Happenings

…And Other Such Stories

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As the 2019 edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial enters its final days of programming, I am reflecting on a conversation I had with biennial co-curator Sepake Angiama and cultural worker Vincent Tao that was published in the accompanying catalogue. Entitled “Unceded Territory: Historicizing Vancouver,” we collectively considered what it means to call a place home when that naming of a place is built upon historical and continued dispossessions. This condition is true for Vancouver as it is true for Chicago. The narratives of each city divert in their specificities, but many structural elements remain common, that commonality foremost an ongoing settler colonial project that frames land and life as resources to be voraciously consumed. As the year turns, as the decade too, I consider Vince’s observation in our conversation that “histories are destroyed through the process of gentrification and development … these narratives are hidden beneath the monumental, in the spaces we call the everyday, the vernacular.” I also consider the biennial’s banner of ...And Other Such Stories. And I wonder what is possible when stories are returned to, recovered, shared anew, what kinds of listening would be needed for what has been buried to resound, and I look forward to coming days, to a kind of modest relation that I can labour with, one that might account for what has come and prepare for what is coming.

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