Volume #48: The Research Turn – the second in our series on learning – is dedicated to mapping the contemporary field of research that is pushing processes of knowledge production forward in architecture, art and the social sciences.
THE SYSTEM* indicates the complex interaction of the economy, professional practice and personal choice. The asterisk draws attention to the ambiguity of such a term, while hinting at an intention to change ‘it’, whatever it is. In this issue of Volume, we’re dilating our pupils to focus on ‘the system’ itself, treating it as a result of, and therefore question of, design. As we are unfortunately well aware, lobbying is not enough to change the system. Applying strategies like leveraging, short-circuiting, disrupting and infecting might be more effective.
While education is currently under financial and ideological pressure, learning is flourishing. Learning is not a self-contained period of time and place in which we magically transform into adults, but rather a life-long condition, a process that now permeates everywhere and everything at all times. In this issue of Volume, we’re thinking about what it means to learn: how it happens, where, by what, for whom, and why.
One of architecture's histories is that of the art of display: architecture displaying power, political ambition, economic success, social agendas, or less mundane notions like dreams, convictions and belief. These days architecture has also become subjected to display: the display of architecture — in museums and collections, and in auctions for example. That adds but also distracts meaning; not every aspect of architecture can be displayed as easy. And what does a culture of display (be seen or perish) add to this condition?
There is a theory that the more organized (read: developed) a society is, the less self-sufficient it becomes. All sorts of services and amenities, from housing to energy, from culture to justice, are centrally organized and distributed. But is that necessarily so? Or are we heading for a new order in which decentralized and self-reliant become the norm?