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.


International Lecture Series 2: Nothing is a Closed Circuit – Felicity D Scott

25 October 2018 | 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Kensington, Lecture Theatre 1

Focusing on Chilean-born artist/architect Juan Downey’s 1969 sculpture With Energy Beyond These Walls, this lecture revisits his electronic and cybernetic works of the late 1960s and early 1970s, reading their structurally ambivalent semantic and operational logics, and their modes of switching, as harboring a political vocation, one becoming more evident, and more urgent in the wake of the military coup d’état in Chile and the assassination of its democratically elected, socialist President, Salvador Allende. Departing from readings celebrating Downey’s early works as paradigms of interactivity or as inviting 'participation', this lecture argues that they are better read as allegories the shifting semiotic, media-technical, institutional, economic, and geopolitical matrix that emerged after World War II, a largely US-dominated realm that informed so many aspects of the so-called 'new world order' of the Cold War and its many forms of violence.  

Felicity D Scott is Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she directs the PhD program in Architecture (History and Theory), and co-directs the programme in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture (CCCP). Her books include: Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics After Modernism (MIT Press, 2007), Ant Farm (ACTAR, 2008), Disorientation: Bernard Rudofsky in the Empire of Signs (Sternberg Press, 2016), and Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counterinsurgency (Zone Books, 2016).

This event has been organised by the School of Architecture. Please contact [email protected] for more information.


  • Felicity D Scott