Dive into the archives.
- Domus 03.03: Elizabeth Diller
[Photo: Iwan Baan]
For the third installment in my series of conversations with women in architecture, I spoke with Elizabeth Diller, the co-founder of Diller Scofido + Renfro, a multidisciplinary studio based in New York. Equal parts artist, architect, and academic, Diller has produced a body of work that resists easy classification. For more than twenty years, she, together with her partner Ricardo Scofidio, has engaged in a series of ongoing spatial experiments, played out in buildings, theatres, galleries, books, boardrooms, and class rooms. We talked about this varied output, smart and dumb technology, and New York’s testosterone-fueled architecture.
In this series we’re trying to better understand female architects’ work by discussing the personal experiences and interests that inspire it. If you don’t mind, I’d like to begin by talking a bit about your personal history. I know that you were born and spent your early years in Poland before moving with your family to America. I’m curious to know how you feel your time in Poland and immigrant experience in the US has affected your perspective on art and architecture.
I don’t actually think of myself as Polish. My parents raised me as a European Jew. My family was victimized by the Holocaust and, in their minds, Poland was as culpable as Germany, and so the Polish part of my background was never emphasized in my household, even though it’s my native language. But I feel, perhaps, more European than American and that is probably because of how my parents raised me. I came [to America] when I was between five and six and I didn’t learn to read English until much later, so I kind of absorbed everything.
There were some circumstances around the immigration that were part of my early formation and that I am sure have made a lasting influence and changed my outlook on things, but I can’t exactly grasp what it is. [Laughs] It’s just that I don’t really feel like I’m part of any world, but part of all worlds. It’s good and bad. But the reading thing was definitely an issue. I think I was a little bit slow in picking up my cultural surroundings.
After your family moved, did you find yourself within a community of other expatriated European Jews?
Yes, my upbringing wasn’t religious at all, but there was a community of Europeans that my parents were a part of and if anything the social life was concentrated around other European families. That was very much part of the formation, but pretty soon after that I became a rebel. In my teenage years I just made my own context.
- AI WEIWEI Freedom Mix
Last week on Facebook I asked my friends to dedicate songs to the jailed artist/activist Ai Weiwei. Many responded and the songs they posted expressed a mix of outrage, reassurance, appreciation, anger, and empathy. I promised I’d make a mix out them to keep the word alive. Here it is…
Expensive Jewelry – FREE AI WEIWEI
right-click + ‘save link as’ (mac) / ‘save target as’ (windows)
*If you have any trouble downloading from the link about try THIS LINK.
Ralph Fortune, Lok Jansen, Marieke Rietbergen, Mietze Beej, Jochem Ruijgrok, Jeroen Koolhaas, Afaina de Jong, Damon Johnson, Bea Galilee, Reineke Otten, An Xiao Mina, Adrian Jevicki, Allister Slingenberg, Joshua Ellison, Farida Sedoc, Samir Bantal, Daniel Perlin, Uniek Mager, Nancy Krahe, James McGetrick, Mavis McGetrick…
Friends and enemies intro – Malcolm X
Truth and rights – Johnny Osbourne
Liberation – Outkast, Ceelo, Erykah Badu, Big Rube
Get up stand up – Bob Marley and the Wailers
54-46 was my number – Toots and the Maytals
San Quentin – Johnny Cash
Freedom – Richie Havens
The revolution will not be televised – Gill Scott Heron
Unknown soldier 1&2 – Fela Kuti
Sonny’s lettah – Linton Kwesi Johnson
None of us are free – Solomon Burke
Doctor’s darling version – Seeed
Korruption – Junior Kelly
Blood money – Pablo Moses
Time has come today – The Chambers Brothers
For the history and latest developments, check freeaiweiwei.org
- FREE AI WEIWEI
On Sunday April 3 my friend and collaborator Ai Weiwei was seized by Beijing police. He has not been seen or heard from since. Weiwei is a brilliant artist, curious thinker, adventurous eater, and courageous defender of freedom of expression. His arrest, which has not been explained or even acknowledgedby the authorities, violates the basic human rights promised him by The Constitutionof the People’s Republic of China. Due to the restricted nature of Chinese media, it is unlikely that many of Weiwei’s fellow citizens will ever hear of his mistreatment. Since his arrest, his name has been stricken from domestic search engines and blogging platforms.
Weiwei is just the most recent and most prominent subject of a Jasmine-infused crackdown on free expression in the which the government has “criminally detained 26 [now 27] individuals, disappeared more than 30, and put more than 200 under soft detention,” according to a report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders.
External pressure is now being applied by foreign ministries and supporters in the cultural world. If your government hasn’t yet spoken up, please contact your local politicians and media and alert them. And please sign the petition currently active on Twitter, a platform near and dear to Weiwei’s heart.