Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

RCA talks

Architectures of the New Curatorial Lecture Series: Aric Chen

16 December 2020 | 4pm


You are warmly invited to attend the fifth talk in a new lecture series at the School of Architecture - Architectures of the New Curatorial.

Aric Chen is an independent curator and a writer based in Shanghai, where he is a Professor and the founding Director of the Curatorial Lab at the College of Design & Innovation at Tongji University. Aric’s lecture will be followed by a conversation with the audience and special guests.

Aric Chen is an independent curator and a writer based in Shanghai, where he is a Professor and the founding Director of the Curatorial Lab at the College of Design & Innovation at Tongji University. In addition, he currently serves as Curatorial Director for the Design Miami fairs in Basel and Miami Beach. From 2012–2019, Chen was the first Lead Curator for Design and Architecture, and later Curator-at-Large, at M+, the new museum for visual culture opening next year in Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District.

Prior to M+, Chen was Creative Director of Beijing Design Week. Over the years, he has organised dozens of projects and exhibitions internationally, in addition to serving on numerous juries, and has been a curatorial advisor to the UABB Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture\Urbanism, London Design Biennial, Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial (New York), and Gwangju Design Biennale. Chen is the author of Brazil Modern (Monacelli, 2016), and has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Wallpaper*, Architectural Record, and other publications.

Architectures of the New Curatorial – the new lecture series from School of Architecture Research

This series, which launched earlier this term, has been initiated and organised by PhD students Eleni Han and Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa with the support of Ines Weizman, Head of the PhD Programme in the School.

Speakers are invited to reflect on the recent challenges to curatorial practices, particularly concerning an arguably new kind of architecture for research that has gained urgency during the recent pandemic. On the one hand, the pandemic revealed even further the systemic inequality intersecting multiple layers of society, but also affecting the concept of the museum and exhibition-making platforms. On the other hand, the conceptualisation of the exhibition space expanded hastily to the digital. This lecture series aims to reflect on these “architectures of the new curatorial”, inviting curators, architects and researchers that have recently produced exhibitions, or are developing work concerned with the intersectional and transnational politics of their research as a form of counter-institution, as well as how they engage the changing relation between analogue space and digital media. This lecture series looks to the practice of curating as research as a way to build new understandings of institutions, while also destabilising existing established ones.

The lectures and conversations will discuss three strands of questions: One is looking at current museum practices that address their problematic histories and institutional forms and protocols. For some institutions, it has meant a process of collective reckoning that questions their legacies, the financing of their buildings and governing structures, their endowed chairs celebrating histories of oppression, or their exhibition practices perpetuating gendered and racial discrimination. The second is looking at models of new curatorial research in architecture that helps engender feminist, anti-racist, decolonial modes of counter-institutional practices. Looking at these questions with a focus on their architectures and temporality, the conversations in this series will look at concepts of research that aim to expand their cooperation with local partners and alternative constituencies to go beyond the actual event of an exhibition. The third is looking at the potentials of digital media and exhibition design to connect new publics and ideas. It will look at what is gained and what is lost in that translation, in the politics of these technologies, as well as how conditions of precarity and exploitation are reframed and transformed when migrating to digital.

Upcoming events

Ippolito Pestellini – 12/1 – 6pm GMT

Giovanna Borasi: Canadian Center for Architecture – 20/1 – 6pm GMT