A Thousand Islands

Three conversations about islands, oceans, insides, outsides, walls, zones, architecture, the city and capital.

8.2. Keller Easterling
1.3. Angus Cameron
22.3. Pier Vittorio Aureli

Curated and moderated by Martti Kalliala and Tuomas Toivonen.

Commissioned by Martta Louekari for Newly Drawn.

12:00–16:00, Kulttuurisauna, Hakaniemenranta 17, Helsinki.

RSVP / Contact (Notice: Limited Capacity)

Both as a sub- and counter-narrative to globalization’s impetus towards the creation of a smooth space of unrestricted flows, recent academic and popular spatial thinking has been marked by an increased interest towards limits, boundaries and anomalous enclave geographies. The zones and havens accelerating the flow of logistics, manufacturing and transnational finance, the libertarian fascination with seasteading, a rediscovered interest in city states and the act of framing and establishing limits as a fundamental dimension of the architectural project all have in common the recurring motif of the island – a space and polity cut off from its immediate physical context.

Whether it is the desire to separate from legal or regulatory frameworks, state territory in general, globalization’s flows or capitalism’s spatial logic coded in the process of urbanization, the island as a model re-introduces the possibility (or fantasy) of constructing terrestrial outsides. Yet, as a framed pocket of difference that derives its vitality and productive capacity from the gradient maintained towards the “inside” it seeks to escape, the island’s autonomy remains incomplete, relative and prone to renegotiation, hybridization and mutation – as a mix of increasingly weird, stacked geographies of jurisdiction and sovereignty and the absolute, delimited space of the perimeter wall.

Through three public symposia, using three island modalities as points of departures – the zone, xenospace and the architectural project – as developed respectively by its three guests, A Thousand Islands seeks to venture beyond analogy and metaphor and discuss the island as a model and spatial strategy vested with the capacity for both violence and emancipation.

Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale University. Her books include Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005) and Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America (MIT 1999). A forthcoming book, Extrastatecraft: the Powers of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity.

Angus Cameron is a British academic with a background in Art History, Journalism, International Relations, Geography and, most recently, Management. Since 2008 Angus has extended his academic work by acting as “spokesperson” for Swedish performance artists goldin+senneby on their project Headless. Angus’ primary research interests address the broad themes of spatiality, representation and performance. This has embraced topics of money, offshore finance, boundaries, taxation, cartography, discourses of inclusion, exclusion and exception, semiotics and, of course, islands.

Pier Vittorio Aureli is an architect and educator. He teaches at the Architectural Association in London and he is Davenport Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture, New Haven. He is the author of The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture (2011), The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Architecture (2008, reprinted 2012) and many essays. Aureli is the co-founder of Dogma, an architecture studio focused on the project of the city.

A Thousand Islands is part of the public program of Kulttuurisauna’s New Academy.