As historically excluded voices increasingly expose the failures and discriminatory practices of the architecture and urbanism fields, a holistic, constructive examination of these disciplines becomes all the more pressing. Global terror and dissent typically identified as political and militaristic have slowly revealed their spatial influences. Design Justice continues to peak through creases often closed shut by popular architectural theory and discourse. This shift towards a more egalitarian and non-western intellectual approach is the impetus for the 2023 iteration of the dieDAS Fellowship, Monumental Affairs. Within this framework, designers, theorists, architects, critics, and beyond are challenged to posit the necessity of monuments.
Monumental Affairs asks: How does the process of canonization come to fruition? Who determines which architecture becomes part of the canon? What overt or subtle forms of oppression are inherent in this process? How does one utilize the public sphere to dismantle these canonized monuments?
Situated in Saaleck, Germany at the former home of German architect and racist idealogue Paul Schulze-Naumburg (and a one-time hub for the country’s totalitarian National Socialists), dieDAS presents fellows a fraught yet fertile environment in which to deploy acts of tactical urbanism as a means of architectural and spatial resistance. During their stay, the interdisciplinary cohort will attempt to use architecture as a vehicle for alternative histories. The speculation of design ideas will support workshops surrounding race, ethnicity, immigration, displacement, and nationalism. Monumental Affairs acknowledges the nationalist agenda of this historic site, its contested legacy, and its explicit exclusion of non-white constructors.
By addressing these issues directly—and mindful of the urgency and opportunity posed by our current global climate—dieDAS aims to cultivate an environment of rigor, reflection, and imagination.
dieDAS Artistic Director 2023