On April 22nd, 2022, I was a keynote for the University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. Conference on Architectural Research with the theme, “Precarity.” In my talk, “Craft, Culture and Computing,” I presented the ‘precarities’ I address in my research, and how I go about addressing them.
‘Precarity’ is a difficult to overlook condition of life in the 21st century. Almost as if by design, the circumstances of global capital—whose extractive industries and financial arrangements imperil labor, material supply chains and all who engage with the built environment—have rendered architecture highly vulnerable in the face of material and data waste, and the accelerated specter of environmental collapse. While such actualities pose difficulties for those who practice, there is perhaps no more urgent a moment to reckon with inherited Enlightenment epistemologies that have led to this point, and to imagine alternative models of architectural research and scholarship. ‘Precarity’ can begin to trace the outlines of a new framework that address architecture’s extended milieu and the outcomes it produces. This conference hosted by the PhD Program in Architecture of the Weitzman School of Design encourages the exploration of ideas aligned with the theme of ‘Precarity’. It features papers that examine the theme of Precarity from the perspectives of technology, project-making, and history/theory. The conference represents an opportunity to question the boundaries of architecture, as well as to seek interdisciplinary contributions that interrogate multiple perspectives.