Afaina de Jong on Visual storytelling

Last week, we organized the second workshop for our students participating in the “we the people” graduation studio. This time: a hands-on session by the multidisciplinary architect Afaina de Jong on Visual storytelling. During this workshop, Afaina de Jong – creator of the book  ‘For the People, By the People: A Visual Story of the DIY City’ – introduced the students to her vision on what architecture and the city can be in the 21st century with a DIY attitude at the heart of the city making process. She explained how photography could be used as a tool to register… Read More

Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots

Who has seen our lectures knows that Design as Politics is -just as Reyner Banham and Charles Jencks– fascinated by Los Angeles. The movies, the glamour, its rap culture and of course the Riots. Now 20 years after the violent uprising that was triggered by the savage beating of Rodney King, filmmaker and former CNN staffer Mark Ford (known from his doc about N.W.A.) released the movie Uprising: Hip Hop & the LA Riots. The film –narrated by the one and only Snoop Dogg- revisits the riots in gripping detail and documents how hip hop forecasted –some say ignited– the worst… Read More

Ill Manors

“I genuinely want to change things. This is just the first step. Let me make my point first and raise the issue, if anybody wants to talk to me about how I think we can change these things I’m ready.” With this statement the British rapper Plan B released his latest track ill manors, persuading the audience that this is not about commerce. This is the real thing! For the guardian reason to honor it with the title ‘greatest British protest song in years’. For lovers of political music -like us- almost to good to be true. The track, basted… Read More

It’s procrastinate-o-clock again! This time, the most glamorous riot of them all: the Rodney King riots. Los Angeles, 1992. Lots of anger. Lots of guns. Lots of helicopters and cameras. And gangster rap. Ah, Los Angeles. Design as Politics loves it, admittedly because Reyner Banham does too. His book about the city is amazing, but this is even better: watching Banham himself cruise through town for about an hour is indeed an hour well spent. But that’s enough reality for now: more than anything Los Angeles is a place of myth and media and fiction. The city of course stars in… Read More

Yes! Another lecture! And more tips on how to waste time on the youtubes! This week: the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot in London. Extra interesting because of the recent London riots – about which much, much more very soon. For now, lots of grainy VHS-format fun below. The first half of the 80’s were somewhat of a riotous period in the UK: the Broadwater Farm incidents were part of a larger series of uprisings. See for instance John Akomfrah’s Handsworth Songs (part 1,2,3,4), documenting racial tensions leading up to a series of riots in Handsworth, Birmingham (Wouter Vanstiphout’s favourite reggae band… Read More

This post accompanies part two of the Blame the Architect lecture series. This week we’ll discuss the 1967 Race Riots in Detroit; extra material for those who are interested or otherwise unoccupied can be found below. Firstly, please watch this before you do anything else Detroit-related: it’s made by Julien Temple and it’s an absolutely brilliant (8.0 says IMDB)  portrait of present-day Detroit. Yes, that’s a dodgy looking Russian website we refer you to, but unfortunately the documentary is pretty hard to find (or buy, for that matter). For those who like their documentaries sponsored by a shoe brand and featuring… Read More

If you ever feel misunderstood by a brother from the west or east side then maybe this will help.

Although age (and marrying an established Der Spiegel-heiress perhaps) did slightly mellow down former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten, he’s still frustrated and engaged enough to verbally assault London’s modern architecture from the top of a tourist bus. Wielding a microphone (always his weapon of choice) and wearing something he himself  thinks is even worse than most of the glass office blocks he encounters on his tour, he manages to do what he has been doing for a very long time: delivering a surprisingly interesting message in between curse words, biting cynicism and a lot of cigarettes: “every social unrest… Read More