Building Life: Spatial Politics, Science and Environmental Epistemes

This two-day public symposium examines how entanglements between the interdisciplinary fields of the built environment and the sciences have transformed concepts of nature, territory, and the environment over time, reproducing global inequities that continue to (un)build life. The symposium will feature an array of scholars and practitioners whose work is reshaping our understanding of what it means to inhabit, study, and care for a climate-changed world. The symposium is connected to the MoMA exhibition Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism (runs through January 2024).
Spanning the fields of art and architectural history, environmental studies, anthropology, sociology, race and ethnicity studies, Indigenous studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, and science and technology studies, among others, papers will consider how spatial and scientific practices have historically shaped human interpretations and approaches to life. They will also offer speculative projections to imagine alternative possibilities.Convened by Spyros Papapetros (Princeton University) and Esther M. Choi (the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art), Building Life is co-presented by Princeton University and the Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment at The Museum of Modern Art.

Registration is required but free.

Session moderated by Blue lab director Allison Carruth

"Second Natures and Environmental Imaginaries"
Saturday, November 11 from 2:00-4:45

  • Irene Small (Princeton University), "The Architecture of Interstitiality: Autopoiesis and the Organic Line"
  • John Paul Ricco (University of Toronto), "To Become Extinct in the Very Practice of One's Thinking"
  • Kath Weston (University of Virginia, University of Edinburgh), "Bioengineering Financial Futures: From Synthetic Biology to Synthetic Bonds"
  • Jaskiran Dhillon (The New School), "Climate Change, Environmental Epistemes, and Guideposts for World-Making into the Future"
  • J. Kameron Carter (University of California, Irvine), "Reimagining Matter, or, Whiteness as an Architectural Political Theology"