Culture Lab Detroit’s 2016 theme was WALLS—whether architectural or theoretical, historical or speculative. The participants were joined by their interest in reconsidering the structures which define our lives. These artists, architects, and theorists provide groundbreaking alternatives to some of the most entrenched issues of recent times, suggesting new ways to move through a city, to visit a museum, to catalyze social change through art, or to consider the shifting divide between public and private space. Their varied practices conversed against the backdrop of Detroit, addressing issues of empty space, population shifts, urban blight and renewal, and the struggle to define a new environment of collaboration and respect.
The immigrant experience is embedded within the cultural history of America and remains the focus of global contemporary politics. At a moment when the world contends with a devastating refugee crisis, and the 2016 U.S. presidential election hinges on border policies, the social, political, and economic complexities of immigration has never been more pronounced.
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The contemporary art museum has emerged as today’s premier public space and place of cultural reflection—an occasion for ambitious architecture and blockbuster shows attended by record-breaking crowds. However, as notions of art have expanded, the museum has had to keep pace. This discussion gathers three voices to discuss these changes.
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Not only the physical sum of the cities which surround us, but the manifestation of how we envision society, architecture is paradoxically one of our most entrenched and flexible cultural forms. As such, it is imbued with a certain degree of social responsibility. This discussion is between three people whose work utilizes architecture to investigate issues facing contemporary society.
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