‘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).
Andrés Jaque , directs Andrés Jaque Architects and the Office for Political Innovation. He is currently Advanced Design Professor at Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation GSAPP Columbia University. He has been Tessenow Stipendiat 1998 in Toepfer Stiftung FVS, in Hamburg, and visiting teacher in a number of international universities and has lectured and taken part in round tables extensively throughout the world including Princeton University, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Instituto Politecnico di Milano, Centre International pour la Ville de Paris, Centre pour l’Architecture et le Paysage (Brussels), Sociedad Central (Buenos Aires), Berlage Institut (Rotterdam) or Museo Nacional (Bogotá).
The office clients list includes AC/E Acción Cultural Española, ARCOmadrid, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Empresa Municipal de la Vivienda y Suelo de Madrid S.A., Art Fairs S.L., La Musa S.L., Matadero Madrid, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Obispado de Plasencia, Ojalá Awareness Club, Construmat, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Comunidad de Madrid, Aluz Imagen y Comunicación S.L., Ayuntamiento de Burgos, Caja Duero and Xunta de Galicia, among others.