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SOLITUDE: A Dialogue on Today’s Architecture

April 16, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

SOLITUDE: A Dialogue on Today’s Architecture

Billie Tsien (Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects) & Anthony Vidler (The Cooper Union/Princeton University) chaired by Sean Keller (IIT College of Architecture)

In lieu of the Annual Weissbourd Conference, the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago will host a “Weissbourd Dialogues” series over the first half of 2021. This year’s series, hosted via virtual symposia, will bring together speakers from different scholarly and professional fields to discuss and present work on the theme of Solitude. Although a topic of long-standing interest in the humanities and social sciences, solitude and its conceptual kin (isolation, loneliness, anomie, alienation, seclusion, etc.) have become everyday modes of life during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, as we socially distance from each other’s bodies and breath, the tendrils of our social lives continue to stretch out, shoot back, and, in effect, compel us to ask: what good is solitude, after all? As an experiment in what Roland Barthes calls “being alone together” (idiorhythmy), this year’s Weissbourd Dialogues emphasizes solitude as a fundamental feature of social life rather than its abrogation. Each virtual symposium will bring together scholars and practitioners from psychoanalysis, critical race theory, architecture, neuroscience, art history, anthropology, poetry, philosophy, urban studies in order to query the values, practices, and challenges of being alone.

The 2021 Weissbourd Dialogues (traditionally, the Annual Weissbourd Conference), is made possible through the generous support of the Weissbourd Memorial Fund. The Bernard Weissbourd Memorial Fund for the University of Chicago’s Society of Fellows pays tribute to Bernard Weissbourd’s history of involvement with the University. The Fund reflects his abiding commitments to spirited inquiry, the excitement of learning, the power of discourse, and through all of these, the pursuit of a more just and humane society.

Register to attend the event here.

This event is co-sponsored by the UChicago Department of Art History and the Urban and Architecture Design Initiative.

Image: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Proposal for the Transformation of the Kimball Art Center in Park City (Concept), 2012