“Remains Connected”: A conversation between Silva Ajemian and Aslihan Demirtas, moderated by Lebbeus Woods

“Remains Connected”

A conversation between architects Silva Ajemian and Aslihan Demirtas, moderated by experimental architect and theorist Lebbeus Woods.



Tuesday, May 11, 6:30 PM Pratt Manhattan Gallery

144 West 14th St. 212, 647-7778 Ph

Followed by a Reception, this Event is Open and Free to the Public.




At Ani, a bridge once connected the two banks of the Akhurian/Arpacay River. Today, of the now collapsed bridge, only the abutments on the two sides of the river remain, one in Turkey and the other in Armenia. As the remains of the bridge exist in two territories, Ani exists in two worlds, at once an important historic Armenian capital and an archeological ruin in a military zone in Turkey at the border with Armenia. Two architects are seduced by the collapsed bridge. Their project consists of a series of visual, graphic and tectonic ‘conversations’ set up to investigate and interpret the multiple existences of Ani, the river and its disconnected bridge. They start by revealing the lenticular existence of the place and develop by interweaving the resulting existences, references and projections. New York based architects/designers Silva Ajemian and Aslihan Demirtas work to reveal two stories, two forecasts.  As they bridge from their respective approaches, they seek to interleave insights and articulate nested architectural and geographic narratives to create illusions of simultaneity and unfold possible realities.



This event is the second in a series of public discussions organized in conjunction with the Blind Dates curatorial project which opens at Pratt Manhattan Gallery in November 2010.



About Blind Dates:

As an interdisciplinary and cross cultural curatorial undertaking Blind Dates tackles with the traces or ‘what remains’ of the peoples, places and cultures that once constituted the diverse geography of the Ottoman Empire (1299¬1922). Taking the breakup of the latter’s complex history as a point of departure, and considering the subsequent formation of nation states throughout the region, the exhibition is an attempt to explore the effects of various forms of ruptures, gaps, erasures as well as (re)constructions, including continuities within discontinuities, through the prism of contemporary lived-experiences. Blind Dates has been working with artists, intellectuals and cultural producers interested in deconstructing master narratives to give agency a chance, or to extend new ‘ways of seeing’ contentious historical accounts/events and their lingering effects on life today. By pairing artists and non artists for a series of private/informal discussions project co-curators, Defne Ayas and Neery Melkonian, have been ‘matchmaking’ to mediate encounters between distanced neighbors and their estranged cultures. The exhibition will be based on collaborations stemming from these critical encounters.


To learn more about Blind Dates please visit: http://blinddatesproject.org/



About the Participants:

Lebbeus Woods (b. 1940 in Lansing, Michigan) has concentrated on theory and experimental work since 1976. He is the co-Founder and Scientific Director of RIEA.ch, an institute devoted to the advancement of experimental architectural thought and practice. His most recent books are Radical Reconstruction (Princeton Architectural Press, 1997), The Storm and The Fall (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003), and System Wien (Hatje Cantz/MAK, 2005). He is a recipient of the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design and his works are in public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Cooper–Hewitt National Design Museum; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris; the Austrian Museum of Applied Art, Vienna; the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Getty Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Lebbeus Woods holds the position that architecture and war are in a certain sense identical, and that architecture is inherently political. An explicitly political goal of his highly conceptual work is the instantiation of the conflict between past and future in shared spaces.  One of the most striking examples of his work is his project on a possible future for the Korean De-militarized Zone. Conflict and crisis are the forces within which the architectural forms of Lebbeus Woods take shape. Lines and directions are traced out of a sheer will to create a new space from the broken forms that are left, for instance in the wake of the war in Bosnia.  www.lebbeuswoods.net



Silva Ajemian grew up in Lebanon and moved to New York City in 1996. She holds a Master of Architecture degree and a Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies from Dalhousie University, Canada. She has been practicing Architecture since 1996 and has worked with Michael Sorkin and Vito Acconci. Recipient of the Rosetti Scholarship she documented the architecture of public markets in London, and with a CIDA travel grant she worked on low cost and sustainable housing projects for local communities in Tumaco, Colombia, published by Tuns Press. With her partner, Jorge Prado, she founded todo design in 2003, a multi disciplinary practice encompassing urban, architecture, furniture and graphic design www.tododesign.com. Their approach is simple: treat each project as a provocation. The resulting expression in material, spatial and philosophical terms aims always for the same result, to raise awareness of our surroundings, our interactions with it and its impact on us. Silva has taught architectural design at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute in Mumbai, and at Dalhousie University in Halifax.Currently she is an adjunct professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and a visiting critic at Pratt Institute, NYIT and Cornell University.



Aslihan Demirtas holds a Master of Science in Architectural Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She is a practicing architect since 1991 and has worked with I.M. Pei, as his lead designer for international projects such as the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha,Qatar. In 2007, she established her own practice in New York where she is working on local and international projects and has collaborated with IM Pei on a chapel project in Kyoto, Japan. As part of her research, Aslihan Demirtas has been studying architecture as a wider interdisciplinary understanding of building activity inclusive of landscape and infrastructure and ecology. Her research has been generously supported by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. She has published articles in journals and chapters in books by MIT Press, Bauhaus and Harvard Press. Aslihan Demirtas is currently teaching design studio at Parsons School of Constructed Environments where she runs collaborative design projects with non-profit community groups. She has taught at Fordham University and MIT and has lectured at GSD at Harvard University and Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.



Blind Dates is a fiscally sponsored project of NYFA, making all contributions deductible to the extend permissible by law. To make a donation visit: http://blinddatesproject.org/donate/


For project related inquiries please write to: blinddatesproject@gmail.com

Or, call (212)842-4868

Thank You!