This year’s cycle of Cartha is exploring the pre-organized structures that the contemporary individual is facing—the foundational, yet imperceptible, forces that shape society and emerging environments. In her book Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture, Sylvia Lavin articulates the influences of Freud’s work on the affective unconscious in American postwar housing, specifically in Richard Neutra’s houses and […]
This year’s cycle of Cartha is exploring the pre-organized structures that the contemporary individual is facing—the foundational, yet imperceptible, forces that shape society and emerging environments.
In her book Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture, Sylvia Lavin articulates the influences of Freud’s work on the affective unconscious in American postwar housing, specifically in Richard Neutra’s houses and in the effects of his corners: “Neutra’s corners suggest an amorphous leak in the structure of the house—a topological billowing of a domestic membrane that creates a highly indeterminate and almost viscous environment… Architecture here became, according to Neutra, applied biology and psychological treatment.” The embedded qualities of this corner were supposed to make people happier, to be therapeutic in themselves, where people no longer had to leave their house for treatment but instead had it in the form of mitred glass. The emergence of psychoanalytic culture created the need for new spaces.
Major shifts in the recent global narrative are less an exception to the norm than they are the heightened exposure of prescribed systems of social organization. These sprawling symbiotic systems have always existed, the cyclical nature of attempting to order the world and the social conditioning in return: between bodies and technology, wherein we simultaneously produce the apparatus and are produced by it; the virtual representations of the self and their deep reverberations within the psyche; or the environments we create and their resulting authority over our habits and routines. The ways in which things produce each other can be inevitable, but where do the biases lie considering the multitude of stakeholders participating to create new forms of organization? What sort of narratives surface as consequence? The interest lies in the infrastructures of taxonomies: not only who writes the script, but how you read it, and in what space it needs to perform.
Cartha asked specialists from computation, history, the arts, biology and economics to contemplate the ways these systems participate in their research. These contributors make up the Prologue of Invisible Structures, sprawling out from the discipline of architecture and piecing together a more nuanced understanding of what’s at stake in the epochal shift underway.
As technology enables us the ability to endlessly detail our own lives at a finer resolution, it is an important time to question the institutional frameworks that make this possible and to what extent their systems reverberate into the social psyche. In his submission for Invisible Structures about the online surveillance system reCAPTCHA, Curtis Roth presents a cybernetic understanding of the evolving infrastructures of self-care in a capitalist society. What could be the spatial implications in this unstable continuum, where predictability is heavily relied upon under the guise of certainty and personal happiness is nearly indivisible from statistical profiling? Which other infrastructural systems run on resemblance techniques to govern bodies in space?
In his submission for Cartha, economist Herman Daly puts into perspective the cosmic structure of all life and wealth: the entropic flow of matter and energy on Earth. Taking seriously the laws of thermodynamics as economically (in)valuable, Daly puts forward pressing concerns about the tradeoff between environmental care and personal happiness. What sits in the margins of cosmic design? How have the leftovers of terrestrial stock been transformed and rehabilitated in the flow of matter and energy, in both a logistical and inherently poetic sense?
Alex Thake discusses with Dr. Meritxell Huch her research into organoids—the growth of human organs exterior to the body—and presents the details of organoid development in both practical applications and metaphorical understandings. The interview addresses a future of bodily regeneration, and in doing so considers aspects of biological determinism, material memory and the limits of proliferation. Reading the development of organoids as architectural, how do Thake and Huch introduce new possible futures? How do we even comprehend the level of resolution in regenerative organs as, for example, an urban condition?
Historian Dr. Annebella Pollen is a collector of exceptions: the historically marginal, what sits in our miscellaneous folders, the unwanted information that reveals the very inadequacies of systematizing in the first place. Her submission for Cartha questions how to develop a methodology that straddles our desire to create order in the world, while bearing in mind that this non-canonical material does not, and should not, belong to such a rigid structure. Her essay questions how order and chaos are determined through technology’s capacity to organize information, how that has adapted over time and what is left in its wake. In what ways has the evolution of technique introduced space for historically-marginalized information?
The Call for Submissions is an open invitation for responses related to these particular topics put forward by Curtis Roth, Herman Daly, Dr. Annebella Pollen, Alex Thake and Dr. Meritxell Huch. Their themes of predictability, cosmology, proliferation and marginality offer prompts for speculation, but not strict categories, intentionally departing from a long history of forced organization. We are looking for creative research and reflections of the invisible forces shaping society and culture, submissions that unapologetically complicate architectural discourse as intersectional or transgressional.
The Invisible Structures Open Call is seeking 300-word abstracts for papers, projects or research contributions. As primarily an online publication, we are open to a variety of proposal formats including, but not limited to: text, image, video and audio.
SCHEDULE AND SUBMISSION DETAILS
> Deadline – October 5, 2020.
> Contributions should be electronically sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Accepted proposals will then be prepared for publishing in collaboration of the author and the editorial board.
> Submissions must be written in English.
> Text submissions can be submitted in .rtf format. All images must be submitted as individual files (.jpeg) at 300 d.p.i. and at 72 d.p.i. Captions should be submitted alongside the images.
> Cartha does not buy intellectual property rights for the material appearing in the magazine. We suggest contributors to publish their work under Creative Commons licenses.
> Cartha’s Open Call for Submissions aims to support the presence of new and diverse voices in architecture. We are particularly welcoming submissions from womxn, people with disabilities, BIPOC and the queer community.