Wet Ontologies of the Swamp

lecture by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas

Text Information/
Picture Gallery/

Friday 25 September 2020, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Location: Dunajčík club, Lido

Throughout history, the project of architecture was realized by draining swamps, marshes, and wetlands. Dividing the land into a liquid and solid, butchering the territory for agriculture, waterways, and settlements, extracting and parceling it by expelling the indigenous—all are technologies of architecture and colonization. To notice the swamp below our feet is to switch to a nondualist ontology more appropriate to the Anthropocene.

With the short overview of programmatic concepts that employ conceptual, spatial, speculative and aesthetic aspects of a swamp as an interface, the focus will be on a Swamp School, as self-organized, open-ended and ever-changing infrastructure that supports collaborative experiments in design, pedagogy, and artistic intelligence for learning and adapting to imminent unknowns and to radically changing environments. “Don’t drain the swamp” is today’s imperative for architecture to reinvent itself as a discipline calling to engage with its own history, modernity, pedagogy, and future.

Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas are artists, educators, and co-founders of the Urbonas Studio, an interdisciplinary research practice for the transformation of civic spaces and collective imaginaries. Gediminas Urbonas is a professor and head of the MIT programme in Art Culture and Technology, Cambridge, MA; Nomeda Urbonas is a PhD researcher at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. They live and work in Cambridge, MA and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Event will be held in English. It is part of the Urban Imagination Seminar, a yearly cycle of lectures, workshops and artistic interventions that examines the idea that the city as part of nature, not its antithesis. The intent of the first year is to map and consider the Lido territory as a case study of planned urban transformation which allows deliberations on the right to the city from the perspective of various social groups and non-human ecosystems.

The exhibition entitled Swamp Intelligence is to be seen in until 23 October 2020.

Visitors are kindly asked to follow the actual antipandemic measures while visiting the exhibition.

ERSTE Foundation is main partner of tranzit. Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council and Nadácia mesta Bratislavy and the Lithuanian Council for Culture.

Šepeta swamp, 2018 © Swamp School, photo: Norbert Tukaj