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Volume 5 · Issue 18
April 16, 2020
The architect is stuck doing work they don’t love. The office gives them okay wages for each week of labor they sell, working away on RCPs that position the ceiling tiles just so to make the steelwork, the ductwork, the electrical work all disappear. What remains is a grid of neat lines that look like no work at all. The architect loves the work of select individuals, these magicians that leverage their past work on corporate headquarters toward the procurement of institutional projects funded by those same corporations’ CEOs. This star designer probably met the CEO at a distant relative’s gala, the architect reassures themself. Meanwhile, the architect is still stuck in the office at 10pm on a Friday night. No overtime, I’m afraid. We can’t afford to bill those added hours.
The architect is stuck: just as we sell our labor for increasingly meager wages, we continue to create documents of control that define the wage-labor of others. Not only does the architect control the immediate labor of construction, but Architecture—here defined as the unexceptional labor done by architects-at-large—is nearly always put forward to expand the profit margins of those able to mobilize large quantities of capital. The reduction of the once-bourgeois position of the architect to the “working class” makes those architects who yet move in the old paradigm appear as class traitors.
The emancipation of the architect from the precarity imposed by wage-slavery, we have called Out of Work.
The emancipation of the victims of architecture from the products of our captive labor, we have called Out of Control.
Out of Work asks us to examine the processes which determine the architect’s position within neoliberal ideologies of performance, austerity, and market value.
Out of Control asks us to investigate architecture’s output—typically the beautified commodities that enable oppressive and inequitable social arrangements.
We believe these issues to be linked. This fold, a provisional attempt at escapism—though, an escapism concerned with the ground, as opposed to the clouds—aims to elucidate the qualities of this double-bind and seek strategies for a way out.
- April 16, 2020