SYSTEMS, STRUCTURES, ARCHITECTURE
PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES 2022-2023
PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES 2022-2023
How do we make sense of the Earth at a moment in which it is presented in crisis? In this talk, I engage the speculative project—as expounded through drawings, models, and material artifacts—as one possible medium to reassemble publics around representations of the Earth. The project here becomes a medium that critically synthesizes spatial knowledge across scales to speculate on how to live with the many forms of environmental externalities, including oil extraction, deep-sea mining, ocean acidification, air pollution, space debris, and a host of other social-ecological issues. The talk is an exploration of media devices to exhibit the Earth — terrarium, aquarium, planetarium through three projects from Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment.
LECTURE: RKC 103
In this intervention, Léopold will present some aspects of the politics of contents and production of The Funambulist, a print and online magazine published every two months since September 2015. Dedicated to "the politics of space and bodies" as well as the cultivation of internationalist solidarity between political struggles of the world, the magazine is organized in such a way that the ethics of what happens "behind the scenes" is as important as the ethics of the magazine's contents themselves. Léopold will also talk of his writing practice as complementary with this editorial daily endeavor.
LECTURE: GR STUDIO
Artist and gardener Landon Newton shares her project, The Abortion Herb Garden, a collaborative and ongoing garden installation, planted exclusively with abortifacient, emmenagogue, and contraceptive plants. Using The Abortion Herb Garden as a way of thinking about alternative pathways to care, history, space, disenfranchised systems of knowledge, and plants vs. capitalism, this project investigates the pluralist identities of plants and highlights the intimate and historical ways people have used and connected with plants. An abortifacient plant ID walk will follow the talk.
During the pandemic, Forensic Architecture undertook a process of transformation. Rather than growing to meet the intensity of the challenges they faced, the agency instead decided to morph into an interlinking structure of smaller, situated, activist groups located in different parts of the world and working in solidarity with local political actors. This lecture will present some recent cases undertaken by these groups. Coincidentally, they had all to deal with doors: open when they needed to be closed, locked when they needed to be unlocked. These doors stand for the collapse of the social order which they promised to maintain.
Eyal Weizman is Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures and founding director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2010 he founded Forensic Architecture (FA) and has directed it ever since. FA is an interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in spatial and visual investigation.
PRODUCTORA is a Mexico City based architectural studio founded by Abel Perles (1972, Argentina), Carlos Bedoya (1973, Mexico), Victor Jaime (1978, Mexico) and Wonne Ickx (1974, Belgium). In 2011 PRODUCTORA founded, alongside curator and art critic Ruth Estevez, LIGA - Space for Architecture - Mexico City, a platform that promotes emerging Latin-American architecture through exhibitions, conferences and workshops.
Nora Akawi is a Palestinian architect, and an assistant professor at The Cooper Union, New York. She focuses on erasure and bordering in settler colonialism and works at the intersection of architecture with border studies, cartography, and archive theory. Prior to joining The Cooper Union, Nora taught at Columbia University’s GSAPP, where she was the director of Studio-X Amman between 2012 and 2020, and the founding director of the Janet Abu-Lughod Library and Seminar since 2015. She curated Al Majhoola Min Al-Ard (this earth’s unknown) at the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans (2019), and co-curated Sarāb, a festival of experimental electronic music and performance from the Arab worlds (2019), and Friday Sermon at the Biennale Architettura in Venice (2018). She co-edited the books Friday Sermon (2018) and Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (2016). Together with Eduardo Rega Calvo, in 2019 she co-founded the interdisciplinary research and design studio Interim Projects.
Nora will present this work in dialogue with Pedro Ceñal Murga.
Pedro Ceñal Murga (born October 17, 1988) is an independent curator, architect and researcher based in Mexico City. He holds a degree in Architecture by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a masters degree in Critical, Conceptual, and Curatorial Practices in Architecture by Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His work has been published in Domus Magazine (IT), Arquine (MX), Harper’s Bazaar (MX) and Bitácora (MX), and exhibited un MUCA Campus (Mexico City), Instituto Helénico (Mexico City), Gopher Hole Gallery (London), ZOMA Art Center (Addis Abeba), Espacio CDMX, Royal Institute of British Architects (London), Kunstraum Kreuzberg (Berlin), laNao (Mexico City), and Museo de la Filatelia (Oaxaca, Mexico).
Pedro will present this work in dialogue with Nora Akawi.
Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto, where she teaches postcolonial literature and theory and poetry. She holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and has taught at Bard, Williams College, City College New York, and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.
Her academic research explores how science, medicine, natural history, and other kinds of colonial knowing reshaped literature, culture, economy, and politics. Her first book, Epidemic Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2021, Deutscher Prize nominee) uncovers the history behind the dead metaphor of the "terrorism epidemic," by looking at documents of public health, policy, immigration law, novels, poems, films, and more.
Her poems, translations, and essays have appeared in various venues and are in conversation with the traditions of Urdu poetry, contemporary queer poetics, and lyric memoir. Her poetry collection Janaab-e Shikva [Watchqueen] was a finalist for the national poetry series in 2021.
Michael Wang is an artist based in New York. His practice uses systems that operate at a global scale as media for art, addressing climate change, species distribution, resource allocation and the global economy. Wang's work was the subject of solo exhibitions at LMCC's Arts Center at Governors Island, New York, USA (curated by Swiss Institute, 2019) and the Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2017). His work has also been included in the 13th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2021), Manifesta 12 in Palermo, Italy (2018) and the XX Bienal de Arquitectura y Urbanismo in Valparaíso, Chile (2017). In 2017, he was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant.
Andrea Bagnato has been researching architecture, ecology, and epidemiology since 2013, under the long-term project Terra Infecta. Among the project's outcomes are a book on infected landscapes in Mediterranean Italy (with Anna Positano; forthcoming by Humboldt Books), the book A Moving Border: Alpine Cartographies of Climate Change (with Marco Ferrari and Elisa Pasqual; Columbia/ZKM, 2019), as well as lectures and an essay series. Andrea has been teaching on these subjects at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and at the Architectural Association in London. As a book editor, he worked for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Forensic Architecture, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. With Adrian Lahoud, he co-edited the two volumes Rights of Future Generations (Hatje Cantz, 2019–2022).
Bess Williamson is a historian of design and material culture with a particular interest in social and political concerns in design, including environmental, labor, justice, and rights issues as they shape and are shaped by spaces and things. Her book, Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design, traces the history of design responses to disability rights from 1945 to recent times. This project shows how the concept of “access” emerged as a value in design in this period, with consequences for the everyday lives of disabled people as well as for discourses around civil rights and design’s role in society. She is co-editor of Making Disability Modern: Design Histories, a collection of case studies of objects, buildings, and systems that reflect changing design approaches to disability from the 18th century to the present. She also contributed to a special section on digital culture in the book with a study of 3-D printed prosthetics in fashion and humanitarian design.
WAI Architecture Think Tank is a planetary studio practicing by questioning the political, historical, and material legacy and imperatives of architecture and urbanism through a panoramic and critical approach. 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. In search of critical forms of architectural pedagogy, Garcia and Frankowski are deeply invested in the development of new curricula and pedagogical experiments searching for diverse forms of public engagement with architecture, as well as a decolonization and anti-racist reconstruction of the role of architecture in the construction of new worlds.
Public Lecture Series
Struggle/Rupture/Joy describes the collisions, unraveling and ungrounding we are living through today. The convergent struggles expose as much the structural violence and injustices that brought us to the present as they open new forms of solidarity, communal care and revolutionary love. Rupture, the tenacious performance of living otherwise amidst the terror of a world collapsing; joy, a collective poetics, a charged glimmer that breaks through the violence of everyday oppression—the realization that nothing has to be the way it is.
These notions are a reminder that the future is not a temporal condition but a social and environmental modality of living otherwise. As the inaugural speaker series of Architecture at Bard, Struggle/Rupture/Joy foregrounds work that points to what architecture can be, as opposed to what it has been. It aims to open a space for both accountability for the historically situated struggles of our present and a set of emancipatory tools needed to live collectively otherwise.
How to Begin Again: Urgent Propositions for a New Urban Practice Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra) is a non-profit cooperative for socio-spatial research, design and development based in New York City, Rotterdam and Ibiza. CohStra was founded in the city of Rotterdam –right after the 2008 financial crash– by Lucia Babina, Emiliano Gandolfi, Gabriela Rendón and Miguel Robles-Durán. Since then, CohStra has initiated operation centers in various cities across Europe, South and North America. Its action research endeavors to facilitate transformative and progressive urban intervention projects. This is undertaken through the active engagement with a range of locally embedded actors from governments, municipalities, cultural institutions, non-profit organizations and civic groups to researchers, artists, designers and independent activists that coalesce around the desire for social, spatial and environmental justice – in short, the Right to the City.
An Atlas for Housing Justice aims to compose a structural and historical portrait of the history of public housing in the US. The exhibition represents a collective research project—an ‘atlas’—that gathers together social, political, spatial and architectural knowledge with an eye to read parallel relations and associations across various historical strands—housing-based social movements, architectural precedents, housing and governmental policies, major political uprisings and grassroots organizations, popular cultural depictions of housing and the less visible systemic forms of violence. The aim of this is to open different ways by which architecture can meaningfully engage the larger movement for housing justice.
The exhibition is the culmination of collective research work done by students enrolled in the architecture studio-seminar ARCH 321—Housing and Collective Care: Constituencies. Student participants are: Spencer Checkoway, Aidan Galloway, Matthew Gershovich, Ali Kane, Natalie Montoya, Hana Soule, Blake Sylvester and Raif Wexler.
Parity Front: Activism in Design Institutions
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes is Assistant Professor of Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Principal of the urban design agency OMNIBUS, she holds a PhD from ETHZ on the effects of the political economy of commodities on the built environment. She is a founding member of the Parity Group and of the Parity Front.
Dubravka Sekulić (Royal College of Art) is an architect and educator, interested in unsettling epistemic frameworks of spatial education and how the interplay between politics and economy produces space and subjectivity. With Charlotte Malterre-Barthes she initiated Curriculum Revolution: Bringing Intersectionality to the Architecture School.
Khensani de Klerk is an architectural designer and planner from Johannesburg. Her efforts are centred on gender empowerment in the architectural industry through research and practice. She is the founder and co-director of Matri-Archi(tecture) which is a collective that empowers African women as a network dedicated to African spatial education and development.
Signs and Transmissions: Architecture and Intergenerational Rights
Adrian is Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. Prior to his current role at the RCA, he was director of the MA program at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths and a research fellow in the Forensic Architecture ERC-funded project; studio master in the Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at the Architectural Association; and director of the MArch Urban Design at the Bartlett, University College London.
This lecture presents Adrian’s recent work curating the first Sharjah Triennale of Architecture, ‘The Rights of Future Generations’, 2019 - 2020. Building on his work to date, the constellation of projects and interventions that the Triennale presented open questions that look to new ways of understanding futurity in relation to the many crises, as well as the many uprisings, that are shaping our present.
Participation as a Human Right: The Politics of Housing Production
COMUNAL was founded in 2015 in Mexico City by Mariana Ordóñez Grajales and Jesica Amescua Carrera. As a team made up of women, they are committed to facilitating the participation of adult women, young people and girls in all aspects of spatial production while always respecting their cultural contexts.
Architecture as Measure
Neyran Turan is an architect and a partner at NEMESTUDIO. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of California-Berkeley. NEMESTUDIO is an award-winning studio recognized by the Architectural League New York, The Architects' Newspaper, Core 77 Design Awards, ACSA and the Graham Foundation. NEMESTUDIO’s work, ranging from installations to buildings and landscapes, has been widely published and exhibited internationally. Neyran's work focuses on alternative forms of environmental imagination and their capacity for new aesthetic and political trajectories within architecture and urbanism. She is the founding chief-editor of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) journal New Geographies and was the editor-in-chief of its first two volumes. Her recently published book, Architecture as Measure (ACTAR Publishers, 2020), has been awarded by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Turan is the curator of the Pavilion of Turkey in the 2021 Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition.
Jennifer Newsom is a licensed architect, artist, and principal of Dream The Combine, based in Minneapolis, MN. Together with partner Tom Carruthers, she has produced numerous site-specific installations in the U.S. and Canada that explore metaphor, perceptual uncertainties, and the boundary between real and illusory space. Dream The Combine are winners of the 2018 Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1 for their installation Hide & Seek, and were recently named winners of the 2020-2021 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize. Dream The Combine has exhibited internationally and has been published widely, including Metropolis Magazine, Architect Magazine, Log, Architectural Record, The Architects Newspaper, and Dezeen. They are currently at work on upcoming installations in Minneapolis MN, Wilkinsburg PA, and Columbus IN.
In addition to Dream The Combine, Jennifer is Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture.
Architecture at Bard builds its pedagogy around a concern for the present, an acute attention to structural inequalities and a longing for other futures. The curriculum frames architecture as both an art form and an argument—a situated aesthetic spatial practice whose propositions aim to reconfigure our collective present toward more just futures. The program builds across architectural cultures, design techniques, histories and propositions to equip students with an expansive and experimental approach toward the field that simultaneously opens paths for engaging other disciplines spatially. The program teaches students that architecture is a site for transformative, insurgent spatial and material possibilities with which to imagine worlds otherwise.
The curriculum presents architecture as a historically situated and intellectually rigorous field in which the practice of design naturally intersects with and draws from discourses outside its traditionally conceived boundaries. Structurally, the curriculum is composed of four families of courses that build upon this conception:
are conceived as a hybrid pedagogical model that situates design interventions and technique acquisition within a broader, transdiscursive series of lectures, readings and discussions around a given question.
are intensive, 2-credit, one-month-long studio courses that invite emerging and renowned external practitioners and thinkers to expose students to a variety of contemporary practices and modes of architectural design.
introduce architectural practice and techniques within a socio-political field. They consist of courses that build a knowledge of architecture that cuts across spatial histories, theories, research methods and representation techniques.
draw from across the college to interrogate architecture and the production of space from the vantage point of non-architectural disciplines, works and modes of inquiry. These courses have a shared scope in questioning the ways in which we inhabit the world, the social and historical structures that animate them.
The curriculum builds a pedagogical sequence that cuts across the four groups of courses aiming, on the one hand, to encourage common points of inquiry to develop across the curriculum and, on the other, to give disciplinary and methodological progression over the duration of the program.
Recognizing issues like climate change brings to the fore the trans-scalar relations that directly tie buildings, bodies, cities and ecosystems together. In this context, the planetary lens shifts our view of architecture from the isolated object to the structurally situated and historically entangled design practice—an art form that necessarily cuts across and interrelates multiple scales, disciplines, bodies and actors.
Building on an inter-scalar understanding of architecture, the second phase in the sequence grounds architectural design and discourse in the spatial concerns of specific social groups, movements and struggles. It opens a critical framework by which to develop projects alongside various groups, organizations or actors that directly address issues such as spatial justice, housing rights, gentrification, spatial inequalities of gender and race.
The final phase of the sequence mobilizes the intellectual maturity, design skills and technical agility of the students to approach architecture as a site of open experimentation in building collective futures. This phase is the most methodologically open and intellectually challenging of the three. It aims to empower students to explore the capacity of design as a means to imagine realities of collective spatial life otherwise.
The curriculum consists of 9 courses (32 credits total) and two terms of Senior Project. In Upper College students will be able to select between a focus on Critical Cultures of Architecture or Design Studio-Seminar. Example:
|Amount of required courses||Required course type's shortname||Required course type's name|
|2×/3×||CCA||courses in Critical Cultures of Architecture|
|3×/2×||DSS||courses in Design Studio-Seminars|
|2×||ES||Electives on Space|
|2×||OPW||Open Practices Workshops|
|2×||Terms of Senior Project|
The Architecture Program treats moderation as an opportunity for in-depth discussion with key faculty at a crucial point in students’ development; it is a moment of shared reflection and constructive speculation aimed at building toward a Senior Project. To moderate, students will be required to complete the courses listed below. In addition to these course requirements, in order to moderate, students must present the following:
*Note: Students may take both ARTH 125 and ARTH 126, but are ONLY REQUIRED TO TAKE ONE FOR MODERATION.
|Required course's type||Required course's name||Credits||Area|
|ARCH 111.||Architecture as Media||4||CCA|
|ARTH 125.*||Modern Architecture in the Age of Colonialism||4*||CCA|
|ARTH 126.*||Situating Architecture||4*||CCA|
|—1XX-2XX.||Elective course on space||4||ES|
|ARCH 130.||Open Practices Workshop 1||2||OPW|
After moderation, students will be required to complete 18 additional credits, for a total of 32 credits, as well as two terms of Senior Project. In their advanced courses, students will be able to focus their work on either design-based study or research-based projects, with a choice of taking either ARCH 421 or ARCH 311. Senior Projects will typically be done on an individual basis, but the program will host periodic student colloquia across each term to build shared knowledge and a collaborative ethos across the entire Program. The Senior Projects will be expected to exhibit their work in a collective annual Senior Show at the end of the academic year.
|Required course's type||Required course's name||Credits||Area|
|ARCH 221.||Design Studio Seminar: Planetary||4||DSS|
|ARCH 321.||Design Studio-Seminar: Constituencies||4||DSS|
|—3XX-4XX.||Elective Seminar on Space||4||ES|
|ARCH 311.*||Architecture as Research||4||CCA|
|ARCH 322.*||Design Studio-Seminar||4||DSS|
|ARCH 330.||Open Practices Workshop 2||2||OPW|
|ARCH 401||Senior Project 1||-|
|ARCH 402||Senior Project 2||-|
Through a series of carefully selected texts, this practice-based seminar focuses on building better relationships with our planet by engaging areas of discourse that actively and intimately connect us to the natural world. In architecture, our relationship to the natural world has been framed through many lenses - most familiar is perhaps through the more clinical lens of technology and performance. Little Blue Marble however, foregrounds empathy, attentiveness, and participation as ways to bring us in better communion with the earth and perhaps, this form of relation may allow for an alternative set of cultural and social practices within architecture that shift our discipline’s dominant modes of thinking and being. A few key texts that will help guide this conversation include Robin Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, Robert MacFarland’s Underland, and Slow Spatial Reader: Chronicles of Radical Affection edited by Carolyn F. Strauss. In addition to readings and discussions, Little Blue Marble will ask students to create letters to the earth throughout the term. These letters will also take on varied expressions and forms through writing and ‘open’ drawing, i.e. a range of drawing forms, from digital to analogue methods, will be welcome. The making of these letters will be opportunities for students to rethink language, representation, and storytelling as a way to help us build literacy with the more-than-human world. No prerequisites.
This course offers a survey of modern architecture through architectural and urban design practices and theories. As a survey the course covers major 20th century architectural movements, such as brutalism, functionalism, megastructures, corporate architecture, phenomenology, postmodernism, and deconstruction. At the same time, the course interrogates the social and political function of the built environment, addressing social housing, third-world development, and urbanism. Major figures discussed include Henry Van de Velde, Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Alison and Peter Smithson, Eero Saarinen, Yona Friedman, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Aldo Rossi, Zaha Hadid, Peter Eisenman. Assignments include visual analysis projects, a final paper, and a midterm and final exam. AHVC distributions: 1800 to present/European/American. Assignments include weekly posts, presenting a case study, leading a discussion session, and a final ten-page paper on architecture.
This studio-based course introduces students to architectural tools of communication while presenting architecture as a field that is expansive—a field that engages not only with technical knowledge, but also with the making of public imaginaries, personal environments, cultural spatial aesthetics, and even the contested ground of the political, economic and social. The course is simultaneously an introduction to the techniques of representation that define the discipline of architecture and an opportunity to explore and question how architecture mediates the world. Students will learn and practice techniques of contemporary digital drafting, diagramming, mapping, 3D modeling and compositional image-making. While the focus will be on an array of forms of architectural drawing, these techniques will be carefully positioned against a survey of paradigmatic moments and themes in the history of architecture that will help situate the practice today. Throughout the term, our design work will be supplemented by readings and periodic research work, and we will situate this against regular lectures that will introduce you to the broader culture of architecture. The course will provide a foundation of concepts and skills necessary to make architecture legible and to convey a spatial argument through design. No prerequisites.
This research and design studio will focus on rural approaches to social, racial, and economic liberation. Working collaboratively, we will create a global atlas of radical farming collectives to be later published as a zine. By looking at historical, fictional, and realized case studies, students will map out a spatial taxonomy of cooperatives, intentional communities, regenerative agriculture farms, and back-to-land initiatives. What does it mean to create an infrastructure of care, and systems of resilience within a capitalist landscape of production, extraction, and exploitation? In this course, we will construct a network of political ecologies, linking case studies like Freedom Farm Cooperative, Marinaleda, and Soul Fire Farm. Through seminars and workshops, students will learn to create and analyze each project through 2D and 3D drawings alongside diagramming and multimedia collaging. Through this collective process, students will articulate notions of “land” and “labor”, and pair them with new dialogues on how the rural countryside operates as a site for radical forms of collective living. No prerequisites.
During this studio-based course, students will learn to use architectural representation techniques to create a new vocabulary for reimagining the architecture of commonly shared, everyday services. Waiting rooms, walk-in clinics, dmv offices, bank lobbies, among other spaces have become commonplace and by extension, unquestioned and underutilized. Though often taken for granted as background spaces, we will come to understand how they are part of the construction of societal norms, and their potential to host unconvential forms of public life that we will explore and reimagine through this course. Using tools of digital drafting, site analysis, physical models, and experimental image making, students will interrogate and reimagine these everyday spaces in our built environment. Through research, discussion and design proposition, each student will rewrite the role of their selected space of everyday services and propose alternatives that speak to our evolving understanding of shared resources, policies, societal tendencies, and expectations. We will think of our sites of intervention as testing grounds for new social relations to emerge, using design to reposition these everyday services as crucial elements in a larger societal transformation. The studio will conclude by imagining the proposals as a collective set of new urban elements, repositioning our conversation as a negotiation between the unquestioned past and the multiple possible futures. No prerequisites.
The relationship between humans and animals has consistently been one of power and control. Most often, the organizations of human space are imposed upon animals our next-next of kin. Any exceptions to this are typically manifested as fixed orderings where human-animal interaction can be clearly managed—think farms, zoos, slaughterhouses, etc. When nonhuman assemblies fabrics do prevail, like the field of dandelions in your front yard or the swarm of fruit flies in your kitchen, it is considered ‘out of place’. How might we design by privileging nonhuman ordering ways of being over our own? How might architecture equally consider the habitat home, ecology community, and behavior rituals of other animals? Is there a way we may honor, support, and even participate in their migration itinerant patterns rather than imposing our own? This Collective Futures design studio foregrounds these questions as guiding lights for the semester to rethink established animal-human relationships and their related thresholds. By considering animals as our fellow kin, we enter into a collective spatial life—one that opens up a practice of design by engaging notions of empathy, reciprocity, and entanglement. Throughout the term, students will work in small groups to reconsider an alternative threshold condition typically defined by human centric desires. Research and design proposals will be informed by model-making, material explorations, analog representations, and 3D modeling. Prerequisites: ARCH 111 or professor’s permission.
In this half-semester design workshop, students will create ‘domestic agents’–spatial objects which question the norms and rituals of our everyday lives through design tools and inquisitive disruption. We will begin by reorienting our expectations of domestic spaces by considering the things around us and our relationships to them. We will encounter these against a series of case studies—architectural precedents and historical places—which may allow us to understand how societal expectations of domestic design have emerged and transformed. From there, we will seek to reimagine the home towards more inclusive, provocative and liberating futures. The course will privilege new family compositions, accommodating new social configurations, rather than our inherited one. We will design our ‘domestic agents’ using experimental digital drawing techniques to create our own visual language. This class meets for the first half of the semester. No prerequisites.
This course looks to consider the relation between political struggles and spatial practices. It will do so by introducing students to a long tradition of cooperatives, collectives and communes that have formed throughout Latin America over the last 100 years in response to the growth of capitalism and the neoliberal state. These are groups of architects, artists and builders that have joined forces with activists, rebels, constituents and movements with the purpose of using spatial transformations as means of political liberation. Together, they have not only transformed their houses, shared spaces, towns and neighborhoods but, they have also confronted the state, private property and capitalist structures. Among those we will examine are: in Mexico, the hartistas (the fed-up artists), Cooperativa Palo Alto and the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipality of Oventic; in Chile, Colectivo CEDLA (Center for Architectural Studies); in Colombia Colectivo Huertopia; in Argentina Concretismo; in Venezuela the community in Torre David and; in Uruguay, FUCVAM (Uruguayan Federation of Mutual Aid Housing Cooperative). The course will unfold in a combination of lectures, seminars and students presentations. The final outcome of the course will be a collective atlas that charts this history into the present. No prerequisites.
The conventional narrative of anticolonial self-determination has often been quick to dismiss radical insurgencies as merely nationalist struggles, focused primarily on nation-building. However, recent scholarship on decolonial movements across the Global South suggests that such an approach has obscured the expansive vision and ambitions of anti-colonial thinkers and statesmen who sought to both critique and reimagine the existent world order. Decolonization therefore emerges as nothing less than an attempt at global redistribution so as to transform post-imperial realities and possibilities. In this seminar, we will examine resistance and liberation struggles—in Cuba, Algeria, Vietnam, South Africa, and Palestine—that shaped processes of decolonization in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Focus will be on the platforms that developed throughout the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Bandung and Tricontinental Conferences, as well as the formation of a range of cultural and artistic associations and publications including Lotus, Souffles, and Black Phoenix. We will consider the disciplinary and methodological stakes of producing scholarship that both engages with and participates in global solidarities. While centering on the movements originating in the mid-twentieth century, we will also reflect on contemporary movements that build on this history in their own internationalist worldmaking. All readings will be in English. This course fulfills the MES Junior Seminar. This course is part of the World Literature course offering.
More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. Thus, the study of social and political dynamics in urban centers is crucial if we are to understand and address the pressing issues of the contemporary world. This course will allow students to explore these dynamics through an introduction to urban sociology: the study of social relations, processes, and changes in the urban context. We will begin by reading perspectives on the development of cities, followed by an examination of how the city and its socio-spatial configuration affect and are affected by social interactions, particularly across gender, race, and class lines. The course will then consider the relationship between globalization and the modern city before concluding with a few examples of how citizens address the challenges in their communities. Throughout, we will explore the diverse methods that social scientists use to understand these dynamics, and students will have the opportunity to utilize some of these methods in an investigation of a local “urban community.”
It’s mine. Ownership means different things over time and among different peoples. This course charts a history from below about the lived experience of possession, spirit possession and the ownership of property—real and moveable, animal and human, intellectual and intangible—knowable through the archive of things reclaimed by the rural and urban unlettered, raced peoples, indigenous peoples, colonized peoples, and religious and political exiles. We explore challenges to the idea of property during the early modern religious upheavals and radical changes to the idea as inscribed in the late 18th-century written constitutions that made it a basic right. We will focus on France and areas of significant French contact in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas from 1400-1900. My land, my house, my history, my family, my self demarcate the changing socially, culturally, or politically configured borders between inside and outside at the affective and material intersection of belonging and belongings, property and properties, land ownership and propriety, and possession and freedom. Students will rethink narratives of settler colonialism and racial capitalism from multiple perspectives through mini-research assignments, using judicial records, fiction, visual, and ethnographic sources to explore moments of property exchange, value assessment, theft, trespass, expropriation, or other forms of dispossession when the meaning of ownership becomes most visible in the historical record. No pre-requisites.
The Border. The Ban. The Wall. Raids. Deportations. Separation of Families. Immigrant Rights. Sanctuary. Refugee Resettlement. These words – usually confined to policy, enforcement, and activism related to migrants and refugees – have recently exploded into the public view and entered into constant use. Focusing on south-north migration from these Latin American regions, this class argues that it is impossible to understand the current political situation in the US without studying the relatively lesser-known history of migrant and refugee human rights over the last three decades, including massive protests, movements for sanctuary, and attempts at reform and enforcement. The class takes into account shifting global demographics, changing reasons for migration, rapid legal and political changes, complex enforcement policies and practices, and powerful community movements for reform, which are often forgotten with the opening and closing of a given news cycle. The class also argues that migrant and refugee voices matter and are critical to understanding migration as an historical and current problem. The course includes migrant, refugee, and activist narratives, and an array of historical, legal, political, and other primary sources. Its goal is to create a more complete historical understanding of Latin American-origin migration in the contemporary US context. This course is part of the Liberal Arts Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and Education initiative as well as the Racial Justice Initiative.
In 1802, Janet Montgomery began to convert her 380-acre riverfront property from a “wilderness” into a “pleasure ground.” This transformation reflected prevailing ideas about the ideal aesthetic relationship between humans and nature as well as emerging notions regarding scientific agriculture. Development of the property also mirrored contemporary social and cultural conventions, as the estate was populated by indentured servants, tenants, slaves, free workers, and elites. This course approaches Montgomery Place as a laboratory for understanding social hierarchies, cultural practices, and evolving visions of nation and “place.” In Fall 2022, we will focus on Montgomery as a case study of slavery and slaveholding in the antebellum Hudson Valley.
Towering over urban expansions and secluded forests, or turning up on roadside corners and in narrow back alleys, temples occupy a crucial place in the physical and sacred landscape of South Asia. At once meeting places for diverse communities, markers of piety and power, and architectural and sculptural wonders, temples are where artistic practice, devotion, and political and social aspirations come together. This course explores the history, forms, and meanings of South Asian temples both as important works of architecture and centers of religious and social activity. Through topics such as ritual and sacred space, pilgrimage practice, representations of cosmology, and iconoclasm and appropriation, we will develop a multifaceted understanding of the temple in South Asia. The course will begin with the rock-cut cave temples of ancient India and end with contemporary temples in South Asia and beyond, including the diaspora temples in the Hudson Valley area. Coursework includes exams, a paper, and a final project. AHVC distribution: Asia
For centuries, the land on which the Bard Arboretum now sits has been inhabited and used by diverse societies and cultures. In this course, students learn to critically engage with the existing landscape and vegetation to unfold “the story” of the land now owned by Bard College. By confronting the narratives that shaped these lands from an interdisciplinary perspective, students can build skills to become informed and impactful agents of change. Particular areas of inquiry include the Hudson River Valley in art, literature, music, and film; the history of Native Americans, colonialism, and slavery in the region; horticulture, bio-diversity, and native plants of the Hudson River Valley (living collection). We will explore the past, present, and possible future of the Hudson River Valley through a series of primary and secondary sources including fiction and nonfiction works of literature, visual art, film, etc. Meetings will be held in the classroom, and outdoors at the Bard Arboretum, Montgomery Place, and Blithewood; we will observe and study the actual river, our native plants, and learn more about how our current home and what we see in it have changed over time.
Using ESRI GIS software and associated apps, students will receive formal instruction in the fundamentals of using spatial information, conducting spatial analysis, and producing high-quality cartographic products. Students will learn how GIS may be used as a tool for identifying and assessing environmental justice (EJ) issues at the local, regional and global scale. Students will apply these GIS skills and knowledge base to a team-based research project focused on an environmental justice problem. The course culminates in a presentation session, where students show their analysis and results to their peers, professors and the greater Bard community. This course is part of the Racial Justice Initiative, an interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of racial inequality and injustice in the United States and beyond.
This course will survey the history of New York City from its founding as a Dutch colony until the present post-industrial, post-9/11 era. We will emphasize the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the city was transformed by immigration and rose to prominence as a global economic and cultural capital. We will pay particular attention to the development and use of distinct types of urban space such as housing, parks, and skyscrapers. We will also consider New York’s evolving population, including divisions of ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic class. One recurrent theme will be the various, often controversial solutions proposed to the problems of a modern metropolis, such as the need for infrastructure (water management, transportation), social and political reform (Tammany Hall, Jacob Riis), and urban planning (Robert Moses).
Maps have been dynamic visual and conceptual inspiration for many artists. In this class, we will work with drawing and sculptural installation to investigate the translation of scale and data to abstraction inherent in the art of mapping. We will study a range of contemporary artists around the world for whom maps are central to their artistic practice. We will study the visual strategies, content, and context of maps in these artist's works. We will also look at a rich range of historical maps from Polynesian navigation charts to the soundless silk maps of World War 2. The work of Katherine Harmon, Rebecca Solnit, W.E. B. DuBois, the counter-maps of the Black Panthers, and the Indigenous Mapping Collective, among others will form foundations for our research and artistic exploration. The 1000-acre campus of Bard will be our laboratory for focused research and for generating three visual projects.
This class will explore the twentieth-century American experience through the exercise of hands-on historical research methods. We will delve into the following themes in United States history: labor and markets, wealth and inequality, ethnic identity and race, and gender and the environment. Our tools of exploration will include readings, discussions, music, journalism, poetry, scholarly articles, digital content, and films. Upon successfully completing the course, students will be able to employ the methods of historical practice to navigate present-day questions related to political and social issues affecting contemporary society. Together, we will learn how to articulate opinions, grounded in history, about the politics, culture, and economics of the global United States.
This one-month workshop will run from February 2nd to March 2nd and introduces drawing techniques to investigate the inherited conditions of our constructed environment and to speculate on its future. Throughout the workshop, students will create a full-scale perspectival drawing to reveal aspects of our environment that have come together not by intention, but by chance. With this, we will construct an alternative architectural language which measures, recomposes, and acknowledges our built environment as an accumulation of codes, patents, systems and legal frameworks, in service of proposing new opportunities. Each student will isolate an intersection of built space around campus (mechanical, structural, material, open to closed, corner, hallway, gap, etc.) and productively work to collapse its boundaries. Through readings (both from architecture and our own interpretations) and technical documents such as building codes and patents, students will name their constructed context, and draw over and around the existing site as a means to transform it. This class invites students from all backgrounds to engage with the fundamentals of architectural language. The course will conduct a series of drawing workshops and short exercises testing physical and conceptual space through digital 2D/3D modeling, drafting and image collaging. The final installation of the course will result in full scale perspective drawings and collages installed on the sites around campus.
What can we learn when we approach architecture as a ‘planetary’ practice? Aside from opening up new scales of design or shifting our focus to ecological concerns, how does this perspective fundamentally alter what it means to practice architecture?
This design studio-seminar is an effort to introduce architecture as a world-making practice by acknowledging its inherently fictional capacity to imagine not only new spaces or forms, but other ways of being—modes of existence that depart from those of our present world. Unsettling notions that have underpinned architectural thought for centuries—private property, territory, racial capitalism, terra nullius—the aim of this studio-seminar is to approach architecture from alternate sites of inquiry that reveal it to be, more than anything else, a technology that mediates our relation to the world.
Our work will be to design planetary institutions, architectural interventions that seek to instigate public imaginaries around sites of common existence—air, water, soil, forest, clouds—as a basis to exploit the narrative and fictional capacity of architecture at a moment of climatic and cultural transformation. We will develop our planetary institutions through a network of readings, films, discussions, collective design and research work, image making and invited guest lectures.
Readings and thought from Sylvia Wynter, Walter Mignolo, Jennifer Gabrys, Achile Mbembe, Richard Powers, AM Kanngieser, David Graeber and David Wengrow, Kim Stanley Robinson & others.
This class explores the theory and practice of utopia from an architectural perspective. Utopias have always been imagined through a variety of mediums like the manifesto, the blueprint, and visual and performing arts. The course investigates the manifold scales of utopian articulation and realization, from compound communities to projects designing the entire globe, and from unrealized proposals to intentional communes of co-liberation. The class will use the concept of utopia to map out the ways that men and women have sought to transform the spatial, psychic, and social landscapes they inhabited. What can we learn from the utopian imperative? What is the shape of utopia? How should we understand the relationship between thought and practice, hope and disappointment, idealism and realism? Projects presented range from early industrial colonies, socialist utopias, Christian communities, and anarchist utopias to shopping malls, factories, and afrofuturism. The projects will be discussed in conjunction with major texts by Sir Thomas More, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Louis Marin, to name a few. Course requirements involve short assignments, class presentations and a final paper.
Architecture is both the product of labor and the organizer of its relations, yet often these issues remain overshadowed by aesthetic considerations and the broader discourse of design. In shifting the question of labor in architecture to the foreground, this course invites students to reflect on the spatio-political role architecture has played in mediating bodies, work and capital. To do this, we will analyze contemporary transformations to paradigmatic sites of work (offices, factories, tech campuses), as well as the many spaces that have been produced to feed architectural production and its endless cycles of extraction (camps, slums, mines), or the architecture that reproduces forms of maintenance (houses, squares, resorts). We will analyze a diverse set of contemporary and historical architectural precedents against a heterogenous landscape of voices from Maurizio Lazzarato, Silvia Federici, Mierle Laderman Ukeless, David Harvey, Peggy Deamer, Mabel O. Wilson, among others. The course will unfold in a combination of lectures and seminars. There are no exams but students are expected to complete weekly assignments, a midterm and a final project.
This course is an introduction to the history of Silicon Valley. Moving chronologically between 1945 and the present, we will study the history of this significant region, and stories about the area’s technology industry. With a focus on social justice, this class will explore race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, health and disability, immigration and labor, and diversity and inequality in technology and the modern United States. In this class, students will experience first-hand the history of the early Silicon Valley through a wealth of primary sources, such as newspaper accounts, oral histories, photographic images, government documents, corporate reports, advertisements and business journalism, and more. We will also engage an exciting and emerging secondary literature.
What makes a home? Are homes political? This course will examine the meanings, materialities, and effects of homes across cultural contexts and through time. It will seek to understand how homes are unmade and remade, and what the effects of those processes are on human relationships and on relations between humans and the nonhuman world. It will investigate the relationship between homes and wealth in different societies, and what kinds of ownership emerge out of humans’ relationships to the infrastructures of shelter. The course will explore cases when homes appear to operate as extensions of colonial, state and nationalist ideologies. And it will highlight contexts in which homes can become spaces that counter hegemonic ideologies or cultural norms, or that can preserve lifeways that such ideologies and norms seek to eradicate. It will examine the kinds of labor and attention it takes to keep a structure stable enough over time, and against erosion caused by the elements, asking what socialities are formed out of the different kinds of–often gendered–labor that go into maintaining a home? It will investigate the question of whether homes are always spaces of intimacy. And it will explore the relationship between homes and the seemingly natural division between public and private realms. Our readings will draw on works of earlier anthropologists and theorists (e.g. Bourdieu, Hurston, Arendt, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, Laporte, Weiner), as well as on more contemporary ethnographies of places such as Palestine, Greece, Argentina, Vietnam, and the US.
Where is the line between a presentation of proposed use (built space) and a presentation of potential use (exhibited space)? This design studio-seminar collapses the distinction between curating and creating by designing an exhibition, as well as the objects to be exhibited. By constructing our own vocabulary of contexts, codes, systems, and details of architecture, we will examine components of built space at multiple scales through a series of evolving models. We will reframe the institutional space of the gallery as a site of intellectual and creative production itself, and collapse the boundary between specified collections and our everyday context. Through a series of experimental workshops our focus will be on ubiquitous elements of space which inhabit most projects, but whose agency is usually anonymous (fire codes, mechanical systems, utilities, for example). Over the semester, we will iterate scaled physical models and interchange their roles between gallery and architectural mock up, speculative object and utilitarian element. The semester will culminate in a built exhibition which intends to open up architecture as a future practice that can more readily accept itself as a collective/collected environment.
How do urban processes of growth, decline, and revitalization affect different groups, particularly along dimensions of race, class, and gender? This place-based research seminar course looks closely at this question by examining the historical, political, and social landscape of Kingston. We will use this nearby city as a case to explore theories on urban transformation and the contemporary challenges that face small urban centers. In particular, the course will use the lens of environmental inequality to examine the effects of historical processes, as well as to investigate how residents and government officials are addressing pressing problems. The course will look specifically at issues of food justice, pollution, access to resources, environmental decision-making processes, and housing security. We will visit Kingston as a class, and students will develop and carry out their own project with a community partner.
In this one-month long, intensive design studio running from February 7th to March 7th, students will design ‘urban creatures’—architectural artifacts that will interact in and with relevant urban conditions through their symbolism, location and monumentality. As opposed to an architecture that predetermines its uses, our proposals are meant to take on a life of their own in their context. Designing urban creatures will push us to operate beyond habit and work outside of preconceived architectural responses, experimenting instead with an architecture that dialogues with contemporary urban conditions more directly. We will begin by analyzing historical references to learn and understand the different positions and creative responses that other designers have had to concrete social, political and cultural conditions. We will then design our creatures through an iterative process working primarily through detailed hand drawings, as well as other techniques like 3D modeling and physical model making.
This seminar engages with disability studies, queer theory, architectural and design history, political ecology, and histories of radical organizing and mobilization that focus on the idea and experience of disability and sickness. In traversing these materials, this seminar aims to ask: rather than seeing disability and sickness simply as a limitation or failure to reach a "healthy" norm, what can the experience and often hidden histories of the disabled and chronically ill, as well as those who fight for their care, reveal about social structures, ideologies, and patterns of circulation that cannot be seen otherwise? What would it mean to move beyond the political and ideological centrality of the idea of health and to instead understand how it can function to normalize racialized and gendered structures of exclusion and privation? And what models of care, collectivity, flexibility, and access have been, and might be posed, against this, through the speculative work of chronic theorists and disability justice advocates and through hard-fought campaigns and daily ad hoc solutions alike? Authors considered include: Alexis Shotwell, Alondra Nelson, Liat Ben-Moshe, Aimi Hamraie, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Neil Ahuja, Georges Canguilhem, Mel Y. Chen, and Eli Clare.
Can artists and museums respond to the current refugee crisis? The 21st century has witnessed the undeniable prevalence of the refugee, the migrant, the stateless, and the politically displaced — categories produced by global capitalism’s uneven distribution of resources. Against this harsh reality, artists and curators have actively engaged with representations of the disposed, and more recently, welcomed refugees into their spaces as part of broader initiatives centered on integration. This class will consider how contemporary exhibitions and artistic projects have sought to integrate the figure of the refugee into the traditionally reified space of the museum and examine the possibilities and limitations of art to transcend cultural and political barriers to generate empathy, and even solidarity. Topics to be discussed include art programming and refugee integration, museum responses to the migrant crisis, attempts to decolonize museums, migration and repatriation, boycott and divestment efforts. This class will be a collaboration between students at Bard College and Middlebury College. Throughout the semester, students will work together to produce an online resource related to the course materials.
This course-practicum will introduce students to the l theory, history and practice of political organizing for housing justice. In the “study” portion of the course, students will begin with critical legal and cultural studies of “property,” “property rights” and the landlord-tenant relationship. We will then explore the history of public and fair housing policy in the United States from the height of the New Deal in the 1930s to the decentralization and neoliberalization of the post-Reagan era. As we turn toward the “practice” part of the course, we will engage how housing inequity manifests in small towns like Kingston, NY and urban-rural areas like Ulster County. Now two years from the start of the COVID crisis, New York state’s moratorium on evictions comes to an end in January, 2022. In collaboration with Legal Services of the Hudson valley, our class will closely track eviction proceedings in Kingston courts, as well as monitor the city’s investigation into a series of fires that have functionally evicted low-income tenants from multi-unit buildings poised for sale. Our goal is the production of an audio documentary about eviction in the immediate wake of the moratorium.
What happens when life and death are not thought of in neat opposition? What does crip time do with the built environment, or the construct of Cartesian space itself which separates mind from body while undergirding key notions for the temporal? What material resist may disability offer the formal and conceptual arrangement of space and time (art) amid the laws that organize and govern the polis (politics)? This course traces the historical and ongoing struggle for disability rights in the colonized United States, while simultaneously questioning the framework of rights-based discourse and its legislative contingencies. We will think through disability representation, rights, and the right to opacity via a survey of cultural production in Disability Arts, and highlight the resistance to the violences of Vagrancy laws, Black Codes, the Ugly Laws, Anti-touch Laws, Stop & Frisk™, and other racist-eugenic logics, including “public health”, amid the latest pandemic . Our inquiry into concepts of confinement, quarantine, curfew, incarceration, asylum, austerity and enclosure will stay with disability culture, crip love, queer and trans abundance, and the everprescenient black outdoors that remain before and before every juridical turn. We will be guided by openings made in Disability Studies, Trans Studies, Black Studies, Disability Justice, and Disability Arts that gather in the struggle for and beyond rights, toward both the onto-epistemological understanding of disability and the real lived experience of disabled people.