Below is a draft of the paper I presented at the conference "Architecture and the Political," Beirut, Lebanon, where I try to construct an ethnography using Bruno Latour's actor-network theory, while trying to compare progressive architectural strategies to Jacques Ranciére's concept of politics. If you have any feedback, please leave it below or in an email. Thanks.
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POLITICAL OR POLICE ARCHITECTS? interpreting architecture in place
Architects have mobilized in increasing numbers over the past decades to confront rising inequality. Paralleling architecture’s potentially political project, Jacques Rancière has developed a new conception of politics as “disagreement” that confronts our representative democracies’ “police order.” I will approach both topics—new socially-conscious/public-interest architectures and Rancière's politics—as sets of controversies, as advised by Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory (ANT), and try to make them visible. An ethnographic construction will present architecture and politics in the making between concepts, agents, and objects. The Alley Flat Initiative at the University of Texas will perform the controversies in a real place, at which point we can begin to trace the projectile of categories such as Rancière's politics and “political architecture.” Once the measurements are documented, new projectiles can be proposed in between Rancière's police order (as “police architectures”) and political emancipation (as “political architectures”), between restriction and openness. New experimental practices must build on top of the solid foundations of ANT assemblages with malleable disciplinary specificities, oscillating between critical distance and proximity, while advocating for continued experimentation in the field, placing bricks in time and space.