In this lecture, Amy Kulper locates architecture’s “digital turn” in 1988, when Thomas Knoll invented Photoshop. Originally developed as an image-editing software, Photoshop fit neatly within the long history of optical correction in the discipline. Yet its ubiquity today also prompts new questions. Does Photoshop simply introduce logics of adjustment, correction, and contingency to architecture, or does it possess the capacity to creatively generate form? Did Photoshop’s cut-and-paste collage aesthetic align itself with the predominant operations of postmodern pastiche, or does its propensity for photorealism advance a tautological representational agenda in architecture? What impact did the advent of Photoshop have on the processes of architectural archiving, and does its seamless aesthetic problematize the sourcing and identification of original images? What can the advent of Photoshop tell us about architecture’s shift from analog to digital design?
Kulper is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture, where she teaches theory and design.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention.