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Amica Dall / Writer, designer, and strategist based in Barcelona, co-founder of the art, architecture, and design practice Assemble.
Amica Dall / Writer, designer, and strategist based in Barcelona, co-founder of the art, architecture, and design practice Assemble.

"Are  Words Good Enough

Reading these proposals at pace and with concentration is both a privilege and trial. To read so many proposals, so constrained in format, produced across a whole year by such a great range of people is a little dizzying. It's the view of a crowd from a height, a view which both reveals and occludes. The volume and breadth of proposals, together with the constraints of the format amplify this: what holds the proposals apart is hopeful and encouraging, what they have in common is an accidental diagnostic - a scan of an invisible skeleton that holds together our thinking and conversation.

Shifting through the set of proposals each time faster and faster creates yet other perspectives, including some dream-like qualities, there are jump cuts, flickering montages, magical logic, uncanny recurrences. Some words loop and swing through the dream cloud like birds diving for insects at dusk: ‘suggests’, ‘opens’, ‘enables’, ‘reveals’, ‘invites’, ‘explores’, ‘provokes’, ‘inhabits’. These words are open-ended, loose, tremulous words. Where are these words coming from, and what place do they have in a discipline so long and so deeply attached to certainty, and the elimination of ambiguity? Do we mean what we say when we say them? Do we know how to do what we mean to do? Do we know what it means to do it?

In the text that follows, I’m going to use a reading of the language used to describe these proposals as a way to reflect on those questions. My proposition is a fairly good picture of the language of recent European and North American architectural discourse as presented by these proposals, taken as a whole, and most particularly in the way that language has been received, adopted and deployed by students, young practitioners and educators. Perhaps that seems like a rather bizarre thing to do, a sort of wilfully obtuse cross-reading, concentrating on the basket and not on the eggs. I hope I’ll persuade you otherwise..."


Continue reading: 2021 Annual Reflection Summary by Amica Dall

Watch the video: Public presentation by Amica Dall (Landscape Session)

Amica Dall

Amica is a writer, designer, and strategist whose work focuses on the intersection between built form and the social life of cities, and the communication of design-related issues to wider audiences. Trained in Anthropology of Built Environment, Amica is a co-founder of the art, architecture, and design practice Assemble, with whom she has been working for 10 years. Aside from her work in Assemble, Amica is a long-term trustee of Theatrum Mundi, a London and Paris based research network founded by Richard Sennett, studio leader at the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Architectural Association and a co-founder and trustee of Baltic Street Adventure Playground, a radical child-lead space at the center of a set of underserved communities in the East End of Glasgow. She has guest lectured across Europe and internationally, in included ETH Zurich, YGSA Yokohama, TU Berlin and MIT. Recent work includes book chapter 'Das Problem mit der Zukunft' (The Problem with the Future'), in Care for the Existing, Jovis, 2020, and forthcoming The Lives of Children, a video work made collaboratively with politically organized working children in Lima and Cajamarca, Peru.

The core of the 2021 Creative Exchange: Landscapes of Care were the nine live discussions with twenty-seven young artists and experts from various disciplines selected on the 2021 Call for Ideas, the platform’s tool for encouraging emerging creatives to present their innovative architectural ideas to a wide range of decision-makers and stakeholders, and fifteen curators, directors, and program managers that will carry out the events in the 2021 European Architectural Program.

Radical Rituals
Mapping the Margins
Keynotes at 2021 Creative Exchange