Cairo, Madrid, London, Santiago, New York, Homs—these cities have become sites for riots, political upheavals, prolonged encampments, and violent protests. The fact that so many revolutions take place on public urban space prompts the analysis between the forces of revolt and those of renewal. Some have argued that the 1871 Paris Commune resulted in a disillusionment with the city, a loss that has haunted modern writing from Friedrich Engels’ analysis of housing in England to the dispersion theories of Moisei Ginsburg and Frank Lloyd Wright. One century later, the protests of 1968 tried to reclaim the city with often tragic results. Revolution—defined as a sudden, radical change—subverts, manipulates, distorts, and reacts against the built environment as much as it is shaped by it.
While Le Corbusier once posed the choice between “Architecture or Revolution,” it might be more accurate to ask whether architecture can ever be without revolution. In other words, can the design of the built environment ever be neutral, or does it inevitably imply taking a position, holding ground, staking out claims? Conversely, how does political action redefine art, architecture, city planning, and other practices in terms of agency, temporality, and regulation?
Thresholds 41: REVOLUTION! seeks contributions that historicize and complicate positions on the futility or imperative of design in the public realm. We welcome histories of occupied urban spaces, analysis on the intersection of aesthetic and political practices, and critical interventions that prompt political action in the commons. As an interdisciplinary journal, we aim to publish both scholarly papers and cultural practices.
Please email submissions by 1 April 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thresholds is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal that aims to publish only original material. Text should be in American English, limited to 3,000 words, and formatted in accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style. Images should be included separately at 300 dpi print quality. Submissions should include a cover letter with author’s name, affiliation, telephone number and email address, and a brief bio. All submissions should be sent in digital format, with text as MS Word or RTF files and images as uncompressed TIFF files.
For more information, please visit Thresholds online at http://thresholds.mit.edu/.
Please send correspondence and inquiries to:
Ana María León, Editor
Thresholds, MIT Architecture
77 Massachusetts Ave, Room 7-337
Cambridge, MA 02139