ɔompiled by Anna Kostreva
Voices for Spatial Justice
Photo: George Floyd Silent Demonstration, Berlin
This show is a response to the anti-racism demonstrations and events going on the USA and around the world. It investigates the responsibility of spatial practice to racial justice at the societal level, the personal level, and the professional level. Unlike the other Recast by Design shows, this is not an interview I did myself : it features audio clips from Mabel O. Wilson, Bryan C. Lee, and Angela Davis from interviews and talks that I found particularly insightful.
Architectural historian Mabel O. Wilson has written widely on the politics of race, labor and architecture. In the clips in the show, she speaks directly to whiteness and what it means to thinking critically about white privilege for architecture projects.
Find more from Wilson here:
For further reading about embodied racial experience, I also recommend “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh and “Walking while Black” by Garnette Cadogan.
Bryan C. Lee Jr., an architect practicing in New Orleans, is also featured in the show. His firm, Colloquate, has a strong methodology to think about design justice and also to ask other practitioners to think more broadly along a gradient of systems including pedagogy, policy, procedure, practice, projects and people.
Find more from Lee here:
as well as his recent article, “America’s Cities were designed to Oppress”
For further reading about spatial justice and cultural agency in the built environment, I highly recommend reading Ta-Nehisi Coates 2014 article “The Case for Reparations” to understand the deep history of spatial oppression in the USA. I also can’t get enough of cultural critic and educator bell hooks. Here are three great short essays: Black Vernacular: Architecture as Cultural Practice, Homeplace (a site of resistance), and Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness. And bringing the conversation back to the contemporary, architect and curator Sekou Cooke argues for the necessary cultural production of “hip hop architecture” here.
The last set of clips in the show comes from the legendary political activist Angela Davis. Since the 1970s, she continues to be a provocative and influential speaker with a marxist feminist and abolitionist stance.
Find more from Davis here:
For further material about the prison industrial complex, I recommend watching Ava DuVernay’s film "13th" which demonstrates that slavery has been perpetuated through imprisonment: http://www.avaduvernay.com/13th. If you care about these issues, I believe supporting social justice causes makes a difference. I support the ACLU, The Bail Project, and the National Bailout, but I also recommend finding groups local to you.