UPENN Fall 2006
Design Studio V
News dissemination worldwide is facing a crisis – a crisis which echoes political conflict across the spectrum of left and right. Journalistic neutrality has eroded and increasingly, media outlets are blurring the distinction between reporting and editorializing, presenting viewpoint as truth, erasing the traditional separation of fact and opinion.
The techniques of propaganda are both overt and covert and involve not solely the message content but its physical presentation as well. Through systematic techniques propaganda eradicates the presentation of opposing or contradictory view. The exchange of facts between media and receiver is no longer equal but is imbalanced to the brink of unbalanced. Currently, controversial networks such as Fox and Al Jazeera have been accused of presenting the agenda of controlling parties as factual certainty.
Conversely, the United Nations, by its very nature, is a ‘neutral’ agency. Its authority is derived from the willingness of each individual member nation to defer their power to the collective to achieve the aims expressed in the U.N.’s charter – the propagation of peace, the resolution of conflict and the affirmation of human equality. By recognizing the U.N., the members agree to set aside their authority for that of the U.N. as one negotiating body. Equilibrium is ensured by the cooperation of all; each member benefits from equal exchange as defined in the U.N. charter. The goal of the U.N. therefore, is to be balanced in all issues and agendas it negotiates.
In actuality, negotiation is an asymmetrical relationship in which there is not an absolute equality among the agents involved at any one moment. The process of negotiation is a constant shifting of reciprocity between agents.
The studio will critique the methods of propaganda and the process of negotiation. The experiment of the studio will be to create an open-ended dialogue between propaganda and negotiation, using architecture as a medium. Students will develop independent programs with propositions on one of three sites in New York City.