Rome Teaching Workshop 2019

The 2019 Rome Teaching Workshop addressed the parallelism and intersection between two historical phenomena that became mainstream in the years between 1978 and 2008; postmodernism and neoliberalism. Teaching Fellows and respondents presented lectures on and debated a range of from the pre-history of postmodernism in late 19th century historicism; to the turn from political activism to theory in 1968; to the key exhibition that marked postmodernism as a movement such as Roma Interrotta in 1979; to the rethinking of Complexity through the philosophy of Deleuze in the 1990s; to neo-liberalism of the superdutch movement and the ecological discourses of the 2000s.


Rome, Italy


01 Jun 2019 — 21 Jun 2019


Palazzo Pio, Rome, Italy

2019 Rome Teaching Fellows

Alessandro Toti
Cristobal Amunategui
Ross Exo Adams
Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco
Maroš Krivý
Léa-Catherine Szacka

2019 Respondants

Brit Eversole
Luca Galofaro
Gabriele Mastrigli


With sponsorship from Virginia Tech


Alessandro Toti, "Berlin 1977: When the Old is Dying and the New Can Be Born" PLAY


Alessandro Toti’s lecture, “Berlin 1977: When the Old is Dying and the New Can Be Born” reframes O.M. Unger’s Green Archipelago project against a much deeper economic and political background in Berlin from 1967 to 1977 in which the oversupply of housing in the city had led to a decrease in profits from real estate development. In Toti’s reading, Unger’s proposal to consolidate urban development around an archipelago of urban islands can be read as exemplary of the contemporaneous neoliberal turn by regenerating market real estate values through new scarcity.

date and duration

June 4th, 2019 (37:37mins)

Cristobal Amunategui, “Modernisms Longue Durée” PLAY


Cristobal Amunategui’s lecture, “Modernisms Longue Durée,” develops the argument that many of the themes common to postmodernism (ambiguity, difficult wholes, collage, and historical reference) already existed in the 19th century and were then already an expression of that century’s conception of modernity; its attempt to reconcile a new technological reality with symbolic meaning. Postmodernism then, in Amunategui’s reading, is should not be opposed to modernism, but should be understood as another modernism, yet a modernism without the politics of the late 19th century: a neo-liberal modernism?

date and duration

June 6th, 2019 (101:24mins)

Debate: Is Postmodernism Neoliberal? PLAY


In this debate Joseph Bedford, Britt Eversole, Luca Galofaro, Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, Cristobal Amunategui, Alessaandro Toti, and Ross Exo Adams debate the question “Is postmodernism neoliberal?” They ask whether postmodernism and neoliberalism exist as historical objects distinct from longer histories of modernism and capitalism; what the purpose of historicizing them as distinct objects and in relation to one another might be; and how both have common features such as the suspicion of grand narratives that involve a “we” and the view that individuals and their economic value are the only things that exist. The discussion addressed how it might be possible to rethink a historical “we” and what can be learned from the historicization of the relationship between aesthetic and cultural developments, on the one hand, and economic, social and political developments, on the other hand, so as to see how the aesthetic and cultural practices of architects can relate to new economic, social and political changes emerging and the might relocate the conditions of possibility for a new historical “we”.

date and duration

June 8th, 2019 (2:34:16mins)

Ross Exo Adams, “Architecture Without Style: Political Technologies of Urban Design in the Age of Climate Change”PLAY


Ross Exo Adams’s lecture, “Architecture Without Style: Political Technologies of Urban Design in the Age of Climate Change,” analyzes the ideological function of ecological design concepts such as sustainability, resilience, green and smart, in terms of how they enable business-as-usual attitudes towards neoliberal capitalism. Adams shows how ecological crisis is being normalized through ecological discourses that are in fact technocratic discourses aimed at the management of risk, and that ultimately serve to prevent deeper political responses to climate crisis.

date and duration

June 10th, 2019 (58:28mins)

Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, “The YES Regime: An Economy of Appearances”PLAY


Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco’s lecture,“The ¥€$ Regime: An Economy of Appearances,” by Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, unpacks the relationship between transformations in the discourse of architecture during the 1990s and the emergence of a global neoliberal economy following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Santoyo-Orozco focuses in particular on the relationship between the emergence of so-called Super-Dutch architecture, the challenge to a critical tradition of East Coast American formalism, by a new discourse of projective architecture, and the rise of the figure of the Star Architect.

date and duration

June 13th, 2019 (40:26mins)

Debate: Are we Still Postmodern? PLAY


In this debate Joseph Bedford, Maros Krivy, Ross Exo Adams, Gabriele Mastrigli and Alessandro Toti  debate the question: “Are we still postmodern?” They focus on the relationship between postmodernism and postmodernity. Alessandro Toti argues that the postmodern has become a mass condition becoming popular because it answers to the contemporary needs of an increasingly impoverished working (and middle) class. Similarly, Gabriele Mastrigli argues that what had started as an avant-garde reaction was coopted by neoliberal capitalism to become a mass condition. Ross Exo Adam argues that we are still postmodern because, following Jameson, we live in a condition of a permanent present but he cautions against too much focus on the term “postmodern” in favor of asking what the shift to this term in our discourse has produced. And Maros Krivy notes that Jameson, in a recent New Left Review essay has displayed some regret about using the term postmodernism, wishing he had used the term “postmodernity” instead. Like Jameson, Krivy embraced the passing of the term postmodernism and with it the increasing value being placed on the term postmodernity as better equipped to name the rediscovery of the universal; framed in biological, ecology, systems theoretical terms.

date and duration

June 8th, 2019 (2:06:55mins)

Maros Krivy, “The Unbearable Lightness of ‘Complexity’” PLAY


Maros Krivy’s lecture, “The Unbearable Lightness of ‘Complexity’” analyzes the discursive function of the idea of complexity in the discourse of the 1990s, focusing on the work of Sanford Kwinter. Krivy argues that the idea of complexity played a key role in demoting critique; treating it as static and ill-equipped to respond to the new complex situation. Complexity theory enabled architects to reimagine their agency based on the pastoral governance of complex systems through local interventions; a shift that moved architecture away from politics towards a new anti-political neo-naturalism.

date and duration

June 17th, 2019 (1:00:02mins)

Léa-Catherine Szacka, “Roma Interrotta: Postmodern Rome and the Fragmented City.”PLAY


Léa-Catherine Szacka’s lecture, “Roma Interrotta: Postmodern Rome and the Fragmented City,” shows how “contextualist” ideas circulated between the United States and Italy in the 1970s and the role Rome played in discourse on postmodernism, both as a discourse on urbanism and a discourse on media. She shows clearly the tension in the 1977 Roma Interrota project between the circulation of fragmented images and drawings and the idea of a continuous fabric of urban public space as represented by Nolli’s map of Rome, which so captivated architects from the 60s to the 80s as they sought to address the perceived failures of modern planning.

date and durtion

June 19th, 2019 (49:48mins)