Cuban architect-duo Anadis Gonzales and Fernando Martirena, founders of Infraestudio, are the recipients of the Tilting Axis/Het Nieuwe Instituut Research Fellowship 2021/2022. During this evening they will present a series of fictional projects developed during the fellowship, which critically question the relationship between architectural design and current problems such as political transparency, the boycott of ecology, censorship, surveillance and punishment. Invited to join the conversation are Neyran Turan and Jonas Staal. This event is moderated by Federica Notari.
During their fellowship Gonzales and Martirena focused on developing and investigating the relationships between architecture, politics and theater. Where do these practices meet and what happens when we think of architecture as a theater? What kind of impact can this have to subvert certain political contexts? Can architecture have an effective political agency, simultaneously with its functional one?
Due to technical issues the lecture by Jonas Staal is not included in the recording. For interested parties we would like to offer the possibility to download two research documents by Staal instead:
Fernando Martirena (b.1992) currently works and lives in Havana. He graduated from the Technical University of Havana, where he gave lectures on the theory and criticism of architecture. Martirena co-founded the art and architecture studio Infraestudio together with Anadis González. Infraestudio is a transdisciplinary practice interested in space, politics, the minimum and fiction. In addition to architectural projects, Martirena has produced books, collages, installations, urban research and editorial projects. His work seeks to illustrate the poetics of a minor architecture focused on ideas rather than forms. Currently, the studio has five buildings under construction, including the Line 508 Contemporary Art Center. Infraestudio has participated in exhibitions in the last two iterations of the Havana Biennial, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, the Gorría Gallery Workshop and Cuban Art Factory. Fernando is also Coordinator of the Cuban Architecture Studies Group. Being one of the protagonists of contemporary Cuban architecture, he has thoroughly studied its political and social condition, and has published critical texts about it in Arquine, Rialta Magazine and No Country Magazine. Other examples of his positioning towards national architecture have been the curatorship of two group exhibitions featuring installations, performances and digital art. He has also been one of the main activists and leaders of the Campaign for the Legalisation of Cuban Independent Architecture, which up to the present day remains illegal.
Anadis González (b.1994) is the co-founder of the art and architecture studio Infraestudio and the editorial project Inframince Editions. She studied Music in the Professional School of Arts of Matanzas until 2013 and graduated in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Technological University of Havana in 2018. Her personal obsessions draw a body of interests whose borders are space, politics, and fiction. In addition to architecture projects she has made books, works of art, urban research, and curatorial projects; seeking to illustrate the poetics of a narrative and minor architecture from a transdisciplinary practice based in Havana. She has participated in the last two art Havana Biennials and in 2019 Infraestudio made its first solo exhibition in The Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, Everything I Say is Only What You Hear. During 2019 she worked as a member of the exhibition´s board in GECA. (Group of Cuban Architecture Studios) were she and Martirena curated the exhibitions such as How does the pressure takes you?, a critical overview of Cuban architects´ work. During the same year she curated Postales a Margot in the Factory of Cuban Art, to acknowledge the role of Cuban female architects of the past and present. She currently works and lives in Havana.
Neyran Turan is a founding partner at NEMESTUDIO and an Associate Professor at the University of California-Berkeley. NEMESTUDIO has been recognized with several awards, most recently the 2016 Architectural League New York Prize for Young Architects, multiple citations at 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021 The Architects’ Newspaper Best of Design Awards, Best of Year Honoree Award from Interior Design Magazine, a Notable Award at the Core 77 Design Awards 2017, an ACSA Faculty Design Award for outstanding work in architecture and related environmental design fields as a critical endeavor, and multiple Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Awards. NEMESTUDIO’s work, ranging from installations to buildings and landscapes, has been widely published and exhibited. Turan’s work focuses on alternative forms of environmental imagination within architecture and urbanism and their capacity to prompt new aesthetic and political trajectories for the design disciplines. Turan is the founding chief editor of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design journal New Geographies and was the editor-in-chief of the first two volumes of the journal. Turan’s authored book titled Architecture as Measure, which has been awarded with a Graham Foundation grant, was released by ACTAR Publishers in 2020. Turan recently curated the Pavilion of Turkey at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Jonas Staal is a visual artist whose work deals with the relation between art, propaganda, and democracy. He is the founder of the artistic and political organisation New World Summit (2012–ongoing). Together with Florian Malzacher he co-directs the training camp Training for the Future (2018-ongoing), and with human rights lawyer Jan Fermon he initiated the collective action lawsuit Collectivize Facebook (2020-ongoing). With writer and lawyer Radha D’Souza he founded the Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes (2021-ongoing) and with Laure Prouvost he is co-administrator of the Obscure Union. Exhibition-projects include Art of the Stateless State (Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, 2015), After Europe (State of Concept, Athens, 2016), The Scottish-European Parliament (CCA, Glasgow, 2018) and Museum as Parliament (with the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2018-ongoing). His projects have been exhibited widely at venues such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, M_HKA in Antwerp, Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, as well as the 7th Berlin Biennale, the 31st São Paulo Biennale and the 12th Taipei Biennale. His latest book is Propaganda Art in the 21st Century (The MIT Press, 2019). Staal completed his PhD research on propaganda art at the PhDArts programme of Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Tilting Axis/Het Nieuwe Instituut Fellowship
The Tilting Axis/Het Nieuwe Instituut Fellowship focuses on applicants living and working in the Caribbean region and is both research and practice-led. The initiative aims to foster and stimulate mutual exchange between the Caribbean region and the Dutch cultural field. The selected applicant will be based in Rotterdam at Het Nieuwe Instituut and will have access to other partner cultural institutions in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.