10:00am EDT October 15, 2020

Global Mini-Series: Afaina de Jong

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Afaina de Jong
Founder/Director at AFARAI

Where can one find freedom within the spatial context of the contemporary city? Freedom to express one’s self publicly and having the freedom of assembly are concepts linked to the ideal notion of public space as part of the public domain. The contradictions of enlightenment thinking in which rationality and universal humanity are promoted, is central to understanding freedom in the context of the spaces that we share. The actual reality of public space is one of control, where the ideal of freedom of expression and assembly is often contested and is not a given for all. The idea of public space is an ongoing practice and social struggle in which many who are not seen as normative have to carve out space for themselves. The presence of highly particular voices connected to gender, race, class, and ability can no longer be seen as the confirmation of the premises and prejudices of the past, but exists as a reality of its own. This multiplicity of other is where new spatial languages and practices will redefine dominant architectural paradigms. How do we as architects arrive at a newfound set of values and knowledge systems to design actual spaces of freedom?

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