How Together

Common Ground at the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019

Under certain conditions, the gathering of individuals can lead to collaborative dynamics, productive ways of being together, transforming through action the urban and socio-political environment. So, how do we gather? Whether it is around content, ideas or actions, productive gatherings observe certain logics, rhythms and rules (or non-rules). Through past projects and experiences we have empirically implemented, explored and tested them. Several situations of/for togetherness are born from those experiences and are composed of a mix of people (ideas, skills, abilities, etc.) and actions (uses, activities, formats, etc.) in time (temporality, rhythms, intensity, permanence, etc.) supported by the suitable structure (resources, materials, space/place). Our projects are not made up of only one of these aspects. It’s neither only space, nor only people or ideas.

We always start by inhabiting a space: our practice is based on the ground on which our projects are located. We are present, on site. We take time to develop ideas, relationships and networks. We gather resources, we involve local energies, we invite people to pass by, stay, appropriate, propose, act. Through our presence, we take time to build experiences and develop as many stories as there are possible interpretations of what we produce. Therefore, this invitation to the Chicago Architecture Biennial from afar represents a big challenge: how do we invite people to use and share a common ground if we are ourselves the guests? Can we still be there without being face-to-face? How do we connect towards a productive goal? How do we transform a common ground to a convivial ground?

For the Chicago Architecture Biennial we put forward fragments to compose and dispose, to use independently or to combine together, all at once or one with another. Constituted of a spatial intervention: a reconfigurable agora to meet people’s needs realized through collaborative energy; ideas and contents: the gallery is transformed in a public square which walls displays the statements proposed by the other guests of the Biennial; available instruments for anybody to use: a table, a printing machine, a coffee machine and office material;  a publication: How Together, an anti-manual gathering constructlab narratives in diverse situations of collaborative practices.

The space is activated by its users. Any group or person can organise or attend a gathering. To use the space, the public is invited to simply use an empty Post-it to announce an event or join a gathering that has previously been announced. Within the space anybody is invited you to respond to the content on the walls. The Post-its can be used to add comments, make new propositions or come up with alternative spatial strategies.

Most of the materials used in this intervention have been used in past Chicago Architectural Biennials. Other materials are in the process of being pre-cycled: they have been rented, borrowed or bought with the intend to be returned and reused.