Open online lecture by artists, educators (MIT), and co-founders of the Urbonas Studio, Gediminas & Nomeda Urbonas at the MA Design Explorations & Translations, the Iceland University of the Arts - September 9th at 11:00 am
Wet Ontologies of the Swamp
Throughout history, the project of architecture was realized by draining swamps, marshes, and wetlands. Dividing the land into a liquid and solid, butchering the territory for agriculture, waterways, and settlements, extracting and parceling it by expelling the indigenous—all are technologies of architecture and colonization. Architecture today must embrace the swamp, with its hybridity, complexity, queerness, and paradox, as a way to decolonize and de-school itself. The swamp is uncanny to architecture, thus the swamp is a site to learn how to change habits of thought and adapt to the radically changing environments. To notice the swamp below our feet is to switch to a nondualist ontology more appropriate to the Anthropocene.
In this talk
This presentation will discuss the Swamp as a conceptual character and a window into its own operation through which we can conceive the architecture of the imaginal infrastructure of a swamp. With the short overview of programmatic concepts that employ conceptual, spatial, speculative and aesthetic aspects of a swamp as a laboratory, the focus will be on a Swamp, as self-organized, open-ended and ever-changing infrastructure that supports collaborative experiments in design, pedagogy, and artistic intelligence for learning and adapting to imminent unknowns.
About the Urbonas
Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas are artists, educators, and co-founders of the Urbonas Studio, a transdisciplinary research practice that facilitates exchange amongst diverse nodes of knowledge production and artistic practice in pursuit of projects that transform civic spaces and collective imaginaries. They also collaborate with experts in different cultural fields to develop practice-based artistic research models that allow participants—including their students—to pursue projects that merge urbanism, new media, social sciences and pedagogy to critically address the transformation of civic space and ecology.
Urbonas have exhibited internationally at the São Paulo (twice), Berlin, Moscow (twice), Lyon, Gwangju, Busan, Taipei Biennales, Folkestone Triennial, Manifesta and Documenta exhibitions, including a solo show at the Venice Biennale and MACBA in Barcelona. Their writing on artistic research as form of intervention into social and political crisis was published in the books Devices for Action (MACBA Press, 2008), Villa Lituania (Sternberg Press, 2008), and Public Space? Lost and Found (MIT Press, 2017). Urbonas 5 year-long research project on Zooetics exploring the potential to connect with the noetics and poetics of non-human life in the context of the planetary ecological imbalance, concluded in 2018 with the symposium at MIT and opened Climate Visions a new research lab. Urbonases curated the Swamp School – future learning environment at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018. The book Swamps and the New Imagination: On the Future of Cohabitation in Art, Architecture and Philosophy is forthcoming in 2021 (Sternberg, MIT Press). Urbonas taught and lectured extensively internationally. Full-time teaching positions include NTNU – Norwegian University for Science and Technology (2005-2009). Currently Gediminas is Associate Professor at MIT‘s Program in Art, Culture and Technology, and Nomeda is Research Affiliate at MIT. They are also Visiting Professors at VDU in Kaunas, NABA in Milano, Dartington Arts School in UK, and at CAFA in Beijing.
This talk opens the Autumn Seminar of the MA Design Explorations & Translations dedicated to Oceanic Systems and Processes, curated by The MA program director Thomas Pauszhttp://madesign.lhi.is/