The Globe and Mail today has a story (The Merry Pranksters of Design) today about the extensive Archigram archive is on display at the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Arts in Winnipeg until Aug. 24. Plug In has doubled its usual 450-square-metre space to accommodate more than 400 drawings and 15 models, which have transformed the gallery into something of a 1960s carnival. It is being billed as a “circus of ideas” — and it is a filled bill.
From the beginning, Archigram was enamoured of hybridity. The name was itself an amalgam, combining architecture and telegram. The group was interested in rapid communication and, to circulate its ideas, decided in 1961 to design a magazine that was published irregularly for the next 10 years. In the pages of this important publication, and in project proposals, Archigram appropriated the imagery of advertising, robotics, spaceships and popular culture to fashion a kaleidoscope of evolving environments and objects. Where mainstream architecture favoured ideas and buildings that were static and monumental, Archigram was committed to a flexible architecture of the moment.