-touch sign, the comment card, the website, the brochure, the automatic door, the gift shop, the publication, the bathroom, the Wi-Fi, the security, the agreement, the pitch, the biography, the translation, the surveillance camera, the maximum capacity, the risk assessment…

What could a contribution be?

We invite you to submit a proposal that reimagines an element of the architecture exhibition. Outlines of no more than 250 words can be sent to nick [​at​] before November 8, 2021. Up to six proposals will be selected by the editors. If your proposal is accepted, your contribution will be edited and published as part of this series. Final contributions will be due by November 30, 2021. A fee of 500 USD will be provided following publication.

There is no set format for what a contribution could be; it could be an essay, an illustration, an interview, a recipe, a handbook, or whatever else might make sense. Solicited: Proposals calls for contributions that are idea-driven, foregrounding the imaginative potential of the architecture exhibition. ​

Solicited: Proposals is a project initiated by ArkDes and e-flux Architecture.

Exhibition Histories, Curating, Institutional Critique
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