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Winter Semester 2021/2022

• Frankfurt & Darmstadt

CCSA Seminar

Architecture, Archives and Activism

Sarah Borree, Frederike Lausch and Daniela Ortiz dos Santos

This seminar proposes to think of archives and archival work as potential forms of activism in the realm of architecture production and architecture discourse. Activism implies a political demand if we understand the political as a communicative and conflictual space in which we all decide as a society how to act together. Archives are neither neutral nor stable institutions. They are historical and political entities themselves. They preserve, legitimize and shape both production and consumption of histories and theories of the built environment. Going beyond but not excluding the examination of records preserved in architectural collections, this seminar tackles the historical and political processes of institutionalization, memory-making practices and socio-cultural legitimation of knowledge in architecture and urbanism.

What is an archive or what can it be? And can we look at the city as an archive? Bringing into view that every archive represents a particular and curated perspective, the seminar not only addresses how, why and through whom archives are being constructed, it also wants to explore ways to critically interrogate and maybe even deconstruct existing archives and ask whether decolonial, feminist, social and anti-racist approaches to working with and through archives can be considered forms of activism. Our efforts are to shift from a panoramic historical perspective on architectural research and to propose a platform for the exchange of situated positions, propositions and narratives.

This block seminar is part of the Semesterschwerpunkt “Architecture, Archives and Activism”, in which a series of events and activities around this topic, including a lecture series organized by Prof. Dr. Carsten Ruhl, will be taking place through the Winter Semester 2021–2022 at the Art History Department of the Goethe University Frankfurt.

The program includes two workshop sessions, archival visits, and city walks in the cities of Frankfurt and Darmstadt. This is a joint seminar between the Art History Department of the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Architecture Department of the Technical University Darmstadt, in collaboration with the Deutsches Architekturmuseum.

It was conceived in the context of the CCSA by Sarah Borree (LOEWE/CCSA, Goethe University), Frederike Lausch (CCSA, Technical University Darmstadt) and Daniela Ortiz dos Santos (CCSA, Goethe University).

Language of the Seminar: German and English