• Counter-institutions: Producing Pedagogies of Freedom
    Ana María León

Torneo Edros vs. Oides, 1979, Ciudad Abierta, Chile. Courtesy of Archivo Histórico José Vial Armstrong, Escuela de Arquitectura y Diseño, PUCV.

The museum, the prison, and the school have been traditionally theorized as institutional agents that form disciplined and loyal citizens—but they also carry within them the ability to create counter-narratives to the state, resisting and subverting the sources of power. This research traces three case studies in which institutions were mobilized in opposition to increasingly aggressive states: a counter-exhibition designed and curated by architect Lina Bo Bardi and playwright Martim Gonçalves in São Paulo, Brazil; the combined narratives of the Open City architecture school and the Ritoque concentration camp in early 1970s Chile, and the work of La Escuelita, an architecture school that operated during the Argentinian dictatorship. Together, these narratives reveal the possibilities of architecture to subvert the agency of power and participate in the production of pedagogies of freedom.

Ana María León is assistant professor at the University of Michigan. Ongoing research examines the correlation between public space and public housing, by connecting architectural projects, political events, and discussions on the public realm. León also works on the intersection between pedagogy and participatory politics, particularly as related to the Marxist pedagogy of Paulo Freire and the participatory discourse of Jacques Rancière. A third line of research follows networks of capital and violence as revealed in curation and the rise of the exhibitionary complex in architecture. León is part of several collaborations focused on broadening the reach of architectural academia, including the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative, the Global Architectural History Collaborative, and Detroit Resists. She holds a PhD from the History, Theory, and Criticism Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MDes from Harvard University, an MArch from Georgia Tech, and an Architecture Diploma from Universidad Católica in Guayaquil.