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Lecture: Esther Choi

February 10, 2020 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

No Cost
Lecture Series Photo
headshot: Esther Choi

Join us for a public lecture by Esther Choi, entitled “Doctorin’ the Tardis,” on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, 5:30 p.m., Rm. 109/McCarty Auditorium in the Art + Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Blvd. All are welcome.

Trained in photography and architectural history and theory, Choi’s work adopts many different formats: from photographs and installations to videos, books, and lectures. Bridging disciplines, her artwork often identifies erasures in dominant historical narratives and cultural practices, and occupies these absences as spaces within which to recuperate and re-imagine them from their margins. Her work also reflexively engages in the history of photography and commercial image production, pushing against imaging conventions or adopting new material forms.

Choi’s lecture will address her interest in how artworks dressed in unassuming and chameleonic forms can act as subversive tools for cultural inquiry.

“Doctorin’ the Tardis” was a hit song by the Timelords (a.k.a. The KLF), which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in June 1988. The song made reference to the TARDIS: a fictional time machine and spacecraft in the science-fiction television series, Doctor Who. Appearing as a police telephone booth, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension ISpace) possessed certain perceptual powers that enabled it to camouflage with its surroundings, unaware to passers-by.

Fast forward to 27 years later: Esther Choi hosted a series of participatory art events in her Brooklyn apartment, which featured absurd, pun-inspired dishes that riffed on canonical artists, architects and designers to parody the notion of “cultural consumption.” Based on these events, she produced an artist’s book entitled Le Corbuffet. The book adopted the format and circulation networks of cookbook publishing to explore the values that define the historical legacies and cultural artifacts we choose to consume and reproduce. Upon its release in the fall of 2019, Le Corbuffet instantly entered the cultural water supply, appearing in publications such as T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Vanity Fair, Dezeen, and Vogue.

Like the TARDIS, Le Corbuffet aspired to operate as a shapeshifting object, one that could travel through distribution systems to ask critical questions about history and cultural value.

Choi has a PhD in the History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University. She holds degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Design, Concordia University, and Ryerson University. Born in Toronto, Canada, she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Choi’s writing often addresses issues related to social justice, ecological politics and the image economy. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Art Papers, and PIN-UP, and in publications for Walker Art Center, ETH Zurich, and Library Stack. She is the creator of the artist’s book, Le Corbuffet (Prestel, 2019), and is coeditor of the volumes Architecture At the Edge of Everything Else (MIT Press, 2010) and Architecture Is All Over (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2017).

This lecture is funded by the Robert B. Church Memorial Lecture fund.

Unless otherwise noted, lectures begin at 5:30 p.m. in Rm. 109/McCarty Auditorium in the Art + Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Blvd. All are welcome.


February 10, 2020
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
No Cost


Mark Stanley


McCarty Auditorium/Art + Architecture Building
1715 Volunteer Boulevard, Room 109
Knoxville, TN
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