There is no Zero. Guest lecture with Smudgestudio

Guest lecture: Smudgestudio

"There is no Zero: Continuous Remix in the Geologic City"

The Institute og Urbanism & Landscape and the YOUrban project have invited Smudgestudio, with Elizabeth Ellsworth & Jamie Kruse to AHO to present their work. The intention is to explore alternative ways to map the city, to bring attention to its material surfaces, to the role of play, time, narrative and imagination in contemporary spaces, and to discuss innovative ways of learning.

About the lecture:
The lecture explores the geologic as a material condition of the city and of urban design practices. Smudgestudio will use images and stories from their experiences of creating Geologic City, a field guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York City to trouble the notion of "zero" (as in, zero carbon emissions, zero waste, zero footprint). The city is understood as a complex, multilayered interchange of vectors of geologic materials, forces and flows in which  there is no "zero" point. There is only a continuous (and often radical) remixing of earth materialities that will endure into deep time. As a result, we can only (and ever) design in relation to this highly consequential remix of materialities – and not in relation to zero. 

From the perspective of civic pedagogy, Ellsworth and Kruse have worked on a series of projects including Geologic City based on recognition of the need to heighten awareness of the interplay between contemporary life and geologic time and on a belief that humans are able to imagine deep time. Designs, materials, processes, practices and infrastructures are explored as contemporary additions to geologic layers and activities.

Among their many projects Friends of the Pleistocene is dedicated to exploring the conjuncture between landscape and contemporary human activity at sites shaped by the geologic epoch of the Pleistocene (2.588 million to 10000 years BP, Before Present)

See also www.smudgestudio.org

Jamie Kruse is an artist, designer and independent scholar. In 2006 she co-founded smudge, with Elizabeth Ellsworth, based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She has presented her work at Parsons School of Design, the Center for Land Use Interpretation Los Angeles, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid and the California College of Arts. She is a co-author of the Friends of the Pleistocene blog, fopnews.wordpress.com, with Elizabeth Ellsworth. Current projects include Geologic City: a field guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York and co-editing a collection of essays entitled, Making the Geologic Turn (forthcoming).

Elizabeth Ellsworth is Associate Provost for Curriculum and Learning and Professor of Media Studies at the New School, New York. Her work focuses on cross-divisional and university-wide programs, with particular emphasis on new pathways and opportunities to both broaden and strengthen the academic experience through innovative ways of learning. Her scholarship addresses how media design creates possibilities for people to construct, share, and assess diverse ways of knowing. She is author of Places of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy (Routledge, 2004) and Teaching Positions: Difference, Pedagogy and the Power of Address (Teachers College Press, 1997).


  • Date: 10.05.2011
  • Time: 11:00 - 13:00
  • Venue: Group room 3
  • Address: AHO, Maridalsveien 29, Oslo
  • Contact: Janike Kampevold Larsen
  • E-mail: Janike.larsen@aho.no

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