Critical Spatial Practice

Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • Lori A. Brown | USA

  • 100 Mile Border Zone (credit Jamely Ramos) Legal Points of Entry, Southern Border (credit Kae Schwalber) McAllen site conditions (photograph Lori A. Brown) McAllen temporary sleeping quarters (photograph Lori A. Brown) Supplies (photograph Lori A. Brown)
  • This current research project explores how space participates in those seeking to either enter or leave the United States, especially given the current complex political environment around immigration and asylum seekers. I am particularly interested in how space is used, co-opted, adapted, altered and sustained to support those entering or exiting. This includes traveling to border conditions in New York, Texas, and Arizona, interviewing individuals and organizations who provide care as well as interviewing those who have entered and are in shelters waiting to travel to their family hosts. Another facet of the research is to understand and make visible how the border is legible through legal, political, economic and cultural definitions and how this impacts spatial relationships and mobility. Methodologies of study include drawing and mapping often invisible spatial relationships, the use of ethnography and on the ground interviews with those involved in these relationships and examining how space participates in these interactions.


    Biography:

    Lori Brown has developed a creative practice focusing on the relationships between architecture and social justice issues with particular emphasis on gender and its impact upon spatial relationships in hopes to broaden the discourse and involvement of architecture in our world. She is the co-founder and leads ArchiteXX, www.architexx.org, a women and architecture group working to bridge the academy and practice in New York City and seeks to raise the awareness of women in architecture, create support and mentoring networks, and take design actions broadening the exposure of architecture in the world. ArchiteXX’s current curatorial project is the travelling exhibition Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture since 1968. Through ArchiteXX she is also currently collaborating with the Australian group Parlour and the German group N-Ails on #wikiD, to write more women architects into Wikipedia. Her two books include Feminist Practices:  Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture, an edited collection of a group of international women designers and architects employing feminist methodologies in their creative practices (2011) that began as a traveling exhibition and Contested Spaces: Abortion Clinics, Women’s Shelters and Hospitals exploring highly securitized spaces and the impact of legislation and the First Amendment’s affect upon such places (2013). She is working with two abortion clinics on design interventions for their public interface. Currently her two book projects include Borders and Bodies and co-editing the Bloomsbury Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture 1960-2015 with Dr. Karen Burns. In 2016 she received a Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Leadership Award for her work increasing recognition of gender inequities in the building industry. Prior to teaching, Brown was working as an architect in New York City for several award-winning firms. She is a Professor of Architecture at Syracuse University and is a registered architect in the state of New York.


    Practices:

    The work prioritizes ways to be responsive, adaptive, and to challenge normative spatial expectations, identities, and relations. Seeking to make visible often invisible or ignored conditions, the work more broadly works as a critique to the boundaries of the architectural discipline, always with the expectation to expand the potentials for design to become more critically relevant and politically engaged.  


    Keywords:
    Feminist
    Politics
    Borders
    Immigration
    Detention
    Shelters

    References:

    Elizabeth Grosz, Architecture from the Outside Essays on Virtual and Real Space (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001). 

    Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands: La Frontera The New Mestiza 4th edition (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2007).

    Jason De León, The Undocumented Migration Project, http://undocumentedmigrationproject.com/. See also “State of Exception/Estado de Excepción” at Parsons School of Design, The New School,  February 2 – April 17, 2016, https://events.newschool.edu/event/state_of_exceptionestado_de_excepcion#.W2Cpin4naL4


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