In its second edition, Critic|all proposes as subject matter the reflection on the considerations that architectural specificity has kept in relation to the architectural discipline itself. Faced with a vision that believes that architecture cannot be an isolated medium, that is, autonomous – not only regarding social culture but above all, the social, political and economic environment of the world in which it is immersed, – we find those visions that, in the opposite way, consider that the architectural discipline is strictly about herself, and therefore employs a self language whose confirmation is determined by a collection of very defined historical forms.
However, there is only one set of facts, ideas, forms and styles that over time grows larger. All of them belong to us and any of them can be interpreted or seen as an architectural event. And there are infinite paths of interpretation of those facts, ideas, shapes and styles. There are those which make use of critical tools outside the own instrumental of the architectural discipline, inheritors of other intellectual and scientific fields. Others, instead, claim the delimitation of the discipline itself to be the main scope of the critical task.
We propose the term out-tomy as a new framework to overcome this classic dichotomy. Discipline is no longer a place, or reserve that the ‘academy’ defines, setting a boundary between the self and the alien. It is a gaze, a reading or modification. It is a glance that is both outside and inside at the same time, which is stranger to the architectural discipline but also understands it.
The autonomy of architecture is not in its technologies or methodologies. It is a capacity of thought to respond freed from pre-established theories, critically untethered to specific techniques, exclusively catering for the systematic managed and chosen for each time. That autonomy requires us to put ourselves out of the matter we want to analyze, manipulate or produce. At the same time we know we cannot make decisions without being directly involved in that matter. It does not act on things but between things, right in the heart of the matter.
The term out-tomy combines an internal autonomy, described from within as the preservation of certain discipline that is memory, is history and it is also specific technique, with an external autonomy, that is defined from the outside and influenced by other fields and cultures, attentive to society, politics and economy, the forces that rule the world. Anyone overrides the other but both have merged into a specifically contemporary gaze.
Between the desire of ‘unit’ and ‘self-referral order’ as a translation of the concept of discipline and the pursuit of ‘fragmentation’ and ‘autonomy of the parts’ as translation of the importance of the accurate and current, the dichotomy is perfectly solved as long as we recognize that both visions have created a situation where they no longer confront each other but simultaneously blend.
This double condition of placing ourselves at both sides of the limit, seeing interior and exterior at the same place, of being outside because of looking from the inside and vice versa, is a contemporary feature that we want to collect, display and confirm at this conference.