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Ivan Rupnik’s research on Vjenceslav Richter’s “programmed” architecture

Vjenceslav Richter interacts with one of his “relief-meters

Between 1961 and 1973, the New Tendencies (NT) exhibitions and conferences explored the intersection of art, architecture and the emerging field of computation. Held in Zagreb, then a part of Socialist Yugoslavia, these interdisciplinary events brought together a unique mix of participants from both sides of Cold War divide. Starting with the publication of Margit Rosen’s pioneering work on NT, A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961-1973 (MIT Press, 2011), a number of new lines of research have emerged.

Vjenceslav Richter, Yugoslav Pavilion, Milan Triennial, 1964

Umberto Eco in discussion with member of the NT movement, Zagreb, 1968

Associate Professor Ivan Rupnik has studied the work of Vjenceslav Richter, the only architect with a significant role in NT.  He first wrote on the architect’s work as part of his study of the architecture and urbanism of Zagreb, Project Zagreb: Transition as Condition, Strategy, Practice (Actar, 2007), co-authored with Eve Blau. Richter’s theories were also part of Rupnik’s doctoral research on the transfer of design methodology from American industrial engineering to European architectural practice, Projecting in Space-time (Harvard University, 2015) history of computational thinking before the computer.  This research was presented at the 2014 Venice Biennale, as part of the event “New Tendencies and Architecture: Abstraction, Ambience, Algorithm.”

Sketch of the computational logic of a relief-meter

  This week, Rupnik’s on-going research on Richter’s work will be presented in three venues: On Tuesday, October 10, “Rebel with a Vision”, a major retrospective on Vjenceslav Richter’s work, will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. Associate Professor Rupnik served as an expert consultant to the exhibition and authored an article for the forthcoming catalog titled “Instruments and Agents of Programing: 1959-1969”. On Wednesday, October 11, Rupnik’s lecture at Zagreb’s Academy of Visual Arts, titled “Umberto Eco, Experimentalism and Serialism”, will explore the links between Eco’s theories of “programed art” and the “open work” to Richter’s ideas of programmed architecture. On Friday, October 12, Rupnik’s exhibition on Richter’s design methodology at the architectural and urban scale, “New Horizons”, will open at the Richter Archive.