Essays by Robert Fishman and Clare Lyster
Research assistance provided by Michael Amidon, Craig Zehr, Lucas Denit, Pedro Duhart Benavides, Anne Redmond, Reed Miller, and Maggie Cochrane
Shaped Places of Carroll County New Hampshire is a spatio-political satire that speculates on the complex reciprocity between who we are and where we live; between the identities of political subjects and the built environments that support them. The project draws upon a seemingly unlikely combination of protagonists and references—from Frank Stella to early 20th century urbanist Mikhail Aleksandrovich Okhitovich, and from American formalism to critical geography. In what follows, these disparate sources are placed into dialogue around common themes and pure coincidences. In doing so, latent connections between discrete discourses are identified, historical happenstance is exploited, and a-political aesthetic traditions are willfully distorted towards overt politico- geographic goals. The project narrative is structured in four distinct parts. Throughout each, common themes emerge and complexly intertwine, such as the dialogue between shape and content, urban and rural territories, and populations and the precincts in which they are counted. These themes inform the design of three linear cities in Carroll County, within the swing state of New Hampshire. In each linear city, population is geometrically organized at a geographic scale to carefully prescribed ends. Shape and content forge a complex reciprocity.