Spaced Out III
Review
.........................................................................................
Claire Price, 'Get Smart Get Meaning',
Building Design, April 4 1997


'Occupying a central role in this year's Spaced Out talks series, the conference Smart Practices in a Complex World set out to debate what has become an increasingly fashionable preoccupation within architecture, that of the possibilities new technologies present. Unliked so many discussions on new technology, however, the ICA's panel presented a range of refreshingly intelligent observations on how these technologies must be assimilated to avoid their potential dangers.

The émigré Polish artist Krzysztof Wodizcko sees the city as worthless if it cannot open up to a stranger and accept strangeness within its fabric. Wodizcko proposed a mediator for this relationship in his Alien Staff, which incorporates a video monitor that broadcasts the story of the stranger to the people they encounter.

Wodizcko's work fused technology and psychology with a clarity and layering of meaning which is often lost in our explorations of technology's application to architecture and the way we live. In doing so he reflected the general stance emerging from Smart Practices in a Complex World - that if we fetishise new technology and allow architecture to become skin deep it will soon become something that is far too easily removed.'