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Keller Easterling / Yale University

Gui Auditorium / Knowlton Hall
September 12, 2018 - 5:30pm

Keller Easterling will present a lecture titled "Medium Design" in Knowlton Hall’s Gui Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12. Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale University. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Another recent book, Subtraction (Sternberg Press, 2014), considers building removal or how to put the development machine into reverse. An ebook essay, The Action is the Form: Victor Hugo’s TED Talk (Strelka Press, 2012) previews some of the arguments in Extrastatecraft.

Other books include: Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005) which researched familiar spatial products in difficult or hyperbolic political situations around the world and Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America (MIT, 1999) which applied network theory to a discussion of American infrastructure.

Easterling is also the co-author (with Richard Prelinger) of Call it Home: The House that Private Enterprise Built, a laserdisc/DVD history of US suburbia from 1934–1960. She has published web installations including: ExtrastatecraftWildcards: a Game of Orgman and Highline: Plotting NYC. Easterling’s research and writing was included in the 2014 Venice Biennale, and she has been exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, the Rotterdam Biennale, and the Architectural League in New York. Easterling has lectured and published widely in the United States and abroad. The journals to which she has contributed include DomusArtforumGrey Room, Cabinet, Volume, Assemblage, e-flux, Log, Praxis, Harvard Design Magazine, Perspecta, and ANY.

About the Lecture

"Medium Design"

At a moment of digital ubiquity, it may be easier to treat the data from digital platforms as primary in contemporary innovation and to believe that, if coated with sensors in an internet of things, the stiff, dumb world will suddenly become responsive and “smart.” But the heavy lumpy components of space are themselves information systems that don’t really need digital devices to make them dance. Since architecture and urbanism are making radical changes to the globalizing world, space may be an underexploited medium of innovation. Like those media theorists who are returning to elemental understandings of media as surrounding environments of air, water, or earth, medium design treats space as a broad, inclusive mixing chamber for many social, political, technical networks. And just as it inverts the typical focus on object over field, it may also invert some habitual approaches to problem solving, aesthetics and politics.