No. 11 END.

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NOTES ON THE THEME theme editor zachary hall

On August 13th in 2018 gover nor Rick Scott of F lorida declared a national state of emergency because the toxic Re d T i d e a l o n g t h e c o a s t o f s o u t h w e s t F l o r i d a . T h e s t a t e of emergency isn’t new to those living of f of the coast, many of which had already been hospitalized as a result of the alg ae, which poisoned not just the coastal water s b u t t h e a i r. I n f o r t y y e a r s , r i s i n g s e a l e v e l s t h r e a t e n t o sink the state of F lorida, which sits almost entirely below sea level. This sudden loss of terra fir ma also threatens the lives millions of people, plant and animal species. F lorida can not perceive a future for itself, F lorida can only perceive non-existence. Other similar places and people exist on a brink of nonexistance in the same face of climate change. T hese places litter the Souther n hemisphere, the coasts, the deserts and the islands. T he Gullah-Geechee, the K alinago, t h e G a r i f u n a , N i u g t a q , B a n g l a d e s h , H a i t i , Tu v a l u , t h e r e g i o n s o f We s t A f r i c a b o r d e r i n g t h e S a h e l . T h e b r i n k is intrinsically defined by extinction and punctuated by d i s p l a c e m e n t . A s o f t h i s y e a r, i t i s e s t i m a t e d t h a t u n l e s s half of our carbon emissions are eliminated in the next 12 year s, the wor st ef fects of climate change are guaranteed – effectively sealing the fate of many of these territories a n d p e o p l e w i t h i n t h e c o m i n g c e n t u r y. The fight against climate change has been prematurely decided unless the world as we know it ends. A world caught between fire and f lood can only be prevented at the cost of an entangled military industrial complex, capitalist enterprise and the American plantation. In conceding “we’re doomed”, the intention is not for designers, artists and architects to be lethargic - it is intended to change to outrage, alter our approach, and to d e s i g n u n h i n g e d f r o m a n e c o c i d a l s t a t e - p o w e r. I n o r d e r to do this, this issue will dialogue with green radical p h i l o s o p h y, e n v i r o n m e n t a l a n d a g r i c u l t u r a l s c i e n c e , a n d critical studies on race, mig ration and colonialism.

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Datum No. 11 seeks to look inward in order to understand the condition of designing as a student-before-climatechange and the unique nostalgia designers experience for t h e l o s t f u t u r e s w e a r e t a s k e d t o d e s i g n . We a l s o m u s t understand the severity of the conditions we begin to design within – exploring scientific adjacent to social realm to critique existing longter m (non)solutions to a world coming to an End.


DAT U M i s a j o u r n a l o f A / architecture founded and edited by design students a t I o w a S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y. The publication seeks to manifest and catalogue DAT U M ’ s community of discussion and act as a platfor m for further inquir y and critique. It is organized around a central t h e m e t h a t DAT U M f e e l s has been misrepresented, neglected, or needs further examination in the architectural discourse of the Midwest. DAT U M would like to thank Iowa State University Department of Architecure for their continuous support and invigorating enthusiasium for the journal and c o m m u n i t y.



Ross Exo Adams Firat Erdim Douglas Spencer


d a t u m d i s c o u r s e. s t u o r g.

Shance Bagos-Taylor Grant Bauermeister Donovan Bunn Madelyn Bunn Braden Cooper Brenna Fransen Jacob Gasper Kate Gordon Lilly Griffin James Zachary Hall Kane Hassebrock Aaron Hauptmann Cyle King Matthew Koepke Aaron Koopal Tomi Laja Jose Lopez Villalobos Ryoka Matsuno Luke Mcdonell Michael Mckinney Massimo Monfiletto Mae Murphy Nicholas Nagawiecki Emily Near Ruchi Patel Christopher Perez Nicholas Raap John Sand Ian Spadin Jake Spangler Alyanna Subayno Andrew Suiter Jaya Tolefree Samarth Vachhrajani Megan Zeien


D AT U M N O . 1 1

Millenium Recedes


Massimo Monfiletto

A Manifesto for our Spatial Imaginaries


Multiple Authors

The End & Need of Coming Together


Ruchi Patel & Tomi Laja

You May Find Yourself Living in a Shotgun Shack


Zachary Hall

An Anthology of Infrastructural Failures


Samarth Vachhrajani

The Unfolding Apocalypse in Israel-Palestine


Nicholas Nagawiecki



Samia Henni

Deliver Us to Evil


Kate Gorden

We Should All Be Entrepreneurial Astronauts


Megan Zeien

OPN Masterclass with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto


Workshop Participants

An Architecture That Ought to Be


Jake Spangler

Anything but Anything but Typical


Nicholas Raap



Stephanie Wakefield

Riots, Rubble, Resurrection: Noah Purifoy


Brenna Fransen

Of Change: Death in the Midwest


Mae Murphy



Laura Garcia



José A López Villalobos 7 END.



Everyone Says the World is a Cold Place Like It’s a Bad Thing


I’m sitting under stark fluorescent lighting thinking about how unnatural squares are. With all of the time-worn narrative tropes about the rarity of blue in nature, not many people talk about squares. But as weak sunlight streams over the gray fabric walls of my cubicle I’m struck by the sterility of it all. It’s almost too literal: the box, the container, the ugly composite wood cage. The dull maroon linoleum checkered horizontally in a sad imitation of plaid, the white plaster ceilings segmented into rectangles with weak metal railings. When I walk to work in the morning the buildings loom high and regimented, making me feel incredibly small. The closer I get to the little outcropping of corporate building just off the freeway from the shopping mall, the further I seem to step out of reality; these are people containers, not places to live.

D AT U M N O . 1 1

The real blessing of work is how slowly it goes. It sounds absolutely insane considering the quality of the work. I would

never otherwise claim any sort of enthusiasm for sitting on my ass amidst a regiment of dandruff and boot-cut jeans and taking calls from disgruntled seniors calling to accuse me personally of predatory lending. But since my days seem as though they’ve accelerated from a crawl to a sprint without any warning, the mind-numbing time spent calculating home mortgage payoffs and reassuring suspicious ladies that they’re not going into foreclosure is a blessed relief from the feeling that time is moving too fast for me to process it. There are days, sometimes, when I’m not working, that I seem to wake up in the middle of doing something without any recollection of starting the action. This isn’t particularly frightening or disorienting, but it is confusing; where does all of my time go? I walk home from my square job to my square house on a square patch of Astroturf and stare into digital squares until my mornings melt into days melt into nights melt into other mornings and I start the whole process again. And even with insomnia twisting its way through my brain late at night I can’t shake the feeling

that I could close my eyes for a few minutes and a whole century would have passed me by.

9 END.

So What, the Broke Millenial’s Gonna Preach to Us Now? “We’ve got time” seemed to be the prevailing sentiment of my early childhood. A lesser scholar would cite the seeds of Rome’s decline, the complacency of a decadent empire, yadda yadda yadda, Malthus. But anyone who came of age across the lip of the millenium has spent most of their conscious life with one eye on the end of times; being forced into the world in a shower of ash and dust can do that to you.

Not that it was all 9/11’s fault, I would never say that. PSAs from the early 2000s skewed toward positivity, generally speaking. There were certain outlier hysterics who were rightly chastised for their overblown pedantic whining (who cucked Alan Moore anyway?) and personal choice got a quick brand makeover. Anyone who was privy to the absolutely demonic energy of Disney Friends for Change, itself a knock-off of highly ineffectual 1980s mass collaborations between musicians for a vaguely inspiring cause, is familiar with the glossy hopeful look of early-stages climate change denialism. A celebrity washed a pelican, a glossy white coat sold you a twisty light bulb, we all got blue bins we could

stick all our bad habits in. And we were gonna win the day with strategically placed consumerism. Aaaaaaaand now the Paris Accords are in shambles, the Earth is one degree warmer than expected even by pessimists in the study of climate science, and the planet is more powder keg than big blue space marble. It’s clear the power of positive thinking has failed us, the same way it failed to prevent the ascension of an UrFascist tyrant in the United States. And as increasingly unregulated mechanisms of capitalism shift into overdrive, reinforcing a truly inhuman production schedule that cannibalizes its participants for survival, time feels like an even more precious resource than usual. Subscribe To My Onlyfans I Have Depression

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It’s this feeling of accelerated time that’s the real prevailing sentiment behind the perceived millennial apathy. We’re not mobbing in the streets to ruin Applebee’s and big summer blockbusters and marriage because of a wanton desire to take things away from the Greatest Generation (we let the Ponzi scheme that is Pandora charm bracelets do that for us, or maybe just Ponzi himself). No, what we’re beginning to understand as the generation born and living right up to the apocalypse, are the limitations of the consumerist mode of action, or more

accurately, targeted inaction. A lack of faith in the electoral system, a growing sense of ennui at the thought of engaging in traditional financial landmarks such as mortgage applications or children, and the utter desolation of long held cultural values such as productivity and independence are symptoms of a growing shift around the ways that our society thinks. What older generations have had to contend with is an apocalypse of their own making, quick and violent and dramatic. What our generation faces is slow, inevitable, and unavoidable. This is easy enough to see, interestingly, in the hypernostaglia of the culture industry, which is pumping our lives full of stories from yesteryear in a cycle so increasingly short that it gives the impression of a withered stem slowly curling in upon itself. As the future seems increasingly unlikely and impossible to face, we fall into the spiral too, disappearing into a vortex of singing animals and anthropomorphic cleaning supplies from our childhood. It also seems like no coincidence that certain retrofuturist trends such as cyberpunk have seen such a revival in the post 2000s cultural climate, trending toward nostalgia for a future that might have been. Isn’t it weird to already feel like you’re living through history?

Don’t Leave Me Alone I Don’t Know What I’ll Write We’ve been getting the apocalypse wrong. And by “we,” I mean almost every single major writer who’s contributed to shaping the modern concept of the end of days has in some way misrepresented the actual material reality of what it would actually look like. This is largely excusable; it’s not like any of these people (men) had a way to look into the future. But the underlying assumptions of media about the end is often as misguided as a musical collaboration between Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez, and I’m. Gonna. Tell. You. Why.

11 END.

Dr. Strangelove, Watchmen, Angels in America, Melancholia, and War of the Worlds each cite a sort of drama-laden, symbolically dense apocalypse, a sort of reckoning between mankind and the unstoppable forces of nature. They all take different understandings of what the rapture says about humanity, ranging from folly to transcendent grace, but ultimately they seem to seek some resolution in an eternal conflict between man and nature, a sort of answer to the great indifference of the universe. This is, missing the forest for the trees. The question of the end of the world is not whether or not we are able to avoid it; it’s happening currently. We can attempt to historicize ourselves out of climate change as much as we like, but the truth is we’ve simply run out of

time to course correct enough to prevent catastrophe entirely. No, understanding the apocalypse as the end of humanity is ultimately not helpful to us because it does not fully take into account the fact that the earth doesn’t really give a shit about us. Not in a spiteful way, of course. But disagreement and theory won’t prevent the polar ice caps from melting, and the nature of man vs. nature is generally faulty because the two are not equals; man is subordinate, and nature will react to improper treatment not with retaliation, but with natural phenomena acting on an axis that we cannot fully comprehend. The apocalypse is not humanist. The idea of a quick, dramatic, symbolically dense apocalypse is not appropriate because the real thing is slow, unilateral, and ultimately devoid of meaning. There are no particular narrative threads that one can pick out of anthropogenic climate change; it’ll get us all sooner or later. Continuing to understand the end of the world as a discrete cataclysm far in some responsibility-lite future is detrimental to our survival. The future is now! Americans before us got their world-shattering disaster in the form of towers bending from the sky to the concrete. But this thing is much bigger, and we can’t just history it away.

Read My Play Sterility NOW!, Available on NewPlayExchange Today while I was in the bathroom on break, staring into the yes, square mirror, I thought about my desire to have/raise children. Yes, lest you think I’m entirely hopeless, I have a welldeveloped maternal side. I think about raising a child in a square house with square windows in a square state in a square world. And it overwhelms me for a

minute; thinking about the future coiling in on itself, the sense of escalated time, my fear that any child I raise will feel even more robbed of a future that I do. But after a moment I straighten up. I think about my life, my family, my desires. And none of those give me any answers. Not any one can, I think. But as the end of time marches slowly and steadily toward me, I’m ready to greet it for what it is, and protect those I love from it. I’ll fucking make time if I have to.

Image by Datum Member Brenna Fransen

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Every aspect of our daily lives has become increasingly financialized with the onset of digital capitalism and neoliberal governmentalities. Hobbies, friendships, knowledge, etc. are perpetually absorbed and commodified by corporations and by self-entrepreneurial attempts. The rampant growth and mutation of economies is incomprehensible and nonsensical. The “sharing economy” is only the most recent edition of apparatuses that create inescapable norms for living. While espousing values of collectivity, connectivity, and cooperative living, in reality they attempt to control and capitalize upon entire modes of life. Lauren Berlant examines the continuing disconnect between the dream of the “good life” and the realization of that dream. The “good life” has typically been defined as the ability to continually improve one’s situation by working a standard forty-hour work week and to still have access to public necessities such as health care and retirement plans. The ability to live within this constructed reality today relies more upon one’s individual economic safety nets that depend on social and entrepreneurial ambitions. This is a situation of extreme dependency, thus one of instability. As Berlant states, “At root, precarity is a condition of dependency” (Cruel Optimism, 192). When the dream of the “Good Life” starts to fade, the “Impasse” emerges, an overwhelming state of existence dominated by a continual searching for meaning.

13 END.

David Graeber traces the history of virtual currency, a cyclical shift of debtor and subject relations, to the contemporary age, stemming from the Nixon Shock – the removal of the dollar from the gold standard. Manifested from a history of violence, our contemporary systems of credit and debt rely upon mutated forms of virtual currency, enabling financial structures that increasingly favor large corporations and the uber rich. In today’s economy, access becomes more important than ownership. We are troubled by the passivity towards systemic violence that permeates our contemporary way of life, ones perpetuated by their totally incomprehensible nature. The systems of finance and power we are referring to instigate a soft violence of repression and inequality, yet, there is not a popular consolidation of countercultural resistance.

Image of speculative project for the studio ‘On Goldenness’ proposing an architecture to bring people together in contemporary life against the precarity of living in San Francisco

If we continue to be guided by the precepts of private corporations and extreme forms of expulsions permeating the globe, how far and to what degree will our understanding of the world, ourselves, and our exercise of humanity shift in response to the latest financial “instrument”? Will we be able to anticipate, through brief glimpses from the corners of our perception, the otherwise invisible emergence of impending crises? Issues such as climate change, environmental degradation, pervasive financialization, the global rise of nationalism, and the seemingly never-ending daily cacophony of travesties which pit humans against humans make it is seemingly impossible to reach any conclusion on contemporary living. 14 D AT U M N O . 1 1

Our culturally shared sensory apparatus is continually divided by the logics of capitalism. Guided by private corporations, our understandings of the world, and of the larger systems that control the way in which we live becomes anamorphic or holistically invisible. Only in brief glimpses, or from the corners of our perception, does

visibility emerge. Issues such as climate change and pervasive global financialization have become so parceled in topic and representation that it is seemingly impossible to reach a focused solution or even imagine an alternative way of life. Articulated by Lauren Berlant, the current transition of our lives into neoliberal existences is perpetuated by precarity in labor, economies, and sociality (in the terms of a social being and in terms of evolution as groups). This defines the reality of the present that is an ever pervasive existence as a form of crisis in our changing landscape. In other words, the loss of “the good life” – “that moral-intimate-economic thing” becomes the loss of a future in which we can imagine our culture as it has been (Berlant, 2). Lauren Berlant defines one of the many fraying fantasies of the good life as lively and durable intimacy. This is situated in today’s world where our hopes can become a detriment to our lives themselves, the foundational concept of Cruel Optimism. The very things which lead us to believe that we can still attain economic security and real intimacy are the things which most often lead to our failure to reach said hopes. “Precarious bodies, in other words, are not merely demonstrating a shift in the social contract, but in ordinary affective states. This instability requires…new modes of composure amid unraveling institutions and social relations of reciprocity” (Berlant, 197). We believe it is fundamentally important to continually question these realities we live in, and the ways we live our contemporary lives. By not doing so, we become passive to systemic forms of violence, allowing ourselves and our humanity to be instrumentalized towards corrupted ends. What would emerge out of a lifestyle built upon serendipity and ambiguity? How can a space allow for explorations into new ways of living? One maybe that radicalizes and weaponizes its participants/ subjects to produce more than individual change but larger societal reconstruction.

Berlant, Lauren Gail. Cruel Optimism. Duke University Press, 2011.




Our architectural challenge is to define an alternative sensibility to ―and capacity for the physical inhabitation of― the unexpected encounter and collision of multiple “ordinaries” manifested through a spatial confrontation. Our manifesto takes on a seemingly impossible task: to find an architectural parallel to our sensory comprehension of fog that eliminates current barriers to imagining new forms of life and social restructuring.


The western man creates a hard drive of programs cultivated from an illusion of power with systems and folders setting the definition of civilization. Woven in his briefcase are stained and faded self defined descriptions validated by his own delusional dreams of the world. In 1859, two decades after Darwin’s Origin of Species and three decades following Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, a group of anthropologists and social theorists came forth with an ideology termed as Unilineal Theory, also known as Classical Social Evolution. These ideas came into fruition within the larger context of colonialism and a goal towards one fixed and linear density of all societies. This theory formed one goal: white conquest painted as the “civilized”. Anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan envisioned, in his book Ancient Society in 1877, that all societies go through a linear progression from savage to barbarian to civilized: VII. Status of Civilization. I.

Lower Status of Savagery: From the Infancy of the Human Race to the commencement of the next Period.

II. Lower Status of Savagery: From the Infancy of the Human Race to the commencement of the next Period. III. Middle Status of Savagery: From the acquisition of a fish subsistence and a knowledge of the use of fire, to etc. IV. Upper Status of Savagery: From the Invention of the Bow and Arrow, to etc. V.

Lower Status of Barbarism: From the Invention of the Art of Pottery, to etc

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VI. Middle Status of Barbarism: From the Domestication of animals on the Eastern hemisphere, and in the Western from the cultivation of maize and plants by Irrigation, with the use of adobe-brick and stone, to etc.

Multispecies Cat’s Cradle. Drawing by Nasser Mufti, 2011

VII. Upper Status of Barbarism: From the Invention of the process of Smelting Iron Ore, with the use of iron tools, to etc. VIII. Status of Civilization: From the Invention of a Phonetic Alphabet, with the use of writing, to the present time. Western cultures were seen, conveniently, as the highest example of civilization. English and Christian monotheism was represented as the highest development of civilization.


“Savage” is a direct description of animalistic behavior used by anthropologists in the past, and racists of the current, to describe people as sub-human. Savage’s true definition is simply an animal.


He wrote, “It can now be asserted upon convincing evidence that savagery preceded barbarism in all the tribes of mankind, as barbarism is known to have preceded civilization.” Of course, the western man sits at the top of this pyramid; he defines the “civilized.”

Drawing by Datum Member Brenna Fransen

To describe a savage simply means to be one of nature; intuitive and instinctual. By assuming the need to control, there is a direct reflection of how the “civilized” view the “Natural”. The civilized man creates a global economy based on power over nature, animals, savages. The “savage” is othered and utilized as a stepping stone. He sets up the definition and prescription of civilization and then tells The Othered on Terra that they need to compete. These standards are passed through globalization: the assimilation and the melting pot. This coming together steals and erases - in the name of capital gains. The civilized man controls and exterminates people, lands, waters, cultures, and lives; oppressing and objectifying all that is in the way for gains. Extorting Nature for his own lineal evolution. 18 D AT U M N O . 1 1

There is, has been, and always will be conflict and power struggles in regards to man. Currently the troubles running our Terra is that of capitalism within the anthropocene. Donna Haraway, author of Staying with the Trouble, argues for making kin with nature. Haraway speaks of the dark times of our world: the destruction,

oppression, and individualistic goals that have pushed us away from making kin as one life. She argues against the destructive response: “a position that the game is over, it’s too late, there’s no sense trying to make anything any better, or at least no sense having any trust in each other in working and playing for a resurgent world.” We are critters such as the worms in the ground, flying companions, tenacular beings, and so on. We are no greater than the other beings of Terra, instead we are one part of a moving system. What we do is performed in the world, and that demonstration results in consequences. Everything of Terra influences our lives and we influence them. We are not singular and superior. Change will not happen until we understand this greater kinship. This greater kinship is connectivity beyond the physical, but rather the conscious and mental: the thinking before the action; the removal of hierarchical belief of humanity above all other earthly life. Understanding this greater kinship is what brings about the Chthulucene, or the reactionary call against the anthropocene by imagining a flattening of hierarchies. Haraway defines the Chthulucene as “...a compound of two Greek roots that together name a kind of timeplace for learning to stay with the role of the living and dying in responsibility on a damaged earth.” She says, “Our task is to stir up potent response to devastating events.” To make kinship we must question the illusions of civilization handed to us by the western man, drenched in the ambitions of the unilineal theory.

References Harraway, Donna Jean. “Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene”. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016. Print. Morgan, Lewis Henry. “Ancient Society”. C.H. Kerr, 1877. Print.

Multispecies Cat’s Cradle. Drawing by Nasser Mufti, 2011


Cat’s Cradle/String Theory. Drawing by Baila Goldenthal, 2008.


Image References

Classical Social Theory Civilization

Global Governance





Western Canons


Multispecies Global Relationship


Unilineal Theory

“We demonstra consequences.”


“Trouble is an derives from a French verb m “make cloudy,” of us on Terratimes, mixed up turbid times.”


Civilized Higher Barbarian Lower Barbarian

Higher Savage Medium Savage Lower Savage 20 D AT U M N O . 1 1

Classical Social Theory

Multispecies Global Relati

Hierarchy - Paint

“Natural” Social Evolution


ate and perform ”

interesting word. It thirteenth-century meaning “to stir up,” to ” “to disturb.” We- all - live in disturbing p times, troubling and

7,6000,000,000 -


21 END.


Image by Tomi Laja and Ruchi Patel



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An image of a shotgun house appeared on my Facebook timeline, from an account called “For The Love of Old Houses”. The account has posted had three shotgun homes from Algiers Point in the historic 15th ward of New Orleans – and I was taken aback by the responses these houses were gathering from largely white middle class users, who envied and gawked at the interiors of these houses. And while I myself am an admirer, the newly discovered interest in shotgun houses as presented on social media websites and network television shows like “Fixer Upper” and in my own studios don’t recognize what these houses represented. At different times in American history the shotgun house was symbolic Black emancipation, Black independence, the Southern ghetto and Climate dilapidation. Historically, white middle classes feared neighborhoods with rows of shotgun houses, thinking them as symbols of the danger of Black life or as symbols of the ghetto. I began to wonder how fear of this house evolved into an admiration. The shotgun house typology originates from the Haitian caille. The shotgun house migrated to the Francophone neighborhoods of New Orleans in the mid-1800’s in the aftermath of three events that displaced Haitian people into New Orleans, The 1793 Fire of Cap Français (present Cap Haïtien), the Haitian Revolution, and the ban of Francophone Africans and Creole people from the Spanish colony of Cuba. These houses later became mass produced in order to provide housing for the newly freed Black populations formed after the Civil War. Through association with the free Black Haitians and Americans we can understand the fear of the Black urban fabric as in part a fear associated with the danger of Black emancipation and revolution. The visual artist John T. Biggers helped reclaim the symbolism of the shotgun house within New Orleans with his inclusion of them within paintings like Shotguns (1987). In Shotguns the house typology functions as a single unit of pattern within the Black urban quilt, which nods to the tradition of African quilt-making. It is a popular theory that the shotgun house typology (as well as the Haitian caille) originated in the Dahomey Fon narrow house forms. Biggers is using the shotgun and women-subjects

as the symbolic connection between African Americans and Africa as well as a foundation of the Black community of New Orleans. Biggers weaves intimacies between domestic life, community, heritage and house typology in contradiction to the narratives promoted by white supremacist archives. Katrina dislocated much of New Orleans Black community, and with it many of the old shotgun neighborhoods were destroyed. Much of New Orleans’s Black community is still repairing while a new threat has arrived to the native culture of New Orleans. When Katrina hit, coastal wards were devastated, but some Wards remained mostly unharmed. Most notably Algiers, the 15th Ward, remained unflooded. Due to Climate Change and rising flood levels, many members of the American middle and upper class have recognized the unsustainability of living on the coast. When the levees broke, it served as a reminder of the sudden and violent consequences the environment can have on everyday life. All over the Orleans parish, and within Algiers Point in particular, the richest district within an unflooded ward, census data shows that Black populations have decreased significantly relative to the white populations and since 2010 the income distribution has shifted to reflect much wealthier inhabitants with poor people making up much smaller portions of the population. This suggests gentrification is happening, and that it’s much more severe in 15th Ward as a result of the relative safety in proximity to rising tides.

‘Shotgun, Third Ward #1’ by John T. Biggers, 1966

23 END.

‘Shotguns’ by John T. Biggers, 1987

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The threat of rising tides then leads me to hypothesize an explanation as to why the white middle classes have shifted their public opinion on the shotgun typology and perhaps a connection to Climate Change. The old Black neighborhoods of Treme, Bywater, Marigny also are focal points of gentrification as a result of the displacement that immediately followed Katrina, but parts of these neighborhoods located along the river went mostly untouched. Algiers sustained minimal permanent damage as a result of no flooding. The new love the white middle class has found for these whitewashed shotgun homes correlates with not just the displacement of black people from many of these historical neighborhoods but also the gentrification of the parts of New Orleans inland that didn’t flood in the aftermath of Katrina. All over the south we are beginning to see the first instances of climate gentrification; Louisiana is significantly at threat as a result of sea level rise, and if sea levels begin to rise within New Orleans, the rich people who have moved riverside have secured themselves a marginal amount

of safety. As we encounter shifts of public opinion, we should think critically about the meanings associated with everyday living conditions and how we got “from point A to point B”. With the increase of gradual violence of Climate Change, public opinions surrounding the everyday are going to change, and historically sustained opinions about culture will force re-evaluations. Our role as designers to is to ensure we do not contribute to the displacement and further violence perpetrated on the Black urban fabric - especially in the face of a normalized climate disaster just over the horizon.

References: AAME, cfm;jsessionid=f8301213111553580113965?id=5_000T&bhcp=1. “Algiers Point Statistical Area.” The Data Center, www.datacenterresearch. org/data-resources/neighborhood-data/district-12/algiers-point/. Campanella, Richard. “Shotgun Geography: the History behind the Famous New Orleans Elongated House.”,, 12 Feb. 2014, “Haitian Immigration : Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” AAME, NPR, NPR, Ouroussoff, Nicolai. “New Orleans - Public Housing.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Nov. 2006, weekinreview/19ouroussoff.html.


“Spotlight on John Biggers’s Shotguns.” Swann Galleries News, 12 July 2017,


Shotgun Houses, shotgun.html.



Part I Breakdown of Social Order in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina.

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In his chapter, ‘Disoriented city: Infrastructure, Social order and the police response to the Hurricane Katrina’ in the book Disrupted Cities, Benjamin Sims writes “Cities are complex, highly structured social institutions.” These social institutions that make up the city are highly rendered with dense infrastructural networks. New Orleans has no exception to this urban dependence. The city is densely populated at its core and is underlaid with interdependent infrastructural systems, which were in a state of decay. Also, the city is below sea level, and it continues to sink. Because of its bowl-like terrain, the city predicates on an infrastructure of pumps, canals, and levees. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina had the most distinct impact on the infrastructure and the human life of New Orleans. The eye wall of the hurricane passed through

the shore, disrupting electrical, telephone and internet systems. The levees and floodwalls began to fail, starting to fill the city with water. The city was soon inundated, most roads became impassable and sewers were no longer functioning. The emergency responders without any kind of communication systems possessed limited mobility and supplies leading to a breakdown in social order. Benjamin Sims defines “social order” as the manner in which human beings are able to enact regular social structures and patterns of behavior. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the institutions of the city experienced a “cosmological episode” (a term coined by organizational sociologist Karl Weick). It occurs when key elements of social order break down to the point where the fundamental categories that impacted people use to organize the world are called into question. Three Major breakdowns were compromised by the Hurricane: in the barriers that separate

human body from pollutants, in spatiotemporal routines, and in the moral order. I. The flood water immediately dissolved the boundary between the sewage system and the rest of the city, picking up waste and toxic substances and distributing it around the cities. Due to this erasure of boundary, the levee failure rendered sewer system inoperable. Mary Douglas suggests that the human body frequently serves as a metaphor for social order in general. She adds, in modern societies, one path between the integrity of the human body and the integrity of social order is through infrastructure. II. There was a collapse in spatiotemporal routines of various organizations. Benjamin Sims minutely studies the New Orleans Police Department

(NOPD). Police buildings and infrastructure were left dysfunctional, leaving the police no space to carry out their daily routines. Their sense of identity and purpose was deranged. There were difficulties in navigating with boat rescues. With highly restricted mobility, a polluted environment and no possibility of coordination, the temporal order of NOPD was downright fragmented. III. Lastly, due to the nonfunctional police force, the enforcement of moral order was relinquished. However, in order to assist the innocent by protecting them from criminals also depends on the infrastructure that encourages police mobility and communication. Police officers who had captured offenders had to let them go because of no usable precinct or jail infrastructure.

Mumbai Floods, 2005

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New Orleans During Hurricane Katrina

Part II Infrastructural Terrorism.

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Stephen Graham in his article Disruption by Design: Urban Infrastructure and Political Violence comments that, “efforts of terrorists and nonstate insurgents to appropriate or disrupt networked infrastructures as means to massively amplify the power of their political violence is well known.” With pronounced inflation in the need to externalize fatal power, comprehensive infrastructural systems are exploited due to their intersection with the global cities and its fast capitalism which are the ultimate symbols of western modernization. Such exploitations give rise to anxiety

that surrounds infrastructural disruption. Technological and ecological support systems of urban landscapes have become a platform to enact political violence and warfare. It is imperative to mention the trepidations about the vulnerabilities of everyday basic infrastructure which percolate the life of every urbanite. The devastation of urban infrastructure systems by aerial bombing by the United States regards its enemy as a system. The strategic theorization that justifies warfare capabilities of the nation and has provided the basis for all US air operations prescribes “techniques of infrastructure targeting.” Special weapons have been prescribed and created to destroy civilian infrastructure effectively. One

such example is “soft” or “Blackout bombs,” which rain down thousands of spools of graphite string into the electricity transmission systems creating catastrophic short-circuit in the process. “From the continuous mythology of humanitarianism that pervades in the discussions in the military, they are widely lauded in the military press as ‘non-lethal’ which create “minimal risk of collateral damage,” quotes Stephen Graham. However, the use of such methods means putting the entire civilian population into isolated darkness.

Part III Urban Flooding in Mumbai: Infrastructure Crisis and Urban Inequality.


Colin McFarlane, in his article Infrastructure, Interruption and Inequality: Urban Life in the Global South, defines the following three aspects that highlight the relationship between infrastructure, interruption, and inequality. First, in the largely unforeseen crises, it is often in response of the local governments and infrastructure managers that we can analyze the enforcement or transformation of power relations. Second, crises are mediated by and often exacerbated by existing forms of inequality, and third, these forms of crises are becoming increasingly common, raising the question of whether they actually constitute a “new normality” for some groups. The unforeseen flood crisis in Mumbai is a powerful illustration of these three relations. On July 26th, 2005, 944 mm of rain fell in a five hour period in the city of Mumbai, creating floods that covered one-third of the city. The drainage system was overwhelmed, and flood water did not recede for days in some areas


US military used such methods in the 1991 air war with Iraq, which was claimed to have had “amazing results.” Despite dropping about 88,000 tons of bomb in fortythree-day warfare, only three thousand people directly lost their lives due to attacks. However, these systematic destructions of electrical systems in Iraq shut down the water purification and sewage treatment plants, resulting in epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid, leading to as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and doubling infant mortality rates. However, such large indirect civilian deaths are of little concern to the US air force strategists, as openly admitted by them. Such warfare practices of targeting civilian infrastructure have been underpinned by the long-standing belief in demodernization through aerial bombing. Stephen Graham quotes, “the history of the

strategic bombing of cities, in particular, can be read at least in part as a history of trying to disrupt their vital systems and infrastructures to bring paralysis to urban adversaries.”

leading to outbreaks of malaria, dengue, and leptospirosis. Over one thousand people were killed in informal settlements drowned, electrocuted, or buried in landslides. Yet in such moments of crisis, and with state authorities abdicating responsibility, the public showed voluntary acts of kindness. Slum dwellers rescued those stranded in cars, offered chai and biscuits, and in many cases a room to sleep in. In the wake of the social collapse, the city exhibited an “infrastructure of generosity”. Collin McFarlane writes that the blame for the 2005 floods was attributed to a variety of causes: “slums” blocking drains, developers blocking drains with construction debris, a lack of investment by local authorities in drainage, rampant uncontrolled development - resulting in a loss of natural drainage through mangroves, poor state planning for disaster management, the inability and lack of commitment to respond to crisis, and the flouting of construction

regulations. There were three main blame attachment, the nature, the state, and the poor. The discussions regarding these oscillated the public debate. Nature being an unwieldy target, much of the blame was shouldered by the poor due to familiar bourgeois prejudice. The state blamed nature for an unprecedented crisis. However, the reality dictates emphatically that state was responsible for the catastrophic loss in housing, property, and infrastructure, which was an indirect result of a lack on investment in drainage, flouting of building regulations and uncontrolled construction (not by the poor but by the developers in collaboration with state officials). The monsoon crisis flared existing social inequality in terms of escalating demolition of informal settlements. As monsoon flooding becomes an even more familiar occurrence in parts of Mumbai, this particular form of crisis and its myriad effects are becoming a new normality for some groups, especially the urban poor.

References: Graham, Stephen. Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails. Routledge, 2010.


Andrade, Sailesh, and Jacobs Harrison. “A Passenger Bus Moves through a Water-Logged Road during Rains in Mumbai, India.”

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Business Insider, 30 Aug. 2017, Urbani, Ellen. “Katrina, 10 Years After.” Literary Hub, 10 Aug. 2015,


@LegitTayUpdates is a popular spunky twitter account made by a 19 year old woman to preach the gospel of the most banal pop icon on the world’s stage today, Taylor Swift. Her tweets range from lusting over images of Taylor Swift, to fantasizing about roles that Taylor Swift could play in movies, to calling out her boyfriend’s (Joseph Alwyn) comments on Mike Pence for being too forgiving of his perverse worldview. On February 2nd, 2019, Na’ama, the woman running this account, was thrown into prison by the Israeli government for conscientious objection to joining the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) out of solidarity with Palestinians who are currently facing an ongoing ethnic cleansing by the Israeli government. Normally, Israel will not throw people in prison for refusing to join the IDF if they have a waiver for pacifism, but the majority Jewish nation rejected her waiver on the grounds that her call to “punch nazis” on her twitter account was a call to violence, and she is, therefore, not pacifist. Palestine is facing an apocalypse. Following the second intifada and Gaza war of 2008, Israel has systematically encroached upon the lands of West Bank by forcing the multigenerational families of the region

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out by gunpoint so that they could build their massive mansions in the Palestinian desert. They have established a border wall along the Gaza strip and enforced an apartheid state for Palestinians outside of the 1949 Armistice lines where the native Palestinians are cast as second class citizens. Despite the fact that Palestine is walled off from Israel, most western countries, including Israel itself, consider Gaza and West Bank to be Israeli territory. Because of this combination of conditions, Palestine gets all of the negatives of being a nation-state with none of sovereignty that should follow it. Israel enforces a blockade on Gaza to make sure that no international aid enters the region, but also enforces the border through the IDF to make sure that no Palestinians can leave the strip. It is an act of war by international standards, but the United Nations will never be able to do anything about it without the approval of the United States, and Israel is the crown jewel in our clientbased empire. Gaza is an open air prison. Its residents are forever doomed to be snuffed out by Israeli imperialism.

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Israel’s perceived apocalypse is baked into its colonial heritage, but its modern reasoning for genocide is steeped in the white supremacism and race science. Israel has a stake in Palestinian subjugation because “demographic trends� show that Muslims will be a strong majority in a 1-state solution. Climate change has made lands inhabited by Muslims uninhabitable within varying time frames. This condition, plus the massive forever-war taking place in the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa are causing massive amounts of refugees to leave the region for Western Countries. These countries are spooked by this prospect and are doing everything in their power to raise the stakes of their islamophobia in order to avoid paying for their cruelty throughout the world. Israel is the seminal example of this. Besides the self-baked prophecies of doomsday within Abrahamic religions which are hinged upon the return of Judaism to Palestine, there is the more banal selfbaked apocalypse in Israel which occurs when the tides of demographics

are taken too seriously, and any shift from whiteness is perceived to be a threat. To be an Israeli is to constantly be prepared for the apocalypse. If you do not join the IDF, then you are dooming the angelic white saviors to ruin by the Muslim threat. When convergence enters the lands of Palestine, and the damned walk among those exalted, a battle will ensue and the victor will either represent forces of good, or of evil. At least, that’s what the settler-colonial legacy of Israel tells us. While Palestinians grapple with their unfolding apocalypse, Israel grapples with its imaginary apocalypse predicted by the prophets of yore and crystalized into the cultural cannon by the colonial governors of the United Kingdom. Either side has a strong ambition to defeat the other. Except the Palestinians are motivated by the desire to not die while the Israelis are motivated by the pressure to achieve ethnonationalism in capitalism. Because the Palestinians are threatened by the very presence of Israelis on their land, Israel can frame any effort to end the apartheid state that they have created as an attempt at ethnic cleansing against Jewish people in the middle east. This impasse has left a condition where the challenges for well meaning activists in the region transcend the regional politics and ultimately lead to criticism of capitalism as an economic and political system. When a young Israeli woman stops tolerating her apartheid state government, not only can Israel claim to be a victim of her ruthless compassion, they can lay down the full farce of international imperial arm.

Na’ama’s thoughts from prison

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Na’ama’s (high) continued thoughts from prison

Na’ama began her prison saga on by announcing her sentence on January 31st, 2019, “So I think most of you know (?) but I’m going to prison tomorrow for refusing to enlist to the military, which I know sounds kinda funny, but it also means I’ll be gone for a while (not sure how long). So uhhh no more me pissing you guys off for a while. What a relief, huh?”

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Her friend, @iknowplacesmp6 legitimately updated on Taylor Swift, (and other things), in place of @LegitTayUpdates for the seemingly indefinite prison sentence in the form of screenshots of her prison notes. Na’ama’s antics in prison illustrate her character and resolve in the situation. It is clear that she is putting forward some form of affect or personality bordering on parody while her vast knowledge of the discography and life of Taylor Swift gives an air of legitimacy to the updates. When she is able to get weed from one of her neighboring prisoners, she makes sure to update her followers on her high thoughts from prison. I personally agree with her conviction that RuPaul’s Drag Race might

be racist. Rupaul’s Drag Race has fucked up drag. The updates are so casual, any day imprisoned seems like an average day for Na’ama. Indeed, the condition of imprisoned teenagers in Israel seems to be a common occurrence. It is a borderline rite of passage for young Jewish anti-apartheid activists. Some of whom have served as much as six separate short prison sentences for conscientious objection. Israel projects an image of a homogenous white Jewish ethnostate with a youth population unified in their support for Israel. But there is a strong sentiment of solidarity with Palestine among the Israeli youth these days. Israel does not know how to deal with this fact because, while children are indeed the future, in their worldview, any deviation from their white Jewish ethnostate will bring about total destruction by their Muslim enemies. So rather than simply murder the young activists like they would with Palestinians, or let them get off scot free like they would with the genocidaires of the IDF, they slap a light prison sentence and hope that the kids will learn their lesson. @LegitTayUpdates did not learn the lesson, (whatever that is), because she was immediately back on Twitter as soon as her sentence was up to profess the wisdom of Madame Swift. Except this time, she had a different resolve.

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Now, rather than taking a backseat role in her account as it had before, politics and Palestinian solidarity has come to the forefront of her tweets. While she certainly has a target on her back by the IDF, who will regularly target pregnant women, children, journalists, and anybody else deemed worth protecting in our society, she is showing a tremendous amount of support for Palestine. The bizarre intersection of Taylor Swift Standom and Palestinian solidarity has caused @ LegitTayUpdates and her accomplice @iknowplacesmp6 to explode in popularity. Though Na’ama herself has admitted that everybody will be disappointed when she goes back to shitposting about Taylor Swift in the upcoming Cats movie. This widespread propaganda for Palestinian rights is probably a horrifying prospect for Israel and it is hard to imagine that they are not preparing a response. Taylor Swift has yet to respond to the situation.


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APRIL 3RD, 2019

Datum: Do you have topics that you think of when thinking about the theme, END.? Topics such as climate migration, patterns of racial displacement, or colonial histories in the environment? What is most relevant to you when looking at ideas of futurity? Samia Henni: My next book project [Colonial Toxicity] is about nuclear bomb tests that the French detonated in the Saharan regions. We talk about Climate Change and the Anthropocene, but I think that we need to relate this also to the responsibility of humans; manmade disasters and violence; and that the toxification of many places around the world is planned. We are now paying the consequences of these toxifications. That’s what I’m interested in for this next book project, as this idea of colonial toxicity is very important. I want to expose the relationships between science, technology, and nuclear powers with colonial practices. I think they are very much related. We are talking here about the Cold War, the competition between the East and the West blocs, and how it’s really all related and very planned.


S: Yes, and this is all related to architecture and infrastructure. I really think this should be a part of the histories that we are teaching, but I think we need to include all of these histories in the curriculum. Not just the histories of the built environment or the construction of cities, but also we should teach the history of the destruction of cities because it’s very much a part of it. When you destroy, what do you do? You plan. It’s a very planned approach, and afterwards, you need to reconstruct. So we do talk about reconstruction, and very little about destruction. I teach about the histories of warzones - the built environment in construction and destruction - and there are a number of scholars who do write about this. But unfortunately, there is this very optimistic way of teaching and of saying, ok these are the canons, and the histories students should know. And I think, yes, they should know all these, but at the same time, they should also be aware of our responsibilities as citizens and human beings, as refugees, as women, as people of color, and more. Also, I think [they should know about] our responsibilities as architects, who should be able to respond to a number of situations. Not only to be able to respond to a brief by a developer, but they should be able to respond to natural disasters, man-made disasters, war scenarios, and all other situations.


D: Speaking of the planning and destruction of infrastructure, Stephen Graham writes about this as well, where infrastructural failure is a planned occurrence. This is an interest in the coming publication, what are your thoughts on the

planning of destruction?

D: How do you think we can destabilize traditional colonial narratives in architectural histories? Are there things as a professor you do currently, or want to do, to broaden topics and bring a new idea of narrative to students? S: I have the privilege to teach a graduate and undergraduate survey course. It is an introductory course into architecture; I call it ‘Histories of Empires and People’. By calling the survey course this, we talk about power - not only architects or the built environment, but also about inhabitants. So we are studying those who are implementing the power; those who are subjected to that power; and those who need to negotiate their spaces and subjectivities whithin these powers. I think that by doing this, pressure is minimized on the students, saying, ‘oh this is not how it should be, we have to do it this way’. I introduce the students to a wide range of topics, approaches, and ideas of the built environment - not only from the colonial histories, anti-colonial and de-colonial perspectives, but also questions of race, gender, class are a part of it. Also the way our economic systems and political ideologies have operated and are operating are an integral part of architecture and urbanism.

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I’m co-teaching a seminar at Cooper Union this semester. Some institutions and students are saying, ‘we need a different kind of teaching, we need to hear about other histories that we know exist but that we are not exposed to.’ Somehow, if professors tell those stories all their life, they are more reluctant, or it is not easy to change. So I think we need to rethink the curriculum, and not only in histories and theories, but also in design: the way that the briefs are written, for example. If you

compare five different briefs from five different institutions the references included are often very similar. This seems to be indoctrination instead of education. In my architectural history and theory classes, we are very much interested in contradictions. We read and discuss texts by authors who are in disagreement, who experience and studies the built and destroyed environment through different lenses. These kinds of juxtapositions are very productive. Students might disagree, which is part of the conversation, and of course, for some, it’s very puzzling. For example, when you talk about governmentality, and the control of spaces and bodies, you have often the same authors and texts coming back and back into reference, so I try to do is to confront the usual suspects to other protagonists and antagonists– sometimes, it is a sort of experiment. I do this to really challenge our comfort zone, take more risks, and to test the possibilities and limits of pedagogy. I think academia is the place of experimentation and productive tensions. I talk about tensions not as conflict, but more as dynamic conversations, and unusual relationships that we should create. D: How could these ideas about delineating histories be applied towards a practice of design or a further practice of architecture? S: With my research, my goal is to reach different audiences. This is why, for me, the exhibition format is really a way of talking to anybody, not just to academia. I don’t do these exhibitions in institutions where you only have academics so that it becomes a kind of ‘public history’. I don’t do it just for a niche. For me, what’s very important is to

Henni pictured with her exhibition, titled “Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria.” The exhibition tells the stories of the camps that the French Army created in colonized Algeria during the Algerian Revolution, which is one of the chapters of her awardwining book “Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria.”

find ways to put pressure not on the students but on institutions and curricula. My responsibility as an instructor is to really open up many conversations, meaning that I expose students to many voices, by revising and updating the references that they usually use. Professors need to empower the students. They are the ones who will make the change. It is a long process, and it’s happening already - there are people who started doing this years ago.


S: I think the power of the architect is to read space. Space is really not only about the building, but also about the invisible space inside the


D: What do you think about the position of the architect?

building. I think if you compare an architect to any other profession, the architect has this possibility and this power of mapping. Mapping anything, not just space, but humans using the space, not in the way it was planned, and understanding all of this is so powerful, and gives you the advantage of being able to respond specially to social, economic, and political problems. If we can map it and respond to it in a way that is not expected, I think it is a response already. So, many times, architects want to respond to a design or an object. Sometimes, it’s not an object. Sometimes it’s something else. You just have to deviate the path. It’s a special intervention. I think space is much more impactful than buildings.

D: To speak of architects as facilitators or communicators, this becomes part of the value and agency of architects. When we think of how we communicate that knowledge of reading space to other people, how could this be done to incorporate a wider audience?

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S: There are lots of people who develop this exclusive kind of writing with the same references, and you wonder, why you only need to address the people who are a part of your club? It is very exclusive. So how do we facilitate other ways of writing or practicing architecture? Not only writing about buildings, and also not just writing in peer-reviewed journals. For me, this is a very big question. Of course, in my case this is what I tried to do in the exhibition Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria- for example, it is taboo, that the camps that the French army created in colonized Algeria during the Algerian Revolution (1954-62) [see Architecture of Counterrevolution] are called regrouping centers and not concentration camps. Even the action of naming these camps ‘centers’ is very problematic. So I talk about one of the most difficult subjects, the most taboo or contested histories, and I want to communicate it to a very wide audience, not necessarily architects. Sometimes it is fruitful to not know what the outcome of a research project is, but one should take the freedom to shape it and ask a different set of questions without knowing if this is going to work, and not knowing is part of the process. So I took that as a moment of opportunity. I organized this exhibition at the ETH in Zurich, and I had this very problematic visual material, but that’s also one of the reasons why I wanted to work on this exhibition. I had propaganda images and videos produced by the French Army, so I was very surprised when I found them because of the

absence of certain information, for example elements like barbed wire or watchtowers- it was all super sanitized where you don’t see much. But I thought, okay, let me figure out how to use this, and to read the archives against the grain, against themselves. So, the question became, how do I de-propagandize them and juxtapose them to other voices in order to make this flagrant, that this is not representing what was happening on the ground. And then the exhibition traveled because people saw it, and realized that both the contents and its display are important. The way these voices are contradicting each other is very important. So then, you reach a wider audience. Not only the architecture field, but also in the art field, but also people who lived in those camps and people who created them. In some cases, people heard about these camps, but never spoke about them. So these are quite plain ways of practicing architecture that try to reach people who are normally not part of the monologues that we usually have. D: What are some of the research methods or practices that are really important or powerful to you? S: I mean, every case and every subject matter asks for and incites very specific methods. I think it really depends on what you are studying and on the questions you are asking, and then you need to develop methods that should respond to those questions and then challenge those questions. So, in the first book, [Architecture of Counterrevolution], what I did was quite conventional in the sense that I had access to archives, so I visited archives in Algeria and France, both military and civil archives; private and public. But, what I think is not conventional at all, is I visited not only architecture archives, but state archives and all kinds of other sources. And of

course they contradict each other, and let’s also remember that archives are both “the commandment and the commencement.” It gives possibility but also can be limiting because someone prepared the material. Someone wants you to see certain things so you also have to question the archive as well. I think this is really important. And then what I did to understand, destabilize, and open up more conversations and tensions was to interview those who are still alive and those who participated in the war. Either from the Algerian Side or the French Side, those who lived there or those who applied certain policies and so on, and the interviews were with people like generals and military officers, but also Algerians who lived in the camps. When I started doing it, the first time was quite difficult. They were very heavy conversations, and some people are still convinced that what they did was good, or right. There are these relationships that are not easy to manage. So, it was a long process. After a while, I became able to manage the relationships and contradictions.


Samia Henni is an assistant professor of architecture at the Cornell University College of Architecture, Art and Planning. She received her PhD in the history and theory of architecture (with distinction) from the gta Institute, ETH Zurich. She is the author of Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (gta Verlag, 2017) and the curator of Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (2017-2018), Zurich, Rotterdam, Berlin, Johannesburg, Paris and Prague.


For my next book project, I need to find other ways of approaching this type of research because the archives are classified. We are talking about nuclear bombs detonated in the Algerian Sahara in the 1960s, and France is still not recognizing its responsibility. They didn’t detoxify the areas, and it’s a huge taboo. My approach is - even if the archives are closed - to write about this violence. It’s still a part of my work, and I will find a way to approach the material. I’m asking: what are the sources that I have at my disposal? For me, the physical territory and spaces are archives as well, so if you go to these places, you can see what has happened. So, how do you map this? Again, the architect becomes extremely valuable. How do you map

those toxic environments? How do you write about those histories even though the archives are closed? This is the challenge for me.



Despair towards the present is not uncommon. For white nationalists, present despair is the result of their perceived end of power, leading to anxiety of the future. In search of a solution, they look to a narrow reading of the past by hand-picking and revising facts in hopes of creating a space that will protect against imagined divisions and conspiracies propagated by The Other. The weaponization of nostalgia is present in perhaps one of the most famous pieces of nationalist propaganda: the 1935 film Triumph of the Will, directed by Leni Riefenstahl and commissioned by Adolf Hitler. The film communicates a narrative that attempts to cement the relationship between national pride and the possession of power, and the city of Nuremberg is central in communicating this relationship. The film poses Nuremberg as the setting of its future utopia amongst the Gothic and medieval architecture. This historical context serves to take the audience back to their past of imagined security, where they can project their insecurities towards both the future and the existence of difference. White nationalism creates a comfortable space within imagined borders to safeguard what is ultimately a constructed category of people. This reactionary political position strengthens itself through reinforcing the need for that category. White nationalists misdirect their source of suffering, and fabricate the majority of their suffering, because it is a way to clutch onto their power monopoly. Through the narrative of a safe space for fascists in the past, they hope to create a future in which they can return to their precious myth. This power shift creates an anxiety towards the future as well as a nostalgic longing for the past that can act as a potent recruitment tool for fascism. 42 D AT U M N O . 1 1

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Production of ‘Triumph of the Will’; pictured Leni Riefenstahl


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With the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the Environment became legally classified as a political space that requires protection from toxicity and degradation due to human occupation through the built environment and through Extractivism. Led by William Ruckelshaus, the EPA set out to produce an aggressive set of antipollution measures and gave federal power to protecting the US in terms of clean air and water. Consequently, Richard Nixon was seeking to make “‘the 1970s a historic period when, by conscious choice, [we] transform our land into what we want it to become’” (Why Nixon Created the EPA).


Due to the cultural awakening that led to the creation of the EPA in 1970, environmental panic was shifting the


The continuing politicization (and subsequent policing) of the United States’ land in the 1970s corresponds with the movement of countercultural ‘renegades’ who sought to exist beyond governing structures through the use of nature. Counterculturalists rejected the dehumanizing technologies of the digital world and protested the Vietnam war, advocating for removal of government by

this anti-establishment “dream of empowered individualism, collaborative community, and spiritual communion” (Turner, Counterculture to Cyberculture). Of course, these are the values that also later led to the use of technology in promoting further digitalization and technologization of society by Apple’s “Think Different” movement, NASA, and entrepreneurial counterculturalists like Stuart Brand and Buckminster Fuller. Fred Turner identifies that these ideals even later on became the spur for Republican platforms of the 1990s, enabling technologies in business elites (Turner, Counterculture to Cyberculture). These sample points of the countercultural movement were part of an overarching societal trend of new individualism and liberalism that advocated for personal development over societal investment and for the continuation of personal monetary gain beyond governmental structures.

perception of nature in the U.S. beyond its legal recognition. Numerous events such as toxic pollution, overpopulation, and the publication of several environmentally concerned books brought an awareness of Global Warming to society. Nature on a global scale was changing to become viewed as something humankind had already misused to a point of impending extinction. Presented with images of global environmental collapse, world decolonization movements, and seemingly imminent human extinction, the world turned to space as the true “last frontier”. The ungoverned terrain of space became a fixture for a

society determined that earth was to become inhabitable. The installation of human life in space came with the desire for global energy control amidst the oil wars. While currently being ungoverned, space could become a satellite of the US government to gain a new kind of total power over energy by the building of physical spaces and technological infrastructures - resembling the ideal environment for power, as advocated primarily by Gerard K. O’Neill. Gerard K. O’Neill claimed that Space Colonization was the most profitable direction for the US to embark on, hypothesizing new

Drawing of NASA’s The Stanford Torus, an iteration of a space station from the 1970s

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First image of earth from space (credit NASA mission Apollo 11, year 1969); still frame image from film ‘Interstellar’ by Christopher Nolan, year 2014

societies of colonization, and a new frontier for human life. Scott analyzes O’Neill’s movements and work throughout the time frame, looking at his backing from NASA and the powerful statements made to congressmen about this idea.

“Mobilizing ‘every shibboleth of the cult of progress,’ he argued, O’Neill’s vision was entirely conventional in its ‘lust for unrestrained expansion, its totalitarian concentrations of energy and wealth … its exclusive reliance on technical and economic criteria … its


For O’Neill, Space Colonization was the greatest opportunity for freedom and control of material by the U.S. Space also didn’t have indigenous populations

Felicity Scott curates in her Outlaw Territories text some of Wendell Berry’s greatest critiques of O’Neill, drawing together the duplicity of the space frontier movement.


“‘We can put the Middle East out of business!’ … [Neill] rehearsed the argument that what was good for the US was good for the world, claiming the US would be able to supply cheap energy to developing countries or even provide it as humanitarian aid, thereby overcoming growing hostility to the US as ‘exploiters of scarce resources.’” (Scott, Outlaw Territories)

for the space colony pioneers to worry about, as pointed out by Scott in Outlaw Territories. Not only did the colonization of space territory allow for the continuation of the human race at the end of our world, it would “guarantee economic power through the control of energy and resources.” (Scott, Outlaw Territories).

still frame image from film ‘Interstellar’ by Christopher Nolan, year 2014

compulsive salesmanship.’ Here was a plan to stripmine the moon presented as care for Earth’s environment. ... With unchecked chauvinism and mindless of the neocolonial violence it implicitly condoned, O’Neill’s public relations exercise was, as Berry put it, referring to the physicist as a ‘professional mind-boggler.’” (Scott, Outlaw Territories)

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If space is where human life will be allowed to continue, then these visions of space become a way to view our future environments, a way of thinking of capital-E-Environment as an absence of government and

a new geography for liberalist capital production. The EPA today has mutated under the (former) direction of Scott Pruitt. As plainly stated by Pruitt: “I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.” Despite enterprise clearly not being a form of ecology or habitat, our government recognizes the interests of business in equal measure to that of mitigating our physical environment. At the benefit of U.S. business, Pruitt has slowly been deregulating environmental mechanisms (even through his personal involvement in furthering the

Chick-fil-A franchise). Once again, the protection of the environment is directly a part of not just human survival or flourishing, but an opportunity for business growth as well as continued regulatory austerity. Beyond Scott Pruitt, the space colonization movement today is captured neatly in the gorgeous and grim aesthetic of Interstellar – a movie that acknowledges the moral ambiguity of colonizing other planets, yet is described as a “flowery greeting card” by a New Yorker reviewer in the way it becomes important through the personal relationships between Matthew

McConaughey and other cast. (Broody, “Interstellar”). Besides improving digital film effects, the continuing amplification of crisis and natural disaster makes films like these seem a lot closer to our society today. What we commonly call ‘the Built Environment’ - an assemblage of architecture, engineering, and the curation of horticulture and landscape - becomes a floating vessel able to attain more land and resources for human kind through a coming necessary escape from Earth. Apparently, the end of the earth will not be the end of human colonization by means of resource extraction and settlement.

References: Brody, Richard. “‘Interstellar’ Is a Flowery Greeting Card.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 20 June 2017, culture/richard-brody/interstellar-flowery-greeting-card. Madrigal, Alexis C. “Gallery: Why Nixon Created the EPA.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 3 Dec. 2010, www.theatlantic. com/technology/archive/2010/12/gallery-why-nixon-created-theepa/67351/. Nolan , Christopher, director. Interstellar. Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., 2014.


Turner, Fred. “From Countercultureto Cyberculture.” From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner, Introduction, 2006, press.


Scott, Felicity Dale Elliston. Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counterinsurgency. Zone Books, 2016.


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Reflections from a Meeting on Afrofuturism 2/28/2018 The goals of oppression aims to create a world void of othered peoples and ways of life through gradual extermination. It is more than a just a negative look or attitude due as a result of judgement. Oppression is an agenda, an agenda of systems by people of power. The anti-black agenda sparked by colonialism has not only created an anti-black nation in the United States, but an anti-black world. Stories have been erased, hidden, and rewritten to fit the oppressive dreams of U.S. society. Afrofuturism is a movement and ideology that began with Black peoples: an instrument to create an atmosphere of empowerment while the dark dreams of societies did not empower. “We stand at a critical moment in this thing called history where we can freeze the moment and recognize our abilities to manipulate the collective timeline for positive change. Creating the future, defining the meaning of the future, and our existence in it, I believe, is the power of Afrofuturism. And so Afrofuturism and the concepts connected to it, must always be here, if we are to be here. And I believe we will.” -Rasheeda Phillips The movement is more than just aesthetics but rather a choice to proclaim one’s agency. 52

- Tomi Laja

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“Afrofuturistic Politics: Less Power, More Commitment by Mawena Yehossi.” The Funambulist Magazine 10 Architecture & Colonialism. March 2017. Text.

“When I first met it, I felt renewed. Afrofuturism was this inclusive and abundant, diverse and uninhibited, creative and trans (taken literally as crossing) call for global change! Created by and for those who embody otherness and have been marginalized for centuries, Afrofuturism would cater to those of us unwilling to master or seize, but instead perform the world.�

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The Iowa State University Department of Architecture is happy to welcome Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, co-founder of the Tokyo based practice Atelier Bow-Wow, to Ames Iowa. Tsukomoto will lead the OPN Masterclass from March 4-7 with ISU undergraduate and graduate students. This years workshop will focus on the actor-network of the rural Midwest. Students will conduct ethnographic research while observing curious industrial hybrids embedded in the Iowa landscape. Throughout the masterclass, groups will reflect upon the modern epic as a form of narrative lens used to frame their research. A final presentation of work will be on display Thursday, March 6 in the Beckman Forum. Tsukamoto specializes in ‘Architectural behaviorology’ a science that focuses on human behavior both inside and outside buildings, the behavior of buildings in their surroundings and environmental elements. His research aims to synthesize all these behaviors and foster organic architecture. Tsukamoto co-founded, Tokyo based, Atelier Bow-Wow together with partner Momoyo Kaijima. The firm has built over 25 houses, public museums, and commercial buildings. While the majority of this work can be found in Tokyo, you can find the firm’s work in Denmark, France, and the United States. The firm’s research studies have contributed to “micro-public-space,” a concept of public space, which has been exhibited across the world at events such as Biennales in Sao Paolo, Venice, Istanbul, and Liverpool.

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The OPN Masterclass is a yearly event inviting globally recognized professionals within the architecture field to hold a small workshop with Iowa State students. Prior Masterclass workshops have been lead by Elia Zenghellis (OMA, Gigantes Zenghelis Architects, AA), Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe (Cooking Sections, RCA), and Neyran Turan (Nemes Studio, UC Berkeley). The OPN Masterclass is made possible through generous support from OPN Architects. From Iowa State Department of Architecture Press Release




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Reflection on the Masterclass by Aaron Hauptmann: Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow Wow led this year’s OPN master class. Tasking six groups of six students to investigate the Iowa landscape through public drawing, students were asked to navigate the process of creating a large-scale drawing in a collaborative effort we rarely get to experience in Architecture. Each team member’s work is under constant observance and scrutiny, and one learns to leverage each member’s strengths to achieve a common goal. At its worst, one can imagine this resulting in a disjointed or schizophrenic drawing, but through the guidance of and parameters set by our ‘master’, each team delivered a unified composition which interrogated the Iowa landscape through a different lens.

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Our group investigated how ‘order’ is both a passive and an active system. One that slowly changed the shape of the landscape as it was imposed with increasing intensity. Systematically, the order imposed both organized the landscape and the bodies which found themselves on that landscape. The logical progression of this ordering has led to a contemporary industrial agriculture which exploits the bodies of both animals and humans alike. We started our research as an ethnography of migrant workers in Iowa and quickly realizing that the most significant, yet isolated, exploitation was found in the slaughter and meatpacking industries surrounding pork production. This industry operates opaquely under the anonymous monotony of extruded forms on our landscape, hidden from consumers. The impacts of the industrialized practice of agriculture seeps further than the lives of the bodies caught up in barbaric conditions: runoff from these operations flow into rivers that are contributing to the dead-zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In this drawing we treat the opaque structures on the landscape by slowly dismantling walls and structures through time, exposing the horrors that have arisen from our ordered landscape.


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This work is an agglomeration of architectures which respond to current events in contemporary discourse and the media. Numerous heinous acts have been observed and reported—which often tie back or find their roots at an ‘unrecognized’ source. Should we wish these problems to cease, radical action must be taken and opportunities exploited to the fullest. My proposal is for an architecture exclusive to the bourgeois, the global elite, and the power mongering swine who govern society. This specific structure (there are others), is located atop the ever-urbanized arctic pole. The architecture is a statement piece to the structures, networks, and systems that perpetuate and recreate the continuum of crisis and disparity ravaging in the past, present, and future. The architecture is to contain a number of elements: 1) Two large support structures which contain giant atria—the only place in the building in which those from the ‘outside world’ are allowed to enter and air their grievances. Within, protest is encouraged however, is observed by those it is directed towards and mocked for its perceived naïveté. 2) Atop the base is a tall extravagant residential tower in which the elite live their comfortable lives—happy among their sheltered families and like-minded others. Here there is no care in the world, for all amenities, luxuries, and necessities are always available and provided.

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3) An aristocratic communal penthouse, a playground of sorts—in which the tower’s subjects are able to freely interact, socialize, and indulge—tops the fortress. Here, a network of circulatory systems provides a labyrinthine experience for which individuals can choose the delight they which to engage. Strip clubs, casinos, bars, and trading floors are plentiful, as well as other subversive pleasures that best go unnamed.

4) A series baths and elaborate water features cap the tower, dancing though the air filling subjects with delight and wonder. Here there are spectacular views accompanied with absolute relaxation and peace. 5) The structure itself is cladded in dense electronic readouts and signs which painstakingly detail every activity and decision which occurs within the megalomanic interior. The people of the outside are teased and taunted with this information, knowing not what can be done to blunt the enterprise which tortures their world. 6) Lastly, the tower is outfitted with an airport and transportation hub. Even the people of the restricted interior need a change of scene from time-to-time, and often find themselves traveling the world to other pinnacles of similar nature which blanket the globe. They travel exclusively by private airplane (namely Boeing 737 MAX), never having to interact with the exterior. Once inside the architecture, those committed have no need to leave. As all is provided, there is no escape to this elitist dream. Acts of corruption and scandal are quickly forgotten and brushed aside. There is nothing to worry about when you have it all.

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collage by Jake Spangler



It’s 11am, at the corner of 7th and H in Downtown D.C. Looking for a morning coffee, I scan the street corners for something that can provide a sorely needed influx of caffeine. I spy a place across the street, not really looking at the signage but definitely seeing the signs of a café. People sitting at a bar at the window, typing away, headphones on, and mugs sitting next to them; one man wearing a jersey for the game later that night, reading the sports section; a group meeting in a back room, chattering as papers full of charts and text circulate between them. I walk across the street, step through the door, and into… an ATM? Okay, a bit weird, but coffee shops sometimes have ATMs now. Undeterred in my caffeine quest, I walk up to the counter to look at the menu. “Today’s Specials: 360 Checking Account, totally free checking, no fees, no minimums. Money Coaching, free one-hour sessions with a certified coach to help build a life you love.” This isn’t a normal café of course; it’s a Capital One Café, one of the more than thirty café locations that have been rolled out in cities across the country. While getting that morning coffee, you can take a moment out of your busy day, sit down, and have a causal conversation with your Local Capital One Ambassador. This Ambassador isn’t just a stranger however, they’re someone that, if the marketing speaks for anything, Capital One envisions as becoming a trusted part of your local community. In a promo video, an Ambassador describing their position, says, “My job is just talking to people all day, just having genuine conversations about whatever it is that customer is looking to talk about, whether it’s about money, or it’s about coffee.” And later, describing the space itself, 71 END.

“Money is one of the most stressful situations for families, for individuals. So (the Café) is space where they can come in and reduce that stress entirely…it’s a space that customers can utilize and make it their own.”

Being in one of these spaces personally, I would whole-heartedly disagree. Here, the dissolution of boundaries is confused for the reduction of stress, the freedom of utilization with the variety of seating choices. The removal of institutional vestiges of finance and their replacement with the casual vibe of third wave coffee shops has more implications than just a reduction in stress. It attempts to reframe the intentions of the institution through the medium of space, even when those intentions haven’t changed—later in the video, a different Ambassador says she “works at a bank, but not a regular bank, a cool bank.” But so what? Isn’t it just a Bank trying to give itself yet another marketing face lift? To me, the Capital One Café is emblematic, yet another form of the continuing destruction of definition between spheres of life. Who is this Ambassador you are talking to, a friend with your best interests at heart, or a banker trying to persuade you to utilize a specific service? Engaging someone—as the countless commercials and promo photos show— face-to-face on a couch, conversation drifting between how you like your coffee to how you’re going to save for retirement, creates a very different relationship than engaging an advisor in an office at a desk. However, I’m not advocating for a romantic historicism, but for a critical reading of this new face. The space that is produced out of this is a weird hybrid, half environmental branding exercise, half uncanny Starbucks simulation presenting itself as new and fresh. Capital One’s TV advertisement, named “A Refreshing Take On Banking” opens with the spokesperson literally knocking down “the foundations of your typical bank.” Swatting at columns with the words ‘fees’ and ‘minimums’ carved into the drums, he declares, “Capital One is anything but typical!” as the poorly lit, totally unoccupied lobby collapses to reveal the bright, bustling Capital One Café. But while the programmatic combination of a café with a bank might be unusual, the modes of power have just been masked under another layer, hidden further behind a curtain as the barista (really the magician’s assistant) hands you your latte. The surreal space might be atypical, but the continual destruction of distinction between spheres of life is a contemporary practice that is totally typical.

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Datum: This semester we have been discussing the state of crisis created by natural disasters and incremental events of catastrophe happening due to Global Warming, and the capacity of the role of media in perpetuating the crisis state we live in. What role does the mass media (news outlets, weather channels, social media) play in creating hysteric echo chambers that divert attention to incomprehension, and is the news hysteric enough to incite the attentions globally needed to focus on our changing world? What are some of your thoughts on the relation of media in the “Anthropocenic age”?

That said I don’t think ignoring media is the only useful response. I am more inspired by efforts to make use of media (or anything


I wonder what it could mean to focus attention on our changing world, as you put it. Sometimes it seems that we need to cut through the confusion to get at something sensical. But what that something sensical is may turn out not to be a single Truth. Instead it may require that each person look at their own situation and assess from there. Real life is where truth is at, not scripted media dramas. Twitter soap opera stars wouldn’t need to yell so loudly or worry about likes, if what they had to say was real.


Stephanie Wakefield: Confusion and hysteria are definitely some of the best words to define the now. I don’t believe that more hysterics designed to capture attention will ever lead to the kinds of transformations many people hope for, whether political, environmental, or social. From politicians to social media, American society is saturated in crisis talk these days. The sad thing is that many people now live through this manufactured delirium as if it is real life. Instead of recognizing

the barrage of crisis alerts that characterize media or social media as operations designed to generate a predesignated set of responses —operations performed on us— many people adopt this crisis mentality as their own, using it as a rubric through which to evaluate their own lives. Interacting with their friends only through their idiotic tweets about designer coffee or Trump, many people forget that they actually like their friends IRL!

else) in one’s own ways —to use it to one’s advantage or in a way one finds beautiful or productive on their own terms. This might mean simply using Instagram to create your life as a work of art. Doing so has no need for followers, likes, or social media dashboard tools. Or using media might mean experimenting with old and new modes of internet and the big stacks, to see what is possible there. In this regard I am a big admirer of the project New Models, recently started by Caroline Busta and LIL INTERNET. A website and podcast, the project takes aggregation back from the major stacks by forwarding a human perspective and selecting actually relevant/interesting information/ thoughts from across art, politics, and culture. In fact, here the goal is precisely to cut through the oversaturation generated by algorithms, and to intentionally aggregate a specific style from within them.

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D: In your article Inhabiting the Postapocalyptic City with Bruce Braun, you say that we are already living in a postapocalyptic situation, as the only future imaginable is one beholden to our inaction of the past, and that this brings us into what Benjamin refers to as messianic time, one that exists purely in the creation of the present. In returning us to the now-time, how does messianic time allow us to operate differently than under that of katechon time in which we currently seem to still operate?

S: As I understand it, katechonic is any force that depicts reality in terms of a false binary of catastrophe and chaos, on one side, and that force’s own imposition of order, on the other. In this blackmail situation — which historically was imposed by the Church vis a vis the end times but is also that of current political regimes regarding climate change or revolution— existing regimes lock populations into a hostage situation by portraying themselves as the only legitimate bulwark against certain catastrophe. To speak about living in the post-apocalyptic is to take the perspective that there is nothing to wait for, but also to stop recognizing the katechon as a legitimate force. The disaster of liberal capitalism has already occurred and continues to occur. Instead of imagining a future crisis looming before us —as does most Anthropocene discourse as much as CNN— in context of which our lives would take on sense, someday; and instead of assuming the katechon is the only power capable of saving us, the messianic as you rightly call it implies a shift to living on our own terms in the here and now. Transformation occurs in the here and now. Hell and paradise occur in the here and now. What we long for can be possible in the here and now. But only if we shift our temporality into the real world and out of the awaiting room of the apocalyptic. Instead of always planning for tomorrow, when you will finally

[get in shape] [build the perfect planned community] [overthrow that which destroys you] [feel satisfied with your life], why not live now? S: We are interested in your use of the “back loop” ecological research in trying to further define our place as humans within the larger scales climate change and geologic time. How does the speed of escalation of climate change affect one’s consideration of the back loop in relation to our current society? Do you see our current culture as being reactionary to advancing climate change? Does the speed of climate change accelerate a rhetoric of crisis in our society? D: As I see it, the Anthropocene –and its current back loop— does not only name a time of climate change. Rather the Anthropocene back loop as I describe it in my research concerns the coming undone of liberalism’s codes broadly speaking. This includes its underlying truth regimes; modes of governance and control; ways of attempting to corral and tame human being; just as much as the physical grounds on which all of these were built: relatively speaking stable climates, particular shore lines, etc.


That said, I do see our current culture as being extremely reactionary. ‘Reactionary’ typically refers to proponents of a return to a previous status quo seen as preferable to the current one. This drive motivates the majority of politics in American society both left and right. These same ‘resilience’ or ‘climate change’ related projects I just mentioned may differ in their technical or even aesthetic regards but at heart they share the same ultraconservative goal: maintaining the business of liberal regimes as usual (even amidst their freefall). Surely climate change is, and will continue to be, a most powerful mobilizing discourse for all kinds of efforts to prevent the emergence of other ways of life from breaking out of the confines of liberal regimes, and for maintaining those confines via any and all (green, eco, nature-based) forms. Willful denial that the dislocations of


Strictly speaking, when it comes to climate change, it would not be accurate to say the dominant liberal faction of our current culture is reactionary, at least in so far as it treats climate change science as fact and mobilizes

it as a moral high ground and motivational imperative for a wide range of new projects and industries, which we can broadly name resilience and, to an increasingly lesser extent, sustainability. Here we can also file the Green New Deal, many ‘smart’ urban projects, and maybe even to some extent some space colonization efforts, in so far as they’re viewed an ‘escape hatch’ from an increasingly degraded earth. Global mayors’ networks, democratic politicians, tech executives, and designers are examples of those leading such efforts.

the present concern liberalism in its very foundations by reducing current transformations and the Anthropocene to just climate change is a great way of maintaining the former (liberalism) by invoking the crisis of the latter (climate). That many on the right seek return to a different but equally long-gone state of American society, in their case one defined by walls, fear, willful manipulation of media or fact, and despair and hatred (or for some, LARPing a fantasy of living like Vikings again), merely represent other ways of being reactionary –and not the only definition of it.

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Crisis rhetoric is an especially powerful tool used in both of these campaigns. For the right, manipulation of fear and desperation via fabrication of crises, such as the manufactured border emergency with its criminals, drugs, and contagious diseases flooding in through ‘porous holes,’ beamed daily into millions of Americans’ homes, provides a potent strategy for harnessing people to politicians’ own ends. For the left, because climate change is a relatively slow-moving set of phenomena, the idea that people need to be ‘woken up’ has become common. To ‘shake the masses out of their slumber,’ crisis rhetoric is deployed in the majority of articles, videos, art, and literature having to do with climate change. Crisis is deployed as a shock factor, alternately in hopes of waking the people out of their supposed sleep and mobilizing them into

a certain set of actions (joining a climate march, changing their lightbulbs, ‘caring’, etc.). But assumed here is that these actions are the correct or only possible ways of responding to awareness of what is actually happening. In reality the majority of ordinary people do know what is happening, they do see the future that we face perfectly well—and they still don’t find joining a climate march or voting for x politician a compelling pathway forward. This response should be taken very seriously. D: Ecological imbalance and adverse climatic conditions have led to disruption in the infrastructural systems creating serious imbalances in services. The raison d’etre of infrastructure is defined by its invisibility from the surface. This sort of black boxed conditions, when interrupted make them not only visible but have wide transnational consequences. How do you think the Anthropocene plays a role when the aftermaths of ecological disruptions are across borders? Current infrastructure makes us more connected, but will it continue to connect us or will it instead further alienate regions of the world? What are your thoughts on resilience urbanism versus tactile urbanism as an approach to this? S: For decades it’s been the aim of governments and companies to link people, lands, and infrastructure into a single eco-cybernetic ‘whole

earth’ stitched together with ‘critical’ infrastructures. Such infrastructures are now defined as the end all and be all of human life, vital to its continuation as well as that of the regimes which claim to govern it. Resilience emerged in this context, as I see it, as a means to maintain global systems as well as their local connections, specifically to maintain circulation and connection amongst systems. The resilience perspective at the same time conceives all of life and nonlife to be infrastructural (human, nature, technology are all systems in resilience’s systemsbased view) and to ensure its function amidst disturbance.

In any case, it seems to me that what many people now seek is to delink, and not, as systems thinkers continuously promote, to further interlink. This is of course manifest in positive and negative ways. From my perspective, the aforementioned attempts to learn skills or infrastructures is an interesting example of this delinking, whereas the idiotic promotion of ever-more securitized borders by politicians as a solution to the suffering of working class people is a manipulative and negative one.


Stephanie Wakefield is an urban geographer and Visiting Assistant Professor in Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College at The New School. Her work explores the diverse practices and technologies of resilient urbanism as both technical phenomenon and catalysts of new kinds of life in the Anthropocene. She is currently working on two research projects, the first of which is a book exploring the transformative possibilities offered by the ‘back loop’ and urban ‘experimentation’ as a mode of dwelling within it. She is also working on a second book project investigating experimental practices for living with water in Miami, Florida and through this the potential emergence of a new paradigm of ‘back loop urbanism.’


I think the feeling of being interlinked against one’s will into this infrastructural ‘black box’ has led many people to seek ways of getting their hands on the means of their existence again. For some this looks like learning basic survival skills, whether how to track and hunt, or how to make yogurt/kombucha/ etc. in their apartment, while for others it means taking up farming, learning to code and hack, or whatever. It’s possible that some instances of what you call tactical urbanism stem from similar motivations, but I suspect others are cynical efforts on the part of cities to increase tourism and Instagrammability. Furthermore, in much the same way as Central Park was built by planner Olmstead to provide a social safety valve for New York’s motley working classes, thus preventing class conflict, today’s

pop-up pedestrian café plazas are designed to make urban dwellers grateful for the small scrap of roadside granted to us, to snap photos of ourselves in the sliver of sunlight we are lucky to catch between work and subway, and in general similarly to maintain the fragile social peace.

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Ardian’s Little Theater, Noah Purifoy



“Junk art, assemblage art ... it’s as close to human existence because it’s all the castoffs we are utilizing here. I won’t say that assemblage art is much like life itself, but it’s closer to existence than any other art form. Because it’s your shit that we’re remodeling ... and you got rid of it.” - Noah Purifoy, Assemblage Sculptor and creator of the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Museum Drive through the Mojave Desert near the town of Joshua Tree, and you’ll see small saloons, open land, and a place where “junk” is adorned and memorialized. In the desert the value of junk rises, looking opulent amongst the unforgiving nature of the desert. In 1989 this became the landscape which Noah Purifoy would spend the last fifteen years of his life assembling art aimed at using the harsh environment of the desert and its “junk” as a beacon for social change. Purifoy, a visual artist and sculptor as well as the first African American to enroll at Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts), dedicated his life to the “found object” after discovering this manifesto in his work inspired by the Watts Riots of 1965. Taking the charred debris and melted material from the riots, he curated pieces which memorialized these events. It was at this point that Purifoy became fascinated in experimenting with mediums which hold stories of urban life and their consumptional waste and neglection after being abandoned.


Cast out of the city for lack of financial stability and visibility from the urban art scene, Purifoy fled to the desert, taking his materials with him. Beaten down from the political unrest and lack of social


In Purifoy’s life, he expanded upon his desire to bring art and activism together through found objects and assemblage art. He initiated programs, such as Artists in Social Institutions, which brought art into the state prison system, and was a founding director for the Watts Tower Art Center. By the time he was in his seventies, Purifoy couldn’t afford living in Los Angeles on only social security. Art became a means of survival and was not producing the positive social reconstructions he desired.

From the Point of View of the Little People, Noah Purifoy

change he saw in LA, came a new terrain which already viewed “junk” in a highly regarded light. The following years of his life would build upon the assemblage art with which he became so infatuated with by using the role of nature as a theme for resistance and transformation. Purifoy’s training as a social worker and his experience growing up in the south and living through the civil rights movement in LA led him to fully commit to addressing the social and political concerns of the black community in his work.

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Purifoy’s biggest hurdle when he started out was finding materials. In LA, “junk” was everywhere, readily available, but in the desert everyone recycled these items. This meant going to local trade offs and using actual trash in his work. Hamburger wrappers, broken computer keyboards lined with birds nests, abandoned shoes, ripped pages from novels, beer kegs, shattered glass. The constructed material experience leaves space feeling unfinished, unsure of what was remains intentionally and what has emerged with time. These sculptures were meant to be assembled, not maintained. By leaving these items in continuous transition rather than a single form, there emerges a new type of language which highlights transitional periods as the intended experienced composition. By situating himself, vulnerable to the vast

desert landscape, the experience of space and temporality also became an exploration of phenomenology, allowing his activism to become art. His architectural language with the land stands out in Adrian’s Little Theatre. The piece is built from hundreds of pieces of scrap steel, casting harsh shadows onto the land. The echoes in the interior from the high desert winds create an off-putting feeling of abandonment as you walk by towers of empty lunch trays. His use of innocuous objects in an intense light can be seen as tongue-in-cheek, often making references to the Jim Crow era and the economic desperation many faced during that time. Other, less opinionated works such as From the Point of View of the Little People utilizes the user experience as a way to communicate his art in a comical and playful light. While abstract in nature, there is still a strong narrative for humans which lingers among his work. The absence of human bodies are covered by implied spaces in which people live, seats look as if someone had just

No Contest (Bicycles), Noah Purifoy

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been sitting there, gallows carry the weight of a body on the scaffolding. An empty bed in his piece “Shelter,” inspired by his experiences as a social worker, remains empty, yet a presence seemingly lurks. The art and architecture itself is full of life, moving amongst the wind and the rigid built environment. The most prevalent missing figure is Purifoy himself amongst what remains of his labor: these manufactured forms which encased a man’s life for his last fifteen years. Today, Purifoy’s work is open to the public and stands in the hands of the desert, left to the elements after he passed away in 2004. His work was and continues to be a paradigm for other artists to manifest and expand themselves beyond what is considered art and allows for other black artists to become more visible beyond the white cube system.

References: “Bio + Chronology.” Noah Purifoy Foundation, Jan. 2019 Laden, Tanja M. “Junk Dada: The Stories Behind Noah Purifoy’s Joshua Tree Sculptures.” KCET, 5 Mar. 2018 Anhie. “Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 13 Feb. 2010 82 D AT U M N O . 1 1

Elder, Adam. “Noah Purifoy: Dystopian Dadaism from Riot-Torn LA to Joshua Tree Still Resonates.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 29 May 2015 Right image: Interior of ‘Carousel,’ Noah Purifoy





We are inherently changing every moment of the day. Change is not linear, it is cyclical and ever present. The repetitive movement of change is built into our DNA, most significantly in the cycle in which we decompose. The human body begins the decomposition process soon after a heart stops beating. After three to seven minutes body cells and tissues stop receiving oxygen and blood begins to pool in the lower lying portions of the body due to gravity. The site in which our bodies decompose is a large factor in the process. Underground, the body has time to replenish the soil with nutrients. As an organism excretes waste or dies, the nitrogen within the tissues (amino acids, DNA) begins to decompose. Fungi and prokaryotes degrade in the process of ammonification. Tissues release inorganic nitrogen in the form of ammonia and return it back into the ecosystem. The ammonia is then available for plants and organisms to grow from the nutrients. An opportunity is arising to return our bodies into the landscape and to create a dialog towards a more environmentally friendly burial process in the U.S. midwest region. Casket burials gained popularity after the Civil War to transport northern and southern soldiers across America. The caskets contaminate groundwater, utilize excess materials (concrete, wood, metal) and leak harmful embalming chemicals into the earth. Cremation, or the process of burning and oxidizing, takes about three hours to fully disintegrate a body. The system gives off carbon dioxide emissions due to the lack of filtration in facilities and requires about two full tanks of fuel to cremate one body. Another alternative, alkaline hydrolysis, uses 95% water and 5% potassium hydroxide to reduce a body into a cremationlike substance. This is one of the more environmentally friendly options yet it uses about three hundred gallons of water per body. 84 D AT U M N O . 1 1

There is a shift in the U.S. from the traditional casket burial ceremony to a green burial. The body is refrigerated after death and buried with a biodegradable casket made from natural materials such as cedar, burlap, seagrass, bamboo, and wool with no embalming chemicals. This concept is not a new process. Alternative burials are common in many cultures such as the Hindu rituals which involve at-home

cremation within the first twenty four hours after death. Tibetan sky burials involve the process of leaving the body in specific sites to be consumed by birds in order to return the body back to the ecosystem. In Iowa, there is a movement to return our bodies to the earth in a sustainable way. Nonprofits such as the Midwest Green Burial Society and Warren-McElwain Mortuary and Cremation Services are working to advocate for natural burial processes and raising awareness of the environmental impacts of conventional burials. Warren-McElwain Mortuary and Cremation Services in Lawrence, Kansas is the first publicly owned cemetery to have a dedicated green burial location. This option not only changes the environmental impact of death, but also the mourning and grieving process. The process of death does not signify the end, in fact it is simply the beginning of something new. It is time to devote our bodies back to the landscape with the least harmful process to regenerate the future.

(above) Mae Murphy; next page featuring work also by Mae Murphy

References: “Ames, Iowa Funeral Home | Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care.” Blakemore, Erin. “Could the Funeral of the Future Help Heal the Environment?” Smithsonian Institution, 1 Feb. 2016, www.


“News.” National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), 2019, www.


Bosman, Julie, and Mitch Smith. “University of Iowa Student Is Among More Than 20 Dead in Midwestern Deep Freeze.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 31 Jan. 2019, www.nytimes. com/2019/01/31/us/iowa-student-death.html.


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Within the landscape of New Mexico, the Pueblo people have always lived in a series of interconnected villages. Near Mount Taylor in the Rio San JosĂŠ basin, the Acoma Pueblo have survived many years of colonial oppression by the Spanish, Mexicans, and United Statesians. In the center of this society lies the Sky City. The Sky City of Acoma is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited place in North America and is a Gridded Community sitting on top of a Mesa. The people who have lived there have developed an economy and culture built off of the land and connections with the other Pueblos. Today, many of the Acoma people live outside of the towering cliffs of the Mesa but the traditional government is required to take residence there. These people do various things for the community. Farms cover the landscape strategize the conditions of the harsh climate. Water infrastructure is crucial when precipitation is so low. When people are not working in the land (or commuting to Albuquerque), they are going to basketball games, school, or the casino, or any other activity to pass time on the reservation. The everyday life of Acoma is directly tied to the community which they have built. For the past several decades, the Acoma have had much of their reservation standardized by the United States government.

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On top of land encroachment and pollution of natural resources, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development have forced the Acoma to fit their built environment to regulations which do not consider the unique cultural conditions of site and landscape, but rather consider the modularity of mainstream modern life. The Bureau of Indian Education has run the education of the Acoma for over a decade, after standardized learning by the US Department of Education in the 20th century led to a loss of people on the reservation. Children were taken from homes into boarding schools and forced to unlearn their language and culture. As of this year, the Acoma now have separated from the BIE and now have near complete control over their educational future. The Haaku Community academy has a new life as a charter school where people who run the school are now attempting to integrate cultural education into the already demanding education system.

photo by Nick Nagawiecki

Concurrent with this, Laura Garcia has been developing a system of language preservation for the Acoma people. She is using her knowledge of Linguistics to create a hybrid system of language preservation which attempts to recognize the past as something which has shaped the present, but also create a sustainable cultural moment so that they could thrive in the proceeding future. This interview with her will go into her efforts and what they mean for the Acoma people. Nick Nagawiecki: Could you please describe your efforts at language retention in Acoma? How does it differ from past language retention efforts? Laura Garcia: I developed an Acoma Keres Alphabet using the International Phonetic Alphabet in the early eighties to teach myself to speak my Acoma Keres language. I am a visual learner and had to come with a way to read and write my language. It took me about 10 years to develop this alphabet. 89 END.

I was asked by a former governor of our tribe to use my method to teach non-fluent speaker how to speak. I do this now for my community twice a week in the evening. I do not receive any type of compensation. What I do is strictly voluntary on my part. My method of teaching my language is teaching the pronunciation of

the 51 sounds and symbols in the Acoma Keres language. I’m living proof that this method works or I wouldn’t be able today to learn to speak and expand my vocabulary and knowledge of our language if I didn’t learn to pronounce individual sounds. I was able to begin writing words and phrases thus moving on to sentences. This method differed from the other efforts/instructors because no one used any form of writing. NN: What sort of role does the environment play in the language of Acoma? LG: The environment, land, water, seasons, and the climate all work naturally with our language. The words that are used describe our way of life, in song, dance, stories, and prayers. Our language tells how our traditions and culture together with the environment make up who we are as Acoma Pueblo people. NN: What is the biggest obstacle to language retention in Acoma? LG: I personally believe it’s the influence of the outside world on the younger generations of my people. And yet in reality, we must become

photo by Nick Nagawiecki

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knowledgeable in the area of technology and be competitive in today’s world in order for progress to occur within Acoma Pueblo. NN: What is Language Immersion and do you see it as an option for the Acoma? LG: Language Immersion is basically a method developed to teach people a second language, in which the language being taught is used specifically for instruction purposes. This method was used as a means to teach our Acoma Keres language. This method was not successful because the individuals learning did not hear the language enough and there were not enough Acoma speaking instructors. NN: How has the Acoma Language changed over your lifetime? LG: I don’t have a definite answer for that question because it’s only been a few years that I have learned to speak my language. However, as I have learned to speak, I have noticed that we our accepting short cuts to our words and using more slang words in conversation. In the language classes that I host, I try to have my participants use the more formal and proper way of using the language. NN: How many fluent Acoma speakers would you see there are? How does this differ from when you were younger? LG: My daughter, Lorissa, conducted a survey about Acoma language fluency a few years ago as a class assignment and found that there were about forty percent of our population who were fluent speakers. I do speak my language but I do not consider myself to be fluent. However, I can compare fluency with the children I taught in the first grade in 1970 to children who are currently in the first grade today. I had twenty two first graders in my first year of teaching and all but two students were fluent speakers of my language. Today, there are no first grade students who speak our language and only a few understand.

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As soon as I began learning to speak my language using the written form, I knew I had to share my successes with those who longed to learn my language. I have been teaching in my community for about five and a half years.




Throughout these years in college, I have been observing how being bilingual has taken flight in the American population. Not being from the states makes you think stereotypically that Americans never take their time to learn another language, that they expect everyone to learn English. Although it has a truth to it, there are more people that I would have imagined that do not fit this stereotype. So, with this DATUM platform, I want to, in a way, celebrate being bilingual, and give a sneak peak of how it is to be bilingual. -José Alfredo López Villalobos

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For this article, I produced a survey to obtain multiple points of view from different bilingual people in English and Spanish. Each person learns language in a different way, be it by the way it was taught in high school, college, or all the experiences that the person has had with the language. Therefore, having many perspectives on this topic will help more people to assimilate with the study. What was meant to be learned from the survey was how people think about languages when looking at its grammar. Grammar is the set of rules a language has. It is what makes the language separate from others. Now, some people might see grammar as restricting, others can see it as malleable. But it all depends on how much command the person has on the language. Throughout my education from high school to college, I have seen many people who have experienced Spanish and English, so I wanted to see

how these two languages were seen by people who learned English and then Spanish. La gramática es una de las cosas que define el lenguaje. El español es mi primer idioma, lo que hablo en casa, con mis amigos de la high… y por eso tengo mi propia imagen de él. También aprendí el inglés desde bien temprano. Mi colegio era un colegio bilingüe desde Kinder, y pues desde esa temprana edad he estado inmerso en el inglés. También, los medios de comunicación como la televisión, la música, las películas, muchas de ellas eran en inglés. Como Puerto Rico es parte de los Estados Unidos, el inglés es parte de nuestra cultura. Estas circunstancias me dieron la oportunidad de ser bilingüe desde pequeño. Y pues, siempre que llega el tema del inglés y el español a una conversación, sea por comparación, por chiste, o por la forma en que hablamos, la

mayoría de la veces terminamos con una de estas conclusiones: que el español tiene un vocabulario más rico, que es más emotivo y expresivo, al igual que pensamos que es más complicado, más estricto; que el inglés es más simple, que para simplificar una palabra, la palabra en inglés es la mejor opción (bueno, es más fácil decir parking que decir estacionamiento, ¿no?). Pues, para no ser parcial en este tema, hice el cuestionario, y encontré estas descripciones junto a otras de ambos lenguajes que me pusieron a pensar.


El inglés se ganó esa reputación. O sea, aunque difícil, el idioma sí es simple. No hay distinción de género, no hay tantas conjugaciones… Comparado con otros lenguajes, en este caso, el español, sí es simple. Hay una frase que decimos mucho que es: el francés es para enamorar, el portugués para susurrar, el español para gritar, y el inglés para entrenar a perros. Sí, es un poco burlón, pero cierto. El inglés es simple y eficiente. Se dice que hay más conversaciones en inglés entre personas que el inglés no es su primer idioma, que entre personas anglosajonas.


When asked what people think about English, people described it as informal, confusing, and hard, but one of the words used that grabbed my attention was “modern”. When reading it, it did not surprise me as much, but it did make me think about the importance of the language at this moment. Yes, English could be described as grammatically inconsistent, thus informal and confusing for some, but that

does not take from it being the language of air transit and the language of business. English might be the third language with most native speakers, behind Chinese and Spanish, but it is the one of the languages with the most learners. English, with all the innovations that have come from the Anglophone countries, has won its modern reputation.

Comparado con el español, en inglés es bueno en simplificar las cosas.

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When asking the same question, but for Spanish, one description that I was expecting that did appear in one of the answers was that Spanish has words with multiple meanings. This description goes parallel with the different accents and vocabularies that each hispanic country has. This makes Spanish a difficult language to learn not because the language itself is hard, but if you learn one certain form of Spanish from a certain country, it does not mean that you will understand the other accents clearly. If you ask any Hispanic, they will tell you that there is always one country with a language pattern they think it is unintelligible. Anglophone countries do have different pronunciations and different words for certain objects in each accent, but when it comes to Spanish, the words that are used in one country usually mean a bad thing in another country, so conversations can get very awkward, really fast (it is usually funny, though). Now, one of the descriptions that did surprise me about Spanish was that someone described Spanish as fluid and more friendly. The friendly part might be caused by the actual people that speak it, attributed to how latin societies are more open and inviting to other people but the fluid part I still do not get it. Quizá sea por la rapidez en que hablamos, quizá por las pausas o

la forma en que hablamos… pero todavía no me cabe... Entiendo que gente pueda decir que es más amigable el español que el inglés por la diferencia en culturas, hispanos tienden a tener más confianza entre personas que los anglosajones… pero de que el español sea más fluido… Eso no me cabe. Alguien, por favor, explíquemelo. Being bilingual gives you a new set of perks. Everyone notices it. … “poder comunicarse en dos mundos diferentes” … … “understanding a new language can help you understand yourself even more”… … “being able to deceive people by appearances and then surprising them by being able to speak fluently”… These phrases were taken from the survey to show what people liked about being bilingual. My take on the topic is that each language gives you a different perspective on the world. Different set of rules, different set of vocabulary, different setting of society. Since we live in a time where different perspectives are what are driving this world forward, being able to understand both or even more than two points of view can help you thrive and live on in this world. Thank you.




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DATUM is a medium for critical academic discourse through the exchange of bold design and progressive ideas. As a student-run publication, we are grateful to the Iowa State University Department of Architecture and to Iowa State Student Organizations for their continual support. We would also like to thank previous donors for providing the funds to get us to where we are today. Donors have no influence on, or involvement with, the work selected for publication.


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