‘Transmaterial Politics’ is the title of the exhibition on the work of Andrés Jaque and his Office For Political Innovation, a platform of thought created in 2003 together with a group of architects, designers, journalists, sociologists and economists, who claims the political dimension of architecture. This exhibition curated by Ariadna Cantis, with texts by Felicity Scott and Ignacio G. Galán, proposes to rethink plurality and the management of difference in contemporary techno-societies from four conceptual frameworks: the one of domesticity; the performance of publicness; the one of the interspecies coexistence, and the framework of the interaction between the on and the offline worlds.
Andrés Jaque and the Office For Political Innovation’s work redefines the political status of architectural materiality. Rather than focusing on isolated objects, their work explores daily life as the result of the interaction between multiple entities, operating at different scales and temporalities. Bodies, buildings, social media, vegetal species, and natural resources are ensembled in shared projects to which architecture, as a political practice, contributes through intervention, empowerment, rearticulation, disobedience, and confrontation. In the Office’s work, matter is a multiple, interscalar, and performative reality: a “transmateria,” resulting from the displacement from the bodily to the territorial, from the biological to the geographical, from the offline to the online. Domestic environments, rather than working as places of sweet familiarity, become arenas of difference. In cosmopolitical compositions, different species negotiate the terms of their coinhabitance. Strategies for the public to install itself in the contemporary networks where power happens or to gain an agency in dynamics that are impossible to govern become, in the work of Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation, opportunities to explore specific forms of political action.
Installed at the intersection of design, research, and activism, the Office’s work is based on the unveiling of the mechanisms that make architecture operate as an agent of exclusion, in order to then propose strategies and devices capable of challenging these mechanisms. Historical architectural works, such as Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich’s Barcelona Pavilion or Charles and Ray Eames’s Powers of Ten, are reconstructed in the work of Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation in order to reveal the conflicts and dependencies that the original projects concealed. In the same way, designs such as the House in Never Never Land, COSMO, Escaravox, and the Plasencia Clergy House reorganize the societies they participate in, so that these projects can act within the tensions and controversies they are part of.
Architecture does not accommodate the societal; architecture is, itself, society. The Office’s work makes the claim that architectural devices are equipped with a specific political agency: a form of political autonomy by which the dimensions, the qualities, the ensembles, and the performances that architecture contributes to setting into play constitute themselves as bodies and societies. However, this agency is not absolute, but one negotiated with all the other entities participating in the construction of daily life.
‘Transmaterial Politics” presents a selection of the work developed by Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation, organized around four constellations of projects, each gathering multiple formats and methodologies to explore the ways that architecture participates in four notions of the political: Sweet Domestic Arenas, Cosmopolitics, Performing Publicness and Sex and the So Called City.
Designed by Andrés Jaque / Office For Political Innovation
(Roberto González, Laura Mora, Paola Pardo, Marta Jarabo, Isabel Sánchez, Danay Kamdar, Pablo Maldonado, Solé Mallol, Valentina Marín).
43-01 21st Street
LIC, New York
(+34) 910 572 163
Calle Arriaza 6
28008, Madrid, SPAIN
Currently, the office works on projects for Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Art Institute of Chicago, Lafayette Anticipations, CA2M, Real Madrid, Colegio Reggio, and Grupo La Musa.
In 2016, OFFPOLINN received the Frederick Kiesler Prize from the City of Vienna; the office has also been awarded the SILVER LION for Best Research Project at the 14th Venice Biennale and with the Dionisio Hernández Gil Award.
OFFPOLINN’s projects have been the object of solo exhibitions at MoMA, MoMA PS1, MAK Vienna, Princeton University, RED CAT Cal Arts Contemporary Art Center in Los Angeles, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine de Paris, and Tabacalera in Madrid. Its work has been included in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, ZKM (Karlsruhe), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, London Design Museum, Whitechapel Gallery (London), Z33 (Hasselt), the Schweizerisches Architektur Museum (Basel), Lisbon and Oslo architecture triennales, and the Venice, Chicago, Gwanju, and Seoul architecture biennales.
OFFPOLINN’s work has been published in the most important architectural design outlets including A+U, Bauwelt, Domus, El Croquis, The Architectural Review, Abittare, Arquitectura Viva, and in publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and El País.
Andrés Jaque founded the Office for Political Innovation in 2003. He has brought a transectional approach to architectural design; practicing architecture as the intervention on complex composites of relationships, where its agency is negotiated with the agency unfold by other entities.
Andrés Jaque is director of the Advanced Architectural Design Program at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He has also been visiting professor at Princeton University and The Cooper Union.
Andrés received his PhD in architecture from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, where he also received his M. Arch. He has been an Alfred Toepfer Stiftung’s Tessenow Stipendiat and Graham Foundation grantee. In 2018 he co-curated Manifesta 12 in Palermo.
His books include Transmaterial Politics (2017), Calculable (2016) PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society (2013), Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool (2013), Dulces Arenas Cotidianas (2013), Everyday Politics (2011), and Melnikov. 1000 Autos Garage in Paris 1929 (2004). His research work has been included in publications like Perspecta, Log, Thresholds and Volume.