March 2, 2016

The Architecture of Segregation

Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm

Civil Rights March on Washington, 28 August 1963. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Main lecture:
Broken Windows: On Mediapolitics, Race, and the Neoliberal City”
Speaker: Reinhold Martin

Samira Ariadad, Nathan Hamelberg, Mara Lee

Friday, April 8, 15h
“Racialised Segregation and Inequality in Antiracist Sweden”
Speaker: Tobias Hübinette

Find the event and plan your visit at the RIA website

In 1903, the African-American sociologist and activist W.E.B. Du Bois argued that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” By the end of the 20th century, that line had split, joined with others, and multiplied into innumerable branches worldwide. Reinhold Martin’s lecture, as the main component of The Architecture of Segregation, will analyze one of its more recent branches—”broken windows” policing and related spatial practices—as a form of neoliberal mediapolitics, or a politics of order mediated by urban infrastructures. Among these ordering infrastructures are material boundaries or thresholds that produce and reproduce, rather than merely reflect, socioeconomic differentials and their conflicts. These infrastructures are governed by an aesthetic logic to which mediapolitical analysis gives strategic access.

Reinhold Martin is Professor of Architecture in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, where he directs the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. At Columbia, Martin is a member of the Committee on Global Thought as well as the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. He was also a founding co-editor of the journal Grey Room. Martin’s books include The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space (MIT Press, 2003), Utopia’s Ghost: Architecture and Postmodernism, Again (Minnesota, 2010), and Multi-National City: Architectural Itineraries (with Kadambari Baxi, Actar, 2007). A collection of theoretical essays on the contemporary city is forthcoming as The Urban Apparatus: Mediapolitics and the City (Minnesota, 2016). He is also currently working on a history of the nineteenth century American university as a media complex.

Reinhold Martin’s lecture is located within the wider scope of The Architecture of Segregation that takes as its point of reference that housing has been governed by what Martin refers to as “racial redlining and restrictive covenants that uphold social codes by which households are legally and financially constructed.” It is within the frame of this kind of analysis, Martin notes, that the responsibility of architectural discourse and practice embarks to learn to think and act concretely.

The Architecture of Segregation, introduced by RIA’s Rector Marta Kuzma will conclude with presentations by Samira Ariadad, a Malmö based writer and activist who focuses on subjects of the commons, control and public spaces, in addition to lecturing within RIA’s Critical Habitats course and being part of the editorial collective for the Swedish journal, Brand; Mara Lee, a Stockholm based writer, poet and scholar currently working on a research project focused on love, intimate strangers, and emotional labour, and also recent author of the novel Future Perfect (Bonniers, 2014) and PhD thesis “The Writing of Others: Writing conceived as Resistance, Responsibility and Time” (Glänta, 2014); Nathan Hamelberg, a Stockholm based media theorist, writer and frequent lecturer on the topic of stereotypes and power structures within visual culture as well as co-founder of the anti-racist initiative Mellanförskapet.

Architecture of Segregation concludes with an afterword lecture entitled “Racialised Segregation and Inequality in Antiracist Sweden” as presented by Tobias Hübinette, a Senior Lecturer in Intercultural studies at Sweden’s Karlstad University and Associate Professor in Intercultural Education. Tobias Hubinette is responsible for the Swedish research network for critical race and whiteness studies while researching the notion of a “new multiracial and racially segregated Sweden” in an effort to provide an overview of the current state of Sweden through the lens of race with regard to issues of segregation and inequality. Hubinette is the author of Om ras och vithet i det samtida Sverige (On Race and Whiteness in Contemporary Sweden) Botkyrka: Mångkulturellt centrum, 2012.

The Architecture of Segregation at RIA’s website.

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