Architecture and Labour: Part 3

Architecture and Labour
Space and the Production of Subjectivity

Video of the Symposium organised by the ‘City/Architecture’ PhD programme, Friday 13 November 2015.

Part 2 of 3: Peer Illner, Peggy Deamer, and roundtable with P. V. Aureli, Peer Illner, Peggy Deamer, Fabrizio Ballabio, Andreas Rumpfhuber, Fabrizio Gallanti

Scroll down for abstracts and timing of the presentations


Peer Ilner (University of Copenhagen)

Writing Conditions – Labour, Luxury and Life

This paper investigates the radically different relations to built space and labour of Martin Heidegger and the Jewish-Italian writer Primo Levi. It juxtaposes Heidegger’s composed and disciplined writing in his hut in the Black Forest with Levi’s frantic and frenetic writing upon his return to Italy from Auschwitz. While Heidegger, a tenured university professor, retreated from Freiburg to his hut in Todtnauberg to write his treatises on being, time and space, Levi, who had a full-time job at a Turin chemical plant, was working nights to write the memoirs of his year spent in Auschwitz. Theorising these opposed labour practices in relation to ‘freedom’ on the one hand and ‘necessity’ on the other, the talk delineates the contours of a resistant form of labour.


Peggy Deamer (Yale University, The Architecture Lobby, Peggy Deamer Architects)

Architecture, Labour and Subjectivity

This paper will argue that architectural theory, from the 80s through to the present, has consistently failed to link a discourse on ‘subjectivity’ with one on ‘labour’. While both are scarce topics within architecture, the cultural theory pertinent to and produced by architecture has touched on both topics only to swerve away from thinking of these together. This elision is done differently in the three main periods of contemporary architectural theory – critical theory, post-critical theory, and post-post-criticality (or entrepreneurialism) – but persists throughout.
The paper hopes that a description of these three modes of critical avoidance can illuminate architecture’s particular disciplinary heart, even as it assumes that this ‘heart’ is shaped by an ideology that, upon exposure, can rethink its place in today’s political economy.



Roundtable Discussion