Aristide Antonas. The Pulp of Things
Sep 15, 2022 – Nov 11, 2022
Curators: Layla Burger-Lichtenstein, Krisztina Hunya
Aristide Antonas designs imaginary places in urban space that address social and environmental challenges of our time through community-oriented approaches. Combining texts, photographs, videos, and digital simulations, and with the help of archaeological processes and legal references, his works often take the form of collage-like architectural models. They are thought experiments at the juncture of theory and practice that use concrete urban situations as a starting point to examine the consequences of neoliberal market mechanisms for private and public spaces.
In his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, Antonas continues his critique of the growing privatization of urban infrastructures. The starting point for his reflections is the increasingly dense network of online retailers, delivery services, and co-working facilities, which promotes the illusion of the private home as an “autonomous cell.” Goods seem readily available at any time, and there is rarely a reason to leave the living area, which only contains the most necessary things.
This sense of isolated domesticity dominates the new architectures of densification that are gradually replacing department stores, nightlife districts, and office buildings characteristic of capitalist city centers. This development also benefits real estate companies selling compact residential units to wealthy tenants in urban agglomerations. The exhibition The Pulp of Things questions contemporary urban infrastructure, which according to Antonas is increasingly organized as if around an “expanded bed.”
Antonas is not an urban planner offering solutions or masterplans. Instead, he presents comments on situations, and loose, narrative instructions for sequences that unfold over time in the space. Central to his practice, informed by philosophy and critical theory, is the idea of the “urban protocol” – a concept he laid out in his book The Archipelago of the Protocols (2016). There, Antonas describes his strategy of allowing legal, temporary occupation of places in abandoned urban centers, which are accepted and managed by a public authority and create micro-legislative structures with communal functions. The protocols resemble director’s notes that outline details and situations of various activities; their implementation, however, is left to the urban dwellers.
Aristide Antonas (b. 1963 in Athens) is an architect, philosopher, writer, and visual artist. He lives and works in Athens and Berlin. Since 2012, he has been a professor of Architectural Design and Theory at the University of Thessaly, Greece, and has taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna since 2022. Antonas has published books, short stories, essays, and screenplays, including The Archipelago of the Protocols (2016) and Urban Planning for Murder (2015). His work has been shown recently at: Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice (2021); Frac Centre-Val de Loire, Orléans, France (solo, 2018); documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017); Vorarlberger Architektur Institut, Dornbirn, Austria (solo, 2016); Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum, Basel (solo, 2015).
Online discourse program
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
With Aristide Antonas and Adam Szymczyk (Artistic Director, documenta 14, Athens and Kassel, 2017; Verein by Association, Zurich).