Our kin help us to sustain and spread norms of trust and obligation to shape identities, homes, political forums, territories—the interwoven spatial scales through which we find and re-make belonging. Kinship has functioned not only to reproduce violent or exclusionary social orders, but also as a defense against assimilation, colonialism, or exploitation. Today, even as many remain bound to the biological essentialism of genetic kinship, migratory crises and ecological destruction are reordering boundaries of kin. The very substance of kinship is no longer limited to the biological but now includes the synthetic and virtual along with the legal and technical. As many non-Western, indigenous and first-society peoples have long argued, our future is now inescapably intertwined with the livelihoods of our non-human partners—animalian and abiotic, algorithmic and mechanical; microbial and viral; atmospheric and geological. This sends a tremor through the anthropocentric core of the design disciplines. Thresholds 48 invites the rethinking—the re-kinning—of art and architecture to stretch the content and context of “kin” and to locate openings for new practices of settlement, inhabitation, urbanism, and landscape design.
While the global surge of tribalist nationalism continues to fetishize acts of walling-off, it has also provoked the revival of conversations on commoning and other forms of collective practice. The contestations of cultural heritage invite the projective capacity of art and architecture to open the door to divergent stories of future belonging and to reassessments of past states of belonging. Marginalized kinds of kinning, like the queer refuge of chosen families, the self-governance of utopian communities, and the virtual comfort of algorithmic friends, allow us to undermine ancestral claims to national history by challenging the imagined communities that extended bloodlines create.
Architecture, urbanism, and the arts have long been implicated in the formation of communities of sharing, the enclosure of publics, the remaking of ecological worlds, and the proliferation of digital networks. Thresholds 48 looks to reconfigure and reorient this long history with collective speculation on new architectures of kinship. How has the built environment been shaped to be inclusive of the wild multiplicity of the planet’s inhabitants, human and non-human, and how might it be re-shaped in the future? Are there productive or desirable forms of separation or enclosure—of marking off the boundaries of kin—to be recovered from the distant or more recent past? What architectures emerge from the shifting or ruptured ground of traditional sites of kinning, like the nation, the family, the womb? Can new kinships confront the damages of the past, and how can today’s architecture animate overlooked histories and theories of kinship? How might reformulated channels of kinning, allying, and collaborating in hybrid constellations inform the production of artistic discourse or the play of authorship? We welcome all responses in favor of creating kin, human and bot alike.
Please submit proposals by Monday, April 1, 2019. We invite papers and projects from across disciplines, including art and architectural history, the history of science, anthropology, visual culture, media arts and sciences, photography, and related fields. Selected proposals will be due Monday, June 3, 2019. A proposal consists of a text document of 500 words or less describing your project, accompanied by a 50–75-word bio. Attach supplementary images and texts as needed as separate documents. All contributions must be formatted in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. Submit via email to [email protected] with the subject header PROPOSAL. Acceptance of a proposal does not guarantee publication; all scholarly submissions are subject to peer review.
Thresholds is an annual peer-reviewed journal produced by the Department of Architecture, MIT School of Architecture and published by the MIT Press. Thresholds is held in over 150 university art and architecture libraries around the world. Content features leading and emerging scholars and practitioners from the fields of architecture, art, and culture.
Thresholds 48: Kin is edited by Stratton Coffman, Dalma Földesi, and Sarah Wagner.
Image: Bacteria pathogen. Pixabay.