Critical Spatial Practice

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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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