Artist Talk: A conversation with Sam Lewitt & Felicity D. Scott
Artist Sam Lewitt will discuss the ambiguous ideals of ‘self-help’ housing with the renowned historian and theorist of architecture, Felicity D. Scott.
The forces behind the work are the same forces in the work, on its surface and in its organizational form.
Lewitt’s current exhibition CURE (the Work) departs from the recent closure and demolition of Ford Genk, formerly a major employer in the region. In this exhibition, two portable earth ramming machines compress soil from the Ford factory site into interlocking earth blocks. These low-cost devices were originally designed for self-help housing in so-called developing countries and also embraced by practitioners of small-scale ecological self-sufficiency.
As Scott explains in her book, Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-Insurgency (Zone Books, 2016), the politics of self-help housing are highly ambiguous. While critics maintain that self-help implies an abdication of social responsibility, advocates claim that it allows the urban poor to control their own destiny. This latter group ranges from anarchist activists to laissez-faire economists, showing the convergence of different ideologies around the ideal of personal autonomy.
At this event, Lewitt and Scott will discuss how self-help housing encapsulates larger social and economic contradictions. The conversation will be moderated by Tim Roerig, curator of the exhibition CURE (the Work). The final question will be answered by Milan Gillard, student OPEN-LAB at PXL MAD School of Arts.
This Artist Talk connects to Sam Lewitt’s exhibition CURE (the Work), which is on view at Z33 from Sunday 4 October untill Sunday 31 January 2021. The Artist Talks are a collaboration of Z33 with PXL MAD School of Arts, LUCA School of Arts campus C-Mine and UHasselt Faculty of Architecture and Art.
Sign up for the Artist Talks! You will receive the link on Tuesday 19.01.
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