The Digital Now: Architecture and Intersectionality

Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Canada
Deadline: 29 September 2020

Cedric Price. Generator project, White Oak Plantation, Yulee, Florida: conceptual sketch.
 (Between 1976 and 1979). DR1995:0280:124, Cedric Price fonds, Collection CCA. © CCA

Cedric Price. Generator project, White Oak Plantation, Yulee, Florida: conceptual sketch. (Between 1976 and 1979). DR1995:0280:124, Cedric Price fonds, Collection CCA. © CCA

How does digital design intersect with the simultaneous relations between race, class, gender, ability, and sexuality? To question the ways in which digital architectural production and social identity formation are intertwined, the CCA in Montréal invites practitioners, curators, scholars, and technologists to join the collaborative multidisciplinary research project The Digital Now: Architecture and Intersectionality.

Intersectionality entails a way of seeing and navigating a world with differential forms of justice. Pioneered by intellectuals and activists in the 1970s, from Kimberlé Crenshaw to the Combahee River Collective, it is rooted in gendered and racialized experiences of capitalism. Within the architecture discipline, an intersectional approach may foreground the under-acknowledged impacts the built environment has on, for example, Black or Indigenous peoples across the full spectrum of their lived experiences. In this regard, the Canadian Centre for Architecture conceives of the digital as a shared space of critique that demands intersectional points of articulation for new media technologies and the projection of futures.

For the The Digital Now, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities Initiative, the CCA invites proposals that can collectively assemble an intersectional discourse on digital design in our contemporary moment that attends to racialized, classed, and other justice-driven dimensions. Participants could imagine digital architectural practices in relation to past and present conceptions of labour, equitable and sustainable infrastructures, or racial justice across an array of geographies. They will be expected to co-create a collective project that furthers the scope of how intersectionality articulates architecture as a broad field of practice, scholarship, and public concern that must respond to evolving definitions and manifestations of the digital.

The CCA has a long-standing investment in questioning the relationships between new media and architectural culture. In 2013, the multi-year research project, Archaeology of the Digital, investigated the foundations of digital architecture in the 1980s. Through a series of linked exhibitions, publications, and critical research programs, the CCA explored how novel digital tools motivated experiment-driven architecture well into the 1990s, and initiated ways of preserving and giving access to born-digital material. The CCA now holds a unique collection of digital design projects and has helped pioneer archival methods for engagement with obsolete software.

A group of eight Mellon Researchers will be selected for an eighteen-month engagement with The Digital Now, starting in winter 2021. Each participant will receive a stipend of USD 12,000, a research allowance of USD 3,500, and funded travel to support their participation in three multi-day Mellon workshops and seminars. The convening committee includes CCA Director Giovanna Borasi (Director, CCA) and Rafico Ruiz (Associate Director, Research, CCA), joined by Samia Henni (Cornell University), David Theodore (McGill University) and Molly Wright Steenson (Carnegie Mellon University).

Applicants should submit their proposal by 28 September 2020.




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