On Architecture, Mies and Ideology: A Talk with Wallenstein


Wednesday, 20 September 2017, at 6 pm
Trubar Literature House, Stritarjeva 7, Ljubljana

The Swedish philosopher Sven-Olov Wallenstein is considered a key author in the philosophy of architecture. During his first visit to Slovenia, he will talk with Mateja Kurir about architecture, ideology and the reception of architecture in critical theory, as discussed in his Architecture, Critique, Ideology: Writings on Architecture and Theory (2016). He will also talk about his essay The Silences of Mies, whose Slovenian translation was published in 2016 (Praznine publishing house).

On Thursday, 21 September, Wallenstein will also give a lecture on Foucault and the Spatialization of Power at the symposium On Power in Architecture: A Materialist Perspective, which will be held at the Museum of Architecture and Design.


In his collection of essays Architecture, Critique, Ideology,  Wallenstein provides an encyclopaedic and in-depth presentation of the potential of critical theory (the Frankfurt School and others), Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology, the Venice school of Manfredo Tafuri and others in reflecting on the paradigmatic core of modern and contemporary architecture. By placing architecture among the cultural industries of late capitalism, he highlights and problematises its distinctive ideological note. 

The Silences of Mies offers a range of possible readings of Mies Van Der Rohe’s architecture of absence or architecture of negation within the various traditions of 20th-century philosophy. Wallenstein masterfully sums up the core of these positions and compares them so that, in addition to this paradigmatic example of modern architecture, he also examines the very essence of contemporary construction.


Sven-Olov Wallenstein is Professor of Philosophy at Södertörn University, Stockholm. His recent publications include Architecture, Critique, Ideology: Writings on Architecture and Theory (2016), Foucault, Biopolitics, and Governmentality (co-editor, 2013), Nihilism, Art, Technology (2011), Swedish Modernism: Architecture, Consumption and the Welfare State (co-editor, 2010), Biopolitics and the Emergence of Modern Architecture (2009). He is currently completing Swedish translations of Adorno’s Negative Dialektik and Ästhetische Theorie, together with a book on Adorno. Wallenstein has translated works by Baumgarten, Winckelmann, Lessing, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Rancière, and Agamben, and has authored numerous books on philosophy, contemporary art, and architecture.

Supported by: ERSTE Foundation, Trubar Literature House