Faculty News

Call for Contributions: GAM 20 – The Infraordinary


Guest Editors: Matthias Castorph and Julian Müller

The twentieth edition of GAM embarks on a quest for the quotidian in architecture. The title “The Infraordinary” pays reference to the art term introduced by Georges Perec, L’infra-ordinaire, which focuses on what is really happening, “the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary,”[1] as opposed to the extraordinary. In the context of architecture, this term describes the programmatic endeavor of more closely investigating the non-extraordinary. Its spectrum ranges from everyday uses of extraordinary architecture, for instance a bank branch by Günther Domenig being transformed into a supermarket or an oriental restaurant, to everyday elements like a barrier-free threshold that reconfigures the relationship between inside and outside, to utterly banal architectures which, over the course of history, have undergone revaluation or upgrading.
If the everyday is characterized first and foremost by the fact that things go about their usual course, then any investigation of day-to-day life faces the challenge of approaching the ordinary without subjecting it to intellectual analysis, aestheticization, or irony. Beyond an idealization of the unsightly or an emphasis on the banal, GAM is initially concerned with viewing the infraordinary through the lens of architecture. The first principle in this context is that architecture usually presents itself and functions differently than its representation in glossy magazines or on the websites of renowned architectural firms might suggest. Endeavoring to attain the highest possible level of objectivity, GAM 20 queries both the expression and deeper meaning of the infraordinary on various structural and cultural levels: Which new perceptual and evaluative criteria are necessary in seeking a perspective on the infraordinary in architecture? How might processes and cycles of utilization be integrated into a social history of construction? Where does the crucial dividing line run between the non-extraordinary and the arbitrary?

GAM invites interested authors from various disciplines to explore aspects of architecture that are unspectacular, not worth seeing, unplanned, or provisional. Abstracts (max. 500 words) on the topic “The Infraordinary” can be submitted together with a short biography until May 21, 2023, to gam@tugraz.at. The submission deadline for the final contributions is September 15, 2023.

Translation: Dawn Michelle d’Atri

[1] Georges Perec, “Approaches to What?” [1973], in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, trans. John Sturrock (Harmondsworth, 1997), 205–207, esp. 206.