Collapse Symposium Schedule

4th Annual Symposium at Rhode Island School of Design
Wednesday, September 21

 

9:30 AM.    METCALF AUDITORIUM, RISD Museum

Registration, coffee, and pastries 

 

10:00 AM.    METCALF AUDITORIUM, RISD Museum

Welcoming Remarks by Justin Cook, Founding Director, Center for Complexity

Keynote Presentation: Chef Michael Lomonaco
Chef Michael Lomonaco, who survived the attacks of 9/11 by a twist of fate and as a NYC restaurateur has been navigating the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, will give a talk and engage in audience Q&A. Lomonaco’s experience provides a unique perspective on adapting, adjusting, and responding to crises with creativity and compassion. These experiences have given him “an acute appreciation for humanity, courage and determination.”

 

 12:00 PM
– 1:00 PM.    
Lunch Break

 

1:00 PM.    AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Panel Discussion
“Some Freedom Now”: Liberatory Practice and Community-Building in the Face of Collapse with Taylor Baldwin, Neftali Duran, Ellen Garrett, Damion Vania and the Social Critic, Writer and Community Activist, Ed Whitfield. 

 

  3:00 PM
– 4:15 PM.  LOBBY OF 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Coffee Break and Gallery Talks with Art & Inquiry Grant Recipients Taylor Baldwin, Andy Law, Caroline Gerberick, Shona Kitchen, Christopher Roberts, and Heather Rowe.

 

   4:15 PM
– 5:45 PM   
Breakout Sessions

AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
1. Reclaim / Occupy | Rebuild
Bill Di Paola, founder of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on NY’s Lower East Side, leads a participatory session on community change-making (past, present, future) — and squatting, community gardens, environmental activism, and the power of collective action.

CFC STUDIO 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
2. Art as a Generator for Personal and Community Vitality
Laura Brown-Lavoie and Vatic Kuumba
As fossil fueled systems collapse, human communities need to be recharged with energy sources that help us be more well. What role does art play in your personal healing? What is the ritual that transforms certain objects / texts / sounds / gestures into art, and how can that technology generate communal healing? 

 

   5:45 PM
– 6:00 PM.   AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Reconvening and Closing Remarks

 

6:30 PM.    Film: Collapse Director, Nelson Varas-Diaz

One hurricane, one study, thousands dead. On September 20, 2017 hurricane María hit the island of Puerto Rico with category four winds. The local government reported the number of dead at 64, while a Harvard University led study estimated 4645. This film tells the story of the research team that completed this historic study from the perspective of Dr. Domingo Marqués, the only team member to experience the hurricane firsthand. See how the local government reacted to the now famous study, and how a country prepares for the next catastrophic event.

Un huracán, un estudio, miles de muertos. El 20 de septiembre de 2017 el huracán María azotó la isla de Puerto Rico con vientos categoría cuatro. El gobierno local informó el número de muertos en 64, mientras que un estudio dirigido por la Universidad de Harvard estimó 4645. Esta película cuenta la historia del equipo de investigación que completó este estudio histórico desde la perspectiva del Dr. Domingo Marqués, el único miembro del equipo que experimentó el huracán de primera mano. Vea cómo reaccionó el gobierno local al ahora famoso estudio, y cómo un país se prepara para el próximo evento catastrófico.

 

 

Thursday, September 22

9:30 AM.   AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Registration, Coffee, and Pastries 

 

10:00 AM –
12:30 PM.   AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Mining Waste: Designing in a broken world
Ang Li with Amy Seo and Billy Dufala joining remotely. Moderated by Arianna Deane, Cara Liberatore and Amelyn Ng.

Architecture is premised on waste. As buildings erode, decay, or become obsolete over time, waste from their demolition and repair is often poorly managed with little focus on ecological care. New construction produces its own excesses which are exacerbated by the boom/bust cycle of real estate development and short-term speculation. As designers and architects, our understanding of material and construction practices still largely ignore these ever-growing streams of waste. Faced with climate emergency, designers continue to optimize construction, to reuse buildings, and to recycle materials — all without accounting for the accrual and persistence of waste

What if we understood that the collapse of our built environment is not the failure or “end” of architecture, but rather as preconditions for future practice? Engaging broken-world thinking, how might design anticipate and reimagine waste futures in construction, occupation, and demolition? What if waste sites were reframed as quarries? 

The event is co-sponsored with RISD Architecture as the first in a year-long series of conversations curated for students undertaking their Thesis Degree Project.

 

12:30 PM
– 1:30 PM.   Lunch Break


1:30 PM
– 4:00 PM.   Breakout Sessions

Auditorium 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
1. Inversion of Collapse: Three Provocations & a Prison story
Judah Armani, Justin Cook, Michelle Fisher, Erin Hersey, Elizabeth Suda, and Camille Hautefort 

If collapse is falling together through a loss of support or rigidity, what is the difference in falling together to create support or rigidity?

From Oceans to Architecture and Mistletoe to Prisons, we will explore provocations, Greek philosophers and Hip Hop as we deep dive into Inversion of collapse. 

 

Auditorium 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
2. Collapse, Redesign, and So On: Identifying Scale, Tempo, and Response for an Era of Planetary Emergencies

Justin Cook, Judah Armani, Michelle Fisher, Erin Hersey, Elizabeth Suda, and Camille Hautefort 

In the context of planetary emergency and collapse, design is a societal capability. Repair, remaking, rebuilding at speed and with care and attention to the harms inherently possible in such an undertaking will be the work of everyone invested in integrity on any scale.

This session will ask each participant to identify sites of collapse. We will examine how collapse, as explored and expanded in the symposium, is operative in that setting. We will work to uncover how collapse defines or implicates new or existing communities. And we will explore interventions or actions that can be taken.

Q&A 

CfC Studio 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
3. Woven Behavior and Ornamentation: Felicita Devlin and Elizabeth Meiklejohn

Textile work is strongly influenced by the inherent behaviors of fibers and yarns: what do these inanimate materials “want” to do? What does it mean for these textiles to adapt or change over time? As practitioners in this field, we can choose to fight against or embrace these micro-scale tendencies and test them on a larger scale. Our research work explores the relationship between woven fabrics’ structure and their ability to transform into specific three-dimensional forms. Observing the transition from 2D to 3D gives us valuable insight. As fabrics grow, stiffen, crumple or move fluidly through states, we can identify parallels to human bodies at rest and in motion, adaptation and change; draw connections between the fabric moving in response to new environmental conditions, as humans do; investigate what unique sensory experiences might result from interacting with this class of textiles.

 

5:00 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Keynote Speaker (joining remotely):
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
A learner, Kameelah Janan Rasheed (she/they), grapples with the poetics-pleasures-politics of Black knowledge production, information technologies, [un]learning, and belief formation. 

 

6:15 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Reconvening and Closing Remarks

6:30 PM.  Film: Where Glaciers Go | Director, Corey Robinson

The Mustang region of Nepal is on the front line of our planet’s changing climate with glacial water shortages forcing families from their homes. Split between the tradition of the old village and a new life growing apples as a cash crop, the Gurung family finds a balance to endure. (17 minutes)

 

Film: Hike the Line
Director, Corey Robinson

Tenny and Claire set out from San Diego to become the first people to continuously hike the United States / Mexico border.

 

 

Friday, September 23

 

9:30 AM.   AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Registration, Coffee, and Pastries

 

10:00 AM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Keynote Speaker: Jack Halberstam, Professor of English and Gender Studies, Columbia University, New York, NY

Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse
The term “collapse” derives from Latin and contains “col” meaning “together” and “labi” meaning slip. This etymology offers us a glimpse of the potential aesthetic folds hidden in the term. Collapse can refer to a system plagued by multiple failures, a mental break, a physical depletion, a structure giving way, a fall. But it specifically means many things falling together, and a fall created by a loss of support. An aesthetics of collapse might name a series of gestures that orient towards falling, that skew away from making, building, improving and that embrace the beauty of gradual and inevitable decay. Under the aesthetic heading of “collapse” we can gather together the hollowed out and split structures created by self-described anarchitect Gordon Matta-Clark as well as Rachel Whitehead’s infamous sculpture “House” (1993), a plaster cast of the inside of a house in East London slated for demolition, that required the actual house to be dismantled around it. While Matta-Clark’s cuts and incisions commented on the beginnings of New York City’s post-war wave of gentrification and real estate, Whitehead, twenty years later offered a temporary monument to the removal of low-income housing as preparation for gentrification. I will offer a look at art work from the 1970’s that orients towards dismantling, demolition and collapse and develop a queer and trans theory of collapse alongside a model of anti-anti-utopian unworlding!

 

11:30 AM –
1:00 PM.    20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Panel Discussion | Conversations on Spatial Collapse: The Straw, The Camel
Jess Myers, Lorraine Barcant, Danasha Kelly, Zoe Samudzi

Collapse in spatial systems is rarely unforeseen. In fact, it can often be documented for years if not decades – even centuries. Rather than ask “How could this have happened?” this panel of interlocutors to show how it did happen, what were the tools to prevent it, and as the cracks were widening who was and who wasn’t believed. Each will tell a story of a collapse at several scales which identifies the networks around two objects, The Camel (the object of collapse) and the Straw (the last stress that broke it).

 

1:00 PM.  Lunch Break

 

2:00 PM.  20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Failed, Failing, Failure Infrastructure: Imminent Collapse as an Ongoing State of Crisis
Lindsay French, Dimitris Papadopoulos, German Pallares-Avitia

A discussion of the Global Border Regime and the failure of international infrastructures as a crisis narrative as well as an ongoing human rights disaster; this session will use Papdopoulos’ interactive piece “Failure Infrastructure” (on display in the lobby) as a jumping-off point for talking about the collapse of the Global Border Regime more generally.

 

2:00 PM.  20 WASHINGTON PLACE, CFC STUDIO

Long Creativity and The Boiling Frog

Jack Madden
Join an exploration at the intersection of art and science. Design a system, object, building, or place where creativity, art, and design are archived to survive collapse and design a means of effectively sparking action based on a specific sign of collapse approaching.

4:30 – 4:45 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Closing Remarks by Justin Cook, Founding Director, Center for Complexity

 

6:30 PM.   AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Film: Sky Blossom | Director, Richard Lui

Sky Blossom is a raw, inspiring window into 5.4 million students stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college — but also live double lives — quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation. The filmmaker, veteran journalist and award-winning CNN/MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui says the interviews were so honest they genuinely surprised him, as they revealed insights into the lives of young people across America. Troops used to look up and say, “Here come the Sky Blossoms”—paratroopers rushing to their aid. Today, there is a new generation answering that call. These are their stories.