COLLAPSE
CENTER FOR COMPLEXITY
4TH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM

The annual symposium presents an opportunity to explore provocative themes and unique modes of collaboration and facilitation in order to break from old models in pursuit of new ways of knowing. Each panel and breakout session will provide a unique path and process toward an understanding of collapse through collective inquiry and discovery. The public is invited to join in that process.



Panels



Some Freedom Now: Liberatory Practice and Community—Building the Face of Collapse


WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21
1:00 PM
AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
The title of this panel is taken from an influential 2018 essay by panelist Ed Whitfield titled “What Must We Do to Be Free? On the Building of Liberated Zones.” Join Whitfield, the chef and food activist Neftali Duran, and RISD faculty and staff from the departments of Landscape Architecture, Sculpture and Counseling and Psychological Services for a conversation about the future and how we can start building it now through new ecological, labor, artistic, mental health, and community care practices.

PANELISTS
Taylor Baldwin
Associate Professor, Sculpture (RISD)  

Neftali Duran
Community Chef, Advocate and Organizer;

Ellen Garrett
Lecturer, Landscape Architecture(RISD) and founding member of the Flatbush Workshop for Design

Damion Vania
LMHC, Clinician, Counseling and Psychological Services (RISD)

Ed Whitfield
Social Critic, Writer, and Community Activist

MODERATORS
Marisa Brown
Associate Director, Center for Complexity

Tim Maly
Senior Lead, Strategic Design and Communications, Center for Complexity.



Conversations on Spatial Collapse: The Straw, The Camel


FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 
20 WASHINGTON PLACE


Collapse in spatial systems is rarely unforeseen. In fact, it can often be documented for years if not decades, if not centuries. Rather than ask—“How could this have happened?—a series of interlocutors will discuss how it did happen, what were the tools to prevent it, and as the cracks were widening who was and who wasn’t believed. Each panelist will tell  a story of a collapse at several scales which identifies the networks around two objects, The Camel (the object of collapse) and the Straw (the last stress that broke it).


PANELISTS
Jess Myers

Assistant Professor, architecture (RISD)

Lorraine Barcant
Building Inspector, New York City Public Schools, Labor Advocate

Danasha Kelly
Baltimore-based Architectural Designer, RISD Alum and Morgan State Alum

Zoe Samudzi PhD
SEI Fellow and Assistant Professor in Photography (RISD)



Breakout Sessions




Reclaim / Occupy | Rebuild



WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21
4:15 PM - 5:45 PM
AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
Longtime activist Bill Di Paola, founder of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on NY's Lower East Side, leads a participatory session on community change-making (past, present, future)—and squatting, community gardens, environmental activism, and the power of collective action.
Bill Di Paola
Founder of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space


TBD


WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21
4:15 PM - 5:45 PM
AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE



Laura Brown-Lavoie
Poet

Vatic Kuumba
Activist Artist


Mining Waste: Designing in a Broken World


THURSDAY, SEPT. 22
10:00 AM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE
Architecture is premised on waste. As buildings erode, decay, or become obsolete over time, waste from their demolition and repair is often poorly managed with little focus on ecological care. New construction produces its own excesses which are exacerbated by the boom/bust cycle of real estate development and short-term speculation. As designers and architects, our understanding of material and construction practices still largely ignore these ever-growing streams of waste. Faced with climate emergency, designers continue to optimize construction, to reuse buildings, and to recycle materials — all without accounting for the accrual and persistence of waste

What if we understood that the collapse of our built environment is not the failure or “end” of architecture, but rather as preconditions for future practice? Engaging broken-world thinking, how might design anticipate and reimagine waste futures in construction, occupation, and demolition? What if waste sites were reframed as quarries?

The event is co-sponsored with RISD Architecture as the first in a year-long series of conversations curated for students undertaking their Thesis Degree Project.

Ang Li
Northeastern University
Ang Li Projects, Boston

Billy Dufala
RAIR, Philadelphia

Amy Seo
Second Edition, Australia
 
Moderators:
Arianna Deane,
Cara Liberatore,
Amelyn Ng,

RISD Department of Architecture


Inversion of Collapse: Three Provocations & A Prison Story


THURSDAY, SEPT. 22
1:30 PM - 2:15 PM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE
If collapse is falling together through a loss of support or rigidity, what is the difference in falling together to create support or rigidity? From Oceans to Architecture and Mistletoe to Prisons, we will explore provocations, Greek philosophers, and Hip Hop as we deep dive into the Inversion of collapse.
Judah Armani
Head of Social Impact, Royal College of Art and Design
Designer in Residence, InnovationRCA
Former Fellow, Center for Complexity

Michelle Fisher
Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, MFA Boston and author of Designing Motherhood

Erin Hersey
Design Researcher & Strategist

Elizabeth Suda & Camille Hautefort Founders of a social & commercial initiative Article22 using de-commissioned bomb parts dropped in Laos to build jewelry sharing profits to build communities in Laos.

Collapse, Redesign, and So On


THURSDAY, SEPT. 22
2:30 PM - 3:15 PM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE
In the context of planetary emergency and collapse, design is a societal capability. Repair, remaking, rebuilding at speed and with care and attention to the harms inherently possible in such an undertaking will be the work of everyone invested in integrity on any scale.

This session will ask each participant to identify sites of collapse. We will examine how collapse, as explored and expanded in the symposium, is operative in that setting. We will work to uncover how collapse defines or implicates new or existing communities. And we will explore interventions or actions that can be taken.
Justin Cook
Founding Director, Center for Complexity
Identifying Scale, Tempo, and Response for an Era of Planetary Emergencies



Woven Behavior and Ornamentation



THURSDAY, SEPT. 22
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE


Textile work is strongly influenced by the inherent behaviors of fibers and yarns: what do these inanimate materials "want" to do? What does it mean for these textiles to adapt or change over time? As practitioners in this field, we can choose to fight against or embrace these micro-scale tendencies and test them on a larger scale. Our research work explores the relationship between woven fabrics' structure and their ability to transform into specific three-dimensional forms. Observing the transition from 2D to 3D gives us valuable insight. As fabrics grow, stiffen, crumple or move fluidly through states, we can identify parallels to human bodies at rest and in motion, adaptation and change; draw connections between the fabric moving in response to new environmental conditions, as humans do; investigate what unique sensory experiences might result from interacting with this class of textiles.

Felicita Devlin
They are an interdisciplinary artist/designer from Fort Lauderdale, FL, currently residing in Providence, RI. Their research investigates and reflects upon their personal consumption of digital culture and technology. As technology further intermeshes the internet into the physical realm, it has produced its own materiality into our culture. They are primarily focused on how technology has been a portal/paradise for queer expression, as an extension of survival. As a way to celebrate the fluidity & formlessness of gender and identity through themes of sci-fi, horror, and the unknown.

Elizabeth Meiklejohn
is a designer specializing in textiles and apparel, based in Providence, RI. Her work blends digital and hands-on production methods to achieve complex forms and capabilities in fabrics, all while investigating material origins and lifecycles. She recently completed her MFA in textile design at RISD with a focus on woven textiles, exploring techniques that enable fabrics to move, transform and respond to external forces. This practice is motivated by curiosity about these static objects' potential to interfere with perception, through haptic and visual illusory effects.


Failed, Failing, Failure Infrastructure: Imminent Collapse as an Ongoing State of Crisis


FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
2:00
AUDITORIUM. 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
Failed, Failing, Failure Infrastructure: Imminent Collapse as an Ongoing State of Crisis is a discussion of the Global Border Regime and the failure of international infrastructures as a crisis narrative as well as an ongoing human rights disaster. This session will use Dimitris Papdopoulos' interactive piece "Failure Infrastructure" (on display in the lobby) as a jumping off point for talking about the collapse of the Global Border Regime more generally.
Lindsay French
Associate Professor of Anthropology and chair, History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences (RISD)

Dimitris C. Papadopoulos PhD
Instructional Designer, Teaching & Learning Lab, Center for Social Equity and Inclusion, RISD

Germán Pallares-Avitia PhD
SEI Fellow/Assistant Professor RISD Architecture



Long Creativity and The Boiling Frog


FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
2:00 PM
CENTER FOR COMPLEXITY STUDIO
3RD FLOOR, 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
Join an exploration at the intersection of art and science. Design a system, object, building, or place where creativity, art, and design are archived to survive collapse and design a means of effectively sparking action based on a specific sign of collapse approaching.
Jack Madden PhD 
Astrophysicist and artist, Critic, Experimental and Foundation Studies (RISD)




Films




Collapse


WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21
6:30 PM. AUDITORIUM. 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
One hurricane, one study, thousands dead. On September 20, 2017 hurricane María hit the island of Puerto Rico with category four winds. The local government reported the number of dead at 64, while a Harvard University led study estimated 4645. This film tells the story of the research team that completed this historic study from the perspective of Dr. Domingo Marqués, the only team member to experience the hurricane firsthand. See how the local government reacted to the now famous study, and how a country prepares for the next catastrophic event.

Un huracán, un estudio, miles de muertos. El 20 de septiembre de 2017 el huracán María azotó la isla de Puerto Rico con vientos categoría cuatro. El gobierno local informó el número de muertos en 64, mientras que un estudio dirigido por la Universidad de Harvard estimó 4645. Esta película cuenta la historia del equipo de investigación que completó este estudio histórico desde la perspectiva del Dr. Domingo Marqués, el único miembro del equipo que experimentó el huracán de primera mano. Vea cómo reaccionó el gobierno local al ahora famoso estudio, y cómo un país se prepara para el próximo evento catastrófico.

Nelson Varas-Diaz
Professor, Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University

Varas-Diaz is interested in the social, political and individual level implications of stigmatization. His academic career addresses the role of social and structural factors in the stigmatization of individuals and communities. His research has focused on the social stigmatization of disease (i.e. HIV/AIDS, addiction), marginalized groups (i.e. transgender individuals) and cultural practices (i.e. metal music, religion). These interests are manifested through research, policy work, teaching, and community involvement. Other subjects of interest include: 1) qualitative research, 2) mixed methodology, 3) issues related to community participation, and 4) social justice through research.

Where Glaciers Go, Hike the Line


THURSDAY, SEPT. 22
6:30 PM.
AUDITORIUM. 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
Where Glaciers Go
The Mustang region of Nepal is on the front line of our planet’s changing climate with glacial water shortages forcing families from their homes. Split between the tradition of the old village and a new life growing apples as a cash crop, the Gurung family finds a balance to endure. (17 minutes)

Hike the Line
Tenny and Claire set out from San Diego to become the first people to continuously hike the United States / Mexico border.
Corey Robinson
Director

Corey Robinson is a Cortez, Colorado based director and cinematographer. With a focus on non-fiction stories of obsession, he has worked on all seven continents for clients such as National Geographic, Netflix, PBS, and the Travel Channel. He seeks to tell stories of social justice, conservation, natural history and science. When not working he bikes, skis and paddles with his partner, throws the ball for his black lab and drinks hazy IPAs
from his brother’s brewery.



Sky Blossom


FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
6:30 PM.
AUDITORIUM. 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
Sky Blossom is a raw, inspiring window into 5.4 million students stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college — but also live double lives — quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation. The filmmaker, veteran journalist and award-winning CNN/MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui says the interviews were so honest they genuinely surprised him, as they revealed insights into the lives of young people across America. Troops used to look up and say, “Here come the Sky Blossoms”—paratroopers rushing to their aid. Today, there is a new generation answering that call. These are their stories.



Richard Lui
Director & Producer

Richard Lui is a journalist, anchoring at MSNBC and NBC News and has covered many of the network’s major breaking stories, including the Arab Spring, the deaths of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Senator John McCain, the Newtown massacre, and more. His breaking news field reporting includes being on the ground for the Paris and San Bernardino ISIS-related terror attacks, and in Ferguson and Baltimore during widespread civil unrest. Before joining MSNBC, Lui spent five years at CNN Worldwide, anchoring at CNN Headline News. Lui became the first Asian American male in America to anchor a daily national cable network news program in 2007. Lui has received awards for his reporting, including Peabody and Emmy team awards, NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Award, AAJA Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice Award, Champion in Media Award from the Multicultural Media Correspondents Dinner at the National Press Club, Freedom of the Press Award from NAISA Global, and others. Richard is also an AARP Caregiving Champion, Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champion, and BrightFocus Foundation Ambassador.


SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2022
RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
SPONSORED
BY INFOSYS
COLLAPSE · CENTER FOR COMPLEXITY · 4TH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM
SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2022 · RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN