Dena Al-Adeeb is an artist, writer and activist born in Baghdad, Iraq and is currently based in New York. Dena is a Ph.D. candidate in the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department, Culture and Representation track with a focus in Arts Politics at New York University. Dena is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU and a Visiting Instructor in the Humanities and Media Studies Department and Pratt School of Architecture at the Pratt Institute. Her work has been published in Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, The Color of Violence Anthology, among others.
“I will focus on the United States invasion (as well as systematic and targeted destruction) of Iraq, as a means of conquest, domination, and erasure of societies’ collective memory, history and identity.1 My goal is to situate the United States’ military occupation of ancient Iraqi heritage sites (archeological and architectural) well as the premeditated decision not to safeguard cultural and educational institutions, such as museums, libraries, and universities within representational practices of empire building projects, that are linked to a colonial legacy, geo-political control of the region, international economic trade relations as well as contemporary entrepreneurial institutions, such as the museum.”
Peggy Deamer is Assistant Dean and Professor of Architecture at Yale University. She is a principal in the firm of Deamer, Architect. She received a B.Arch. from The Cooper Union and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. She is the editor of Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present (Routledge), The Millennium House (Monacelli Press) and the forthcoming book The Architect as Worker: Immaterial labor, the Creative Class, and the Politics of Design (Bloomsbury). She is co-editor of Building in the Future: Recasting Architectural Labor (MIT Press) and BIM in Academia (Yale School of Architecture) with Phil Bernstein.
“Will be presenting on trauma in the Marx/ zizek Freud way – in relation to capitalism, primitive accumulation symptom and repetition. Then relate it to architecture as a symbolic language using one building in particular.”
Ricardo de Ostos is co-founder of London based NaJa & deOstos, an architectural studio exploring symbiotic relations between emerging cultural patterns and architectural narratives. He studied architecture at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and also holds a master of architecture degree from the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, England. Together with Nannette Jackowski, Ricardo is a Unit Masters at the Architectural Association and at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. Together they are the authors of The Hanging Cemetery of Baghdad (Springer, 2007), Pamphlet Architecture 29: Ambiguous Spaces (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008) and Scavengers and Other Creatures in Promised Land (Architectural Association, late 2015).
Scavengers in Promised Land
native communities, land ownership, fiction, mnemonic places, cognitive technology, narrative architecture
“The presentation will discuss the idea of native communities, their understanding of mythical lands, the trauma followed from dispossession and how writing and design practices of speculative architecture offers a path to visualize tangible and intangible information on the future relationship between land and people’s livelihoods.”
Bhanu Kapil is the author of five full-length works: The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001), Incubation: A Space for Monsters (Leon Works, 2006), humanimal: a project for future children (Kelsey Street, 2009), Schizophrene (Nightboat Books, 2012)and Ban en Banlieue (Nightboat Books, 2015). She has taught an annual seminar, Narrative and Architecture, at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Bhanu is interested in the intersection of urban housing, social violence and rates of psychosis in immigrant communities in West London – a world that is the substrate and setting of her creative works.
“I wanted to write something more formal: but what I want to speak about next week is phatic communion, ethnic density and rates of psychosis in non-native Western populations. I wanted to speak about my research at the intersection of migration and mental illness: what the fragment of speech might be. That schizophrenic fragment: so to speak. I wanted to site all of this: in or through:questions of public health. At the intersection of urban planning [housing]. This is all research — grounded in my attendance, as a delegate, to the third congress: of an organization dedicated to cultural psychiatry. In the UK. And in my exchanges with the President of the conference: Dr. Kamaldeep Bhui. It’s clear in my mind what I want to say — and am trying to work out: from there: a sense of narrative that might be generated from the bottom up: from this other way of populating: what a narrative might be. The clinical and cultural potential: of what this other kind of writing might be. And how it might be housed.”
Quilian Riano is a designer, researcher, writer, and educator working out of Brooklyn, New York. He teaches theory-based Design and Urban Ecologies studios at Parsons, The New School for Design in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the School of Design Strategies and Pratt Institute’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development. Quilian founded DSGN AGNC, a collaborative design/research studio exploring political engagement through architecture, urbanism, art & activism. Quilian attended University of Florida for a Bachelors of Design (BDes) in Architecture and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design for a Masters of Architecture (MArch).
“I will discuss ongoing design projects and research into the specific policy instruments that are leading to increased privatization of urban spaces. The projects are trans-national, beginning in Facatativa, Colombia going through Manhattan and finishing in North Corona and Jackson Heights, Queens. Each project helps visualize the laws and processes that lead to privatization in each of those cities/neighborhoods — from Privately Own Public Spaces to Business Improvement Districts. The projects also question local power dynamics to track who benefits from such laws and, finally, each project proposes alternatives that take into account political, economic and social processes native to the areas of action. Trauma in the case studies presented has often manifested as diminished collective political agency in urban/spatial production.”
Scott Ruff is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Tulane University School of Architecture. Ruff received his first professional Bachelors of Architecture degree from Cornell University (1992) and a Masters of Architecture II from Cornell University (1995). Ruff is the principal of RuffWorks Studio, a research and design studio specializing in culturally informed projects and community engagement. He is currently working on a forth coming book “In Search of African-American Space”, Routledge Press. Other publications include articles in Thresholds, “Signifiyin: An African-American Language to Landscape”, “Spatial ‘wRapping’: A Speculation on Men’s Hip-Hop Fashion”
The People as Genius Loci : Counter-Gentrification tactics after the storm
“September 2015 marks the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of New Orleans most traumatic experiences in recent history. It was traumatic not only due to the epic failure of the city’s infrastructure but also of the city’s and the nation’s inability to address race and culture. This is a city that was in physical and cultural crisis prior to Katrina and continues to be to this day. This paper is a narrative, a personal account, of my experience as an African-American designer and scholar who at once sought to assist in the further recovery of New Orleans but also be immersed in the historic mythologized African-American culture and the greatly maligned (in media) contemporary African-American culture; finding they are two parts of one continuum and “ain’t nothing really changed” over these many years. The recovery from Hurricane Katrina has made apparent the consistent dislocation between the agendas of large governmental and private developer’s ideas of what to do within predominantly African-American areas and what the citizens of these communities want and need. I will discuss a series of small grassroots projects (two in which I was directly involved) as examples of successful community organization lead initiatives that act as counterpoint and possible balance to “top down” initiatives. The two projects are: “All Souls Episcopal Church” and The Guardians’ Institute: Donald Harrison Museum. They are spatial narratives of resilience, cultural continuity and most importantly organic responses to the trauma of spatial dislocation and the process of re-occupation – reclaiming home.”
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi teaches in the Growth and Structure of Cities department at Bryn Mawr College. Her research appears in the journal Trialog, the volume Un Paysage Global de Camps, and a special issue of Architectural Theory Review titled “Spatial Violence” which she co-edited, as well as forthcoming publications in Grey Room and the Routledge Handbook for Socially Engaged Architecture. Siddiqi received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, M.Arch. from University of Washington, B.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University, and a New York state license in architecture.
“Among an array of unexpected architectural interventions in the response to humanitarian crisis, this paper examines ephemera designed to respond to emergency and trauma, focusing particularly on a microhistory of the inflatable surgical hospital developed by the nongovernmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders). As a logistical element fashioned to intercept trauma in its most corporeal sense, this architecture may be understood differently in historical relationship to postwar avant-garde discourses in architecture, the special logic of an organization whose mission has included addressing its own politics, and the design of the object itself. This paper attends to an unexpected ambiguity in the response to humanitarian crisis by addressing the aesthetics and technopolitics in a problematic ephemerality that desires impermanence while enacting settlement, questioning this ephemerality in relationship to the trauma it seeks to assuage, the trauma it elides, and the trauma it embeds. It examines ephemera as materially urgent, subtly temporal, and ultimately spatial, investigating histories at micro and macro levels to interrogate ambiguity in forms of architecture—and humanitarianism—we think we see.”
Jill Stoner is Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and current Associate Dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate Division. Her research and teaching focuses on two themes: global issues of space as an instrument of control and freedom, and the untapped potential of vacant space in the post-recession American landscape. The two themes come together in her more recent book, Toward a Minor Architecture (MIT Press, 2012). Her former firm Stoner Meek Architecture and Urban Design won numerous national and international awards for both built in the public realm and visionary projects on urban futures. Stoner contributes regularly to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s various publications, and is currently at work on a new book.
“No matter how radically we engineer its mechanisms of control– in the absolute enclosure of a prison cell, for example; or in the willful exclusion of nature from the modern metropolis– architecture can act as a subversive agent in the reversal of trauma. Sample narrations on behalf of prisoners and peregrine falcons suggest that architecture, once built, has little allegiance to the architect’s original intentions, and is capable of a contrary and even ironic voice in the politics of spatial power.”