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Nicholas de Monchaux’s “Local Code” at Canadian Centre for Architecture

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On Thursday, September 22, BCNM Director Nicholas de Monchaux gave a lecture at the CCA (Canadian Centre for Architecture) in Montréal as part of the “Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention” exhibit.

In this lecture, Nicholas de Monchaux wove together two stories: The first, based in part on archival work at the CCA, is the story of Gordon Matta-Clark’s unfinished but essential encounter with architectural computing in the 1960s and 1970s—the ghost of which contrasts with much of the development of virtual tools in the ensuing decades. The second is a specific information-based set of de Monchaux’s design proposals around vacant space, titled Local Code. Together, the stories reveal ways to bridge the division between urban and architectural computing that can be traced to the cataclysms and encounters of Matta-Clark’s own technological age.

About the Exhibit
“Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention” is the third exhibition related to the development of a strategy for collecting and preserving digital archives at the CCA. The Archaeology of the Digital program comprises 25 projects for which digital materials are integral to an understanding of the design process. For projects included in the first two exhibitions, many of the native-digital files had been lost, hardware to open files had ceased to exist, data storage formats had become obsolete and custom or commercial software programs were no longer compatible with archived data.

In this exhibition the inverse is true; there is a vast quantity of digital material for many projects and the hardware and software used more than a decade ago is often still operational. The material shows how a digital approach to design proved that buildings could be delivered in a functional, timely and fiscally responsible way while allowing for more complexity, ingenuity and innovation than would have previously been possible. Indicating a diversity of practices and developed at a wide range of scales, the fifteen projects included in this exhibition represent the period during which digital technology moved from experiment to acceptance.

“Archeology of the Digital” will be on display through October 16, 2016 at the CCA in Montréal, Québec.

About the CCA
The CCA is an international research institution based on the fundamental premise that architecture is a public concern. It was founded in 1979 by Phyllis Lambert as a new type of cultural institution, with the specific aim of increasing public awareness of the role of architecture in contemporary society and promoting scholarly research in the field.

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