Columbia University architect Mabel O. Wilson presents the talk Provisional Demos: The Spatial Agency and Tent Cities. This is the final event in a series of public discussions on ‘the social in architecture’, and follows on from Jonathan Massey’s talk Designing Risk and Opportunity through Housing
, as well as a number of closed seminars for PhD students, social housing residents and activists. These events covered themes such as the role of architects in creating new social forms, models of local collaboration and possibilities for co-habitation.
Wilson's talk responds to questions about the role of architecture in situations of precarity and the breakdown of social structures along with notions of public space. This includes themes such as migration and temporary housing, the social use of history and memory and structures of inequality and separation.
Preceding this talk is a public symposium on the topic of ‘redefining the social’, with presentations by CHASE PhD students and invited speakers Jane Rendell, Ben Highmore and Katharina Borsi, taking place from 1:30 until 5:30pm in the Studio.
This series of public events and training seminars on Architecture and the Social is organised in partnership with the Architecture, Space and Society Centre (ASSC) at Birkbeck, University of London and supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England.
Mabel O. Wilson is a Professor of Architecture, a co-director of Global Africa Lab and the Associate Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. She has authored Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture
(2016) and Negro Building: African Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums
She is a member of the design team for the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia. She was recently one of twelve curators contributing to MoMA's current exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Architecture
. She's a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture?
(WBYA?), a collective that advocates for fair labour practices on building sites worldwide and whose work was most recently shown in a solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago.