DEADLINE: AUGUST 21, 2020

ISSUE 001: SPACE?

CONTEXT_:

 

For the past days, weeks, and months we have all found ourselves suddenly thrust into a world we never thought possible; one initially dictated by complete isolation and confinement, but later consumed by the insatiable need to unite, to join together to break rules, orders, and accepted practices for progress. 

Throughout this time there were phrases that seemed to speak for the world: #socialdistancing and #blacklivesmatter. These were not simply hashtags trending on social media, but rather political and counter-political catch phrases that shaped lives during a time defined by collective causes made up of necessary separation and confinement, then subsequently separation’s ultimate dismissal in a call to action. The call came as people were grappling with shattered livelihoods and ongoing inequities laid bare by the pandemic. Globally, people rejected isolation in the face of injustice. In a new solidarity, they broke curfews, co-opted platforms, and set cities ablaze to voice their despair. The imperative need for caution was usurped by the imperative need for change as people around the world proclaimed that Black lives mattered. Can the events witnessed in this time define a generation and change entire countries, classes, and peoples? As the world grapples with the challenges 2020 has brought, what has been learned from them? What needs to be said? Speculated on? Challenged? Amplified? Drawn? Designed? Written? 

With these movements, “space” becomes a deeply problematized idea. Initially, entire lives were compressed into the screens of computers and events from the personal to the historic took place on “Zoom,” while the workplace and social space collapsed into one. With the rise of the virtual came the rise of questioning the necessity of physical space. Yet, as global unrest unfolded across the world, people took to physical spaces as a conduit for demonstrations. During the turmoil, SpaceX executed the launch of the first manned, private space flight, a further acknowledgment of the infinite nature of space. These events, in rapid succession, question the very notion of space and juxtapose the power of physical space with the idea of living in only the virtual. These contrasting conditions only expand the questions and the need for answers.

PROMPT_:

 

Architecture operates at the intersection of culture, politics, economics, and technology. As shapers of the environment via designs for buildings, objects, landscapes, and spaces—real and virtual—designers find themselves rethinking all of it. As part of this rethinking many are contemplating ways that people will now interact with space as a result of the pandemic and the social unrest that followed. We believe, as students and teachers preparing for this reality, we should not just look at the ways in which space can be reorganized to promote social change and address today’s dire concerns but also actively propose solutions beyond the accepted notions of spatiality, reorganization, and reaction. We must confront the many questions that this year of crises has raised for our society and consequently the design disciplines. What does it mean to be an architect, planner, and designer moving forward? What has it meant in the past and how can that be unpacked to expose a plethora of opportunities and shortcomings? What are we up against in regards to the finer minutia of society's inner workings?

More questions. Where have the phenomena of “social-distancing” and “social solidarity” left us? What lessons have these phenomena taught us inside and outside of the discipline that question the notion of space—how it enables (disables) and promotes (demotes) social interactions on a daily basis? What is the role of space as a social equalizer or divider? Does Architecture have the power to shape the built world and fix its underlying inequities, when programmers seem increasingly more relevant? What role does the digital now play in spatiality? Does the virtual world threaten disciplines such as Architecture, or do they offer opportunities? What is obsolete? What world might we live in where physical manifestations of success and accomplished dreams are replaced by virtual ones? Has this year proven something about the necessity of physicality or virtuality in the world? What are the impacts of an economy hampered by crises? By who and where are these crises most felt? How should professions participate as society grapples to re-invent itself? How do race and identity contribute to the economy and consumption of space? How do we strive for a more equitable and racially just future? How can design make good on the promise that, “Black Lives Matter’? What is the future of space, place, economy, social class, social confinement, and social expression? What are we missing? What Else...?


STANCE_:

 

We value and encourage experimentation in both format and content as well as commentary from within and without the design. Thus, we are not prescribing a specific response format, but instead we want to push the boundaries in the ways we can express these issues. Nevertheless, we have listed some ideas for consideration below. In addition, we want to hear ideas from those impacted; those who work outside of architecture, urban planning, preservation, and real estate. We invite any potential contributors, such as medical students and professionals, activists, restaurateurs, hospitality workers, reporters, graphic designers, citizens etc. We welcome past work, but please obtain permissions from all contributors and/or authors prior to submission. 

POTENTIALS_:

Drawings

Collages

Photos/Photo Essays

Videos

Essays (up to 2,000 words)

Short responses (up to 500 words)

Essay Collages

Social Media dialogues in times of confinement

Anecdotes 

Or surprise us with something we haven’t thought about.

FORMAT_:

HYPHEN will live as a website and as a 6” x 9” document to be printed and made artifact when such activities resume.  

columbia-university-graduate-school-of-a