Assistant Professor Julia Walker will be presenting a paper on Friday, September 28, as part of the panel Frank Lloyd Wright and German Architecture, Design, and Art at the annual meeting of the German Studies Association in Pittsburgh, PA:
“Form is nothing but emptiness, emptiness nothing but form”: Brigitte D’Ortschy and Frank Lloyd Wright in Germany, America, and Japan
This paper examines the understudied German architect and planner Brigitte D’Ortschy. Born in Berlin, D’Ortschy spent much of her architectural career in Munich, first at the Technische Universität and later as a founding member of the Bavarian Committee for Urban and Regional Planning. Yet in between, she came in contact with a figure in whom she would find a resonant intelligence, one who privileged the mental and spiritual in architecture and one who contemplated the powerful effects of silence, space, and absence. Her interactions with Frank Lloyd Wright, I aim to show, laid the groundwork for her later pursuit—becoming a Zen master of the Sanbo Kyodan school in Japan.
In 1950, as part of an exchange initiative sponsored by the Department of State, D’Ortschy spent several months in the United States at a professional retraining program for young architects and planners at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to the formal training provided at the university, the program also offered a cross-country tour designed to introduce trainees to the most important figures of American architecture (many of whom, like Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Ludwig Hilberseimer, were German émigrés). However, it was a lecture and meeting with Frank Wright that most captivated D’Ortschy. This initial encounter, the particulars of which are unknown, provided the ground for years of interaction to follow. After returning to Germany, D’Ortschy spearheaded an effort to bring the traveling exhibition “Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright” to Munich, making it the first presentation of Wright’s work in the city. In 1952, on Wright’s invitation, she traveled to Arizona to become an apprentice at Taliesin West.
It was after her period of collaboration with Wright that D’Ortschy made a decisive move to Japan to study Zen Buddhism. Through analysis of D’Ortschy’s essays, letters, talks, and photographic archives, this paper reveals her intensive engagement with Wright’s ideas—from his theory of organic architecture to his thinking about the importance of flow and continuity in architectural space. I hope to show that D’Ortschy’s developing interest in Zen and Japan, aided by Wright’s philosophy, led her to view architecture as yet another form of the ideal “emptiness” she sought in spiritual contemplation.
Binghamton University will host The Path of Tolerance, a sponsored public art exhibition featuring over 90 works of art from contributors worldwide. The exhibition will be on view from Sept. 29 through Oct. 9, on the Lois B. DeFleur walkway, between the Glenn G. Bartle Library and the Fine Arts Building, on campus. Binghamton will be the first major institution to present the full Tolerance collection in the United States, and the first to exhibit the pieces directly on the ground. This public exhibition originated from a larger project initiated by renowned graphic designer and illustrator Mirko Ilić, who will lead an opening tour of the exhibition at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 on the Lois B. DeFleur walkway. This growing exhibition – initially starting with just 21 pieces and now boasting 93 – features artwork based on the theme of tolerance. Each artist is only given dimensions and minimal instructions to follow. Their piece must include their signature, the name of their country and the word “tolerance” in their own language. To make this exhibition possible at Binghamton University, Blazo Kovacevic, associate professor of art and design, selected an appropriate location and printed the images onto specially made outdoor material. Prints will be installed directly onto the pavement as stickers along the Lois B. DeFleur walkway for students to see while walking to class. Families and alumni will be able to see the artwork as well, as the exhibition is running through Family Weekend and Alumni Week.
Other collaborators have shown similar exhibitions all over the world. In Turkey prints were installed in a mall, in Madrid they hung off an overpass, and in Slovenia images were enlarged to fill billboards throughout the city.
For further information, contact Blazo Kovacevic at email@example.com. This
exhibition is organized by Binghamton University Department of Art and Design and is
supported by the Elsie Rosefsky Memorial Endowment.
Nancy Um will deliver a lecture entitled, “Imam al-Mutawakkil’s Box: Aromatic Gifts around the Late-Seventeenth- and Early-Eighteenth-Century Indian Ocean,” in the CEMERS Lecture Series. The lecture will be held on September 12, 2018 at 3 pm in LN 1106 (IASH Conference Room).
The article returns to Kant’s student, Marcus Herz, who was the first to publish a work dedicated to the philosophical-medical problem of vertigo and disorientation. Herz’s treatise on disorientation forced a confrontation with a decidedly computer-age problem: how the operations of material systems could produce coherent, second-order, ontological unities. As Kirkwood argues, the long-overlooked answer to this question offered by Herz only became comprehensible following advances in digital computing and machine learning during the twentieth century by figures such as Marvin Minsky. It is for this reason that Kirkwood contends that Herz should be seen as illuminating posthumanistic concerns that were lurking in the very foundations of humanism.