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RCA talks

Giovanna Borasi: The Museum is not Enough – part of the Architectures of the New Curatorial Lecture Series

20 January 2021 | 6pm – 7pm



You are warmly invited to the 7th event in the Architectures of the New Curatorial lecture series at the School of Architecture.

The Museum is not Enough is a lecture given by Giovanna Borasi, Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

This lecture will be followed by a conversation with the audience and special guests.

Architect, editor, and curator Giovanna Borasi joined the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in 2005, first as Curator of Contemporary Architecture (2005-10), then as Chief Curator (2014-19). She has been the Director of the CCA since 2020.

Borasi’s work explores alternative ways of practicing and evaluating architecture, considering the impact of contemporary environmental, political and social issues on urbanism and the built environment. She studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano, worked as an editor of Lotus International (1998–2005) and Lotus Navigator (2000– 2004) and was Deputy Editor in Chief of Abitare (2011–2013).

Borasi’s latest curatorial  project is a three-part documentary film series that considers changing definitions of home and homelessness as a result of urban and economic pressures. The first iteration, What it takes to make a home, premiered in New York in 2020 and will continue circulating at film festivals worldwide. It was also screened at the 58th Commission for Social Development at the United Nations in 2020.

This is a public online event via Zoom webinar and will be recorded.

Architectures of the New Curatorial 

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 of Architecture.

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.

Ines Weizman is the head of the PhD programme at the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture. She is the founding director of the Centre for Documentary Architecture (CDA). In addition to numerous books and publications, Weizman has set up exhibitions and installations such as Repeat Yourself: Loos, Law, and the Culture of the Copy, exhibited at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and in 2013 at the Architecture Centre in Vienna and the Buell Center at Columbia University, New York. Her other research and exhibition projects include Celltexts: Books and Other Works Produced in Prison (2008, with Eyal Weizman), first exhibited at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin and The Matter of Data (2019), which was shown in Weimar, Tel Aviv-Yafo and Berlin.

Guillermo Ruiz is an architect and urban researcher whose work focuses on the intersection of space, the state and power. He is based in London, where he is a Stavros Niarchos PhD researcher at the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture. He trained as an architect at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London and Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, and received a Master in Design Studies from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Eleni Han is a PhD researcher at the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture, focusing on the relationship between architecture, urbanism and photography. Eleni trained as an architect and engineer at the University of Thessaly in Greece and holds a second master’s degree in Architectural Design from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. She is an architect and educator in London with a particular interest in curating and exhibition design. Together with Guillermo Ruiz she is leading the research project Curating as Research, creating a network of researchers and curators around the world and investigating the possibilities of interdisciplinary research.