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Superpowers of Scale

Fri, Dec 4, 2020    1pm

Book launch and discussion for the newly released Superpowers of Scale by Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation from Columbia Books on Architecture and the City. The event will feature presentations from Daniel Barber, Tei Carpenter, Beatriz Colomina, Keller Easterling, Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe, Mario Gooden, Jack Halberstam, Ana María León, Jacolby Satterwhite, Michael Wang, Mabel Wilson, and Albena Yaneva in conversation with Andrés Jaque and James Graham.

The objects of architecture are not simply inert assemblies of material—they are complex entities that unfold their potential agencies (whether political, social, or environmental) in equally complex ways. Exploring these forms of architectural agency has in recent years been a central aspect of the work of Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation, who, in addition to their built works, pursue a research practice through the many other media of architectural production. Their projects are reactive, intervening on what already exists to demonstrate how design, politics, and criticality operate across different scales and at the intersection of multiple realities. Jaque’s performances, videos, and installations—and this book, which collects a range of recent research projects—bring new subjects into the fold of architecture, focusing on alternative actors, distributions of power and representation, and the sociocultural effects of architecture. These episodes address ideas like genetic manipulation, the necessary requeering of dequeered spaces of online interaction, and the selling of modern architectural comforts in order to subvert the field from within and to contest capitalism’s flattening-out of public life.

Rather than propose alternative-from-scratch futuristic or idealized realities, Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation claim that reality is produced at the intersection of things like porn, interior design, maintenance, and the territorial distribution of toxicity. Documenting a series of performances, research projects, installations, films, characters, and exhibitions, Superpowers of Scale demonstrates the breadth of architectural knowledge and its possible representations.