Unlike anything else in living memory, a virus has explicated the political dimensions of our daily lives. It has done so by clarifying the extent to which we, as individuals, are defined and managed as members of multiple, simultaneous collectives: the nation-state, the state, the region, the suburb and the individual household. An invisible disease has sharply revealed the otherwise equally invisible architecture of everyday life.
Habit, habitat and habitus have all been directly affected by COVID-19. Walking around my city (Newcastle) one evening, looking up at a softly-illuminated penthouse apartment, I read a handwritten sign pasted to the glass curtain wall:
“ROMANTICISATION OF LOCKDOWN IS CLASS PRIVILEGE”.
Whereas, in one way, the pandemic has seen us retreat into the privacy of the domestic—a retreat reinforced by curfews and other special measures—in another way, it has also caused a collapse of this fundamental distinction: between the privacy of the home, in which a certain version of life is performed, and the publicness of activities like work, school and political expression. All of a sudden, the home has become a container for all these things; a container of both our private and public lives.
What else now seems altered in terms of how we inhabit home and city? What projects, and their premises, still hold for architectural thought and practice? Which ideas must now be revisited, even jettisoned? Which questions should we be asking in this moment? Which histories now speak to us in more immediate terms?
Contributors to Radical Domesticities have been invited to reflect on the implications of these questions – in relation to their own work, the work of others across history, and/or to reference points only just coming into view.
Please join us for this series of public lectures, taking place across multiple time zones and spread across a single (Australian) day.
Gretchen Wilkins, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Detroit (9.30am – 10am, AEST)
Felipe de Ferrari, Plan Común, Paris (5.30pm – 6.15pm, AEST)
Jack Self, REAL Foundation, London (6.15pm – 7pm, AEST)
Jasper Ludewig, University of Newcastle