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4 West Burton Place
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Telephone: 312.787.4071
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The_arab_city_cover

The Arab City
Amale Andraos
Dec 15, 2016, 6pm

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Amale Andraos will discuss her recent publication, The Arab City: Architecture and Representation co-edited with Nora Akawi, which engages contemporary architectural and urban production in the Middle East. Taking the "Arab City" and "Islamic Architecture" as sites of investigation rather than given categories, this book reframes the region's buildings, cities, and landscapes and broadens its architectural and urban canons.

Amale Andraos is Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and co-founder of WORKac, a New York-based architectural and urban practice focused on re-imaging architecture at the intersection of the urban, the rural, and the natural. The practice has achieved international recognition for projects such as the Centre de Conferences in Libreville, Gabon and the Edible Schoolyard at PS216 in Brooklyn, NY. Her current projects include the Miami Collage Garage and a residential conversion of a historic New York cast-iron building. WORKac was named the AIA New York State Firm of the Year in 2015. Prior to Columbia, Andraos taught at universities including Princeton University School of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the American University in Beirut. Her publications include Architecture and Representation: The Arab City, co-edited with Nora Akawi, as well as 49 Cities and Above the Pavement the Farm! co-authored with her partner, Dan Wood.

The Graham would like to thank Perrier for supporting our public programs.

For more information on the exhibition, Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation, click here.

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Kjell Theøry: A Prologue
ATOM­-r (Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality)
Jan 20, 2017, 7pm
Performance

Kjell Theøry: Prologue is an Augmented Reality performance juxtaposing the historical narrative of gay computing pioneer Alan Turing’s forced chemical castration and subsequent gynecomastia (development of breasts) with algorithmic mutations of Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1917 play, Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Tirésias’ Tits), a genderfluid spectacle for which the author invented the word surrealism. In Apollinaire's play, a woman Theresa, transforms into the male prophet, Tiresias, while her husband gives birth to 40,049 babies. The play was intended as a staged plea for the men of France to replenish the population after the devastation of the first world war.

In the last two years of his life, Alan Turing began to visit Scandinavia, seeking tolerance and following desire, following his prosecution for crimes of indecency. He had shifted his focus from computing to biology and was developing a theory of morphogenesis, the autonomous generation of flowers and other natural forms. It appears, from his notes, that he named his theory for a male Norwegian love interest, Kjell. His situation with someone he calls Den Norske Gutte, the Norwegian boy, is poorly documented but evidence suggests that it threatened to escalate into further legal troubles.

Kjell Theory is a poetic and choreographic system that blurs the boundaries between the binaries of physical and virtual space, past and future, male and female genders, and human and machine.

Performances will be on the following dates:
JAN 20, 7PM
JAN 21, 7PM
JAN 27, 7PM
JAN 28, 7PM
FEB 03, 7PM
FEB 04, 7PM

Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r) is a provisional collective exploring forensics, anatomy, and 21st century embodiment through performance, language and emerging technologies. Core participants include Mark Jeffery (choreography), Judd Morrissey (technology & dramaturgical systems), Justin Deschamps, and Christopher Knowlton (collaborators/performers).

Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r) are a collaboration merging performance, language, and emerging technologies. The work is interdisciplinary and evolves through large-scale projects with long durations of research and practice resulting in outputs across multiple platforms including internet art, augmented reality, site-specific installation, choreographed movement, books and objects. Projects culminate in a final piece cohesively integrating multiple elements into a distinct hybrid form.

The collective’s process creates a deeply entangled exchange between the live body and ubiquitously distributed data-driven systems. A project-specific ecology of source material from both originally-generated and externally-sampled feeds is internalized as movement, visualized as continuous panorama across screens, and mapped to bodies and geo-physical space through locative and computer-vision based augmented reality. The work is inherently variable, experienced as a tightly constrained but flexible information pattern that allows for close attention, emergence and interruption.

ATOM-r co-founders Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey are a long-standing collaboration (2003 - ) merging visual performance and computational poetics. Their projects are constructed as lush systems flowing generatively between bodies, objects and screens. Each work evolves slowly through context-specific research and practice and allows for a degree of adaptation in response to a given venue or occasion. Site-responsive considerations often include the physical performance space, the local community, and online activity happening within the locale. A given work is a fluid, cumulative body of material that may have no singular fixed form but is alternately or simultaneously presented as internet art, participatory event, durational live installation or a performance of fixed length.

Image credit: Nick Lowe

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PAST EVENTS

Road4

Jerusalem: Between Destruction and Obstruction
Nora Akawi
Nov 17, 2016, 6pm
Talk

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In this presentation, Nora Akawi aims to situate today’s experience of Jerusalem, a city trapped in constant excavation, in relation to its interrupted modernization in the past, and the obstructed imaginaries for a future. Through a brief overview of different forms of digging in the city (for archaeological excavations, for foundations of large construction, but also the systematic plowing through inhabited homes and neighborhoods), Akawi will feature Palestinian urban resilience in the city in the face of the violent destruction of traces of the past and the obstruction of possibilities to plan for a future.

Nora Akawi is an architect based between Amman and New York. In 2012, she joined Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) as curator of Studio-X Amman, a regional platform for programming and research in architecture run by Columbia GSAPP and the Columbia Global Centers | Amman. At Studio-X Amman, she leads the conceptualization and implementation of public programs and research initiatives on architecture in the Arab Mashreq by curating conferences, workshops, publications, screenings, lectures, and other collective forms of production in partnership with researchers or institutions in the region. Since 2014, she has been teaching a graduate seminar course of theory and visualization focused on borderlands, migration, citizenship and human rights at GSAPP. She studied architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem (B.Arch 2009). In 2011, she received her MS in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia GSAPP (MS.CCCP 2011), where she received the CCCP Thesis Award. Her thesis investigates the role of the archive in the formation of alternative political and spatial imaginaries in Palestine. She participates as Visiting Lecturer at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Art, in the Critical Habitats post-graduate program, and has served as critic in architecture programs at Columbia GSAPP, Barnard College, PennDesign, Harvard GSD, Georgia Tech, the Applied Science University in Amman, and GJU's SABE, among others. Publications include the book Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (co-edited by Amale Andraos, Nora Akawi, and Caitlin Blanchfield, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2016), and "Jerusalem: Dismantling Phantasmagorias, Constructing Imaginaries" in The Funambulist: Militarized Cities (edited by L. Lambert, 2015).

Image: Road #4, photo by Omar Abdelqader

The Graham would like to thank Perrier for supporting our public programs.

For more information on the exhibition, Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation, click here.

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Rifat Chadirji, Yasoub Rafiq Residence, Baghdad, 1965. Image courtesy of Rifat Chadirji.

Historic(ist) Encounters: Transforming Post-WWII Architecture in Baghdad
Amin Alsaden
Nov 09, 2016, 6pm
Talk

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This presentation will examine the critical encounters that took place in mid-twentieth-century Baghdad between native architects and some of Modernism's most renowned figures who were brought to the city as part of country’s oil-fueled development campaign. Specifically, the buildings of Rifat Chadirji will be compared with Walter Gropius's proposal for the new campus of the University of Baghdad, as the two struggled to give shape to the ambitions of a newly independent Iraq. By reading both against the crisis of historicism declared by contemporaneous architectural historians, Alsaden will demonstrate how working in Baghdad created tensions that forced a radical shift in architectural practice.

Amin Alsaden is a PhD candidate at Harvard University whose work focuses on global exchanges of ideas and expertise across cultural boundaries. His research interests include modern architecture, especially in the Muslim and Arab worlds; questions of globalism and universalism in architectural history and design; governance and space in conflict zones; formal and cognitive attributes of interiors; sociopolitical and professional motives behind cultural institutions and districts; and monumentality in contemporary art and architecture. His dissertation investigates a crucible moment in post-WWII Baghdad, when a host of factors produced an unprecedented architectural movement characterized by a unique intellectual agenda and aesthetic, later exported to a modernizing Middle East; it aims to demonstrate the social role architecture played in a crisis-laden Baghdad, and how the creative class embraced a cosmopolitan ethos manifested in their output. Alsaden holds an MA from Harvard University, a post-professional MArch from Princeton University, and a BArch with a minor in interior design from the American University of Sharjah. He practiced at various firms in Europe and the Middle East, most recently at OMA and MVRDV in the Netherlands.

The Graham would like to thank Perrier for supporting our public programs.

For more information on the exhibition, Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation, click here.

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Ecologies of Power
Pierre Bélanger & Alexander Arroyo
Nov 05, 2016, 3pm
Book Launch

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Join the Graham Foundation Bookshop for the launch of Ecologies of Power: Countermapping the Logistical Landscapes & Military Geographies of the U.S. Department of Defense (MIT Press, 2016), a Graham funded publication by Pierre Bélanger and Alexander Arroyo. Taking place as part of a new Saturday series of Graham Foundation grantee book launches in the Madlener House foyer, an informal space between the Graham Foundation’s Grantee Library and Bookshop, this event will feature a discussion between Bélanger and Arroyo as they introduce their anti-disciplinary process of research, development, and collaboration on the book during the past six years. The presentation will provide insight into the often neglected discourse about the role of media in spatial policy, logistical operations, military deployment, and infrastructural development at the intersection of matters of land, landscape, terrain, territory, and power. The talk will be followed by a reception in the bookshop where copies of the title will be available.

Weaving together an extraordinary range of visual media and original geographic work, this critical cartographic volume counter-maps the geospatial footprint of the U.S. Department of Defense beyond the battlefield, revealing a vast and shifting military-logistical landscape reshaping infrastructures and environments at every scale. Moving beyond conventional military geographies of combat zones and covert operations, Pierre Bélanger and Alexander Arroyo explore the forces and forms of this landscape from the molecular and metabolic to the political and the planetary, giving new dimension to familiar military milieux of land, air, sea, and space. In so doing, they trace out a growing assemblage of logistically linked “operational environments,” where militarized, demilitarized, and non-militarized landscapes are ever more entangled. It is in this assemblage that they find emergent ecologies of power at work in the making, unmaking, and remaking of operational environments across existing, emerging, and future horizons.

Pierre Bélanger is a landscape urbanist, founder of OPSYS (Landscape Infrastructure Lab), and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Co-Director of the postgraduate Master’s Degree in Design Studies Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Bélanger has received two Graham Foundation grants to individuals and is the national curator of the Canada Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Alexander Arroyo is an environmental designer and critical geographer with a background in philosophy from Columbia University and landscape architecture from Harvard University, currently pursuing his PhD in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.

Related Graham supported projects:

2013 Individual Grant to Pierre Bélanger for “Ecologies of Power: Countermapping the Logistical Landscapes and Military Geographies of the U.S. Department of Defense"

2016 Individual Grant to Pierre Bélanger and Nina-Marie Lister for "Extraction Empire: Sourcing the Scales, Systems, and States of a Global Resource Empire"

Image: Helmand Valley Region (Afghanistan) © Behrouz Mehri AFP Getty.

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Unless otherwise noted,
all events take place at:

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place, Chicago

Directions to Madlener House

Accessibility

Events are held in the ballroom on the third floor which is only accessible by stairs.
The first floor of the Madlener House is accessible via an outdoor lift. Please call 312.787.4071 to make arrangements.