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This book focuses on architecture's eternal conflict with the temporary: on architecture's love for the up-to-date and its inability to reconcile this desire with building's obligation to endure. The conundrum is exemplified by the flash in the pan, an abject form of modern duration, conjuring for architecture the humiliating anxiety of becoming a has-been while expressing the architect's wish for currency. While associated with failure, the flash in the pan is also an achievement, a vibrant catalyst of social, economic and visual forces, for which architecture offers an acute means of analysis. This book explores the secret history of architecture's greatest "flashes" and the systems of ephemerality that structure the discipline (even if against its will). More than just another book, the publication is conceived as a reinvigorated means of communication in which words and images together produce for the reader/viewer a striking and novel intellectual experience.
Sylvia Lavin received her PhD from Columbia University after having received fellowships from the Getty Center and the Kress Foundation. Her most recent book Kissing Architecture, was published by Princeton University Press (2011.) She is also the author of Quatremere de Quincy and the Invention of a Modern Language of Architecture (MIT, 1992), Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture (MIT, 2005), and The Flash in the Pan and Other Forms of Architectural Contemporaneity (forthcoming). Lavin initiated a series of architectural projects for the Hammer Museum and has been a guest curator for the California College of the Arts and Ace Galleries. She is the director of critical studies in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the director of Hi-C, a design/research group that supports architecture in the public realm. She is the recipient of a 2011 Arts and Letters Award and is a visiting professor at Princeton University.
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