Adjustments Agency is an "architecture of architecture" studio I founded in 2016 alongside Joanna Kloppenburg. We research and analyze the forces that work to circumscribe the possibilities of architectural thought and practice, with the goal of redesigning them. That translates into a range of work (such as video, curation, writing, illustration) exploring diverse phenomena (such as exhibitionary culture, the architecture of financialization, and spatial processes of normalization).
Head to our website to find out more.
domesti.city was a store for architecture located in an apartment in Manhattan's Chinatown, organized and curated by Adjustments Agency in collaboration with Jessica Kwok. The project, which featured the work of eleven international architecture practitioners and practices, aimed to explore questions of value in contemporary architectural research. At the same time, through experimenting with economic transparency, it endeavored to apply pressure to the existing exhibitionary economy supporting – or not — research based-architecture.
Head to our website to find out more.
Encyclopedia Inc. is a research-based art collective I founded in 2013 alongside Carlye Packer and Googie Karrass. Employing an ‘apophenic’ logic to counter teleological imperatives in research, we investigated contemporary modes of knowledge production through the analysis of a series of discrete phenomena and objects.
In 2013, we presented the fruits of our early research as a series of individual, hand-bound volumes during the annual Marathon at the Serpentine Galleries in London. Since 2014, Encyclopedia Inc. researched the element uranium and its enmeshment in ecologies, geopolitics, technologies, warfare, bioengineering, etc. In 2015, we presented a exhibition display at Martos Gallery during In the Flesh: part one curated by Courtney Malick, that explored the intimate presence of radioactivity in domestic spaces. For 9800, an experimental exhibition in an abandoned Welton Becket building in Los Angeles, we investigated Colin Powell’s 2003 speech to the UN in defense of the invasion of Iraq. During the speech, Powell made use of a series of powerpoint slides, alleged audio recordings of Iraqi military, and, famously, a vial of yellowcake uranium. The installation investigated Powell’s rhetorical and performative strategies.
More recently, Encyclopedia Inc. screened video work at AALA gallery in Los Angeles, Assembly Point in London, and created an installation for Dirty Talk at the University of Southern California.
Click here to read selected press articles about our work.
Big Poem (bigpoem.com) was an online, open-source and endless poem. Inspired by the Surrealist exercise, "the Exquisite Corpse," the poem was built by many people anonymously. Anyone could visit the site and enter a line of writing, with only the previous line — not the entire poem — visible. The website was exhibited at the LUMA Westbau in Zürich during the event Poetry Will be Made by All! held in early 2014. Later, the text of the poem was exhibited in several gallery contexts, as well as published in editions of Encyclopedia made by Encyclopedia Inc.
I am the Editor-in-Chief of Ed, a hybrid print-digital publication published quarterly by Archinect. The first issue, published in Fall 2017, was titled The Architecture of Architecture and investigated how architecture is constitutively enmeshed within ecologies, economies, socio-politics, technological regimes, and patriarchal structures. In short, the issue endeavors to sketch out the limits of contemporary architectural practice and thought, and to imagine alternatives.
It features a conversation with the Barcelona-based studio MAIO about their first ground-up project, as well as an interview with the artist Martin Beck by Amelia Stein, and a special iteration of Archinect's recurring interview series Small Studio Snapshots featuring Brandão Costa Arquitectos. Alongside this is a series of beguiling photos by the Los Angeles-based duo Meatwreck, a feature from Interboro Partners' new book The Arsenal of Inclusion and Exclusion, a series of innovative designs by the Vienna-based collective iheartblob, a close-up investigation of library architecture in the digital age by Joseph Kennedy, and an experiment in designing inclusive bathrooms by Tolo Architecture. The Architecture of Architecture includes essays by Troy Conrad Therrien, the Feminist Architecture Collaborative, Manuel Shvartzberg-Carrío, Caitlin Blanchfield and Nina Kolowratnik with Ophelia Rivas, Jaffer Kolb, Jack Self, Giovanna Borradori, Miles Dugan, Lori Brown, Marina Otero Verzier, Scott Deisher, and Andreas Angelidakis.
The second issue of Ed, titled The Architecture of Disaster was published in Spring 2018. It grapples with the myriad disasters afflicting the present, probing the responsibilities and agencies of architecture within them. Here, you will not find tidy solutions to inextricably complex problems. There is little in the way of a heroics of architecture, of the pretense that the discipline’s hands are clean or that it alone can address issues it often helped to create. Instead, we’ve endeavored to compile a variety of texts and projects that can live with uncertainty, that can complicate the necessarily complicated.
Through a visual essay, Design Earth recontextualizes the aquarium for a time in which its referent, the ocean, undergoes radical, human-induced transformation. In an interview with Timothy Morton, the philosopher applies his thinking to the specificities of architecture, contending with a reality in which all buildings are animated by non-human life and haunted by banished ghosts. Cooking Sections explains their efforts to adapt to changing ecosystems through food and architecture. Ariel Caine of Forensic Architecture, in collaboration with the residents of al-Araqib, the NGO Zochrot, and PublicLab, looks at the use of afforestation by the Israeli government to hide traces of Bedouin settlements in the region. In “Building on Unstable Ground,” we speak with Vin Varavarn Architects from Thailand and Yoshihiro Kato Atelier from Japan about their efforts with earthquake-resistant architecture. Meanwhile, José Tomas Perez proposes a strategy of architectural subtraction to address a long-standing territorial dispute between Peru and Chile. A series of flags by a diverse range of international architects and designers, originally from the exhibition Westopia? curated by Parasite 2.0 at the Villa Vertua Masolo in Nova Milanese, probe the resonance of “utopia” as an orienting horizon within the contemporary geopolitical landscape, marred as the concept is by a history of disastrous failure and Western imperialism.
Alongside these projects, a series of essays represent a broad array of readings of the term “disaster.” Alan Ruiz considers the alchemical transformation of place into capital within the financialized city, and speculates on forms of spatial resistance. Colleen Tuite writes a sci-fi fiction imagining a future dystopia with uncanny resonance to contemporary liberal culture. Lluís Casanovas Blanco speaks with Robert M. Hayes, co-founder of Coalition for the Homeless, about the spatial strategies involved in historic responses to homelessness in New York City. We discuss the breakdown of the semantic registers of suburbia through the lens of drone pilots stationed in Nevada. Ross Exo Adams interrogates the political ideologies embedded in the seemingly-neutral discourse around disaster resilience. Joanna Kloppenburg, the newly-appointed Deputy Editor of Ed, investigates the broader politics and complicities of an exhibit at MoMA aimed at addressing rising sea levels. Christine Bjerke looks at the intrusion of technologists into urban design, while Benjamin Busch rethinks “The Right to the City” as the city—and its inhabitants—change alongside technology.
The third issue of Ed is titled Normal. Information on it can be found here.
Purchase a copy of Ed here.
After working for Archinect as a staff writer for several years, I became the managing editor in 2017. In this role, I oversaw daily operations of the editorial content of Archinect — covering the news, managing staff and freelance writers, conducting interviews, and producing my own content. Alongside editing, I also organized several live events, titled Next-Up, which involved interviewing various leading figures in architecture in front of audiences for Archinect's podcast Archinect Sessions. Iterations of Next-Up were held at the Chicago Biennial, the A+D Museum in Los Angeles, the Neutra VDL House in Los Angeles, and the Arroyo Seco Music Festival in Pasadena. With Archinect, I also formulated and organized Dry Futures, an international ideas competition that solicited future-focused design responses to California's drought.
Check out my contributions to Archinect over the years here.
Between 2013 and 2016, I worked as a freelance editor for the Rome-based political academic journal and organization Reset Dialogues on Civilizations. The organization, which publishes in print and online, produces research, seminars, and publications on cross-cultural and international relations, cultural and religious pluralism, advancements of human rights evolution of democracy in different civilizational environments. For Reset Dialogues on Civilizations, I edited academic articles, filmed interviews, and helped organized a conference at Columbia University in Fall 2013.
Find out more about Reset Dialogues on Civilizations here.
Between 2010 and 2013, while working as the curatorial assistant to Mary-Kay Lombino, then-curator of photography and contemporary art at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, I helped research and edit The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation. Filled with images from a trove of artists from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol, it is the first volume to explore the Polaroid camera's indelible influence on the history of photography. The book features essays addressing the unique technology of instant photography and the marketing genius of the Polaroid Corporation. Artist statements from Ellen Carey, Chuck Close, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Bryan Graf, Miranda Lichtenstein, David Levinthal, Joy Neimanas, Lisa Oppenheim, Catherine Opie, John Reuter, William Wegman, and James Welling reveal how Polaroids affected and, in many instances, forever changed the way they captured the world around them.
Buy a copy here.
Real Review is a quarterly contemporary culture magazine with the strapline “what it means to live today.” Their agenda focuses on the politics of space, and trying to understand how everyday conditions enforce and reinforce power relations.
For their seventh issue, themed "Perfectionism," I contributed an essay titled Mortgaged Molecules, which considers financialization as a somatic political technology. By analyzing the cultural, biochemical, and mediatic aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis, the essay seeks to understand the way in which our lives — from our desires down to our molecules — have been redesigned by the financialization of the home.
Buy a copy here or read the essay here.
Off-Ramp is the academic journal published by SCI-Arc in Los Angeles.
For their fourteenth issue, titled Crowds, I contributed an experimentaal essay titled The Fabulous Miss Adolf Loos: Redecorating Ornament and Crime, which "redecorates" Adolf Loos' seminal essay Ornament and Crime into a defense of decorating as a radical and queer spatial practice contra architecture. Employing Loos' tone to subvert his original message, the essay seeks to performatively represent the idea that all design is always already a redesign.
Read the essay here.
PIN-UP is the "only biannual magazine for architectural entertainment."
For their twenty-fourth issue, themed "Mental," I contributed an essay titled Suburbicide, which explores suburbia and drone warfare as twinned technologies of distanciation. Beginning with an investigation into suicides at a suburban military base in Nevada, which serves as a primary headquarters for the US Airforce drone warfare program, the essay attempts to mirror the "schizophrenia" experienced by the pilots as they move from suburban idyll to battlefield within the course of a few hours.
Pick up a copy here or read the essay here.
e-flux Architecture is a sister publishing platform of e-flux, archive, and editorial project founded in 2016. The news, events, exhibitions, programs, journals, books, and architecture projects produced and/or disseminated by e-flux Architecture describe strains of critical discourse surrounding contemporary architecture, culture, and theory internationally.
In Mere Decorating, an essay I contributed to the platform in Fall 2017, I probe the historical disparagement of decorating and its relationship to misogyny and the diminution of domestic labor. From Victorian era fern-mania to contemporary "Millenial" obsession with houseplants, I use the work of maintaining domestic greenery as a lens to consider more broadly the stakes of the aspersion of decorating.
Read the essay here.
Volume is an independent magazine that sets the agenda for architecture and design. With going beyond architecture’s definition of ‘making buildings’ it reaches out for global views on designing environments, advocates broader attitudes to social structures, and reclaims the cultural and political significance of architecture. Created as a global idea platform to voice architecture any way, anywhere, anytime, it represents the expansion of architectural territories and the new mandate for design.
For the forty-ninth issue, which focused on automation as was titled Hello World!, I contributed an essay titled Domestic Machines. The essay considers the possibility of automating so-called “safe spaces”, with particular attention to the moments of overlap between this hypothetical and questions concerning the automation of domestic spaces more broadly. The bias of programmers, who skew cisgender and male, alongside the structural need for a stable, predictable human user, suggests that automated machines and homes may not work for certain users.
Acknowledging architecture and built space as already a mechanism for the enforcement of social norms, the essay asks: does the automation of the home inherently imply the codifcation of behavioral norms or could it potentially be used for the production of spaces that are designed for non-conforming bodies?
Buy the issue or read it here.
DUE is a weekly publication aimed at exploring the impacts of urgent contemporary topics upon architecture. In an atmosphere, permeating both work and academia, where boundaries between professions continue to diminish, DUE encourages conversations and celebrations to cross these borders entirely.
For the fifty-seventh issue, Adjustments Agency wrote Fuck It, a text that explores the question of refusal in relationship to architecture. In the face of the financialization and neoliberalization of both architecture and our lives, we turn back to a history of figures who chose to simply opt out.
Read it here.
(On the Floating World of) the FX Beauties is a multifaceted website and publication project edited by Christine Bjerke. Dedicated to the Japanese female Forex trading collective, the FX Beauties, the work investigates digital and decentralized platforms, gendered environments and spaces within quiet networks. A book version is forthcoming from Studio Atlant.
Adjustments Agency contributed the essay Wifi Metonymy, which explores the architecture of wireless internet signals. Able to penetrate skin but not concrete, Wi-Fi constitutes a global, mutable architecture of laws, technologies, and trademarks that transcends the borders of nation-states and changes nearly every aspect of daily life.
Read it here.
Published in conjunction with documenta 14, the Daybook emphasizes the 163 calendar days of the exhibition in Athens and Kassel in 2017 — a first-time extension of the usual 100-day documenta project — and the personal and subjective nature of the spectator’s relationship to them. Each documenta 14 artist is granted a day in the Daybook, which includes a newly commissioned text as well as images selected by the artist specifically for the publication. The texts are authored by a wide variety of writers—critics, curators, poets, novelists, and historians—and are close readings of the artists’ practices in an array of literary forms: criticism, letters, poems, and parables. The Daybook is accompanied by two map booklets, for Athens and Kassel respectively, that are available in the exhibition and can be inserted into the Daybook’s dust jacket, thereby completing the book.
I was invited to write a short text on the architect-cum-artist Andreas Angelidakis.
Read it here.
Produced by Interboro Partners, The Arsenal of Exclusion / Inclusion examines the policies, practices, and physical artifacts that have been used by planners, policy makers, developers, real estate brokers, community activists, and other urban actors in the United States to restrict or aid access to the spaces of our cities and suburbs. The Arsenal of Exclusion / Inclusion inventories these weapons of exclusion and inclusion, describes how they have been used, assesses their legacy, and speculates on how they might be used (or retired) for the sake of more open cities in which more people feel welcome in more places.
For the book, I contributed a short essay on the Fultom Street Fetish Fair. By now an old tradition, the Festival is rapidly becoming inundated with a new community of both gay and straight people, changing its historical character. At the same time, the Festival itself has been recognized as a mechanism for the transformations that have swept through the Chelsea neighborhood over the past few decades.
Buy it here.
PLACE-HOLDER is an active catalogue of design, for contemporary use and future reference, a repository and mediator of ideas that are floating in our (corporeal and digital) memories. It is an open conversation, with one degree of separation from the University of Toronto.
For the third issue, titled Copies, I contributed an essay-fiction exploring the architecture of the white tent, as it surfaces everywhere from art fairs to refugee camps.
Buy it here.
I've been contributing regularly to Archinect since 2014. Here's a selection of some of my favorite pieces:
The Amnesias of "Make New History"
HGTV Theory: Tiny House Hunters, Debt Resistors
Falling through the sharing economy's looking glass — and into an ocean of unpaid, gendered, domestic labor
The Exhibitionary Complex
Ornament and Extinction in the Nuclear Era
Context as content: mapping the contemporary at the 2016 Oslo Triennale with OMA, Andrés Jaque and more
White Space: The Architecture of the Art Fair
Architecture of the Anthropocene Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
LUMA | Westbau — Zürich
Co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets
Allegory Painting (Non-functioning lounge chair) (2015)
Acrylic on canvas, steel lounge chair frame, gum, Trithrinax brasiliensis seed
Allegory Painting (Non-functioning lounge chair) investigates the status of the allegory painting in an era in which allegories, under the weight of information superabundance, appear prescribed to the point of cliché. Visually resembling Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”, which vacillates between containing structure and contained object within the work, in actuality, the painted image is appropriated from a colonial-era travelogue, Incidents of Travel in Yucatan by J. L. Stephens, whose infuence has in turn been superseded by Robert Smithson’s essay of a similar title. Mirroring the manner in which information is accumulated and utilized for its signifying capacity in the construction of our online selves, the work overlaps and fattens these references, each of which point to an image of utopia, emptied of content. Plato’s “Allegory” — and the relationship between spectacle and spectator that it infuentially explicates — becomes reduced to the ornament of a non-functioning lounge chair, in turn produced using a history of colonial and artistic appropriation that linger at the surface without differentiation. Stuck to one of the supports of the chair, a wad of gum carries a seed from an endangered palm species, serving as proxy for the actualities of place that structure image construction: easy to ignore but hard to remove.
Moderna Museet — Stockholm
Co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets
"you will always be a hyena,” etc (2015)
On April 20, 1910, Halley’s comet passed by the planet Earth, a year after Nicolas Camille Flammarion published the book Mysterious Psychic Forces, and two years after J. M. E. McTaggart published his essay “The Unreality of Time” in an edition of Mind, a British peer-reviewed journal that was, incidentally, printed eighteen years after Arthur Rimbaud had poisoned a thousand dogs with strychnine capsules in Harar, and over ffty years after Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte had organized a coup d’état against the French Republic, provoking an armed uprising in the commune of Prads-Haute-Bléone, an alpine region where, exactly 59, 648 days later, the ramifcations of an interaction between Andreas Lubitz, a doctor’s note, and a trash bin fnally became clear (right around the time a black labrador named William was born)
Cecle de la Horla — Paris
Curated by Edgar Sarin
Dirt, debris, ziploc bags, shipping boxes, Fed-Ex, French customs
A series of sculptures disguised as a performance, or a performance disguised as a sculpture, my work for Des Absents comprised carefully documenting plots of land in East Hollywood, California, then collecting a thin layer of soil and all debris on the site, and shipping it to Paris. In Paris, the boxes were exhibited in a variety of ways, including carefully reconstructing their contents. Some were blocked by customs and returned—the work only existing as a shipping receipt. The work explored placedness, defned as a contingent relationship of objects within an arbitrarily demarcated territory, in an era of globalized shipping and information networks.
Co-Workers: Network as Artist
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris — Paris
Curated by Angeline Scherf, Toke Lykkeberg, Jessica Castex, DIS
views from above (2015)
This video seeks to identify and explore the contemporary discursive focus on human relations with non-human life and objects as a new utopian horizon, enframed and informed by antecedent utopian constructions and the processes of distanciation they produced. Alongside overlapping exercises oriented towards bridging the divide between the human and the non-human, the work seeks to locate the process of its production as yet another such exercise, populated by a multitude of objects such as its author, the keratin of his fngernails, the camera, other humans (in particular, residents of the TIPNIS territory of Bolivia), an agave cactus, a trithrinax brasiliensis seed (an endangered palm), a dog, appropriated CGI animations from Youtube, and the conventions of flm-making and screenwriting.
Maratón de las Américas
Museo Jumex — Mexico D.F.
Co-curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets
Preliminary Notes for an Architectural Manifesto(2014)
In 2014, I presented a video titled Preliminary Notes for an Architectural Manifesto during a two-day long marathon of talks, screenings and performances at the Museo Jumex. The video and presentation focused the proliferation of the “white tent” typology within a variety of contexts, from the art fair to the refugee camp to the ruins of a Greek temple. Employing a paranoid logic, the video sought to map a common thread uniting the diverse programs that share this basic architectural form. Whether sheltering an art fair in London’s Hyde Park or desperate bodies in Zaatari, Lebanon, this architecture responds to the demands of the new century more adeptly than any traditional or lasting structure. Easy to assemble and disassemble, it is a mobile and temporary architecture ft for an era marked as much by dematerialized capital as by the enforced transience of the refugee.
Bridge Tunnel Channel
Sixth Street Viaduct — Los Angeles
Curated by Jai and Jai Gallery
A rejoinder to Preliminary Notes for an Architectural Manifesto, P2P likewise explores the architecture of the white tent. However, the narration is repeatedly interrupted by a self-conscious, self-effacing voice. “What’s with the determinist logic?” it asks. “Why invoke the work of dead white men?” Architecture, in the video, is still a question of building, dwelling and thinking — but also metonymy for a fundamental anxiety about how our bodies are positioned in space and time, and about our lack of agency over the conditions of that spacing.
99¢ Plus — New York
Curated by Nicholas Korody and Carlye Packer
In 2014, I worked with Carlye Packer to stage a work of performative fiction in the form of an exhibition. The exhibition comprised a series of objects made by a fictional collective of artists who had recently committed a series of mass terror attacks in order to destroy the international art economy. Alongside the works, we created a catalogue that included fake interviews with artists, as well as forged reviews, and critical essays. The exhibition attempted to grapple with questions of artistic responsibility and culpability in an era in which to “succeed” implies complicity with forces responsible for the very conditions that much of art attempts to critique or disrupt.