How can we have fun in a crisis? A tract (ongoing). Architectural spaces are complicit in the formation of a political subject. Bathhouses, bathrooms, night clubs, stage sets, cruising grounds, demonstrations, parades: these are important and under-theorized architectural sites of communal pleasure and care. ︎ They fail and refuse to register with prevailing modes of architectural measurement and design pedagogies that dismiss questions of care, coalition-building, and political resistance as lacking rigor.

We are sick of excessively-universalizing masculinist architectural theories that misappropriate scientific language to erase the specific material effects of an inequitable society. ︎ We call instead for an aesthetics of abundance.  We call for an architectural pedagogy that rejects the scarcity thinking, austerity, and cynicism of neoliberal design institutions. We call for the abolition of prisons and policing and the architecture that enables them. We call for designers and theorists to practice refusal.1

We reject ideas of archetype, originality, purity, and “nature” that pervade the discourses of spatial design, and seek instead a lively ethos of improvisation, conditionality, tenderness, incompleteness, and humor. ︎ We don’t pathologize sadness or demand resolution. We embrace the dizzying queer and pleasant dangers of mirth and mischief, of temporary constructions,2 of hedonism,3 of differences that can’t be assimilated,4 and of excesses that can’t be recuperated.5 We want to make history: we want to recover histories of space-making as individual and collective resistance, experimentation, and communal pleasure. ︎ We want to revel in the pleasurable contradictions of public space under capitalism, and architecture’s unrealized potential to imagine something else.

(1) Tina Campt, “Black Visuality and the Practice of Refusal.” Women & Performance, February 25, 2019.

(2) Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner, "Sex in Public." Critical Inquiry 24, no. 2 (Winter 1998): 547-566.
. (3) Kate Soper. “Alternative Hedonism: Cultural Theory and the Role of Aesthetic Revisioning.” Cultural Studies 22, Issue 5 (2008): 567-587.

(4) Timothy Morton. “Queer Ecology.” PMLA Vol. 125, No. 2 (March 2010): 273-282.
(5) John Champagne. “Gay Pornography and Nonproductive Expenditure.” The Ethics of Marginality: A New Approach to Gay Studies, University of Minnesota Press, 1995, pp. 28–56.


︎BLB

©Bad Little Brother 2020

Mark