aml

random thoughts on architecture history theory and criticism

pick your panel on politics

this started as one post that got so huge that i’m just going to split it in two and give you the news report first. the critical part will follow later [i hope, and with luck i’ll be able to report back on how some of these went, but of course this also depends on the pile of neglected reading i need to attend to]

so, pick your talk [some already past, but if you’re patient, there’s the video], and you don’t need to read too deep in between the lines to sense that there is something a bit bothersome in having such a great topic [in which i’m really interested and invested in] suddenly seem a bit too everywhere. for now let’s call this a good thing and hope for the best. also, i’m being very loose with the labels here. anyway, here they are:

earlier this spring, edward soja presented on spatial justice at the gsd in a lecture i missed [but i’m trying to be thorough at least link-wise].

at the gsd, on march 24 shigeru ban’s talk with mohsen mostafavi [available here] highlighted some problematic issues of the architect’s role as activist. ban avoided answering questions on how he manages to finance working on pro bono work such as the humanitarian housing that we all know and love. more on that on the promised later post.

on march 27th the university of kentucky college of design hosted the design + politics symposium, under the guidance of michael speaks, dean and part of the design intelligence postcritical discourse. the symposium had three speakers: two directors of national planning agencies, one from the netherlands and one from the usa [henk ovink and casey jones], and aaron betsky, director of the cincinnati art museum and former director of the nai.

on april 2 and 3 some ideas on the intersection between architecture and politics were sometimes touched upon in the architecture and the state conference at columbia’s gsapp [shameless self-promo: i presented this paper, available someday here]

on april 13th discussions in networked publics will have its panel on politics with stephen graham, deborah natsios, and enrique ramirez. which is to say, this is not exactly a panel on politics but a panel on networked publics regarding politics. i think. intriguing [i figure for whatever audience i have here i don’t need to say when you hear network, kazys varnelis is not far behind, but i’m linking to him just in case].

alejandro aravena of elemental fame [old-ish video presentation in spanish here] will be at the gsd on april 12, and i’ll say i think his architecture is a political act in that it manages various political forces through architectural means, something that is extremely hard to do. we’ll see if i still think the same after the talk.

finally, cambridge talks iv: design politics, will take place on april 16 and 17. cambridge talks is a yearly conference organized by harvard archi-phd students [disclaimer: friends]. the interdisciplinary program includes lecturers in history, politics, anthropology [the excellent ajantha subramanian], political geography, and of course, architectural history. the keynote is daniel bertrand monk and i’m particularly looking forward to the round table discussion, just because seeing michael hays and lawrence vale on the same table sounds like a fun idea.

and, just to cheer a bit for mit, we did have the producing geopolitics htc forum lecture series, last semester. alas, we’re always ahead of the curve [where to brag if not in your own blog? it’s sort of an unfair brag, but there it is]. here’s the bustler link to our last lecture to give you a taste.

looking forward to the events coming up, and to the different focuses on just how politics and architecture mingle and/or what it means to talk about politics from a design point of view.

ps. how could i forget the wasserman forum on contemporary art: parody, politics, and performativity, last march 13 at mit.

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