In the introduction to the book ‘Lieux Infinis’ which captures the French contribution to the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the curators Encore Heureux write about how the “majority of us are slowly beginning to grasp the interconnectedness of our ecological, economic, and social problems while starting to see – all too slowly – ways of facing up to them”.
It is this ‘facing-up to them…’ that will be the topic of this seminar and which will be encountered, negotiated and discussed through academic work and projects. Starting off with the hunch that bottom-up approaches, situated ways of learning and commons-based practices have an important part to play in addressing such challenges we will begin by reading – collectively – a series of texts that conceptualise ways of engaging with the world on other terms: from agonistic planning principles and participatory frameworks to action research as well as ethical and solidarity-focused approaches.
From these readings, the plan is to come up with a catalogue of questions that will guide subsequent steps: the critical discussion and analysis of historical or contemporary examples of such approaches, of people and practices ‘facing up’ and developing, to use Donna Haraway’s words, “a praxis of care and response-ability”. This work will then feed into a common register meant to serve as an instrument to understand better the choices we make and the positions we take not just as architects, but as active and responsible citizens.