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Ambiguous Territory Symposium Keynote: David Gissen

Ambiguous Territory Symposium Keynote: David Gissen

David Gissen is a historian and theorist with a specialty in environmental histories of American and European architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to writing works of history and theory, David is committed to exploring alternative and experimental methods of documenting and reconstructing historical environments, spaces and objects, and often turns to digital tools and processes in these efforts. David is the author of the books Manhattan Atmospheres: Architecture, The Interior Environment and Urban Crisis (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Subnature: Architecture's Other Environments (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), and editor of the “Territory” issue of AD Journal (2010). He is a Professor at the California College of the Arts, and has been a visiting professor in the History Theory and Criticism of Art and Architecture, at MIT and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University.

Ambiguous Territory: Architecture, Landscape, and the Postnatural is a symposium and concurrent exhibition that situates contemporary discourses and practices of architecture and landscape within the context of the Postnatural; the era of climate change, the Anthropocene, and altered ecologies. The symposium asks: In a time when humans have been fundamentally displaced from their presumed place of privilege, philosophically as well as experientially, should the disciplines of architecture and landscape architecture consider displacing themselves as well, in order to establish new affiliations and avail new ways to approach contemporary questions of design in relation to the environment?

By bringing designers and scholars from these fields together the symposium and exhibition will highlight projects and ideas that are engaged with these issues from a variety of perspectives, ranging from scale and experience to questions of matter. Participants will present research and work that use tactics of mediation to understand, imagine, interrupt, and invent artifacts that exist at the large spatial and slow temporal scale of the Anthropocene.

Ambiguous Territory will present design ideas and proposals from architects, artists, and landscape architects whose work challenges their disciplinary boundaries and long-held anthropocentric orientation and redefines the relationship between built and natural environments in an era of ecological anxiety.