Third time’s the charm. Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention is the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s third show about theory and design in the first digital age. Guest curated by Greg Lynn, and running until October 16, 2016, the exhibition traces early attempts to use digital tools to move towards a new architecture.
Designed by Jonathan Hares, the show is up to the CCA’s impeccable standards – but with a twist. The work is divided up by themes. This makes it difficult sometimes to figure out what you’re looking at (is it a school? an airplane? a speculative fictional project?), but Lynn hopes the device inspires visitors to confront the four elements of digital architecture: parametric modeling, design algorithms, digital fabrication, and robotics.
The first show, in 2013, emphasized architects who adapted commercial software for design and construction. Part two, in 2014, focused on media environments and interactive design. This third phase showcases large-scale buildings, represented by early tours-de-force of rapid prototyping, extraordinary drawings, and intriguing data visualizations. A digital book project, planned to accompany the show, is expected to be in print and online by the end of the year.
Archaeology of the Digital is also an important curation of architectural celebrity. The 15 projects included are from Zaha Hadid, Office dA, Neil M. Denari, Peter Kulka with Ulrich Königs, Kolatan/MacDonald Studio, Van Berkel & Bos, Cloud 9, Testa & Weiser, OCEAN North, Morphosis, Reiser + Umemoto, Preston Scott Cohen, R&Sie(n), Foreign Office Architects, and Coop Himmelb(l)au. How’s that for a lineup?
The show’s true goal, however, is about curating digital architecture. More than a decade ago, Lynn urged the CCA to reflect on ways to collect, archive, and display digital materials. Archaeology of the Digital celebrates the fact that the CCA has now archived twenty-five projects from pioneers of the digital movement and can now begin to make them available to researchers.