A Section of Now: Social Norms and Rituals as Sites for Architectural Intervention

A new exhibition and a companion book, conceived as part of the CCA’s one-year investigation Catching Up with Life.

A Section of Now looks at today, at the society in which we currently live, with a focus upon expanding notions of family, property ownership, activism, work, technology, and life expectations. While contemporary values are rapidly reshaping the built environment, architecture is not only responsive but can also, at its best, anticipate and even influence the direction of society through spatial endeavours.

Through TV series, contemporary photography, architectural research, and designed objects, A Section of Now, curated by Giovanna Borasi, critically depicts where we are now and points to the urgent need for a new spatiality and the formation of new societal relationships. The exhibition (through 1 May 2022) and the accompanying publication, co-published with Spector Books (available in January 2021), include many voices, and progressive practices from within as well as outside of architecture that will guide these dialogues. Curators Melissa Harris, New York, and Andrea Bellavita, Milan, have joined as consultants, on photography and TV respectively. Folder Studio, based out of Los Angeles, has created the visual identity for every form this multivalent research will take, including graphic design of both publication and exhibition; with exhibition design by Sam Chermayeff Office, Berlin & New York.

For the publication architects including Andrés Jaque, Karla Rothstein, Mario Gooden, Sam Jacob, SO-IL, Sumaya Vally, Tei Carpenter, Traumnovelle, Anna Puigjaner, and Hilary Sample have been invited to share a new understanding of the “brief”: projective texts that outline architectural types to address societal needs.

This research builds off of the CCA’s work over the course of the past decade, notably with projects such as Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture (2011) and Our Happy Life: Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism (2018). While these topics of inquiry addressed directly how architecture impacts our quality of life and is intertwined with questions of contemporary health, Catching Up With Life picks up where this work left off in order to consider the role that architects have beyond specific topics of personal health, and rather on a larger scale to how we live today.