Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

Dear Mayor Garcetti,

“The best place to view Los Angeles of the next millennium is from the ruins of its alternative future.”
—Mike Davis, City of Quartz (1990)

“L.A. WANTS 2 HELP U”
—Billboard Oracle, L.A. Story (1991)

What is the future of Los Angeles? This is the question everyone is asking. And it is the perennial question posed by everyone from William Mulholland to Walt Disney to Frank Gehry. In each casting of the runes, the city is both subject and object. It is a place where the wind rustling the bougainvillea is a siren song and the Santa Ana’s blowing down palm fronds is an omen. But you know this, my fellow Angelino. Just as you know that The Los Angeles 2020 Commission wrinkles its collective brow with concern as it evaluates the next six years and that the LA2050 initiative (funded by the Goldhirsh Foundation) foresees an optimistic, crowdsourced metropolis. Read More …

Curator

Joakim Dahlqvist is an architect, designer, illustrator and digital artist. This exhibition presents a collection of Dahlqvist’s illustrations that teeter on the edge between reality and fantasy. Defying the sublime tendencies of architectural rendering, he represents imagined objects with an analytical coolness. Cast with an artificial fluorescent glow, these artifacts and environments tease with the pleasure of their verisimilitude. However, with a droll touch worthy of Jacques Tati, they offer a surreal joy that transcends the digital model. Read More …

Advisory Board Member and Respondent

In 2030, the world’s population will be a staggering eight billion people. Of these, two-thirds will live in cities. Most will be poor. With limited resources, this uneven growth will be one of the greatest challenges faced by societies across the globe. Over the next years, city authorities, urban planners and designers, economists, and many others will have to join forces to avoid major social and economical catastrophes, working together to ensure these expanding megacities will remain habitable.

To engage this international debate, Uneven Growth brings together six interdisciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners to examine new architectural possibilities for six global metropolises: Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. Following on the same model of the MoMA exhibitions Rising Currents and Foreclosed, each team will develop proposals for a specific city in a series of workshops that occur over the course of a 14-month initiative.

Uneven Growth seeks to challenge current assumptions about the relationships between formal and informal, bottom-up and top-down urban development, and to address potential changes in the roles architects and urban designers might assume vis-à-vis the increasing inequality of current urban development. The resulting proposals, which will be presented at MoMA in November 2014, will consider how emergent forms of tactical urbanism can respond to alterations in the nature of public space, housing, mobility, spatial justice, environmental conditions, and other major issues in near-future urban contexts.

Urban Case Study Teams:
New York: Situ Studio, New York, and Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra), Rotterdam
Rio de Janeiro: RUA Arquitetos, Rio de Janeiro, and MAS Urban Design ETH, Zurich
Mumbai: URBZ, Mumbai, and Pop Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge
Lagos: NLÉ Architects, Lagos, and Inteligencias Colectivas, Madrid
Hong Kong: MAP Office, Hong Kong, and Network Architecture Lab, Columbia University, New York
Istanbul: Superpool, Istanbul, and Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée, Paris

OVER BLACK

Sounds of the inner spaces rushing forward.

Then a splinter of blue light in the center of the picture.
It breaks wide, showing the top and bottom a silhouetted curtain of razor sharp teeth suggesting that we are inside of a tremendous gullet, looking out at the onrushing under-sea world at night. HEAR a symphony of underwater sounds:
landslide, metabolic sounds, the rare and secret noises that certain undersea species share with each other. Read More …

In recent years, there has been a nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative to solve problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. Provisional, improvisational, guerrilla, unsolicited, tactical, temporary, informal, DIY, unplanned, participatory, opensource—these are just a few of the words that have been used to describe this growing body of work.

Spontaneous Interventions frames an archive of compelling, actionable strategies, ranging from urban farms to guerrilla bike lanes, temporary architecture to poster campaigns, urban navigation apps to crowdsourced city planning. These efforts cut across boundaries, addressing architecture, landscape, infrastructure, and the digital universe, and run the gamut from symbolic to practical, physical to virtual, whimsical to serious. But they share an optimistic willingness to venture outside conventional practice and to deploy fresh tactics to make cities more sustainable, accessible, and inclusive.

Awarded Special Mention for National Participation.

Commissioner and Curator: Cathy Lang Ho
Co-curators: David van der Leer and Ned Cramer
Curatorial Advisors: Paola Antonelli, Anne Guiney, Zoe Ryan, Michael Sorkin and Erik Adigard
Project managers: Gordon Douglas and Mimi Zeiger
Design: Freecell, M-A-D, and Interboro Partners

“[T]he show may not be the first but it is the latest and one of the most panoramic surveys of this sort of insurgent, unplanned, provisional, do-it-yourself micro-cultural citizen activism.

That many of the projects here skirt authority and don’t involve architects suggests not that architects aren’t important or that cities don’t depend on top-down plans. It suggests that cities and architects still have a ways to go to catch up with an increasingly restless public’s appetite for better design and better living.

And that the public isn’t waiting.”—Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times

Unfinished Business: 25 Years of Discourse in Los Angeles is a major retrospective of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.

The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design has been at the center of the city’s architectural discourse since 1987. Through each decade – the scrappy 1980s, the experimental 1990s, and the booming 2000s – the Forum has vigorously interrogated the culture of architecture and urban design in Los Angeles. Although geographically positioned on the far edge of the continent, the organization nonetheless impacts the discipline at large: Forum events and programming routinely introduce emerging talent; issues of contemporary design are captured in its exhibitions; and its publications and competitions speculate on urbanism and often challenge the conventions of what architecture means in L.A. The retrospective Unfinished Business unpacks the organization’s archive, revisiting a history of commentary and debate. In looking backward, the exhibition finds within the Forum’s history the architectural questions, urban design conversation starters, and critical loose ends that are just as relevant now as they were over the past quarter century. Unfinished Business doesn’t come to any fixed conclusion, but opens up a rich and potentially provocative dialogue.

Curators: Siobahn Burke, Thurman Grant, and Mimi Zeiger

press
“Now L.A. is still the place that Craig Hodgetts described in one of the original publications, reprinted in the current pamphlet: “The grids open vistas, frame trivialities and frame inconsistencies–of thoughtless breadth and pragmatic anticipation which has bred, albeit carelessly, the culture of cruising, hatchbacks and convenience corners, which exemplify the present vision of the future city.”

It is true that hybrids have replaced hatchbacks, and that taco trucks, rather than malls, are the new emblems of melting pot. It is also true that L.A. is becoming a place with a mass transit system and even bike plans. But, as the area around the forum event showed, it is also a vital, sleazy, fun, and terrifying mess. There is indeed a great deal of unfinished business for the Forum, and I look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the next 25.”—Aaron Betsky, Architect

AGENCY has been selected to exhibit at the Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia), acting as ambassadors for SUPERFRONT in collaboration with At Work With at the Nordic Pavilion to realize “30S”, a crowdsourced video installation addressing the role of the architect in the design of public space.

Project Description
The project expands the theme of the 12th International Architectural Exhibition at the Venice Biennale to highlight the role of the festival itself in fabricating and amplifying the identity of the contemporary architect.

While “people meet in architecture”, the architect often operates in environments uncannily devoid of interpersonal contact. Paradoxically, it is from these most private spaces that our cities’ civic buildings and public spaces are designed.

The installation will linger in the private space of the architect, projecting a continuous stream of user-generated content from an installation-specific web-based video channel, acting as a clearinghouse for 30-second clips of static-shot digital video. Video will highlight the quotidian, intimate, and banal aspects of architectural endeavor, forcibly colluding these highly personal spaces with the public realm by means of digital projection into the exhibit space of the Pavilion.

AGENCY will host user-generated content in a continuous, looping stream on the AGENCY blog.