• The Machine at the Heart of Man: Doxiadis' Informational Modernism
    Farzin Lotfi-Jam and Mark Wasiuta
    Benaki Museum, Athens, 2023
    Farzin Lotfi-Jam & Mark Wasiuta

Doxiadis Associates, Gulf Coast "gravitational attraction" study. ASCII map printout, 1968. Courtesy Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives. Copyright Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation

This exhibition engages and examines the informational modernism of Constantinos Doxiadis and the foundational role of DACC—the Doxiadis Associates Computer Center. Launched in 1964, with its mainframe UNIVAC, spinning tape drives, technical staff, and computational expertise, DACC was a startling venture for an architecture office in the 1960s. Doxiadis belonged to a cohort of international architects, urbanists, and intellectuals appraising the implications of new technologies and digital automation. Yet, unlike his peers who often considered this impact abstractly or theoretically, the techniques, tools, and products of computation were deeply integrated into Doxiadis’ practice. Developed in cooperation with the Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, this exhibition spans Doxiadis’ informational modernism from early analog data collection to later urban computation. Much of it never shown, the material in the exhibition will recast Doxiadis’ practice through processes and epistemologies of information and automation, and will place the emergence of his global enterprise alongside the appearance of postindustrial logics and computational cultures. An early, important, decade-long DACC assisted study—The Human Community—sought to understand the social and spatial parameters of Athens marked by the arrival of postwar refugees. The exhibition includes a new project The New Human Community, our critical retracing of the DACC study that will place Doxiadis’ early computational urbanism in dialogue with the current informational geographies and data subjects of contemporary Greece. The exhibition is also supported by a grant from the Onassis Foundation.

Farzin Lotfi-Jam is director of Farzin Farzin, a multidisciplinary design studio working across architecture, urbanism, computation, and media. He is faculty in the architecture programs at The Cooper Union and at Columbia University and is currently an M+/Design Trust Research Fellow. He explores the political implications of technology and computation through exhibition practice, working with both archives and algorithms. His work has been collected by the Centre Pompidou and the Sharjah Art Foundation, and his research has been supported by the Graham Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and The Shed where he was an inaugural Open Call Artist. He has been exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture, MAXXI, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Seoul Architecture Biennial, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, and elsewhere. His coauthored book Modern Management Methods: Architecture, Historical Value, and the Electromagnetic Image was published by Columbia University Press.

Mark Wasiuta is a lecturer in architecture and codirector of Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). His research exhibition practice focuses on the agency and ontology of documents and archives for architecture through under-examined projects of the postwar period. His work has been exhibited at the Graham Foundation, LAXART, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and elsewhere. He is coauthor and coeditor of Rifat Chadirj: Building Index (Kaph Books, 2018), Dan Graham’s New Jersey (Gsapp/Lars Müller Publishers, 2012), and author of numerous articles. His upcoming publications include The Archival Exhibition: A Decade of Research at the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, and Information Fall-Out: Buckminster Fuller’s World Game. Wasiuta is recipient of the 2020 M+ Museum/Design Trust Research Fellowship, as well as recipient of recent grants from the Asian Cultural Council and the Graham Foundation. He is also Guest Curator of Architecture at the Jewish Museum in New York City.