Making the Brain of the System Mad. Or Not

Critical Encounters between Marginal Practices and Their Narrated Self


Valeria Federighi


  • Patio and Pavilion
  • informal architecture
  • Grille Mahieddine
  • Reporting from the Front
  • Torre David

Practices of architecture, which are by their very ambition marginal to the discipline – such as declaredly transgressive practices and practices that tackle the informal dimension of the built environment – are occasionally (though strategically) appropriated by the grand narrative of mainstream architectural discourse. The effect of this transition is twofold: on the one hand, it produces a consistent increase in the impact of these practices by virtue of their enhanced visibility; on the other, the contradictory side to challenging the discipline from within its boundaries is evident, as the paradox of dissidence is that its success is “secured by the annihilation of itself”. The paper will analyze two such instances of appropriation - the _Patio and Pavilion _installation at Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956, and the _Torre David/Gran Horizonte _at the Venice Biennale in 2012, and unpack its effects both on the practices themselves and on the disciplinary discourse.