November 8

Un-free Space: Reflections on Dimensions of Citizenship

Un-free Space: Reflections on Dimensions of Citizenship
Stone Stories: Civic Memory and Public Space in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo © Tom Harris. Courtesy of the School of the Art Institute and the University of Chicago.
Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall

Please join us for the panel discussion “Un-free Space: Reflections on Dimensions of Citizenship,” organized as part of the 2018 Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Symposium. The symposium, titled Artists/Designers/Citizens, positions the practice and study of art and design as central to the meaning, acts, and affinities known as citizenship.

Un-free Space: Reflections on Dimensions of Citizenship

In Metropolis magazine’s review the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, titled “Freespace,” critic Phillip Denny pointed at a critical paradox that emerges from the intersection of architecture and politics. “The US Pavilion is a razor-sharp exhibition that confronts visitors with evidence of the un-free territories of American geography,” wrote Denny. “But it also begs the question: Can architects do more than represent structures of injustice?” In this lecture, contributors to the U.S. Pavilion will reflect and expand upon the central claim made by the exhibition, Dimensions of Citizenship: that it is vital for the architecture to engage in understanding, shaping, and envisioning what it means to be a citizen today and in the future. This lecture will explore a year of collaborative work between architects, designers, curators, thinkers, and theorists, spanning between Chicago, Venice, and beyond. What does it mean to present the United States as a site of critical research and design practice on civitas and belonging— during an era of Trump, growing nationalism, and violence against those perceived as “other,” often executed through the built environment?


Alissa Anderson, participant, US Pavilion.

Iker Gil, associate curator, US Pavilion. &

Andres Hernandez, participant, US Pavilion.

Ann Lui, co-curator, US Pavilion, and editor Dimensions of Citizenship book.


Jonathan Solomon, Director, Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.