Keller Easterling

Speed through images of the space in which we swim: parking places, parking lots, skyscrapers, turning radii, garages, driveways, street lights, airport lounges, highway exits, big boxes, small boxes, strip malls, shopping malls, free zones, casinos, fast food, retail, restaurants, hotels, cash machines, tract housing, containers, container ports, golf courses, golf course suburbs, office buildings, office parks, resorts. The retinal afterglow is of a soupy matrix of details and spatial products—the repeatable formulas that make most of the space in the world. While architects are best trained to craft singular masterpiece buildings, most of the architectural enclosures that the world inhabits are by-products of formulas considered to be outside the discipline. Even if these spaces are not physically identical, they shape experiences and practices as monetized products. Now even entire world cities are also built according to meta spatial products that reproduce environments like Shenzhen or Dubai. The most radical changes to the globalizing world are being written in the language of this matrix space—a space that has become an almost infrastructural technology.
Architecture is making the occasional stone in the water. The world is making the water.

This infrastructural space is a common ground, but is it a common ground for the discipline of architecture? Architecture often assumes that it has no skills to address the spatial products of repeatable or infrastructural space. The fear is that to address this space one would need to dilute the discipline with knowledge from economic, political or social sciences. The same fear might also wish to establish the boundaries of a shared disciplinary knowledge—a common ground as protected area. Consensus about a proper architectural practice or canon would then exclude non-conforming evidence and act as a firewall against the creep of matrix space—space deemed to have nothing to do with the history of urbanity or the core of architectural arts. While this might be a perfectly reasonable artistic choice, the strenuous exercise of identifying unworthy outliers and writing histories that eliminate rather than gather evidence perhaps diminishes its pleasures. As with many fears, this stance begins to have the disposition of, not an artistic, but rather a political or religious practice.

Moreover, there is a significant difference between the decision to turn to other disciplines for knowledge or skills and the decision to apply the disciplinary skills of architecture to a broader set of phenomena in the wide world. Expanded extradisciplinary knowledge is very different from an expanded audience for architectural knowledge. It can be sufficiently compelling to design the stone in the water, and faced with these landscapes it is perhaps understandable that the discipline falls returns what it is best trained to do—making pictures of spatial, political processes or ecologies rather than actually inflecting them. Yet it can also be both pleasurable and compelling to think about what spatial arts—not science or policy expertise, but arts—are involved in shaping and deflecting the water. With this artistic choice, the infrastructural matrix space that is making most of the world does not kill or quarantine architecture but rather opens onto new pastures of endeavor and practice.

"Space as a Medium of Innovation" Interview with Berndt Upmeyer

MONU: Magazine on Urbanism, #26, Spring 2017 — May 1, 2017

"Impossible"

Pedro Gadanho, Joao Laia and Susana Ventura, eds., Utopia/Dystopia: a Paradigm Shift in Art and Architecture — March 1, 2017

"Superbug"

Log 39 Spring 2017 — March 15, 2017

"The Histories of Things That Don’t Happen and Shouldn’t Always Work"

Arjun Appadurai and Arien Mack, eds., Failure: Social Research International Quarterly — September 1, 2016

"Split Screen"

Ilke and Andreas Ruby, eds., Infrastructure Space, Holcim Foundation (Ruby Press). — 2016

"Things That Don’t Always Work"

Ryan Bishop, Kristoffer Gansing, Jussi Parikka and Elvia Wilk, eds., Across and Beyond—A Transmediale Reader on Post-digital Practices, Concepts, and Institutions — 2016

"A Man a Tree and and Ax"

Lola Sheppard and Maya Przybylski, eds., Bracket: At Extremes (Barcelona: Actar). — November 1, 2016

Encounters with Climate

Encounters with Climate

“Encounters with Climate” in James D. Graham, ed., Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City/Lars Muller Publishers, 2015). — 2016

Infra-read: Interview by Jesse Seegers

Infra-read: Interview by Jesse Seegers

Pin-Up — May 1, 2016

<em>ARQ 92: Excepiones</em>

ARQ 92: Excepiones

April 1, 2016

Protocols of Interplay

Protocols of Interplay

Volume: The System — April 1, 2016

The Dispositions of Theory

The Dispositions of Theory

James Graham, ed.,The Urgencies of Architectural Theory (New York, GSAPP Books) — 2015

An Internet of Things

An Internet of Things

reprint in Brian Kuan Wood, Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle eds., e-flux journal: The Internet Does Not Exist (Sternberg Press). — 2015

Interview

Interview

Arqa — 2011

Pandas: A Rehearsal

Pandas: A Rehearsal

Cornell Journal of Architecture — 2011

Fresh Fields

Fresh Fields

Coupling: Pamphlet Architecure 30 Infranet Lab/Lateral Office (New York: Princeton Architectural Press) — 2011

Rumor

Rumor

Megan Born and Lily Jencks, eds, Via: Dirt, University of Pennsylvania — 2012

Come to Things

Come to Things

Metahaven and Marina Vishmidt, eds., Uncorporate Identity (Zürich: Lars Müller) — 2010

Graduate Sessions No. 9

Graduate Sessions No. 9

Syracuse University — 2010

The Activist Entrepreneur

The Activist Entrepreneur

John Wriedt ed., Architecture: From the Outside In (New York: Princeton Architectural Press) — 2010

World City Doubles

World City Doubles

Roldolphe El-Khoury and Edward Robbins, ed., Shaping the City: Studies in History, Theory and Urban Design (Routledge). — June 1, 2013

In the Briar Patch

In the Briar Patch

Jonathan Solomon ed., Sustain and Develop 306090 Volume 13 (New York: 306090, Inc.) — 2009

The Agent: Interview with Neeraj Bhatia

The Agent: Interview with Neeraj Bhatia

The Agent No. 0 — May 1, 2014

Absolute Submission

Absolute Submission

Crisis, a collaboration of C-Lab and Urban China — September 15, 2008

Without Claims to Purity

Without Claims to Purity

aX, vol. 1+2 (Winter) — 2008

Megabuilding

Megabuilding

Architektura 4, 163 (Kwiecien) — 2009

Intermediate Points of Interest

Intermediate Points of Interest

Gaby Brainard, Rustam Mehta, and Thom Moran eds., Perspecta 41 Grand Tour — 2008

The Knowledge

The Knowledge

Volume 13: Ambition — 2007

Disposition: In_site

Disposition: In_site

In_Site: A Dynamic Equilibrium, In_Site 05 (Friessen) — 2007

Foreword

Foreword

Young Architects 7: Situating, catalog of Architectural League's Young Architects competition and exhibition (New York: Princeton Architectural Press) — 2006

Other Aggressions and Maneuvers

Other Aggressions and Maneuvers

The Last Mile, photography catalog Satya Pemmaraju (Gallery SKE) — 2007

Non-statecraft

Non-statecraft

Maghreb Connection: Movements of Life Across North Africa (Barcelona: ACTAR) — 2007

Not Everything

Not Everything

Volume 2: Not Everything — 2005

Architect-at-Large

Architect-at-Large

Volume 1 — 2005

With Satellites: Remote Sending in South Asia and the Middle East

With Satellites: Remote Sending in South Asia and the Middle East

Brian McGrath and Grahame Shane eds., AD, Sensing the 21st Century: Close-up and Remote Vol. 75 No. 6 — 2005

Offshore

Offshore

Anselm Frank and Eyal Weizman, eds., Territories: the Frontiers of Utopia and Other Facts on the Ground (Berlin: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König) — 2004

Orgman

Orgman

Stephen Graham, ed., The Cybercities Reader (London: Routledge) — 2003

Subtraction

Subtraction

Perspecta 34: Temporary Architecture (MIT Press) — 2003

Tomato World

Tomato World

Praxis 4: Landscapes — January 1, 2002

A-Ware

Journal of Architectural Education, special digital issue — January 1, 2002

Wildcards: a Game of Orgman

Wildcards: a Game of Orgman

Metalocus 5 — 2000

Interchange and Container: The New Orgman

Interchange and Container: The New Orgman

Perspecta 30 Settlement Patterns — 1999

A Short Contemplation on Money and Comedy

A Short Contemplation on Money and Comedy

Thresholds 18 (MIT) — 1999

Distributive Protocols: Residential Formations

Distributive Protocols: Residential Formations

Beauty is Nowhere: Ethical Issues in Art and Design (Routledge) — 1998

American Town Plans excerpt

ANY — 1993

Siting Protocols

Siting Protocols

Peter Lang, ed., Suburban Discipline (Storefront Books) — 1997

Call it Home

Assemblage 24 — 1994

Perceiving Action

Offramp, SCI-ARC Journal, vol. 1, no. 5 — 1993

Switch

Switch

City Speculations (New York: Princeton Architectural Press) — 1996