EPISODE 9: WATER FUTURES
In December 2020, for the first time, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange allowed investors to trade water as a commodity on the stock market. Water has been officially commodified, a move that challenges the notion that all life should have free access to it. This inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless substance has historically transported nutrients, bacteria, toxins, ships, plants, and people in nearly frictionless ways across vast expanses. It flows across the surface of the Earth and through our bodies, is absorbed by soil, evaporated by the sun, captured by pressure as clouds, and filtered through territories as rain and rivers, all while carving the built environment like a canyon. In towns and cities established on the basis of frictionless trade, almost half of the population of Earth still lives near the coast, where the level of water is rising as the polar ice caps melt. Is it possible or probable to reduce the risks of living at the edge of a body of water? How are stories about life within the water cycle laying the foundation for a system of equitable and reparative health? Was water ever really free?
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Dele Adeyemo is an architect, artist, and critical urban theorist. His creative practice, research, and pedagogy interrogate the underlying racial drivers in the production of space. Dele is completing his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the recipient of the JAE Fellowship, the CCA-Mellon Fellowship, and Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Research Fellowship. Adeyemo’s projects have been presented internationally, including the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial, and the 2nd Edition of the Lagos Biennial. He currently teaches an architecture design studio at the Royal College of Art, London.
Mario Gooden is a cultural-practice architect and director of Mario Gooden Studio / Architecture + Design. His work crosses the thresholds between the design of architecture and the built environment, writing, research, and performance. Gooden is also the director of the Masters of Architecture Program at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) of Columbia University and a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, and the recipient of the 2019 National Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture. Gooden is the author of Dark Space: Architecture Representation Black Identity (2016) and numerous essays and articles on architecture, art, and cultural production.
Rianne Makkink is a designer-architect and the cofounder of the design office Studio Makkink & Bey. The studio’s many projects range from interior design, product design, public space projects, architecture, and exhibition and shop-window design to research and applied-arts projects. Since 2012 the Studio has run its own initiated project, Waterschool, which was recognized by the Dutch Design Awards in 2022. Makkink has been teaching at several universities and academies within the field of architecture and design, namely the University of Ghent (BE), the Art Academy Linz (AT), the Design Academy Eindhoven and Arnhem (NL), and the Technical University Delft (NL).
Feifei Zhou is an architect, artist, and researcher. She was a guest researcher at Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA), during which she co-edited the digital publication Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene (2020). Her research and design work explores spatial, cultural, and ecological impacts of the industrialized built and natural environment. Using narrative-based spatial analysis, she collaborates intensively with social scientists to translate empirical observations and scientific research into visual representations that aim to both clarify intricate more-than-human relations and open new questions. She is currently a visiting critic at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University.
Lindsey Wikstrom is the cofounding principal of Mattaforma, a design and research practice, and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Her Core I architecture studio explores the generative potential of material sourcing, commons, and renewability, while her Advanced IV studio focuses on the architectural and urban implications of biodiverse mass timber. Her research has been supported by the SOM Foundation, published in Embodied Energy and Design: Making Architecture between Metrics and Narratives, and exhibited at the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival. Wikstrom has a forthcoming essay in Cite and a book project with Routledge.
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This session will be led virtually through Zoom, a free video-conferencing software. Participants are encouraged to use a computer, smart phone, or tablet with a camera and Internet access, if possible. Participants may also dial in using a phone line. Participants will receive a Zoom link upon registering.
This event was made possible through a generous gift from Emilio Ambasz. The Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment is a platform for fostering dialogue, promoting conversation, and facilitating research about the relationship between the built and natural environment, with the aim of making the interaction between architecture and ecology visible and accessible to the wider public while highlighting the urgent need for an ecological recalibration.