Egotecture was an exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 1997. Invited to curate the exhibition by museum director Chris Dercon, I received access to the vast collection and prepared an exhibition-essay about the last 500-year history of space concepts, intertwined with the history of human self-awareness, and their mutual influences. The exhibition was based on a doctoral thesis The Rise and Fall of the Self, which had led to two degrees in Cultural and Architectural History at the University of Amsterdam in 1990.
The exhibition was designed as a journey, beginning with the Renaissance and continuing through half a millennium of discovering, mastering, reflecting and speculating on the idea of personal space, and eventually getting lost in it. This story was interwoven with an equally long history of the self-portrait, showing how human beings pursued the idea of a self from curiosity, through mastery, to alienation and even oblivion.
From citta ideale to cyberspace, from Hieronymus Bosch to Inez van Lamsweerde, from Mirror, Mirror on the Wall to Big Brother is Watching You. Show me your architecture and I’ll tell you who you are. Tell me who you are and I’ll show you your architecture. Egotecture does not tell a story about architecture or about your ego; it is architecture and you are the designer. You make connections and establish relationships, while perambulating five centuries of the history of space.
Van citta ideale tot cyberspace, van Hieronymus Bosch tot Inez van Lamsweerde, van spiegeltje spiegeltje aan de wand tot Big Brother is Watching You. Toon mij uw architectuur en ik zeg u wie u bent. Zeg mij wie u bent en ik toon u uw architectuur. Egotectuur vertelt geen verhaal over architectuur of over uw ego; zij ìs architectuur, en u bent de ontwerper. U maakt verbindingen en legt verbanden, terwijl u zich beweegt door vijf eeuwen geschiedenis van de ruimte.