Research Fellow Seminar: Marina Otero Verzier

Cartesian Enclosures: From Grid to Cloud
Seminar, in English, Shaughnessy House, 27 July 2022, 6pm

The work of architects oozes Cartesianism. It often involves drawing abstract, assertive lines that define insides, outsides, ups, and downs. Lines that construct distinctions and categories, their abstract, modular aesthetic instigating the economic efficacy rationale too often at the expense of ethical and ecological awareness. Yet, architecture could also be re-imagined and deployed to dismantle the boundaries that currently define, enclose, and exploit the world and the common interest. A non-Cartesian architecture is not designed to quantify, control, or categorize. An architecture difficult to describe under dual categories. In this talk, Otero dives into Cedric Price’s Air Structures Research and its convoluted political position. The air structures included in this extensive survey offer avenues for venturing beyond the Cartesian divide. At the same time, they are entangled with the very regimes and industries that stimulate the crudest modernist ambitions, the dreams of mastery of space and time, territory, and resources.

Marina Otero Verzier is Head of the Social Design Masters at Design Academy Eindhoven, a program that focuses on design practices attuned to ecological and social challenges. In 2022 she received the Harvard GSD’s Wheelwright Prize for a project on the future of data storage. From 2015 to 2022, she was Director of Research at Het Nieuwe Instituut, where she led initiatives focused on labour, extraction, and mental health from an architectural and post-anthropocentric perspective, including “Automated Landscapes” and “BURN-OUT.” Previously, she was Director of Global Network Programming at Studio-X, Columbia University GSAPP, in New York. Otero has been a co-curator at the Shanghai Art Biennial 2021, curator of the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018, and chief curator of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale. She has co-edited Lithium: States of Exhaustion (2021), A Matter of Data (2021), More-than-Human (2020), Architecture of Appropriation (2019), Work, Body, Leisure (2018), and After Belonging (2016), among others.


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