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Catching Up With Life

Catching Up With Life

Catching Up With Life looks at how architecture and urbanism can better respond to contemporary questions related to emerging and evolving models around the concepts of family, love, friendship, work, labor, governance, ownership, debt, consumerism, fertility, death, time, retirement, automation, and digital omnipresence. Questioning social norms, current spatial organizations, and the ways in which architecture mediates and represents—or, more pertinently, fails to mediate and represent—individuals and their communities, the exhibition will take its time and listen sincerely to ways in which architecture and the built environment can respond more aptly to, and at times anticipate, our changing set of needs.

Alice Proujansky, 24-hour Daycare, 2018. Photograph © Alice Proujansky

Specifically: this project will unfold over a period of one year into an institution-wide set of initiatives to explore the process of architecture’s intersection with wider social, economic, and political contexts that are shaping urban life.

This endeavor is as ambitious as it is humble, and will necessarily cross many forms: a short documentary titled When We Live Alone, the second in a three-part documentary series; a publication A Section of Now: Social Norms and Rituals as Sites for Architectural Intervention, co-published with Spector Books and available in July in anticipation of the exhibition of the same title, opening November 2021 in Montreal; two new thematic web issues, including A Social Reset, will continue the conversation online; a live online lecture series titled An Extended Family; and an Instagram pilot, a podcast, among others, will all offer points on this evolving map, outlining a new relationship between the spaces in which we live and the ways we live within them.

As social structures evolve and the values, norms, and rituals that define them are in a state of flux, how is architecture keeping up?

Elena Dorfman, Still Lovers (Valentine 3), 2002. Photograph © Elena Dorfman
Courtesy of the Artist and Modernism gallery, San Francisco

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 20, 2019: Nora Diede, 17, poses for a portrait at the Climate Strike NYC protest,
part of a worldwide day of protests to bring attention to climate change.
Why are you marching? “I’m marching because the youth need to take over.
The adults aren’t failing us, but they aren’t doing everything they could. It’s important to fight for this cause.” 2019_09.20_THEGUARDIAN_CLIMATEMARCH Bryan Thomas for The Guardian

This research builds off of the CCA’s work over the course of the past decade, with projects such as Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture (2011) and Our Happy Life: Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism (2018). While these topics addressed directly how architecture impacts our quality of life, Catching Up With Life picks up where this work left off in order to consider the role that architects have on a larger scale to how we live today.

The exhibition frames a number of CCA initiatives that study specific aspects of the social norms in question, including a series of public programs presented online from April to July 2021 that discusses how architecture has been shaped by evolving family configurations.

CURATOR: Giovanna Borasi CURATORIAL TEAM: Francesco Garutti, Megan Marin, Hannah Strothmann, Ushma Thakrar RESEARCH: Matthew de Santis, Iro Kalargyrou, and Laura Aparicio Llorente

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