Advisors: Jean-François Bédard, Britt Eversole, Julie Larsen

Someone once said that we are dust, and unto dust we shall return. But what if we begin to recognize that, like everything else that surrounds us, we are always already only dust: meaningless matter, assemblies of imperfect atomic agglomerations, admixtures of elements that excrete foul substances. Architects are agents of the particulate impurities of the world. The cult of ideal form—not simply those irksome Platonic solids that impose themselves on our digital imaginary but also the misperception of the permanence of human and non-human objects—distracts us from forming and deforming, from emergence and decline, and from the unraveling, unwinding, and disheveling of every hylomorphic condition and every nonhuman morphology. Yet architecture’s semantic field remains yoked to the phenomenological legacy of the moral ways of working with the stuff of building—from Ruskin to Kahn to Frampton, we’ve been following an elitist map of reactionary tectonic propriety that guides us to pre-ordained elegance, prefigured poetics, and an outdated sense of beauty, all while pretending that markets and environments play little role in our designs and that all our efforts at reproducing the ideal (for the ideal can only be reproduced) don’t end up corroded, incomplete, imperfect, and left to rot. A focus on matter swerves around the comforting disingenuity of good practice and pretty aesthetics, and instead insists on an approach that looks not at the quantitative “performance” of materials but the behavior and misbehavior of assemblages, practices, and machines. Matter eschews nature/culture oppositions, insofar as matter (both material and immaterial) can be simulated, projected, and invented to create new feedback loops with environmental systems. Animal, vegetable, mineral—you can design them all. We accept that the Earth and earth are already de-natured and inauthentic. We embrace the uncanny effects of engineering a world—or many worlds—for a cynical society that is post-original, post-truth, post-fact…a society that long ago jettisoned its anxieties about essence and instead turned to questions of effects and affects. Today dissimulations surround us: material and aesthetic simulations that preserve the reality principle. They are simulations so artfully engineered and executed that we consider them part of the quotidian and the found because they enjoy an uninterrupted synchrony with their surroundings, which is what imbues them with critical and political potential. The future of the world of simulations is neither the utopian nor the dystopian, but the unwinding of the world itself as the first step in its renewal as something different. Tectonics reaffirm, but matter satisfies desires, weaponizes fears, plays with memory, and upsets our aesthetic proclivities and our penchant for perfection. Matter absorbs pain and pleasure. Matter releases placebos, toxins, pestilences, hallucinogens, and curatives. Matter is already encoded with politics, economy, geology, geography, genetics, and (deep) history. Matter is always befouled, stained, sullied, and covered in blood.

MONDAY, MAY 1, 10 am - 5 pm, 4TH floor atrium

Internal Critics: Kamell, Linder, Pellicano, Hunker, Pearson

10:00 AM Jenna Merry
Ephemeral Mycotectures
(1st Floor Atrium)
11:00 AM Gina Bouza & Meejan Patel
Primitive Pieces
1:00 PM Brian Andrew Mainardi
Material Identity
2:00 PM Charlotte Bascombe & Andrea De Haro
Paradigms of the Post-Natural
3:00 PM Taylor Hoople

My Abject Body
(Slocum 401)

4:00 PM Winnie Tam
(Marble Room)


tuesday, may 2, 9:30 am - 6:30 pm, 4TH floor atrium

Internal Critics: Shanks, Hubeli, Corso

10:00 AM Valeria Otero Lopez
Toxic Glacier
(Walls outside Slocum 126)
11:00 AM

Morgan Rae Noone

(Shaffer 121)

12:45 PM Yaqi (Ariela) Zhang & Yukun Kjo Zhuang
Entropic Regeneration
1:45 PM Sarah Hanna
Traces of Memory
2:45 PM Matthew Gilligan
Evolution and Expiration
3:30-4:30 PM BREAK
4:30 PM Kiley Russell

Archival Fictions of Landscape
(Slocum 307)

5:30 PM Liam Baker
Unsuitable Accumulations
(Slocum 308)