Talk: Listening There: Scenes from Ghana
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (CST)
TALK: Listening There, Scenes from Ghana
MABEL O. WILSON & PETER TOLKIN
In 2008, Mabel Wilson and Peter Tolkin traveled through Ghana, documenting the architecture that had been erected during the 1950's and 1960's in the decades following the end of European colonial rule. Until recently, the legacy of these mid-century buildings had all but disappeared from the western historical canon; and with their absence we've failed to understand how critical the African continent was to the discourse of modernism. In this talk, Wilson and Tolkin will discuss their project, examining how these buildings have fared in the half-century since their construction and how they function in today's increasingly urban and global contexts.
Mabel O. Wilson is an award-winning designer and scholar. She received a doctorate in American Studies from NYU and an MArch from Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. As the Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor at Columbia University's GSAPP, she directs the program for Advanced Architectural Research, co-directs the Global Africa Lab, and is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Research in African American Studies in GSAS. Her collaborative design practices (KW: a and Studio &) have worked on speculative and built projects. Wilson's scholarly research investigates space and cultural memory in black America, race and visual culture, and new technologies and the social production of space. Her essays have appeared in numerous journals and books on critical geography, cultural memory, visual culture, and architecture. Wilson's recent book, Negro Building – Black Americans and the World of Fairs and Museums, studies how the spaces of world’s fairs, emancipation expositions, and grassroots public museums became sites to imagine Afro-modernity.
Peter Tolkin is the founding principal of Peter Tolkin Architecture. Influenced by his formal education with renowned American artists Allan Sekula and Lewis Baltz and subsequent work as a documentary photographer, his practice speaks to the social and cultural context of a project. With a natural curiosity in the contingencies that impact the conditions of contemporary culture, Tolkin’s seminal explorations as an artist provided the conceptual kernel for an architectural practice that interprets contextual narratives. He received a BA in Art and Art History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a MFA in Photography from the California Institute of the Arts, and a MArch from Columbia University. Tolkin continues to practice photography as a complement to his architectural work.
To learn more about the exhibition Architecture of Independence: African Modernism, click here.
Image: Black Star Square, also know as Independence Square, was built to commemorate independence from colonial rule. Accra, Ghana, 1961.
When & Where
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts makes project-based grants to individuals and organizations and produces public programs to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.