Join us for an captivating night in Chicago during Night of Ideas – from Muoto Studio’s visionary Ball Theater to Isabelle Olivier’s exclusive ciné-concert celebrating pioneering women of cinema, with open-access exhibitions at the Chicago Architecture Center. Be prepared to dive into an awe-inspiring evening of engaging talks and performances.
Explore the “Schedule” section to discover the full program for the evening.
“It is a space for reflection and a laboratory for imagination and celebration, suggesting a new approach to current crises, through questioning, letting go, and the search for alternatives and imaginaries.”
In light of Chicago’s 2024 Night of Ideas, Muoto‘s visionary installation The Ball Theater will travel from The Venice Architecture Biennale to the Chicago Architecture Center. The installation will be composed of 40 microphone stands, each holding a suspended speaker. The speakers, which will be handheld or placed on stands, will echo “World News” (Nouvelles du Monde), in French, English and other languages : short extracts of tales, stories, and sounds from all around the globe. Those recordings are part of the Radio Utopia project by the Cresson Laboratory (School of Architecture of Grenoble).
The Ball Theater is a ground for fictional experimentation, research, and debate. It is in other terms, a radio theater. How can sound convey different realities of contemporary worlds ? The Ball Theater responds to Lesley Lokko’s “Laboratory of the Future” theme, offering spectacular sound architecture, an alternative space for reflection and a laboratory for imagination and celebration. Georgi Stanishev was co-curator, with Studio Muoto, of the French Pavilion – Ball Theater Installation at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
Muoto is an architectural practice founded in Paris in 2003 by Gilles Delalex and Yves Moreau. Its activities cover the fields of architecture, urban planning, design, teaching, and scientific research. Muoto’s work features minimal structures that can combine different activities, evolve in time, and merge economical and aesthetic issues. The practice is identified as a representative of a new French architectural scene described as “new realism.”
“By working at the converging point of cultures within a variety of art forms, I am able to reveal a truly boundless realm of humanity and art.”
In August 2019, after reading an article about Alice Guy-Blaché entitled “Et si Méliès était une femme?” (“What if Méliès had been a woman?”) in Le Monde, Isabelle Olivier began researching women pioneers of cinema and eventually wrote the live soundtrack to a silent film screening in 2021. During the first few decades of cinema, the most innovative and renowned US filmmakers were women. Guy-Blaché laid the foundations of cinematic language, while others, such as Mabel Normand (who taught Charlie Chaplin all about filmmaking), action star Grace Cunard, and LGBTQIA+ icon Alla Nazimova, took daring steps to develop the field further.
Never shying away from controversy, creative, free, intrepid women filmmakers, such as Lois Weber and Dorothy Davenport Reid tackled the explosive, controversial issues of their era, such as birth control, abortion, and prostitution. They were true artists, incredible visionaries, and militant activists. So how is it that such an important body of work has been overlooked? During her residency at Villa Albertine, she carried out her quest to revive the work of women pioneers of cinema, shining a spotlight on films by minority women. In an enchanted interlude, Harpist Isabelle Olivier will present and accompany Alice Guy’s silent film The Consequences of Feminism (1906).
Isabelle Olivier is a jazzwoman and harpist with a strong musical personality. She brings a wave of freshness and novelty to the international artistic world with her surprising and unique instrument and her distinctive style. A Villa Albertine resident, she is a composer dealing with several genres: jazz, Celtic, urban, electro, and contemporary music. She had the opportunity to share her musical expertise in the cinema (Agnès Varda, Abdellatif Kechiche) and performing arts fields. She is currently an associate artist in residency at the Theatre of Longjumeau for the next three years. From 2019 to 2022, she was an associate artist in residency at La Ferme de Bel Ébat – theatre of Guyancourt. Isabelle Olivier played in 25 countries presenting her musical creations. Her latest project is “SMILE,” a live performance mixing acoustic and electronic music with circus performances.
“A much sounder, more rational energy-saving approach is to repair and stimulate, rather than to knock down and rebuild. This method offers a reserve of materials for reuse as well as a formidable opportunity to discover new uses through conversion.”
The exhibition chronicles the work of this trailblazing French design firm, with an emphasis on projects that marry architecture and ecology, that create innovate new public spaces in cities, and that reinvent existing buildings through sensitive rehabilitation efforts. The work presented spans all scales, from architecture and the city to the smallest living organism. Large format photography, artifacts, and architectural models bring to life the design thinking behind each project. The exhibition also shares the speculative research ChartierDalix conducted this fall during an eight-week residency at the Chicago Architecture Center with Villa Albertine Chicago, as official contributors to the 5th Chicago Architecture Biennial. The inquiry has been focused on efforts to revitalize the Loop, Chicago’s central business district. Like many downtowns, Chicago has seen its share of recent challenges with COVID-19, inflation, and the emergence of remote work arrangements. The ChartierDalix Architecture Agency was a Villa Albertine resident in Chicago in the Fall of 2023. Systems is the result of their work.
From 6.30pm, every 30 minutes, students from IIT’s College of Architecture will present their work on the Loop, inspired by Chartier-Dalix : Mohammad Arabamazar, Juliana Cardozo Chamorro, Cameron Carter, Jinchen Chen, Zhicong Fang, Maurice Gaston, Lauren Geske, Caleb Hadley and Jorge Mayorga, under the supervision of Prof. Ron Henderson.
Since its founding, ChartierDalix has brought to life over twenty buildings, with a further dozen currently under construction. In 2017, the French Academy of Architecture presented the agency with the Le Soufaché Prize in recognition of all its work, which has also been acclaimed at a large number of international competitions. The agency was the winner in 2016 of a competition to renovate the Ternes district of Paris (entitled Réinventer Paris, Ternes). In 2017, it won another competition to restructure the Montparnasse Tower, working as part of the Nouvelle AOM collective, which also includes Hardel & Le Bihan Architectes, and Franklin Azzi Architecture. In 2019, Frédéric Chartier and Pascale Dalix were named as Chevaliers des Arts et des Lettres (“Knights of the Order of Arts and Letters”).