The contentious relationship between text and image in architecture is as definitive as that of the scholar and academic. One who sees the world and imposes their will, and another who sees such will and imposes their world.

The role of Archinect’s new series Cross-Talk is to bring forward the positive aspects of the polemic and allow for the resulting conflict to bring to life an otherwise still and comfortable climate of creativity—if there can be one. Cross-Talk attempts—if to only say that it did—to allow text the freedom that the image has accepted and embraced. Cross-Talk attempts to force the no, to contradict itself, to anger, to please and then anger again, if only to force a stance, to pull out the position of the self, of the discipline and of the hour as a means to begin and maintain conversations moving forward. 

For the first installment of Cross-Talkfour writers will delve into the topic of “agonism”—or the political theory popularized in recent years by Chantal Mouffe that stresses the positive aspects of conflict. Eschewing consensus-driven politics, agonism embraces struggle as an integral component in the formation of discourse. Here, democracy is understood as a process of respectful conflict, in which the other is accepted as foundationally different rather than forced to conform. How can this theory be adapted to architecture? Should it be?