Critical Spatial Practice

  • Yafei Wang
  • ‘No longer were there individual destinies; only a collective destiny, made of plague and emotions shared by all.’ — Albert Camus, The Plague, (1947)

  • Sara Kärpänen
  • ‘If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.’ — Shirley Chisholm

    ‘The good citizen when he opens his door in the evening must be banker, golfer, husband, father; not a nomad wandering the desert, a mystic staring at the sky, a debauchee in the slums of San Francisco, a soldier heading a revolution, a pariah howling with skepticism and solitude.’ ― Virginia Woolf, Street Haunting (1927).

  • Alex Augusto Suárez
  • ‘…it’s just begun. Six billion acres

    under time, under stress and stretches

    of content. Reserved for a duration.
    Blue-green grid of constant revolution.’

    Susan Barba, ‘Exhibit 1,’ Geode, (Black Sparrow Press, 2020).

  • Christine Bjerke
  • ‘Connected to the history of capitalism, there are histories to be found that provide evidence of critique, resistance, counteracting, experimentation with alternatives, and lived realities of diverse economies.’

    Angelika Fitz and Elke Krasny, eds, Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet (MIT Press, 2019)

  • Sean Cham
  • “Histories and theories of architecture are embedded in the histories of constructs, oppressions, suppressions, and subjugations.” — Samia Henni, “Colonial Ramifications,” e-flux Architecture, 2018

  • Sara Alissa, Nojoud Alsudairi
  • “In a space where both construction and demolition coexist to form a void in the memory of the urban landscape, an awareness exists – out of necessity – to provide an essential continuity to the history of place.”

  • Julia Udall, Jonathan Orlek, Alex De Little
  • We are interested in how listening can be a tool, or a strategy that makes things happen or leads to (political) action. How can listening be understood as a practice that might activate a space and a time which is not purely theoretical, experiential or perceptual, but intrinsically social and political for the reason that it sustains an “other-doing”?
    Lucia Farinati and Claudia Firth, The Force of Listening (Berlin: Errant Bodies, 2017), 20.

  • Montserrat Gutiérrez Mesegué
  • ‘Now every lemon is infused with the love of my mother. But the lemons do not belong to me, and it brings me great joy knowing that everyone who cuts into a lemon and enjoys its sweet gift is feeling the love of my mother at no expense of her own.’

  • Florencia Andreola & Azzurra Muzzonigro
  • “Our cities are patriarchy written in stone, brick, glass and concrete.”
    Jane Darke (1996)

  • Sam Zheng
  • “Back to nature, then! That means we must add to the exclusively social contract a natural contract of symbiosis and reciprocity in which our relationship to things would set aside mastery and possession in favor of admiring attention, reciprocity, contemplation, and respect; where knowledge would no longer imply property, nor action mastery, nor would property and mastery imply their excremental results and origins.” Michel Serres, The Natural Contract, (1995)

  • Brigid McLeer
  • ‘Memory, the pattern of sedimented enfoldings of iterative interactivity is written into the fabric of the world. The world holds the memory of all traces or rather the world is its memory… There is no inheritance without a call to responsibility… Entanglements are relations of obligation.’ Karen Barad

    (From video recording of Karen Barad’s Roslyn Silver ’27 Science Lecture at Barnard Centre for Research on Women, 2018: ‘Undoing the Future: Troubling Time/s and Ecologies of Nothingness: Re-Turning, Re-Membering, and Facing the Incalculable.’ (link)

  • Jan Kattein Architects (Dr Jan Kattein, Gareth Marriott, Chandni Patel)
  • A converted double decker bus is bringing affordable, fresh food to chronically underserved areas. Amidst an abundance of food shops it’s easy to forget that good food is not accessible to many low income families in London. The bus transforms the increasingly common concern of bringing food to the table into a convivial experience.

  • Camillo Boano
  • ‘It is not a question of thinking a better or more authentic form of life, a superior principle, or an elsewhere that suddenly arrives at forms of life and factical vocations to revoke them and render them inoperative. Inoperativity is not another work that suddenly arrives and works to deactivate and depose them: it coincides completely and constitutively with their destitution, with living a life.’ G. Agamben, The Use of Bodies, (2016), p. 277.

  • GRAB (Professors Andrew Benjamin and Gerard Reinmuth)
  • These notes arise from concerns around the potential for architecture to counter or redirect the spatial, financial or ecological conditions present at the time of its conception. These concerns manifest in a question – can one deploy mapping projects, the conceptualization of spatial arrangements and/or architectural interventions as counter measures to the dominance of pre-existing organizational logics?

  • Prue Chiles
  • A series of images on site, stitching overlapping, resonating narratives, expanding and uncovering the site of construction in other ways. We prioritise the many people involved and the relationships they develop and their connection to building and dwelling in time and place. Bonds are created, liaisons and common interests encountered and links made. Memories of the building, as new, in the 1970’s are explored and dissected as a new home is emerging. This work highlights the importance of time and messy, feminine, everyday process of getting to know each other, running alongside a more formal economic and practical process of building where everything is mapped out and kept to time, or is it? These effects spill over into the formal. The images show the intensities and banalities of common experiences and strange encounters and the lingering resonance of past events. This is another reading of work on a restless site.

    ‘A place as living rather than lived space.’ (Amin and Thrift, 2002. 49)

  • Zoë Quick and Kirsten McIver
  • Through these movements we become mountains.

  • Ella Parry-Davies and Ann
  • ‘While I’m hearing this story, I put myself into the shoes of the listener, and not the one who’s really telling the story. I feel proud of myself. If I would be the listener and I can meet this person, I can tell her: ‘you made it, I’m proud of you, you made it, you’re so strong.’ I’m proud of myself.’
    Amara, soundwalk-maker and migrant domestic worker

  • Tyler Rai and lisa nevada
  • ‘To be situated in place is to be engaged in a reciprocity where survival, both physical and spiritual, depends on our understanding of gestures … We do not live in isolation from the physical world around us. Nature beckons our response. It is in the doing, the being, the becoming that meaning is made. What becomes sacred is the act itself — not what remains. Something inexplicable is set into motion.’ (Terry Tempest Williams, The Hour of Land).

  • Shivani Shah
  • ‘The body is capable of knowing things which the mind is ignorant of’ Jacques Lecoq, The Moving Body, (2011)
    ‘The value of a commodity is the expenditure of human labour in its abstract’ Karl Marx, Capital: Volume I, (1867/87)

  • Penny Florence
  • ‘Cybiog is not the description of an original self or its chrono-teleology, but rather the generation of mutating subjectivities’ (‘Cybiog and sexed digitalia’ Digital Creativity 2003, v. 14, n. 3, pp. 144-151). This plays out as located (i.e. both material place and digital space).

  • Sol Perez Martinez
  • ‘By living we learn’ (1)

    ‘Understanding the present as the development of the past, are we not preparing also to understand the future as the development of the present?’ (2)

  • Ignacio Rivas
  • I understand my practice as a process of collaboration and exchange that questions ideas of control and authorship. In this project I reflect on the impositions of neoliberal ideologies and how they have impacted, spatially and symbolically, over collective modes of organization in multiple territories.

  • Diana Salazar
  • Collective knowledge production benefits from linking local experiences of people affected by mining, with European discourses such as human rights and climate change. The challenge is to share all these views and agree on strategies that are clear to everyone, making the process transparent and accountable for those directly affected by mining.

  • Thandi Loewenson
  • ‘Our spacecraft, Cyclops 1, will soar into deep abyssimal [sic] space beyond the epicycles of the seventh heaven. Our posterity, the Black Scientists, will continue to explore the celestial infinity until we control the whole of outer space.’
    “Dr.” Nkoloso, ‘The Moon and I’, Abercornucopia, 10 January 1964.

  • Cecilie Sachs Olsen / zURBS (
  • ‘I speak and speak,’ Marco says, ‘but the listener retains only the words he is expecting. (…) It is not the voice that commands the story: it is the ear.’
    Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

  • Michał Murawski and Daria Kravchuk
  • Zaryadye Park, architecture critic Anton Kalgaev said at the fifth Zaryadyological roundtable, is a ‘portal to hell’.

    ‘Not only to hell’, architect Timur Bashkaev said in response, ‘but also to paradise!’

  • Janet McGaw
  • In this series I ask ’what happens when words become material? Ecological? Unstable? Can we sever concepts from the continents of abstract thought that precede us?’ I have tossed words into familiar environments – my paddock, kitchen, and backyard – inviting other critters – yoghurt, bacteria, dirt, introduced grasses, ancient seeds, sun, fire, rain, time – to collaborate with me.

  • Gilly Karjevsky
  • ‘We clamor for the right to opacity for everyone!’ – This Eduard Glissant quote from the Poetics of Relation ([1990] 1997) is at the heart of the silent conversation lexicon process, as it ‘clamors’ for terminology that is collective, fluid, contaminated and open-ended.

  • Rafael Guendelman Hales
  • ‘To some degree, the histories of displaced objects are analogous to human displacements, migrations and exiles.’

  • Mona Mahall and Asli Serbest
  • Female Futures Lexicon on Space is an open collection of statements on the utopian production of (domestic) space—from a feminist position. It helps rethink the modern production of space, its history and future, its authors, inhabitants, and its discourses—in a moment of political and social regression.

  • Hilary Powell
  • Debt, democracy and freedom are intricately entangled. If debt is the key tool of a neoliberal order then what do we have in our toolkit? Creativity, community, collective action, critical vision – demanding that economics be done differently and doing it ourselves and with others.

    Excerpt from Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn, Bank Job (Chelsea Green Publishing, September 2020).

  • Natalia Irina Roman
  • “Making art means for me creating spaces of (new) possibilities. Illustrating this train of thought, Along the Lines is an art practice making space along frequently travelled train tracks, in an otherwise impossible context, changing our daily train travels and illustrating the transformative power of art work.”

  • Julieanna Preston
  • In each live art and associated writing piece, I attempted to shed language spoken and written as strictly meaning-making expressive exercises. In each project, voice, sound and noise become the gestures that help me flush out the liveness of things one vibration searching for another, and another, and so on. This effort depends on reclaiming, or better, becoming wildness – unruly, relying less methodically on my habitual cognitive-processes to guide or frame the practice, to embrace the undisciplined, and to some degree, unknowing.

  • Michael Hirschbichler
  • The works of the series ‘Viscous Myths’ arose from an investigation of the Absheron Peninsula in Azerbaijan – the landmass in the Caspian Sea, which is held to be the place of origin of industrial oil production.

  • Chen Kai-Wen
  • ‘I am trying to go beyond the immediate economic cause and to consider what pleasure it can give anyone to think of men swabbing dishes for life. For there is no doubt that people—comfortably situated people—do find a pleasure in such thoughts.’ George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London, (1933).

  • Mona Mahall and Asli Serbest
  • As part of a series of works and speculative research on feminist spatial utopias The House Alice Built responds to the Kitchenless House (1915) by architect Alice Constance Austin. In exploring the process of subtraction (n-1, apartment minus kitchen), the installation aims at a methodological activation of emancipatory ideas and practices to reshape our shared […]

  • Kuba Szreder
  • A wave of art strikes, boycotts, and occupations has engulfed global artistic circulation. These protests have directly or indirectly targeted artistic infrastructures like museums, biennials, and art fairs. Organizing an art strike, partaking in a boycott, or occupying art infrastructure are best understood as acts of productive withdrawal. These instances of social and political creativity reinvigorate ways of practicing and thinking about art by revamping existing infrastructures and giving shape to new institutional assemblages. These new assemblages sustain art as a practice of freedom.

  • transparadiso (Barbara Holub/Paul Rajakovics)
  • A bilingual (czech-german) scrabble-game served as tool for generating a text for the seating sculpture defining the new square. The words collected during the game formed the resource for an experimental poetic bilingual text which was only made possible through this collaborative process.

  • Action Archive (Meike Schalk, Sara Brolund de Carvalho, Helena Mattsson + Beatrice Stude)
  • ‘What would caring architecture and urban design require? … Using care as a critical concept will require a fundamental reorientation of the disciplines of architecture and urban planning.’ Joan Tronto, ‘Caring Architecture’, in Angelka Fitz and Elke Krasny (eds.), Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 2019), p. 26.

  • Lori A. Brown
  • My creative practice has generated an intense interest and commitment in an architecture of activism, one that provides meaningful opportunities to participate with and influence broader spatial concerns relevant to contemporary culture. In particular, my work seeks to identify and transform the spectrum of spatial structures within society to promote equity and inclusivity.

  • Anne Corlin
  • The name is the thing, and the true name is the true thing

  • Killian Doherty (in collaboration with Edward Lawrenson)
  • ‘The transformation of the surrounding areas, which a few years ago was an uninhabited mountainous region – considered the home of demons and devils by some of the indigenous inhabitants – and the realisation of what technical know-how and perseverance have brought about, fills with one admiration for what man can do.’

    William Tubman, President of Liberia, Speech to LAMCO Executives, 1962

  • Alberto Duman
  • My work is located in this messy and vulnerable intersection between art practice and urban culture, looking out for dormant areas and vacant discursive spaces into which art may still be able to play unscripted roles for a limited time.

  • Catalina Pollak Williamson / Public Interventions
  • Proyecto Amasandería Nacional is a mobile bakery that travels the streets of barrio Yungay (Santiago, Chile) inviting the newly arrived communities of immigrants to participate in a collective action: to bake bread in public space.

  • Laura González
  • ‘Only the subject desires; only the object seduces.’

    Jean Baudrillard, Fatal Strategies (Les strategies fatales [1983]), tr. by Philip Beitchman and W.G.J. Nieslichowski, (London: Pluto Press, 1999) p. 111.

  • Dorita Hannah (with Sean Coyle)
  • In ancient myth, Icarus seeks escape from island incarceration in wings fashioned from wax and feathers, only to be brought down by the scorching sun and perish in the sea. Island Icarus (2016–2019) is an iterative project provoked by the more recent story of a young refugee, ‘in flight’ from persecution, also imprisoned on an island, who tragically set his body ablaze.

  • Nick Beech
  • ‘Sitting by the fire is grown up, and you are not a grown up if you run around trying to avoid the smoke, which gets in your eyes, and in your lungs, and on your teeth.’

  • Stephen Loo
  • The gut is ‘the nervous system that extends well beyond the skull, and as it so travels through the body, it takes the psyche with it.’ (Elizabeth Wilson, Psychosomatics: 47) Eating becomes a performative mode of (gut) re-thinking cancer as bodies being eaten from the inside; away from cognitively-based metaphysics, towards a psychical engagement with the corporeal.

  • Caroline Alexander, Cynthia Hammond, Shauna Janssen
  • What kinds of scenographies of desire emerge when we work through a feminist lens, vis à vis embodied encounters with the built environment at night? With our collective Feminist City Light Capers we embrace darkness creatively alongside a complex series of relations between our gender, the contingency of the night, and risk.

  • Slow Research Lab
  • An alternative ground for creative practitioners to stand on and ease into. A protected space to open and deepen, extend and enfold, break and unlearn, reformulate and re-root, imagine and evolve. A space of trust and understanding, where pluralism can thrive. A space of poetry and of risk, where unexpected forms and practices emerge. A space of knowing and not-knowing, where new pathways unfold.

  • Laura Yuile
  • Access the properties and views you can’t afford and see the city from inside its most exclusive spaces!

  • Tom Keeley
  • ‘So what are you doing here?’
    ‘I’m walking the border’
    ‘Oh you mean the British border?’
    ‘Well the Irish didn’t put it there did they?’

  • Belinda Mitchell
  • Buildings decay and mutate; they are made of hybrid assemblages of material sourced from near and far.

    Tim Edensor, ‘Incipient Ruination: Materiality, destructive agencies and repair,’ in Elements of Architecture: Assembling archaeology, atmosphere and the performance of building spaces, eds. M. Bille and T. Sørensen (Oxford: Routledge, 2016), p. 349.

  • Barbara Holub (realized with Marie Christine Rissinger, Elisabeth Stephan & Julian Verocai)
  • The 1st World Congress of the Missing Things was realized in public space in the delapidated former city center of Baltimore, and shifted the usual format of a congress with its division between a panel and an audience – from exclusion to inclusion: its content was produced by the people of Baltimore.

  • Lori A. Brown and ArchiteXX Design Action
  • My creative practice has generated an intense interest and commitment in an architecture of activism, one that provides meaningful opportunities to participate with and influence broader spatial concerns relevant to contemporary culture. In particular, my work seeks to identify and transform the spectrum of spatial structures within society to promote equity and inclusivity.

  • Design Team (Jordan Evans, Evan Jerry, Ryla (Jakelski) Gutbier, and Lois Weinthal)
  • Our everyday environment is comprised of interconnected narratives of space and people which interact to form a web of complex relationships. This installation enhanced these relationships where color, light and time were the variables explored in a full-scale installation that sought to engage the public realm, whereby viewers became participants.

  • Jhono Bennett
  • My praxis seeks to work with city-making practices, sites and city-users in Johannesburg in order to engage with the need for an ‘…opening up of a fertile research agenda for more grounded and spatially attuned phronetic research…’ (Pieterse & Simone, 2013, p. 9).

  • Lilian Chee
  • ‘…confrontational issues emanating from domesticity and gender can be communicated through an affective mode, … this route is methodologically strategic particularly within a conservative Asian context.’
    Lilian Chee, ‘Domesticity, gender, architecture: Locating an expanded field,’ in The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Architectural History, edited by Duanfang Lu (London: Routledge, forthcoming).

  • Tijana Stevanović (with contributions from Jan van Duppen; includes work of late Miodrag Stevanović)
  • ‘Originally (at least in English) translation was about the biggest difference of all: that between being alive and being dead.’ Susan Sontag, ‘On Being Translated’, in Where the Stress Falls (London: Penguin Books, 2001), pp. 334–47, p. 339.

  • Gini Lee
  • In the country arid gardens are often places that keep the inside out: they are places for inward thinking for embracing the other out there and not of here. Gardening for Untold Ecologies writes a discursive manual for making a garden for outward thinking, seeking out the here and now.

  • Katy Beinart
  • A Game of Dominoes is an artwork that contains and translates stories and memories collected in Brixton during the Anchor & Magnet project residency in 2012-13. A unique domino set featuring drawings from the stories is used alongside a set of cards which contain the questions asked and stories told.

  • Ana Araujo (in the collaboration with Catalina Mejia Moreno)
  • The exhibition investigated the connections between two well-known designers, the Italo-Brazilian Lina Bo Bardi and her mentor, the Italian architect and designer Gio Ponti. Our aim was to reposition Ponti’s and Bo Bardi’s work as part of an existing architectural and cultural tradition rather than idealizing them as exceptions to the rule, as is established by more conventional historical approaches.

  • Juliet Sprake
  • I explore theories concerned with spatial practice that work across art, architecture and education to argue for a shift in subjectivity from guide to participant in the production of tours. Jonathan Hill’s concept of ‘creative users’, Jane Rendell’s ‘critical spatial practice’ and Richard Edwards’ & John Usher’s ‘pedagogies of (dis)location’ are formative in creating an interdisciplinary context for making tours, a process that focuses on the social dimensions of interacting with people objects and places whilst on-the-move.

  • David Roberts
  • Welcome to the estate.
    Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here.
    Thank you for caring.
    This building will fall in a matter of days.
    [Turning to face the building, outstretching his arm and speaking slowly] It’s great to meet you, here, face to face.
    [Turning back to the group] Please make time to get to know it.

  • The Decorators + Atelier Chan Chan
  • Ridley’s was a public realm intervention that combined food and architecture, featuring a food-for-food exchange system. This collaborative project destabilized the traditional format of the restaurant where the boundaries between “designer”, “producer” and “consumer” tore apart to give way to new roles: everyone was a maker, a fundamental cog of the food system.

  • Apolonija Šušteršič
  • Apolonija Šušteršič’ practice is research based. Her approach attempts to multiply the relationships between research, teaching and socially engaged practice. Her work tends to broaden the scope of art and architectural discourse by bringing cultural, social and political issues together to create a concept and inform the making and thinking processes of both disciplines.

  • Sarah Breen Lovett (with WeiZen Ho, Alan Schacher, Honi Ryan, Ben Denham, Monika Books & Clare Cooper)
  • About an hour and a half drive west of Sydney, through the urban sprawl, across the Nepean River and into the depths of one of Australia’s most vast national parks, The Blue Mountains, sits the Blue Mountains’ oldest surviving building now known as the Woodford Academy.

  • Mohamad Hafeda
  • The political-sectarian conflict resurfaced in Lebanon since 2005 manifests a variety of physical borders in the urban space in the form of security checkpoints, demarcation lines and violent clashes. Yet these material occurrences and divisions extend into the immateriality of residents’ spatial practices in the form of bordering practices, that are tactical and/or critical – […]

  • Sarah Breen Lovett (with co-curators Claudia Perren, Lee Stickells & Yvette Hamilton)
  • ‘Expanded Architecture … reveal(s) some of the possibilities offered by thinking about alternative architectural and artistic practices, as well as highlight the ways in which questions about architecture’s disciplinary edges remain alive.’ Alexandra Brown, Architectural Theory Review, 22, n. 2 (2018) pp. 292–95

  • Aslihan Senel
  • Critical topographical practices suggest an understanding of topography that is more performative than representational; because, performance rejects the reproduction of ‘certain’ knowledge and suggests that knowledge depends on viewers’ personal engagements, meanings and associations. As such, topographical practices may produce multiple embodied and situated knowledges.

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