Architectural Wor(l)ds in the Undercommons

Frederik Kaufmann
Frederik Kaufmann
Ismael Bahri
Ismael Bahri
Huda Tayob
Huda Tayob
Olalekan Jeyifous
Olalekan Jeyifous
Shervin Sheikh Rezaei
Shervin Sheikh Rezaei
Message Salon Köchlistrasse 5
Message Salon Köchlistrasse 5
Thomas Aquilina
Thomas Aquilina
Shervin Sheikh Rezaei
Shervin Sheikh Rezaei
Leslie Lokko & Sumayya Vally
Leslie Lokko & Sumayya Vally
Hotel Rothaus
Hotel Rothaus
Thandi Loewensen
Thandi Loewensen

About 

Working from and within the social poesis of life in the Undercommons, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney elaborate an array of concepts as ‘words making worlds’: study, debt, surround, planning, shipped, fugitivity, undercommons. They point to the ongoingness and ever-presence of self-organised arrangements that operate outside institutional logics with an intentionality to survive, and find joy. Against a backdrop of dominant norms – embedded in culture, standards, objects, buildings – these undercommons are often excluded, overlooked or relegated to the ‘other’. Through a radical shift of perspective – where being included is no longer the goal, but refusing to take part and to act on own terms takes centre stage – Moten & Harney consider these undercommons as forms of intelligence and togetherness that serve as a blueprint for being together in this world otherwise.

During this course we will ask: how to understand these undercommons in spatial terms? What kind of spatial intelligence do they hold or point at? Through case studies and encounters with spatial practices we make their spatial solutions, ‘beyond’ typologies or methods for space-making seen, and through this, we reflect on ourselves as spatial practitioners. Departing from Moten & Harney’s fugitive vocabulary we look at spaces otherwise: spaces creating worlds driven by a desire to live, dwell, survive and dream, anchored on multiple bodies, experiences and ontologies. Through this we engage with questions on authorship, togetherness, difference and the ‘other’ in spatial practice today.

Enrolment here

This is a seminar in which we will read, walk and think together, for which attendance is expected. The seminar will partially take place off campus, and is organised in bi-weekly assemblies on Thursday afternoon.

Lecturers: Els Silvrants-Barclay & Khensani Jurczok-de Klerk
Guests: Marie-Louise Richards, Huda Tayob and Shen He. 

Tools

  • A reading list combines excerpts from the Undercommons with other texts. Some texts we read and discuss collectively, other texts serve further (individual) study. 
  • A google drive and map (here) give access to an ongoing mapping of what we have speculatively coined undercommoning practices in Zurich. 
  • Invited guests will share insights from their practice and research in a series of invited lectures, relating back to Moten & Harney’s thinking. 
  • Our collaborative playlist Beyond The Wild (connect here) joins us in our thinking, walking and dancing​​​​​​