Conceived as part of the one-year investigation Catching Up with Life, A Section of Now looks at today, at the society in which we currently live, with a focus upon expanding notions of family, property ownership, activism, work, technology, and life expectations. How can architecture and urbanism better understand our contemporary conditions, and how might they adapt to better address the challenges these conditions present?

While contemporary values are rapidly reshaping the built environment, architecture is not only responsive but can also, at its best, anticipate and even influence the direction of society through spatial endeavours. Adaptations of existing typologies and also new typologies are required for our current society where the nuclear family isn’t a societal bedrock; where robots become a mainstay of domestic life and caretaking; where friendship takes on new meanings; where birth and death can be planned and designed; where the youth is extremely committed to environmental and spatial justice; where we work more than ever, regardless of the increased automation of labour; where addictions are many and simultaneous; where it is possible to retire at thirty years old or to be already in substantial debt at the age of twenty, and where there is an obsession with sharing and yet more and more people choose to live alone.

Together these multivalent conditions have gradually displaced societal norms, leaving many interconnected questions—and design opportunities—in their wake. How might we create housing that better reflects the broad scope of contemporary living arrangements, from those living alone to those living with multiple generations under one roof? How might we implement alternative frameworks to mediate how property is owned and shared given rising rents and debt? How might our personal choices and collective actions create long-term social, political, and environmental change? How might we create equitable working conditions amidst demands for personal and technological optimization? How might we better manage the symptoms of technological addiction and withdrawal? How might we rethink our plans given ever-increasing life expectancy?

Through TV series, contemporary photography, architectural research, and designed objects, A Section of Now critically depicts where we are now and points to the urgent need for a new spatiality and the formation of new societal relationships.

Curator: Giovanna Borasi, CCA
Curatorial team: Francesco Garutti, Megan Marin, Hannah Strothmann, Ushma Thakrar
Research: Matthew de Santis, Iro Kalargyrou, and Laura Aparicio Llorente

Contributors: 2050+ and -orama; Christopher Anderson; Nicolas Asfouri, Assemble Studio; Center for Spatial Technologies; Certain Measures; Dan Chen; Sam Chermayeff Office; Benson Chien and Samantha Ingallina; Aaron M. Cohen; Thaddé Comar; Common Accounts; Coop Himmelb(l)au; Estudio Teddy Cruz+Fonna Forman and Kotti+Co; Degelo Architekten and Gamperle AG; Cynthia Deng and Arta Perezic; Jamie Diamond; DOGMA and New Academy; Elena Dorfman; Expanded Design; Lucas Foglia; Maison Edouard François; The Future Market; Salwan Georges; Ginger Design Studio; Paul Graham; Michelle Groskopf; Max Hampshire, Paul Kolling, and Paul Seidler; Ai Hasegawa; Go Hasegawa+Associates; Het Nieuwe Instituut; HOME-OFFICE; Marisa Morán Jahn and Rafi Segal; Dafydd Jones; Valérian Mazataud; June14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff; Anaïs Langlais-Schmidt; LATENT Productions and Columbia University GSAPP DeathLAB; Jesse LeCavalier; Mueller Sigrist Architekten; Christinne Muschi; N H D M; Ewa Nowak; Brittany M. Powell; Alice Proujansky; Anna Puigjaner MAIO; Kamila Rudnicka; Nadia Sablin; Klemens Schillinger; Michael Schmelling; Jack Self; Space Popular; Giulia Spadafora; Special Projects; Marie-Claire Springham; Stefan Marx; OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen; Other Architects; Pollard Thomas Edwards; Republic of Estonia; reWork; Something Fantastic; StrongArm Technologies; Takahashi Ippei Office; Teple Misto; terra0; Bryan Thomas; Elisabeth Ubbe; UNSense; Jonas Voigt, Philipp Schmitt, and Stephan Bogner; Aubrey Wade; Christoph Wagner Architekten; Nick Waplington; Williamson Williamson; Hardy Wilson; Yangying Ye.

Exhibition design: Sam Chermayeff Office, Berlin & New York
Graphic design: Folder Studio, Los Angeles
Photography consultant: Melissa Harris, New York
TV consultant: Andrea Bellavita, Milan

This exhibition is part of the CCA’s one-year investigation Catching Up with Life.

The CCA gratefully acknowledges the support of the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.

Audio introduction

Video introduction

A Section of Now: Social Norms and Rituals as Sites for Architectural Intervention

A Section of Now: Giovanna Borasi on the social norms and rituals that shape our present moment


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