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Our Public Space

June 14, 2014 @ 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Our Public Space includes a two-day schedule of lectures and workshops, organized by Dilettante Studios, MAS context and Hyde Park Art Center. The conference activates The Beast — a two-story hollow sculpture in the form of a dying bull — into a town hall that encourages discussion and learning about the history, alternative use, and social value of built space.

Three presentations (Day 1: Hyde Park Art Center) and an intensive workshop (Day 2: offsite) focus on public space, who controls it, who has access to it, and how its governance shapes the socio-economic environment that we inhabit.

The series of presentations and workshops in Our Public Space complements current discourses about urban architecture and explores alternative approaches for creating spaces that promote public agency.

The following questions will be considered:

  • How does architecture obscure or reveal the history and conditions of its existence?
  • What are the labor conditions that brought it into being?
  • How does architecture challenge or reinforce forms of social injustice?
  • How is the built environment shaped by questions of liability, zoning, and legal protections and what is the social cost?
  • What would embracing vulnerability and uncertainty look like architecturally?
  • What is public space, where is it, who controls it, and why does it matter?

An international panel of speakers, whose work can help us frame and explore these questions, will provide their insight and experience in different contexts to help bring a better understanding of the politics of architecture, the cost of safety, and new ways to engage with, reclaim, and theorize the public sphere within a highly controlled urban framework.


Patrizia di Monte is an architect, founder of gravalosdimonte arquitectos and mastermind behind Estonoesunsolar, an artist/architect collective focused on the cleaning, rehabilitation, and maintenance of brownfield plots within the city of Zaragoza, Spain to create open spaces for the community.

Iker Gil is an architect, urban designer, and director of MAS Studio. He is the founder and editor in chief of the design journal MAS Context and the co-director of the Chicago Expander program at Archeworks. He is a PhD candidate from Escola Tecnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB), and holds a Master of Architecture from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Quilian Riano is a designer, researcher, writer, and educator currently working out of Brooklyn, New York. Quilian works with community groups and trans-disciplinary teams to create comprehensive research that can be used to propose a variety of targeted policies, actions and designs at various scales — from pamphlets to architectures to landscapes. He leads #whOWnSpace, a project that grew out of the questions that surfaced during the #occupywallstreet movement concerning ownership and use of open space in New York City, North America, and cities around the world.

Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and critic. She covers art, architecture, urbanism, and design for a number of publications, including The New York Times, Domus, Dwell, and Architect, where she is a contributing editor. Zeiger is author of New Museums, Tiny Houses and Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature.

The Beast program is made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly, and Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.


June 14, 2014
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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5020 S. Cornell Avenue
Chicago, 60615
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