Out_Arquias [HUM853]

Investigación para los límites en arquitectura outarquias@us.es

Comunicación en Criticall III 2018. Minguet&Tapia Historizing the desire of historicize

Los investigadores de OUTARQUIAS Jorge Minguet y Carlos Tapia han sido seleccionados para exponer oralmente y publicar en las actas del congreso Internacional Criticall III:


(International Conference on Architectural Design and Criticism). En Madrid, los días 26 y 27 de Abril de 2018.

Descargar el paper: Historizing the desire of historize Minguet&Tapia Criticall3

EDITED: critic|all PRESS + DPA (Dpto. Proyectos)
ISSN: 2603 – 9923
© 2018criticall.
© Texts and photographs of the authors
This work is published under Creative Commons Licence.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NonDerivs 2.5 Generic.


The desire to historicize called upon by Lavin was not fulfilled. Quite the opposite, the convergence of anthologies that she analyzed can almost be read today as the swan song of a genre. The best known anthology on the next period (Sykes) is a strange device filled in with its own emptying as its strongest guiding thread was the debate about the extinction (“once and for all”, as Kipnis pointed out with unusual rage) of the theory.

The historical facts of such anthology cluster, i.e. the end of global capitalism, the generalized computerization, the triumph of the French Theory (Cusset), or the Deleuzian turn of the theory (Spencer), will help us to describe how the anthology’s desire to historicize ended up in its object’s death.

In 20 years, the economic cycle has taken the turn. The competitive, assertive, publicity-oriented apologetics which, after replacing criticism, drove the most unscrupulous period of postwar architecture, was followed, the theory left behind, by a sheer simulation of criticism as a sort of historical combinatorics, an outcome of both the closure of the capital and its opponent.

And when a new cycle was seemingly starting, a call to anthology, a new desire to historicize. Needed, almost urgent to assimilate both the exultant positivity and the disabled negativity of the recent periods, how can un-thology (inescapably negative, fractional and critical as shown by the deconstruction of the term) re-establish the lost bonds between the irrational, autonomous, symmetric exuberance (Greenspan) of practice without a discourse and a discourse without practice? How to sail on that abundance of emptiness? But, above all, how can un-thology know that its new desire to historicize, periodized on a point parallel to the previous one, offers any chance of escaping an equally parallel destiny? Maybe un-thology’s true desire (this is why it bounces back against itself, mutates into its opposite) is to be able to run away from its own dangerous historization.

Key words: Forced Anthologies, Dominion Languages, Recombinant History, Architectural Critical Theory.

Actas completas: Historizing the desire of historize Minguet&Tapia Criticall3 DigitalProceedings_Criticlall_III

Call for papers:


While Theory is produced, the History of Theory has to be constructed. Such an ambitious scope has been achieved by many different means but, among those, Anthology stands out as an effective instrument to present and connect apparently autonomous discourses in a way that actually describes a time-lapse situation. It performs a diagnosis.

The act of collecting –flowers, poems or architectural theory pieces [1]– is not innocent. Being the written equivalent of the museum, Anthologies curate knowledge, providing meaning for a collection of fragments. Not only Anthology is a genre that, as Sylvia Lavin once pointed, creates a genealogy for the present [2], but also this kind of selected inventory of the past always claims a certain agenda for the future.

Paradoxically, the advent of what has been called ‘the end of theory’ in the late 90’s ran parallel to the publication of the two most significant anthologies that can be identified until now. The edited volume by Joan Ockman [3] was born as seminar material and covers the period from 1943 to 1968. The one compiled by Michael Hays [4] starts precisely at that point and, despite the openness implied in its title, concludes around 1993. Both anthologies largely differ in scope and purpose: while Ockman interest lays in the unveiling of modernism continuities under the more general concept of ‘culture’, Hays collection is a clear call to the critical function of ‘theory’ as a mode of resistance to, and mediation with, the sociopolitical context in which it is produced.

Certainly there are some other architectural text compilations that could be cited here, but only to load the scale towards the American commanded construction of the History of Theory, and in any case, none of them go hardly beyond the turn of the millennium. This would be the case of Kate Nesbit’s volume advocating for a ‘new’ agenda or the one edited by Neil Leach [5] providing source texts form outside the discipline. The same could be stated of the two-volume collection curated by Francis Mallgrave [6] that unfolds in a holistic manner from Vitruvius to the first years of the 21st Century. The only exception to these western-anglo-saxon oriented compilations is The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory [7], which addresses many contemporary debates from a wide variety of geographical and cultural points of view, resulting in a complex structure that nevertheless cannot be called an anthology, strictly speaking.

Amid this panorama, we put forward the following question: Is Anthology an obsolete instrument for current times or does it contain some kind of purpose? In front of the globalized flow of information, whether generated or consumed in endless forms of exchange and heterogeneous media, which parameters should we apply to handle relevance, content or completeness?

The construction of the next index of Theory will have to deal with the very idea of its usefulness, either as a classifying device, an editing instrument or the enhancement of an agenda. The impossibility of covering the whole spectrum of strands urges to confess partiality before taking the first step, loosing therefore the aspirations of encyclopaedic completeness that anthologies usually claim. It would be an impossible collection: never finished and, for this very reason, carrying out a critical stance towards the genre as an academic chimera.

Therefore, if we were to compile such an alternative Un-thology, which criteria should be implemented to make the choices of relevant texts? Should we dive into the endless ocean of officially indexed papers that grows exponentially in a monthly base? Are editorial statements still capable of identifying the new directions in architectural thought? How to deal with amateur writers in relation to institutionalized research conduits? What would be the rate of practicing architects authors vs other scholarship profiles?

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[…] el deseo de Historizar, una versión adaptada y en español del texto preparado para el congreso criticall 3, que fue publicado en inglés en su libro de […]


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