Diller Scofidio + Renfro

"Gonçalo Furtado - Whatever the object of focus, there always seems to exist an interventionist input geared towards the debate on the role of architecture in society, a challenging comment on everyday cultural and spatial conventions (domestic, visual etc), and, very often, a subtle political problematizations. (I recall stuff that goes from the 1996 theatre “Moving target” and the 2006 fashion design piece “Meat dress”, to installations for Lille, Turkey and Joanesbourg, books such as “Back to the front, tourisms of war”, and architecture such as the WTC platform.). Do you see architecture as a political arena and/or act?
Elizabeth Diller - We believe that the institutional critic is still very much alive and as architects, we are inevitably engaged in an intense dialogue and critique, of institutions and their relationship to one another, of our relationship to institutions, of architecture as an institution. It is not possible for us to not be institutional critics; when looking at institutions, you come to understand that they are often dominated by people whose power is derived from money, and there is a disconnect with a specific cultural interest. So inevitably, institutions typically reflect those with power and money, by virtue of who builds them, what they say and present. And we cannot ignore the need to develop a framework that allows such institutions to survive – a framework that generates income as government subsidies for the arts recedes. As architects then, we must be absolutely vigilant about our institutions. In a manner, they become our responsibility; we must become advocates of their best interests. Certainly, architecture becomes a sort of stealthy political act – to be a part of institution for example, but not let them go the course they might otherwise take."

in: Gonçalo Furtado, "Performing the critical [Interview with Elizabeth Diller]", in: Arq./a, December 2008, pp.70-75

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