Last night, another pamphlet launched its sixth issue, DEFAULT!, at New York's Printer Matter, Inc. With contributions from CODA's Caroline O'Donnell (winner of the 2013 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program), critic Sylvia Lavin, Urtzi Grau and Cristina Goberna (of Fake Industries) and others, this installment tackles the presupposition that "design inherently denies the default, and that the default is by definition un-designed." Copies of DEFAULT! are available through their website. More information after the break.
From the publishers. The default is what we’re left with when no one chooses for anything else to happen, or when there are no viable alternatives.
It is what we resign ourselves to. It represents a lack of agency. A failure of vision. It is the least common denominator. Mediocre. Banal. Bland. Blase. Generic. It is what slips through when we look the other way, when we’re distracted, when we’re too busy, or when we’ve given up.
And yet, the default also constructs commonality and cohesion. It can create a shared legibility, a visual language available to a broad and diverse public. It is the field, the mood, the ground that enables the figure.
The assumption is that design inherently denies the default, and that the default is by definition un-designed. Buildings are default, while architecture is its opposite – exceptional and deliberate.
This issue of another pamphlet questions this tidy division, and asks when and why architecture might be default. What are the potentials of thinking of "default" as a strategy instead of a condition, an active generator of ideas and forms rather than a passive description of everything outside of architecture’s concern?