Affirmation 1. Anchored Futurisms
Art historian T.J. Demos (UC Santa Cruz) and artist Olalekan Jeyifous participate in the inaugural AFFIRMATIONS series under the theme of “Anchored Futurisms.” The conversation will be followed by a response from Professor Felicity D. Scott.
AFFIRMATIONS is an eight-month series of discussions with designers, researchers, planners, preservationists, and activists to affirm and interrogate how to think and redesign the built environment at the intersection of climate, ecological, societal, bodily, and technological crises and defiance. As a project convened to interrogate and affirm how to think and practice the reworlding of societies and ecosystems now, AFFIRMATIONS is intended to align evidence and aspirations. It will summarize and state underrepresented histories and possible futures that emerge from the cracks in the structures of power built on the interdependency of carbonization, extractivism, colonization, racialization, anthropocentrism, inequality, patriarchy, and technocracy. GSAPP students and faculty, together with a cohort of respondents selected from all around the world through an Open Call, are participating in the discussion throughout the academic year. Learn more here.
This lecture will be hosted in Wood Auditorium at Columbia GSAPP and live-streamed for participants selected through an open call.
Olalekan Jeyifous is a Brooklyn-based artist widely recognized for his inventive design practice that explores the relationships between architecture, community, and the environment. He holds a BArch from Cornell University and has showcased his artwork in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Vitra Design Museum, and the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Notably, his artwork is a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
In addition to an extensive exhibition history, Olalekan has spent over a decade creating large-scale installations for a variety of public spaces and was co-commissioned to design a monument for congresswoman Shirley Chisholm as part of the City of New York’s “She Built NYC” initiative.
Olalekan has garnered numerous awards, including the prestigious Silver Lion for a promising young participant at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale. Additionally, he is a recipient of the 2021 Fellowship by the United States Artists and has been a Wilder Green Fellow at the MacDowell Colony and completed artist residencies at the Bellagio Center, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions program.
T. J. Demos is the Patricia and Rowland Rebele Endowed Chair in Art History in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and founding Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. Demos is the author of several books, including Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today (Sternberg Press, 2017); Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016); The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013) – winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award – and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2013). He recently co-edited The Routledge Companion on Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Climate Change (2021), was a Getty Research Institute Fellow (Spring 2020), and directed the Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar research project Beyond the End of the World (2019-21). Demos was Chair and Chief Curator of the Climate Collective, providing public programming related to the 2021 Climate Emergency > Emergence program at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (Maat) in Lisbon. His new book, Radical Futurisms: Ecologies of Collapse, Chronopolitics, and Justice-to-Come, 2023, is now out from Sternberg Press.
Felicity D. Scott is Professor of Architecture, Director of the PhD program in Architecture (History and Theory), and Co-Director of the program in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture (CCCP) at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University. Her work as a historian and theorist focuses on articulating genealogies of political and theoretical engagement with questions of techno-scientific, environmental, and geopolitical transformation within modern and contemporary architecture, art, and media, as well as upon the discourses, institutions and social movements that have shaped and defined these disciplines, sometimes evidently, sometimes less so.
In addition to publishing numerous articles in journals, magazines, catalogs, and edited anthologies, she has published Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics After Modernism (MIT Press, 2007), Living Archive 7: Ant Farm (ACTAR, 2008), Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-Insurgency (Zone Books, 2016), and Disorientations: Bernard Rudofsky in the Empire of Signs (Sternberg Press, 2016). She is the recipient of many awards, including the German Transatlantic Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin (2013), Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Grants (2011, 2017), a New York State Council on the Arts Independent Project Award (2010), a Clark Fellowship (2008), an Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation (2007), a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship (2002-2003), and a Henry Luce/ACLS Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in American Art (1998-1999). She is also a founding co-editor of Grey Room, a quarterly journal of architecture, art, media, and politics published quarterly by MIT Press since Fall 2000.
AFFIRMATIONS is curated by Andrés Jaque, Dean of Columbia GSAPP, and Bart-Jan Polman, Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs at Columbia GSAPP.