Design and spatial constructions are, inevitably, exclusion devices: there is no need to read Butler or Agamben to understand that there are bodies that matter more than others. Design practices, operating between the submission to liberal positions and contexts and a claimed ‘autonomy’, systematically excludes bodies, agents and entities. Recent crises have revealed the difference produced by contemporary spatial construction. And recent systemic changes and spatial lessons have not been built from mainstream design and architectural practices —accomplice with those in power. Activists, citizens, and platforms in 2008-crisis-ridden cities, built powerful spatial protocols and narratives that revealed the power of design and architecture as tools for exclusion and political violence, but also unveiled strong possibilities for subversion. Contemporary thought and new political imaginaries have outlined the fields of a space to come. But, how to construct spatial practices that care of and care for while facing the contradictions and conflicts that capitalist production frameworks present? How can we build a caring design and architectural practice beyond social reproduction and human bodies? What are their implications? Which should be the vectors of a spatial practice to-come?
Caring assemblies. Designing for better futures proposes the creation of a forum, a compact, online and physical, and distributed public program, a space for the construction and friction of narratives and spatial protocols for a close future. The participants, relevant voices linked to design narratives, and to spatial, territorial, feminist and ecological thinking, will conduct short public presentations, responded by local thinkers and designers. Finally, a collaborative workshop, based on the card game The Quiet Year, by Avery Alder, will allow us to speculate, collectively, on differente futures after the collapse.
Anna Puigjaner, architect, researcher, and educator, and Paulo Moreira, architect and researcher, will explore ways of caring beyond the domestic space. Ana Naomi de Sousa, journalist and filmmaker, Bernardo Amaral, architect and researcher, and Sinho Baessa de Pina, activist and music artist, will interrogate the violence of architectural practice in relation to construction processes, labor exploitation and human rights. Jara Rocha, thinker and cultural mediator, together with Ana Isabel Carvalho and Ricardo Lafuente (Manufactura Independente) will take us to investigate the distribution of technology and the materialities of present cultures. With artist Mary Maggic, in conversation with Miriam Simun, we will end up speculating on better worlds through biohacking and amateur science. As a final ceremony, in the workshop Mapping upcoming futures (Mapeando futuros próximos), straddling fiction theory, playful thinking, role plays and shared drawing, we will collectively think about spatial constructions, social relations, material politics, and design culture of a near present, but yet-to-come.
Designing for better futures.