Conversations on Care is a program hosted and sponsored by the Critical Broadcasting Lab, launched in the fall of 2019 with help form the CAST Melon Faculty Grant
Amidst the “breakdown all around” that characterizes our contemporary experiential and epistemic reality — some of which is the fallout of present-day forms of information overflow — to study care is, itself, an act of care. Paraphrasing thus Shannon Mattern’s recent statement on maintenance and with a nod to the history of feminist celebration of the same, in the Conversations on Care series, the Critical Broadcasting Lab collaborates with the stewards of the architectural public sphere, who have led existing or have established new channels for the critical discussion of architecture.
These platforms traverse different media of architectural broadcasting, from galleries and journals to listservs and podcasts, but they are united by their caretakers’ labor focused on establishing and maintaining precision, intelligence, and the humanity of individual utterances, as well as of the broader discussions that these platforms enable. Conversations, which as a format necessarily operates through co-production, helps us temper our own megaphones, while we examine the contemporary motivations, politics, interests, as well as the privilege of the caring subjects involved in curatorial and editorial forms of work.
WAI Architecture Think Tank is a planetary studio practicing by questioning the political, historical, and material legacy and imperatives of architecture and urbanism. Founded in Brussels during the financial crisis of 2008 by Puerto Rican architect, artist, curator, educator, author and theorist Cruz Garcia and French architect, artist, curator, educator, author and poet Nathalie Frankowski, WAI is one of their several platforms of public engagement that include Beijing-based anti-profit art space Intelligentsia Gallery, and the free and alternative education platform and trade-school Loudreaders. Based on the emancipating and persecuted alternative practice of education performed by lectores like Luisa Capetillo in the tobacco factories in the Caribbean, Loudreaders is an open pedagogical platform and free trade school that engages with architectural education as a form of mutual aid and critical solidarity in the age of Covid-19.
Garcia and Frankowski are faculty at Virginia Polytechnic and State University, and have held visiting professorships, fellowships, and chair positions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The School of Architecture at Taliesin. Their work has been part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial and exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art New York, Neues Museum in Nuremberg, and the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology Lisbon. They are authors of Narrative Architecture: A Kynical Manifesto, Pure Hardcore Icons: A Manifesto on Pure Form in Architecture, A Manual of Anti-Racist Architecture Education, and the upcoming book From Black Square to Black Reason: A Post-Colonial Architecture Manifesto.
David Brown is the Artistic Director of the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Brown is a Chicago-based designer, researcher, and educator. His project The Available City has had a few iterations since he first began working on it for the Venice Biennale in 2012, it has been exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Expo 72 (2013), the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), received a grant from the Graham Foundation in 2011. He is the author of Noise Orders: Jazz, Improvisation, and Architecture with the University of Minnesota Press, 2006, and of a number of other articles on improvisation and the “ available city.” David has taught at Florida A&M, at Rice University and is currently a Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
Ana María León is an architect and a historian of objects, buildings, and landscapes. Her work studies how spatial practices of power and resistance shape the modernity of the Americas. She is co-founder of several collectives laboring to broaden the reach of architectural history including the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative (active 2013–2020), Detroit Resists, Nuestro Norte es el Sur, and the Settler Colonial City Project. Her book, Modernity for the Masses: Antonio Bonet’s Dreams for Buenos Aires, is forthcoming from University of Texas Press in March 2021. León teaches at the University of Michigan where she co-directs the Rackham Interdisciplinary Faculty/Graduate Workshop, “Decolonizing Pedagogies.” For the academic year 2020–21 she is a faculty fellow at the Institute for the Humanities.
Andrew Herscher’s work endeavors to bring the study of architecture and cities to bear on struggles for rights, emancipation, and justice across a range of global sites. He is co-founder of a series of militant research collectives, including the We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective, Detroit Resists, and the Settler Colonial City Project. He also works as a scholar on the architecture of political violence, displacement and migration, and self-determination and resistance. His books include Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (Stanford University Press, 2010), The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit (University of Michigan Press, 2012), Displacements: Architecture and Refugee (Sternberg Press, 2017), Spatial Violence (Routledge: 2016) co-edited with Anooradha Iyer Siddqi, and The Global Shelter Imaginary: Ikea Humanitarianism and Rightless Relief (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming), co-authored with Daniel Bertrand Monk. He teaches on the occupied territories of the Three Fires Peoples—the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi–at the University of Michigan where he also co-directs the interdisciplinary faculty/graduate seminar “Decolonizing Pedagogies.”
Ana Dana Beroš is an architect, writer, curator, editor and educator. She is one of the co-founders of the non-profit group ARCHIsquad, a division for architecture with conscience, and project coordinator of its educational programs: ‘Out of Focus: Architecture of Giving’ (series of lectures with Jean-Philippe Vassal, Rural Studio, Diebedo Francis Kere), as well as ‘*UrgentArchitecture’, open architecture advisory centers for citizens. She has initiated numerous platforms including the THINK SPACE competition program. Ana Dana was the Zagreb curator of Actopolis, a transnational artistic lab initiated by the Athens Goethe Institute (2015-2017). Beroš was the guest editor of (Zivot Umjetnosti) Life of Art magazine on the topic of TRANS/MIGRANCY, which extended the work of her MondItalia project on transmigrancy. She was editor of Oris, the journal of the Croatian Association of Architecture and later also the vice-president of the Croatian Association of Architects (2017-2019), a role from which she led a large TV project, a 12-episode series on contemporary Croatian architecture.
Justin Garrett Moore is a designer and urbanist and is the executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission. Before his MArch and MS in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia, he got his Bachelor of Design from the University in Florida, and is originally from Indianapolis (which will be relevant for our conversation). He started his first urban planning job in the Brooklyn office of NYC Planning Department in 2005 (during Bloomberg’s administration) where he was immediately exposed to transformative planning work. In his fifteen-year career in public service, Justin has led several complex planning and design projects, including the Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfront, Hunter’s Point South, and the Brooklyn Cultural District. He is also one of the founders of Urban-Patch, which has been described as a family-run social enterprise, with projects in Indianapolis, New York and now Rwanda, as well as being a co-founder of a trans-disciplinary collective of black designers, Black Space. Moore is an adjunct associate professor of architecture at GSAPP, and currently and as part of the Dark Matter University. He also teaches at Tuskegee, Morgan University and Yale.
Andrés Jaque founded the (New York-Madrid based) Office for Political Innovation in 2003, and through it intervenes on many different registers, or through what we might recognize as many different forms of media (exhibitions, writing, films, performances, and buildings). Jaque received his MArch and Phd from ETSAM in Madrid, and is currently an Associate Professor of Professional Practice and director of the Master of Science program in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia GSAPP. His work has been exhibited in many important venues over the last decade, and has received numerous awards, among them the SILVER LION (for the Best Research Project in the Mondo Italia section) at the 14th Venice Biennale.
In 2018 Jaque co-curated Manifesta 12 in Palermo. He was announced in 2019 as the chief curator of the Shanghai Biennale, which ran from November 2020 to April of 2021. Jaque’s new book: Superpowers of Scale has just been published by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City.
Mitch McEwan is an architectural and urban designer, a writer and a public voice in architecture. She has just launched a new office, Atelier Office – with Amina Blacksher, with studios in Detroit, LA and Brooklyn. She has been an assistant professor of architecture at Princeton since 2017, focusing on instructing urbanism and computational methods of design and construction. At Princeton she leads the Black Box research group. Before Princeton she was an assistant professor at the University of Michigan from 2014-2017. Her work, as A(n) Office, was included in and commissioned by Monica Ponce de Leon and Cynthia Davidson for the US Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016, and she had work in the recent MOMA Show curated by Mabel Wilson and Sean Anderson, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.
Mabel O. Wilson directs her transdisciplinary practice Studio &, which she founded in 2007, through and between the fields of architecture, art, and cultural history. Mabel is the Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and Professor of African American and African Diasporic Studies at Columbia University. She is the Director of the Institute for the Research in African American Studies, Director of Graduate Studies for the African American and African Diasporic Studies Department, and Co-director of Global Africa Lab (GAL) at Columbia. Mabel is also a co-founder of the activist group Who Builds Your Architecture? She is the 2020 Thomas Jefferson Visiting Professor at UVA for the spring 2021. Mabel collaborated with Howeler Yoon architects on the memorial to enslaved labor at UVA, and has herself gone to UVA, as well as Columbia for her MArch and then a bit later to NYU for her PhD. Mabel is a co-curator (with Sean Anderson) of the fourth installment of the Issues in Contemporary Architecture series show at MoMA, titled Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.
Marina Otero is an architect and curator based in Rotter-dam. She is Director of Research at Het Nieuwe Instituut, where she leads research initiatives such as ‘Automated Landscapes,’ focusing on topics around automation of la-bor, and ‘Architecture of Appropriation,’ on squatting as spatial practice. She is a graduate of the CCCP program, before which? she Directed the Global Network Program-ming at Studio-X. She also received her PHD from ETSAM in 2016. In parallel with all this other work and activity, Marina also teaches at ETSAM and at RCA.
José Esparza is an architect, curator, and writer originally from Mexico. He is the Executive Director and Chief Cura-tor at Storefront for Art and Architecture. Before arriving to the Storefront in 2018, José served as the Pamela Alper Associate Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art Chica-go from 2016. He also held curatorial positions at Museo Jumex in Mexico City, was part of the curatorial team for the Lisbon Triennale: Close, Closer in 2013, an editor for Domus, a Research Fellow at the New Museum and associate curator at the Storefront for Art and Architecture.
While she was a student at SciArc, Mimi Zeiger founded a radical architectural zine Loud Paper in 1997. She now lives, teaches in and writes from LA. She has curated, con-tributed to, and collaborated on projects that have been shown at the Art Institute Chicago, 2012 Venice Architec-ture Biennale, the New Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, pinkcomma gallery, and the AA School. She co-curated Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City for the 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architec-ture, Shenzhen and she was one of the three curators of the US Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale: Dimensions of Citizenship with Ann Lui, Nial Atkins, and Iker Gil.
Jia Gu, curator and executive director at Materials and Applications gallery in Los Angeles, a PHD candidate at UCLA, author of a recent article in log 48, titled “Formats of Care,” and an active participant in some of the important conversations on care and feminist practice of architecture unfolding right now and that she describes in her log article. She has taught recently at California College of the Arts and at Syracuse University.
Amanda Reeser Lawrence is an architectural historian, theorist, editor, and architect. She is the founding editor of Praxis: journal of writing and building. Lawrence’s published books include: James Stirling: Revisionary Modernist (Yale University Press, 2013); Terms of Appropriation (Routledge, 2017), co-edited with Ana Miljacki; and Agenda: the Official Catalogue of the 2014 Architecture Biennale in Venice, co-edited with Ana Miljacki, Eva Franch I Gilabert, and Ashley Schafer.
Isabelle Kirkham-Lewitt is assistant director of Columbia Books on Architecture and the City and managing editor of the Avery Review.
James Graham is an architect, historian, and the founding editor of the Avery Review, as well as director of Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University GSAPP, and a fellow at the Columbia University Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris.
Mark Pasnik, Michael Kubo, and Chris Grimley are each awesome in their own right. Mark Pasnik teaches at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Micheal Kubo coordinates and teaches history at the University of Houston, and Chris Grimley has most recently taught at Northeastern University in Boston. They have had different editorial and curatorial roles over the years, but together they co-direct Boston’s one independent architecture gallery, pinkcomma, and have shepherded and developed their Heroic project which started at least 8 years before it became a book by Monacelli Press in 2015. Before Heroic, they also founded Boston Design Biennial.
Cynthia Davidson is an architecture editor and critic based in NYC. She is an executive director of the nonprofit Anyone Corporation, which publishes the international architecture journal Log, and once published ANY magazine. With Monica Ponce de Leon, she co-curated “The Architectural Imagination,” an exhibition of ideas for Detroit shown in the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Bryony Roberts is a designer and scholar who teaches at Columbia University GSAPP. Her practice, Bryony Roberts Studio, integrates strategies from architecture, art, and preservation to respond to complex cultural histories and urban conditions. She returns as guest editor of Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice.
Ben Hoyle, Jeffrey Landman and Eytan Levi are MArch candidates at MIT department of Architecture. They were in the process of curating an exhibition of student work at MIT titled What Have We Done? when covid-19 interrupted our plans for socializing together. They launched What Are We Doing? Radio for all in the department of architecture to use as a platform.
Sylvia Lavin is a Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Co-Director of the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University School of ARchitecture. Prior to her appointment at Princeton, Lavin was a Professor in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA, where she was chairperson from 1996 to 2006 and the Director of the Critical Studies M.A. and Ph.D program from 2007 to 2017. She is also a curator of a series of important exhibitions in architecture including Everything Loose Will Land: Art and Architecture in LA in the 1970s, Exhibition Models, and Super Models, both in 2018 Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernist Myths at the Canadian Center fo Architecture in the fall of 2018, as well as Architecture Arboretum at Princeton in 2019.
Beatrice Galilee is New York-based independent writer, organizer of events and exhibitions, and a researcher of practices and positions in contemporary architecture. She is co-founder and creative director of the World Around, a new platform for critical architectural discourse. Between 2014-2019 she held the position of the Daniel Brodsky Associate Curator of Architecture and Design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she curated exhibitions and site-specific installations with numerous artists and architects and initiated the annual conference “A Year of Architecture in a day.”
Thomas Weaver is an architectural writer, teacher and editor. Educated at the Bartlett School of Architecture and then at Princeton University, he subsequently worked as editor of ANY magazine in New York and taught courses in architectural theory and design at the Cooper Union. Between 2007-2017 – for a decade – he worked at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, where he edited the award-winning journal AA Files and managed all of the AA’s other publications. Thomas Weaver is the new senior acquisitions editor of art and architecture at the MIT Press.