Lecture/panel, ΜοΜΑ, Material Worlds: Liquid Particles Thu, Jan 12, 6:00 p.m. Online
EPISODE 10: LIQUID PARTICLES
Right this moment, trillions of microorganisms are living inside you, outnumbering your human cells 10 to one. Microorganisms live on your skin, in your gut, and up your nose. They float around in the air, surfing on dust or droplets, sometimes flowing through our bodies disguised as water or food, altering our chemistry. The built environment, constant host to human and nonhuman bodies, is designed to alter these nearly invisible flows through filtering, channeling, and storing. This system is especially sensitive to polluting particles, but not everybody is protected from these invisible flows; built environments often divert toxins away from some people and toward others, at great expense. Toxicologists and environmental activists have used the term “body burden” to describe the presence of harmful substances in bodies, especially in locations of extreme exposure. An accumulation of toxic particles in bodies has generated debates about the origins of genetic diseases, life expectancy, and so-called gender transgressions, to name a few. The tiny particles of both nutrients and toxins must flow somewhere eventually—and as they travel in discriminatory directions, the human and nonhuman body becomes a digester of the built environment.
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Akshita Sivakumar is a designer and social scientist who produces work under the moniker moredustings. Her current research examines how computational technologies mediate environmental governance and justice. She traces how various social groups shape toxicity through the material, social, and discursive control and governance of emissions. Her work draws on post/decolonial and feminist science and technology studies (STS), urban political ecology, and communication studies. She is a PhD candidate in communication and science studies at University of California, San Diego, where she is completing her dissertation (“Model Governance, Model Justice: Social Infrastructures in Urban Environments”), and she is a visiting assistant professor at the University of New Mexico.
Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer, and scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology, and environmental politics. She is an associate professor at the Cooper Union in New York. Kallipoliti is the author of The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What Is the Power of Shit (2018) and the “History of Ecological Design” entry for the Oxford English Encyclopedia of Environmental Science (2018), and she is editor of the 2010 “EcoRedux” issue of Architectural Design. Her work has been published and exhibited widely, including the Venice Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Shenzhen Biennial, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Onassis Cultural Center, the Lisbon Triennale, the Royal Academy of British Architects, the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, and the London Design Museum. She is the principal of ANAcycle research think tank, which was named a leading innovator in sustainable design in Build’s 2019 and 2020 awards, and she is head co-curator of the 2022 Tallinn Architecture Biennale. Kallipoliti holds a diploma in architecture and engineering from AUTh in Greece, a master of science (SMArchS) from MIT, and a PhD from Princeton University.