Elke Krasny

Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet

19 February 2021

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Since the 1970s, feminist activists, thinkers, and researchers have developed a perspective of care as an ethical proposition and have also organized politically around “care” as a specific form of reproductive labor. Building on these traditions, this lecture focuses on curatorial research in architecture, urbanism, and the built environment that show how spatial practices care connect social and environmental justice. Architecture has been at the heart of the modern project of capitalism. This brings to the fore its implication in urbanization and the production of conditions that led to the Anthropocene-Capitalocene. Modernist aspirations in architecture were based on the powerful promise of building a better future. Today, we live in the ruins of this promise. In what ways, then, can curating contribute to engaging with imagining building the future differently? In what ways can architectural curating focus on the politics of interdependence as they are addressed by architecture and urbanism? How can exhibition-making and urban curating contribute to critical spatial care taking in order to restore livability and inhabitability? Acknowledging the given interdependence of economy, ecology and labor, a care perspective in architecture and urbanism starts from the premise of permanent repair seeking to work toward continued existence in the future.

Elke Krasny is Professor for Art and Education at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She is a cultural theorist, urban researcher, and curator. Her scholarship and her curatorial work examine crises of the global present and focus on ethical and political concerns. Interested in emancipatory and transformative practices, her scholarship and her curatorial work focuses on the interconnectedness of ecology, economy, and labor in architecture, urbanism, contemporary art, education, and feminisms. She was Visiting Curator at the Hongkong Community Museum Project in 2011 and Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Achitecture in Montréal in 2012. Her 2011 curatorial project Mapping the Everyday: Neighborhood Claims for the Future with the Downtown Eastside Women Centre and the Audain Gallery Vancouver addressed women’s, housing and indigenous rights as well as resistance against poverty and sexual violence. Her exhibition Hands-on Urbanism. The Right to Green presented a global perspective on histories of informal urbanization through the lens of urban farming and gardening with its subsistence economies and was shown at the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The exhibition Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, together with Angelika Fitz, introduces a care perspective into architecture and urbanism in the twenty-first century.

Professor Krasny is the author and editor of numerous books and essays. Edited volumes include Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet with Angelika Fitz (MIT Press, 2019) and In Reserve! The Household with Regina Bittner (Spector Books, 2016). 2020 essays include: ‘On Care and Citizenship. Performing Healing in the Museum.’ Passepartout 40; ‘Curating without Borders. Transnational Feminist and Queer Feminist Practices for the 21st Century.’ In A Companion to Curation, edited by, Brad Buckley and John Conomos; ‘Care Feminism for Living with an Infected Planet.’ Corona Essays der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, 2020,