Confrontation Is Good

Emerging Ecologies, the inaugural exhibition from MoMA’s Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment, ended with a shindig in the museum’s downstairs auditorium. PIN-UP magazine’s Michael Bullock and Felix Burrichter screened six short films they produced as a supplement to the show; all are centered around an individual and their practice. The ingenious and idealistic work the shorts depict is a protest against the general resignation that characterizes the design fields amid an escalating environmental crisis. The mood of the ensuing conversation was mixed, however, a plaintive James Wines wondering “What, if anything, did we do right?” The remark was made with an eye toward an older cohort, of which Wines, Mary Miss, and Peter Chermayeff are a part, rather than the younger set—Joyce Hwang, Dominic Leong, and Sean Connelly—who round out the cinematographic profiles. What will it take to envision the environmental paradigm we desperately need? We might do well to harness the wild energy of this older generation and jolt a confrontational pulse back into the architectural imagination.

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