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Dark Matter Laboratories: Indy Johar and Carlotta Conte

Moving Beyond Ownership

Series: Rules-Systems-Becoming: Recoding Architecture
Date: Tuesday 5 May 2020
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall

We are in the process of rethinking this lecture as a virtual event, please check our website closer to the time for more details

While our scientific discoveries and technological development have reached unforeseen imaginaries, our societies are on the edge of a cliff, driven by a perfect storm of the effects of climate change, accelerating automation and growing inequality.
Whilst we set increasingly ambitious targets, our capacity to imagine & practice in the development of new human environments seems entirely broken and captured by the perceived truth of our institutions, rights and our economies- from ownership to planning.
Throughout this series, we will discuss with critical necessity the need to renew how we understand the dark matter of our built environment, reimagining the deep codes of urbanism, our means of organising for change in a complex world and the subject of our reality what it means to be human in our increasingly dense, intense and conflicted cities in the face of a radical transition.


Moving Beyond Ownership: Moving Beyond Ownership: Our cities and their governance and operations are increasingly controlled by a black box society (spatial computing and internet of things) driven by privatised monopoly logics. This is challenging the foundations of primacy and privacy in urban space. The deeply entrenched injustices hidden beyond social norms and rules (white supremacy, micro-racism, epigenetic inequality) trickle down to our algorithmic governance, risking damaging, irreversibly, our already feeble social contract.

This crisis calls for a radical rethinking of proprietorship and agency structures. Across this session, we will discuss the unique and unprecedented space to envision a post-ownership world and to fundamentally rethink our relationship to land, to nature and our practices of togetherness, within and between cities. Opening up a context where we can challenge and transform our current governance models and explore new ways of constituting, perhaps even beyond the “city-state” model that perpetuates inequality and unsustainability.

Once our interconnected and finite world is no longer ignorable, once feedback loops are hitting us harder then ever before… might we possible inform with Indigenous knowledges and ways of being our limited legal structures with other models of lawing and owning?

Reading List: Dark Matter Laboratories, Civic-Indigenous 7.0: 7 points of convergence towards civic and Indigenous futures, 2020;


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April 2020
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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.