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Inaugural Branden Hookway Interface

Shanon Mattern, University of Pennsylvania; Olga Touloumi, Bard College

Tue, 4/2 · 5:00 pm6:30 pm · Room N107, School of Architecture

Program in Media and Modernity; Princeton School of Architecture

Interface 2024 inaugurates an annual lecture program given in honor of one of the brilliant graduates of the School of Architecture, Branden Hookway, who passed away in 2021. Inspired by his description of the interface as an “apparatus” that can “contest and conjoin,” the format of this annual event brings together two scholars working in different clusters of the many areas that informed Branden’s theoretical and historical writing.

Tables organize our everyday but also structure political representations in the public realm. We gather around tables – to share, talk, negotiate – but tables also keep us apart, as Hannah Arendt reminds us. In this conversation, Olga Touloumi will consider the diplomatic table as the political economy of assembly that marked postwar imaginaries of liberal internationalism. Shannon Mattern will consider various virtual tabular interfaces designed to facilitate both the assemblage of objects or concepts and the assembly of minds and bodies. The conversation will also look beyond the table to consider newer sites of virtual gathering — digital gardens, mesh networks, and solidarity infrastructures, for instance — that adopt alternative topologies in order to foster hospitality and cultivate a different politics of assembly.

Shannon Mattern is the Penn Presidential Compact Professor of Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her writing and teaching focus on media architectures and public knowledge infrastructures. She has written books about libraries, maps, and urban intelligence; and she serves as president of the board of the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

Olga Touloumi is associate professor of architectural history at Bard College. Her forthcoming book Assembly by Design situates mid-20th century architectural constructions of global governance within debates on media democracies and liberal internationalism. Touloumi has co-edited Sound Modernities and Computer Architectures. She is currently thinking about storytelling, antiheroic positions in architecture, and informal archives.

::Event cosponsored by the School of Architecture::

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