Class of 2017
Evangelia Argyrou (Greece), Henry Bradley (UK), Sebastian Clark (US/UK), Sophie Dyer (UK), Sami Hammana (NL), Linda Kinstler (US), Conor Lorigan (NZ), Fadi Mansour (Lebanon), Greg McLaren (UK), Rosa Rogina (Croatia), Eeva Sarlin (Finland), Solveig Suess (China), Lua Vollaard (NL), Leonie Weber (Germany), Oren Ziv (Israel)
Evangelia Argyrou - Reinterpreting Stereotypes
My research explores the concept of stereotypes as a process linked to the transformation and the production of space, as a strategy and tactic to generate value and to solidify a political or social condition. It analyses signs, representations and repetitive practices in the Aegean Archipelago, human conflicts and the act of inhabiting, as a means to delve into its current condition. The Greek society is ‘in becoming’ unveiling the antinomies and tensions inherent in the coexistence of potential economic development and nostalgia-driven models, it is a platform where multiple desires, expectations and forces clash, and where an icon is constructed and deconstructed at the same time.
Henry Bradley - Managed Imaginaries: A Crisis of Anticipation
My practice is located at the intersection of cinema, theatre and performance art. My current research has followed processes of live rehearsal as they continue to move from theatre into contemporary forms of preparation for future events. Although used most evidently within medical and military fields, the phenomena of simulation and virtuality are increasingly found within a range of more intimate moments in both public and private sectors. Exploring these moments of preparation, a series of pressures, imaginaries, policies and desires begin to emerge, as the subject or event becomes constructed through various forms of capitalist-pedagogy.
Sebastian Clark - Earth-Writing
My research examines geography as a discipline in image-making. After all, geography means ‘earth-writing’: it is the written practice of interpreting and imagining the Earth and its natural processes. As is evidenced by its historical implication in colonial networks of power, geography is never apolitical. Writing (or depicting) earth always determines how the Earth’s surface is written upon, inscribed by patterns of land use and systems of property. My investigations proceed from the belief that today’s political and ecological quagmire stems from the failure of geography to conjure adequate words and images: a failure to make the dire state of the Earth legible. In pursuit of a new environmentalism, I examine modes of earth-writing that can, in accord with Michel Serres’ philosophy, draw up a natural contract: visualising invisible processes of violence and establishing alternative forms of coexistence. In my reappraisal of geography as a creative discipline, I explore histories of technology and urban form as well as document contemporary land struggles.
Sami Hammana - Geofinance: Spatial-material Derivatives
The 2007-2008 financial crisis unfolded several narratives of how capital-power restructures society, but one thing in particular sticks out, namely that the derivative market holds more wealth than the combined GDP of all nation states on earth. Does this mean that the derivative market’s influence and reach surpasses the Westphalian understanding of nation state sovereignty? And moreover, what does this mean in a time where the conditions of the Anthropocene and climate politics are ever more pertinent? If this is true then the actual restructuring powers will not be within nation states anymore, but rather in the derivative market itself, thus contradicting the commonplace argument that derivative finance is ‘immaterial’. This project suggests that derivatives have material and actual spatial ramifications, rendering finance as having a spatial materialist ontology and effectively positioning derivative finance as a key player in the Anthropocene.
Linda Kinstler - Memory After Forensics
My research explores the memorial techniques applied to sites of atrocity in Eastern Europe, particularly sites of forensic interest, with the aim of probing how forensic researchers approach the delicate 'topography of terror'. My work will focus on Babi Yar, outside Kiev, Ukraine, specifically, investigating the history of archaeological erasure and violence that still haunt the soil of the former ravine. My research questions how the digital turn in forensic aesthetics alters the practice of memorialization, and how techniques like virtual and augmented reality have been mobilized for investigative, memorial, and archaeological ends.
Fadi Mansour - Dream Land / the techno-engineered restitution of a disfigured landscape
My research explores the libidinal and financial dimensions of the construction of new territories created by accumulations of waste landfill in areas of conflict. I will explore these sites as examples of an on-going post-traumatic condition following the disfiguration of a landscape. In Lebanon, the prolonged waste management crisis permeates the familiar surroundings with a lingering toxicity. Vast amounts of municipal solid waste piled up at street corners, stored along riverbeds, hidden and dumped in forests, valleys and seashores, become the embodiment of environmental destruction. If the material destruction of war impacts upon buildings and cities, the trash crisis takes a hold of what has been seemingly spared: the air, water and soil. Land reclamation becomes a project of restitution, looking towards the clear horizon and turning away from the disfigured landscape. But this new land, engineered from the transformation of waste landfill, increases the level of toxicity by infiltrating the soil and groundwater while increasing air pollution.
Rosa Rogina - Croatian Landmine Crisis: Environmental Harm in Delay
My research explores implications of humanitarian demining and land management in post-conflict Croatia. Utilising Andrew Barry’s exploration into material politics, this project will approach the demined soil from the area not as an isolated material but as a part of “dynamic, informed assemblages”. Combining research from the fields of demining, biology and social sciences will play a critical part in arguing that the processes of mine clearance serves to construct a new temporality of violence within the local environment. Using the case of the Croatian War of Independence in the early nineties, this project will aim to develop new aesthetic tools and ways of mapping the environmental violence of demining. In constructing this extended temporal framework of the conflict, I will challenge the issue of who should be accountable for the damage caused.
Eeva Sarlin - The New Nokia: Futurities of Mining in Finnish Lapland
My research looks at mining in Finnish Lapland and the so-called new Nokia as identified by the President of Finland. As global mineral resources become scarcer, the formerly postcolonial practices of extraction seep into the western world. Finland, a developed European country actively embraces this development as it has huge mineral wealth and amongst the lowest effective taxations on mining internationally. Using Rob Nixon’s notion of slow violence, I am exploring the extent of mining and the environmental destruction caused by the new Nokia. The focus is on the Kittilä Suurikuusikko mine - the biggest gold mine in Europe, operated by a Canadian mining company.
Solveig Suess - Alibis and Aliens
My research finds its urgencies through the various cosmologies which co-construct global supply-chains, weighed by their deeper times of development and imperialism. I’m currently inquiring into the New Silk Road, where it was Hewlett-Packard who had initiated negotiations for the construction of the alternate rail route ‘defined not only according to business logic, but also with a certain strategic calculation’. Here, mechanisms of modulation and forecasting are central drivers for violent re-organisations of geographies; where control over time and motion is calculated to serve a desire of unhinged flow for some and increased regulation for others. My practice has been a pattern-making of both documentary and imaginary counter-narratives, which instead looks at how seemingly disparate sequences collude together into unsettling these streamlined operations and imagining alternative futurities of worlds, however temporary.
Leonie Weber - Para-sites or Common Toxicity: The Marginalization of People, Soil and other Entities in the Urban
With the disappearance of the outside and the acknowledgement of ubiquitous entanglement we must rethink our understanding of mutuality. Reciprocity is multi-dimensional and relationships are not necessarily apparent. The intangibility of interconnectedness exceeds scales of time, location and space perceivable to individuals and societies. By using the different meanings of para- as a vantage point I investigate three fields: empathy, toxicity and architectural activism. I aim to discover how the marginalization of entities in the urban context are exposed to similar dynamics, and in return how their juxtaposition might offer a different perspective on precarity and the organisation of space. Drawing on my involvement with various architectural and activist situations, I aim to present concurrencies of marginalized people and soils entangled through different modes of toxicity. The ecology of soils is irreparably altered and contaminated. Thus we have to abandon the belief in recovering a pure past in our future. Ecological toxicity is our new – or continuous – ground.
Oren Ziv - The Facebook Prisoners
My research focuses on the Israeli use of social media in order to arrest, prosecute and jail Palestinians in the West Bank and within Israel. I am investigating how data and algorithms become part of the policing methods used against Palestinians, and how this connects to the translation and reading of images and text that they post on social media. Whilst some Israeli security experts claim that social media can create a new model to locate and control ‘incitement’, I argue that that there is a direct line between classic policing methods used in the occupation territories, and the tactics used today to bring charges of ‘incitement’ against Palestinians for online activity. In considering the ways the authorities ‘read and translate’ Palestinian social media posts, I would argue that the algorithm, the policemen, the judge, and the prosecutor all affect the way in which cases are being processed; creating a framework that allows almost any Palestinian activity on social media to be determined ‘incitement’. In my field research, I interview, photograph and film Palestinians (and one Israeli) that were arrested for their social media activism, asking them to re-read the words that led to their arrest.
Class of 2016
Alice Bucknell (US), Phoebe Eustance (UK), Alexia Giacomazzi (Australia), Ming Lin (US), Emma McCormick-Goodhart (UK), Dana Ozaino (Palesntine), Pietro Pezzani (ITA), Robert Preusse (CH), Blanca Pujals (Spain), Laurie Robins (UK), Elena Solis (Spain), Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe (UK)
Phoebe Eustance - A Manual for Listening to Quiet
To become quiet is often regarded in a similar way to becoming passive, signifying that one has weakened their capacity to act in a situation. If to speak is to validate a person's existence - does being quiet mean that the person is no longer participating or has given up their right to act?
The condition of quiet is an intrinsic part of all relations, yet our contemporary political culture has consigned it to exist in the background of events. This thesis aims to construct or activate a field of thought around the condition of quiet and the ways in which we register presence. Here, quiet is considered firstly through the notion of presence as a political form that precedes speech, and secondly through deconstructing the relationship between quiet and power.
Ming Lin - Slow Sea, Fast Fashion: Poetics of the Supply Chain
My research considers landscapes and architectures of supply and demand, the politics of production and the mytho-poetic narratives running through the network of global logistics. Taking its starting point from a specific industry lore – which attributes fast fashion chain ZARA’s inimitable success to alleged factories on water – my project at the Centre for Research Architecture explores the apparently seamless spaces of the supply chain in an effort to reclaim these largely obscured movements of circulation from the rhetoric of efficiency and progress. Destabilizing conventional narratives of global distribution as smooth, technologically advanced, and just-in-time, this work seeks to contribute instead to a postcolonial discourse through the articulation of vast networks as subjective, queer and rife with friction.
Pietro Pezzani - Drawing Borders: Genealogy, Aesthetics and Politics of Digital Targeting
Targeting is the act of addressing an entity by identifying its borders. It is an operation adopted to classify – to divide a population or a space into homogeneous groups or regions – and to detect – to make a figure emerge from its background.
Targeting can be understood as a spatial diagram following a logic of economization. This is true both in pragmatic and in aesthetic terms: in fact, on the one hand, its diagram is mobilized whenever the scarcity of available resources makes it inconvenient or impossible to direct an operation in an indiscriminate fashion.
In its materialization, targeting depends on the construction of highly asymmetrical points of view. In this respect, and following Gilles Deleuze, if the "form of the visible" is the privileged site of production of objects of power relations, targeting is a technology of vision that corresponds to a mode of governmentality: its diagram currently presides over operations aimed at directing both human and machinic labor, distributing resources and assessing the opportunity of military attack.
Through my research, I tried to prove how the rise of digital technologies of inscription and computation caused a shift of the very space where targeting operations take place. As data became the privileged “environment” of new forms of visibility – forms that have prescinded from human vision altogether – targeting turned into one of the most powerful aesthetic/governmental diagrams at work today. By turning to abstract, purely numeric multidimensional spatialities and sophisticated algorithmic methods of border production, digital technology made it possible to simultaneously detect and produce incomparably more complex entities, whose nature is heterogeneous, probabilistic and totally – even mathematically – dependent on the contingent needs of the targeting subject.
Robert Preusse - Spectral Apperception
My research investigates new perspectives emerging from meta-communication. It inquires into the data-double that follows and precedes movement in space, focusing upon trace anomalies of interception in the cellular telecommunications network of London. This infrastructure of identification is examined through the policies, protocols, and spatial and social relationships of communication. Consequently I ask how perception is ingrained through a dialectic of revealing and withdrawing, and whether composition allows for a cognition of perception – a form of apperception – to emerge.
Blanca Pujals - A Synthetic Sun: The Unmaking of Microscopic Bonds in Transnational Space
‘A Synthetic Sun’ is a research and film project exploring the aesthetic and political impacts of the underground network of elemental particle infrastructures. The project investigates the entangled relationships between big scientific institutions and political realms, and the forms of networked knowledge generated therein. These spaces become sensing architectures that amplify networks, political agreements and non-visible or barely detectable events. They are comprised of a number of scientists, particles, liquids, data, politics and technologies working together for the production of knowledge. The film is accompanied by a Google Map Archive, which illustrates the interrelations between these architectures through geolocation, images and data, and can be ‘explored’ by the user. I am interested in the physical and spatial articulations of contemporary science and how subatomic particles create a political form. Elemental particles create new forms of alliances and global networks; infrastructures which produce hybrid systems of transnational and transhuman collaboration.
Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe - Techniques of Fidelity
'Techniques of Fidelity' is a curatorial project is driven by research into mechanisms of faithful reproduction alongside the conditions that prohibit it. Fidelity can mean precision and exactitude, but it can also relate to emotional and sexual relationships, religion, consistency and commitment. It is possible to be faithful to an object or code but it is equally possible to faithful to an ideal, an image or a fantasy. A faithful technique can be a method of enlargement or extension or pedagogical mobilisation. By focusing on dance, performance and movement studies across varied media, ‘Techniques of Fidelity’ investigates the challenges present in the display of live and corporeal art. The inevitable failures of verbatim re-presentation and the study of display create a space for knowledge that simultaneously exceeds and resists representation. As the paradoxical title suggests, this work’s methodology is based in the comparison of objects and materials, through which the project outlines a definition of faithful practice.
Class of 2015
Stine Ailling Jacobsen (Visual Culture, Denmark), Phoebe Eustance (Artist & Botanist, UK), Eldar Ganz (Architect, Israel), Hania Halabi (Architect, Palestine), Thomas Jenkins (Architect, UK), Ion Maleas (Architect, Greece), Pietro Pezzani (Architect, Italy), Grace Phillipps (Geographer & Poet, USA), Laurie Robbins (Graphic Designer & Wolf Specialist, UK), Sam Stork (Architect, UK), Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe (Art Critic & Historian, UK)\
Hania Halabi - Through the Scopic Lens:
Geology, Agency & Secrecy of Fallahin Architecture
On May 4th 2015, High Court Judge Noam Solberg rejected a petition for an interim order that would freeze the implementation of demolition orders issued against homes in the village of Khirbet Susya, a tiny encampment of tents and shacks in Area C within the West Bank, where a few hundred people are still hanging onto what is left of their ancestral lands. They do so in the face of the Israeli Civil Administration, which could uproot the entire village of 80 structures at any moment following that decision. In Summer 2015, when I was writing my dissertation and preparing for MARA’s exhibition, the whole village lives on the brink of eviction, awaiting a fateful decision from a pending court hearing.
In my research into the conflict of Susya, I transform the photograph of the Concrete Tent into my scopic research tool. Using it both as a microscope for viewing small details, and as a telescope for making remote observations and broad-scale spatial analysis. In doing so, I allow sight to extend over a spectrum of scales, across which the conflict unfolds. This opens up a field of vision that reaches beyond the limits of what is visible inside the image’s frame. By analysing the envelope of the Concrete Tent, I show how the concrete and fabric strata delineate the borders of the village’s white, grey and black spaces, and explain their materiality in relation to the village’s ground jurisdictional pattern.
Grace Phillips - Lines of Sight: A Meteorological History
My dissertation plotted the history of meteorology within the expansion of the British Empire, exploring the problem taking an invisible material (the air) as an object of science. By tracing the circulation and distribution of a set of materials - a popular British weather broadcast called the Shipping Forecast, the Forecast's metric the Beaufort Scale, developments in glass-making for scientific instruments, and a networked architecture of observation - I sought to understand the role of the visual in the production of knowledge.
My research examined the difficulty of engaging with an object that cannot be seen in its totality from any one vantage point. It highlighted implications in an observation practice that occurs when an object of study is only visible as it appears in other things (i.e. wind). The project questioned the possibility of objective vantage points and the priority of objects over relations in modern epistemologies. Taking a cue from the poetry of the early wind measuring systems, the work resolved by suggesting a need for further exploration of embedded vantage points.
Class of 2014
Yasmine Abboud (Architect, Lebanon), Olympia Anesti (Architect, Greece), Nick Axel (Architect, US), Jacob Burns (Activist & Art History BA, UK), Jesse Connuck (BA History, US), Rodrigo Delso (Architect, Spain), Helene Kazan (Artist, UK), Yi-Hui Lin (Designer, Taiwan), Frank Mandell (Literature, US), Hannah Meszaros Martin (Artist, US), Basima Sisemore (Peace & Conflict Studies, Palestine & US), Alan Yates (Artist, UK)
Nick Axel - Grounding Deregulation
On August 8th, 2005, George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Policy Act and deregulated the production technique of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. Fracking is a supplemental step in the traditional process of drilling for oil and gas that occurs between well completion and production. Fluid is injected down into the well at high pressure to rupture the geological formation and release and oil and gas trapped within its structure. Fracking allows for petroleum to be extracted from places where it would be impossible to do so otherwise. The most significant effect of its deregulation was that the scope of industrial interest was drastically expanded to encompass significantly more land area than was conceived of previously as viable for oil and gas production. In other words, what fracking does geologically, it also did economically. Fracking reconfigured the speculative logics of development and its deregulation was immediately followed by a land grab for un-owned mineral rights.
I wanted to understand how it could be possible to intervene within such a dramatic and rapid process of territorial development that propagates grave ecological risk, along with political disenfranchisement across the American landscape. The object of my study could be thought of as the political architecture of democracy, rights as they are institutionally situated and geographically distributed. My unique contribution to the ongoing debate surrounding fracking was the exposition of a new terrain for intervention, that of the regulatory device called unitization. The work presented was produced to represent the relation between an individual plot of land and international networks of speculation.
Class of 2013
Andrea Bagnato (Architect, Italy), Jennifer Boyd, Jessica Donato, Hannah Husberg (Art, Sweden), Daniel Fernandes Pascual (Architect, Spain), Bhavika Patel (Interior Architecture & Design, UK), Elina Pelvanidi (Archtect, Greece), Maria-Angeliki Sakellariou, Alon Schwabe (Performance Artist, Israel), Doron Van Beider (Architect, Israel)
Class of 2012
Palwasha Amanullah (Architect, Pakistan), Nadia Barhoum (Political Economist, US), Remco de Blaaij (Curator, NL), Eva Dietrich (Architect, Germany), Daniel Fernández Pascual (Architect, Spain), Blake Fisher (Architect, USA), Mirko Gatti (Architect, Italy), Janet Hall (Architect, Northern Ireland), Samir Harb (Architect, Palestine), Irmelin Joelson (Sociologist, Sweden), Heejung Kim (Architect, South Korea), Steffen Kraemer (Media Theorist & Filmmaker, Germany), Chris Molinski (Curator, US), Corinne Quin (Interior Designer, UK)
Blake Fisher - Applied Idleness: On the Economy of Pastoral Images
The pastoral mode reaches back to the known origins of language and human settlement. In many ways, it has been a cultural site through which the transitional condition between settlement/movement, leisure/work, and otium/negotium has found poetic expression. In other words, it has served as a register for the emergence of governance and urbanization.
Readings of the pastoral sometimes presume the mode to be a reductive stand-in for nostalgia and loss of former Edenic utopias, or of the pre-modern in general. However, such cursory readings fail to recognize its potential to redirect power toward those caught in the crossfire of the violence of state formation. In fact, such presumptions depoliticize the mode while trivializing its capacity to depict the banal and inoperative – depictions that may resist being caught up in power’s production of artifice and glory.
‘Applied Idleness: On the Economy of Pastoral Images’ tracks some of these co-opted images through a contemporary landscape of state violence, that is, Afghanistan during the U.S. military occupation that has been continuous since 2001. It follows a series of images in which Central and Southern Asian artifacts, natural resources, and poems are fed through an American salvation machine and transformed into tactics for primitive accumulation and economic development. Thus, the pastoral mode is refocused through a political-theological lens that intertwines issues of sovereignty, poetics, and visual culture.
Class of 2011
Manuel Hotzl, Anisha Jogani, Jan Lemitz (Photographer), Roberta Mahfuz, Igor Pavlovic (Artist), Francesco Ceriani Sebregondi (Architect, France)
Class of 2010
Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Artist, UK / Jordan), Daniella Behrman, Lottie Louise Cantle, Campbell John Drake, Yazan Fathallah Alkhalili (Artist, Palestine), Sidsel Hansen (Theorist, Denmark), Duncan Marsden, Pol Thomas McLernon, Erhan Oze, Ana Isabel Vieira Bastos Cardoso Dos Reis
Class of 2009
Vinicius Duarte, Anja-Carolin Hine, Mercedes Rodrigo Garcia, Rastko Novakovic, Lorenzo Pezzani (Italy), Joana Samaio Rodrigues, Alessandro Sambini
Class of 2008
Yu Daigaku, Lito Pittris, Melisa Vargas Rivera, Manuel Singer, Ruth Solomon, Wanja Wambu, Meropi Zavlari
Class of 2007
Guilia Carabelli, Nathaniel Dorent, Christina Linortiner, Ya-Yu Tseng