Curated by Dr. Yael Reisner, with the assistance Barnaby Gunning and Liina Soosaar, the event pivots on re-appropriating the discourses of beauty in designing more comfortable and healthier environments for humankind. The program consists of four main events: Curatorial Exhibition, Symposium, Tallinn Vision Competition, Installation Program, and a range of satellite activities. Focusing on the local architectural scene and debate, the biennial wishes to expand the discussion and create synergy between international practitioners as well as the general public. Below you can more from the curatorial statement by Dr. Yael Reisner on why beauty matters again.
The word Beauty was culturally avoided for nearly eighty years, in the visual arts, in architecture, in politics, (environmental issues), psychology, poetry, and music, though people keep using the attribute ‘beautiful’ quite often in their daily language. The pursuit of beauty ceased to exist as a leading generator in architectural design, as a result of an ongoing denigration and aggressive suppression. Objective considerations took over—form generating process, augmented by a long-term intellectualization, and endorsed by what was understood as rational and objective, along the critique on the ‘hegemony of the eye’, and any subjective decision-making. The word beauty still associates by many with shallowness, old-world, or non-progressiveness, holding into cultural bias. Not mentioning the tabooed word is still often accompanying architects’ aesthetic consideration and active visual thinking. Yet, the paradox is that the first measure to judge architecture is still its capacity to create a great aesthetic experience.
We cannot define beauty in simple terms, nevertheless, we know its experience has a surprising quality, freshness, significance, clarity, profundity, often ambiguity, and while designing, any architect knows that when all fall into place, it is a pleasing, beautiful experience.
Installation view of the Curatorial Exhibition. Courtesy of TAB 2019. Ph. Tõnu Tunnel
In our augmented age and post-digital architecture, beauty matters again.
The very use of that term ‘post-digital architecture’ was a remarkable shift into admitting and recognizing the human role in digital design, and the significant rapid change of its relationships with digital technologies and art forms. A fresh interest in a new architectural range of beauties stems from the growing acknowledgment in human’s judgment, and cognitive intuition, and in its significance for creative output, but also for arriving at what people like. Artificial Intelligence researchers, opting lately to press on the exploration of Intuitive Artificial Intelligence, as it expands beyond human’s perception, awareness, and decision-making, and augments digital gains.
Moreover, neurobiologists claim that there is objectivity in every subjective experience, as in the mechanism of seeing color, or, as proved lately, in the judgment when experiencing beauty. It was revealed in 2011, that humans experience four types of beauty in their emotional brain: visual beauty, musical beauty, moral beauty, and mathematical beauty, each can be recorded and even quantified. Our civilization couldn’t exist without the recurrence of pleasures, including experiencing beauty. It is a part of our neurobiological structure and it makes us not only happier but also healthier; beauty matters! And just like love, it is real.
In parallel, mathematicians, whose fascination with beauty never stopped, as its discussion—unlike in the disciplines of the arts and humanities—claim that these days are the golden days of the relationship between Mathematics and Physics, as apparently mathematical beauty plays an important role in numerous theories that proved already true, especially those regarding the universe, a fact that enlarged their trust in beauty as a pointer towards truth and a claim that they should unleash loaded, fascinating thoughts.
Digital intelligent design has its major influence on the architectural discourse, not only due to manufacturing but also through making meaning. It is fascinating that the digital realms, early on, were purely anti-subjectivists, while these days, they brought to the fore the roles of imagination, intuition, creativity, taste, and style; the realm of subjectivity gain forces again, after years of pursuing objectivity rulings the architectural discourse.
The return to the author became a reality in architectural design by 2010-11, with the CAD-CAM systems, as architects became the craftsmen, where the craft making is in their ability to, digitally, and skillfully, draw the drawings that turn directly to physical objects. Yet, since files could easily be shared and content added or deleted, authorship turned quickly to ownership. Open-source design or robots’ deployment as the manufacturers, made the situation more complicated. Nevertheless, even when a coded script is written and open for numerous new interpretations, there is a growing wish to recognize whose imagination is involved, and whose only technical skills were coming from.
It is the architects’ creative role to bring new beauties to cities, substituting alienation with widening the pallet of our emotional involvement, and introduce the contemporary, diverse, experiences of beauty into architecture, a concept for our age, a product of individuals for other individuals, celebrating pluralism authentically.
In our time, beauty is not a singular idea; beauty is many, and we search for profound new beauties in architecture.
 There is more about it in my book: Yael Reisner with Fleur Watson, Architecture and Beauty, A Conversation about a Troubled Relationship, Wiley, 2010.
 Marvin Perry, An Intellectual History of Modern Europe,Houghton Miffin Company, 1992.
 Martin Jay, The Denigration of Vision in 20th C. French Thought, University of California Press, 1994.
 Prof. Semir Zeki – TED Talk at UCL – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlzanAw0RP4 Zeki is a British neurobiologist, a world expert of the visual brain and the neural correlates of affective states, such as the experience of love, desire and beauty that are generated by sensory inputs within the field of neuroesthetics. (Zeki coined the term neuroesthetics.)
 Ron Aharoni, Mathematics Poetry and Beauty, 2015.
 Maurice Conti, TED Talk, Portland, 2016, https://www.ted.com/talks/maurice_conti_the_incredible_inventions_of_intuitive_aiConti is currently Director of Applied Research & Innovation at Autodesk. He also leads Autodesk’s Applied Research Lab, which he built from the ground up. Conti and his team are responsible for exploring the trends and technologies that will shape our future.
 Semir Zeki, A vision of the brain, Wiley, (1993), 2010.
 Toward A Brain-Based Theory of Beauty, Tomohiro Ishizu, Semir Zeki see http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021852,
 Semir Zeki, Splendors and Miseries of The Brain: Love, Creativity and the quest for Human Happiness, Willey-Blackwell, 2008.
 Ron Aharoni, Mathematics, Poetry and Beauty, 2015.
 Prof. Robert Dijkgraaf, the mathematical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. The Director of the Institute for Advanced Study and Leon Levy Professor since July 2012. He claimed that in his augural lecture at MIT when he became the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in 2012. (IAS)
DATE: 11 September – 3 November 2019 / HEAD CURATOR: Yael Reisner / CURATORIAL TEAM: Barnaby Gunning, Liina Soosaar / ORGANISED BY: the Estonian Centre for Architecture and creatively led by TAB Advisory Board, which consists of representatives from the Union of Estonian Architects, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn City, Ministry of Culture as well as former TAB curatorial teams. The Board selects the curator or curatorial team for TAB in every two years / MAIN VENUE: Estonian Centre for Architecture NGO, Eesti Arhitektuurikeskus MTÜ / TEXT: “Beauty Matters: An introduction to TAB 2019, on why beauty matters again” by Dr. Yael Reisner