X-TALK #34 BY F-ARCHITECTURE

Thu, Feb 15    7pm

HYMENOPLASTIC PRACTICES [architectures intimate and out of control]

f-architecture in conversation with Shireen Talhouni (architect and choreographer)

Lecture Abstract:

Between research and its designed outcomes, f-architecture embraces architectures of body. Through ethnographic methodologies, performances of inquiry, and acts of design, we aim to see and reshape the contours of built realities that act for and against women-identified subjects.

Today, women choose or are compelled to simulate virginity, a concept still secured by the form of the hymen. These performances in body are enabled by temporary and permanent measures: prosthetic artifacts manufactured in discrete markets, operating rooms and private homes, architectures which share in the cultural production of virginity and its commodity forms. Beirut in particular — a MENA capital for medical tourism, Arab soap-star beauty, and lingering gender and sexual norms — is a site whose bodily indulgences and corrections converge in the plastic surgery clinic. Interior finishes, collateral objects and aesthetic protocols aid in the spatial and cultural production of contemporary virginity and sexuality available in new commodity forms.

Expounding on current discourse surrounding the role of the built environment in shaping subjects, culture and politics, we understand architecture as the confluence of the technological, social and economic — an organizing force in a constellation of produced and productive objects. Operating on the hymen’s material semiotic register, we envision critical hymenoplastic forms to displace and reclaim sexuality as a set of self-authoring maneuvers. The research we are presenting takes on several forms: the map of the market, the production of prosthetic objects and close exam of formal and informal clinical spaces.

About f-architecture:

feminist architecture collaborative is a three-woman architectural research enterprise aimed at disentangling the contemporary spatial politics and technological appearances of bodies, intimately and globally. Their projects traverse theoretical and activist registers to locate new forms of architectural work through critical relationships with collaborators across the globe. Current projects are located in New York City, on the US-Mexico border, in the Amazon of Ecuador, and in Jordan and Lebanon. Their writing and work has appeared in Harvard Design Magazine, Ed, and Girls Like Us, and at institutions including the Morgan Library and Museum, the New School, and UN-Habitat.

f-architecture was founded by Gabrielle Printz, Virginia Black, and Rosana Elkhatib in 2016. They are alumni of the Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture program (CCCP) at Columbia GSAPP, and former members of the GSAPP Incubator at NEW INC.