Issue 3 of The Agent examines architectural agency in the production of unsolicited work. It features exclusive interviews with Ant Farm and Rebar, two iconic, Bay Area practices that instigate action through bottom-up interventions. Such physical engagement with urban and societal conditions locates Rebar’s and Ant Farm’s modes of practice within a discipline-specific form of “generative activism”—one that rejects protest or prevention as modes of operating. Instead, both practices put forward an activism that offers unexpected readings and innovative alternatives to current urban conditions. This is a form of activism that uses material artifacts and spatial interventions as mechanisms for diagnosing problems while opening up a space for experimentation that invites participation and critical engagement.
“The idea that access is more important than ownership, along with the evolution of sharing economy ideas—that’s happening with mobility, it’s starting to happen with housing, and it’s starting to happen with finance and banking, which is going to be hugely disruptive.”
-John Bela, Rebar
“But how do you create, through the institution, radical architects and radical thinking? Maybe it has to come from the student body itself. It might begin with lifelong learning and hybridity across disciplines. That’s where there is opportunity.”
- Chip Lord, Ant Farm
Poster drawing credit: Rebar