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华盛顿大学在圣路易斯(图片礼貌Flickr, photo by Daniel X. O’Neil)


Following weeks of anti-racist statements issued by universities, art museums and foundations, the answer is pretty clear. Power doesn’t like to cede, but it can adapt long enough to survive an insurrection. As the old adage goes, power has a way of looking like change long enough to make things stay exactly the same. Art and design students are not fooled, but institutions are continuing to try to hold their ground while proclaiming allyship. They face a “crisis of symbolic efficiency,” to use the late Mark Fisher’s phrase.

我是一名兼职高级讲师,在圣路易斯华盛顿大学华盛顿大学设计和视觉艺术学院教授建筑史和理论。6月份,像许多同伴机构一样,我的学校发布了一个message, proclaiming allegiance to fighting systemic racism, and announcing the formation of a task force devoted to racial justice. In some ways this echoed statements that the university made after迈克尔布朗的谋杀案在2014年密苏里州附近的弗格森。这次,管理员希望倾听非白人学生和明矾关于他们的歧视和排斥经验,这是值得称赞的。在大学,我们的校长希望增加学习种族的教师的“支持”,以及雇用12名新的维持者队员在美国学习种族 - 一个潜在的强大的举动,但通过令人不安的制度语言,框架减轻了“设计新的种族未来”的计划的一部分。

此外,以大流行的准备的名义,我们的设计学校刚刚在建筑和艺术中占用了许多兼职讲师(虽然不是我),而大学则冻结,新的雇用和促销活动。我们的秋季学期已被推迟,意味着支持人员和幸存的兼职教师将近三周的工资超过平常。所有这些都回顾了2008年的经济衰退,这促进了多年的削减 - 由于公立学校的资金失去了,这是一个有利于私立学校的新自由主义学说。

在这一刻,山姆福克斯等建筑学院的矛盾地位反映了大学的全身无法尊重教师,员工和学生的尊严,即使他们发布了团结的陈述。例如,康奈尔大学已启动“voluntary” salary reductions, while Rice University hasfrozen hiring and cancelled all pay raises. To the public, the universities front solidarity and increased investigation of societal ills. Internally, they double down on protecting their tax-free hoarded wealth and deny wages and salaries in ways that disproportionately affect, non-white, non-male, and low-income workers.

Architecture schools long have fallen into the fissures of university politics. Practices of the imaginary have to operate within spaces crafted and maintained by wealth and power. The horizon continues to recede. As the architectural historian Manfredo Tafuri wrote inArchitecture and Utopia, designers realized that the “politics of things” (capital, buildings, endowments) limited the patronage of truly visionary work, and thus turned to practices that channeled political radicalism into safe works of art and architecture. Public housing is a great example, and especially in St. Louis, where thedestruction of Pruitt-Igoecasts a long shadow. In that case and others, ideals and tenant needs succumbed to the demands of lucrative contracts, and when built works met controversy, many architects eagerly declared public housing — and not their own practices — unworkable.

The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe, St. Louis, Missouri (public domain image courtesyWikimedia Commons; photo by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research)

The work of reproducing social structures is more comfortable than the work of agitating for new ones, yet every day we demand that our students make work that is original and impactful. Right now, the global pandemic and uprising is urging students to make the work that brings a new, just world into being. These designs require power to be reimagined and redistributed, not simply adding a new chair or two to existing tables.

At Harvard, the African American Student Union and AfricaGSD have launched竞选活动敦促大学及其设计研究生院将其规定的价值转化为物质行动。作为戴安娜·梅德斯的APT遏制headline总结一下,学生们教授哈佛如何成为反种舍 - 这就是问题。学生和教师哥伦比亚大学建筑研究生院,规划和保存耶鲁大学的明矾’s School of Architecture have also demanded real actions from the schools to dissolve their cultures of white supremacy. Likewise, theDesign as Protest Collectiveis coordinating a campaign across art and architecture schools against “violence and injustices” in the practices taught. The Instagram account建筑太白了is presenting data showing why students are speaking up, school by school (and firm by firm).



For now, university statements aim to make the current uprising relevant to their own sources of power, instead of making universities relevant to the uprisings. Hopefully architecture students and faculty members keep pushing. In the words ofWAI Think Tank’s Anti-Racist Architecture Manifesto:“如果他们认真拆除其制度种族主义的遗产,学术机构必须重新思考他们的招聘战略,以吸引,刺激和为教育工作者和学生创造安全的环境。同时,建筑学学校必须接受其课程的解构,不仅会质疑建筑的未来,而是为了暴露他们帮助建设的种族主义者。“

Design schools and fellow academics, now is the time to answer: Who are we for?

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Michael Allen

Michael R. Allen is Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis.