The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines extraction as “the act or process of removing or obtaining something from something else.” This term is typically applied to physical materials and methods. Rarely is it applied to the workforce. Architecture and urbanism discourse has only recently been forced to address the built world’s role in the alteration and manipulation of both micro and macro ecologies—and the corresponding social and environmental impact. At the same time, conversations relating to sustainable infrastructure far too often focus solely on urban contexts, omitting rural environments and communities who often bear the brunt of these extractions. The absence of a holistic investigation is a detriment to our understanding of our history, present day, and future. Accordingly—and building upon the research and findings of the 2023 dieDAS Fellowship theme Monumental Affairs—the 2024 iteration of the dieDAS Fellowship focuses on landscapes and people.
This year’s theme, Material Evidence: The Absence of Land and Labor, invites landscape purveyors, labor activists, farmers, designers, theorists, climate activists, artists, architects, critics, and more to Saaleck, Germany to contemplate the layered implications of extraction through the lens of environmental justice. Material Evidence asks: What is the morality of extraction? Who builds the monuments that fill our cities? Who determines access to natural resources? What is the input and output of material systems and the impact on labor structures and societies?
The 2024 dieDAS fellows will deploy acts of tactical urbanism, traditional research, and material interrogations to answer these questions. Sited in Saaleck, Germany at the former home of architect and racist idealogue Paul Schulze-Naumburg (and a historic hub for the nation’s totalitarian National Socialists), dieDAS provides a fraught yet fertile environment for fellows to delve into the theme. During their stay, the selected cohort will attempt to use architecture, design, and visual art as vehicles for storytelling. The speculation of design ideas will support workshops surrounding materials, development, extraction, climate, race, and gender. Material Evidence considers the complex impact of this historic site, its construction legacy, and the influence of nationalism on its architectural materiality. By addressing these issues directly within this specific microcosm—and cognizant of the urgency and opportunity posed by our current global climate—the 2024 dieDAS Fellowship program aims to cultivate an environment of rigor, freedom, and imagination.
dieDAS Artistic Director