problem solving

Part 2 of a 3 part series: The Ole Scheeren lecture

Reeling from the shock of Ole’s 33m deep whole that he’d shown on the slide that finished the first half of his lecture, we all did our best to adust the scale of our thinking as he begun to tell us about an exhibition called Cities on the Move. The subtitle was ‘an
exhibition on the Asian city’ and the artists taking part were from Thailand.

Overseen by he and Rem Koolhaas, this was curating by suggestion rather than direction. The closest they ever got to a plan was a single drawing with the occasional word written over some of the gallery spaces. The rest of the lecture was spent describing how the project evolved, both in the UK and in Bangkok. From the limits of the Hayward gallery to the seemingly unlimited space of the streets of Bangkok, its ambition grew when it moved continent.

Compared to all the data I’d recorded about CCTV, I took relatively few notes during this half of the lecture.

reuse old and zaha – anti white box

new work for bangkok

cedric p

finite infinite cities with legs

free for all – vespa

problem – solution – undefined

Zaha Hadid’s work from a previous exhibition was reconfigured and reused; there wasn’t enough money to transport art work to Thailand; I’ve no idea what cities with legs was about; Cedric Price1 helped Ole develop the proposal for Bangkok and in the midst of the artistic free for all, someone displayed a Vespa.

A half-baked collection of notes, I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s the final one that counts though – problem, solution, undefined. The moral of the story, in Ole’s opinion, was that allowing a programmatic freedom to the style of curation, not only delivered surprising solutions, but also created a new understanding of the initial problems.

Unlike the previous list of facts, this entry records the speakers feelings. Fleeting in appearance, slippery when caught; it’s the reason for the difference between the two sets of notes.

In the third, and probably final, entry in this series we shall be asking Ole a question that nearly offends him, putting the world to rights on the walk back to the car, settling our tab at the bar and, eventually, realising something important that I (and everyone else in the audience) completely missed whilst marvelling at the ‘bigness‘ of CCTV.

1. They would discuss ideas over breakfast, since Cedric told him that he had to work in the mornings – the later it got, the less able he was to think straight. I believe this was one of Cedric’s infamous traits. Were he to appear in Rodcorp’s ‘How We Work’ series, the answer would probably be: early.

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