The pandemic has radically unsettled our relationship to what we call “home.” Amid mandated lockdowns (“stay at home!”), quarantining reframes the function of familiar space and our experience of it. Homes are fully transformed into uncanny sites of precarious labor, neoliberal production and consumption, and biopolitical control—alongside the domestic’s usual bliss, monotony, and terror. In the era of “working from home,” screens become the new networked hearth; walls no longer demarcate the eroded bounds of the private and public realm.

Yet the pandemic has made painfully clear that, under current governance, “home” is far from a given right. From mass homelessness to rent strikes, racist urban planning to the fortressing of national borders, life in and after quarantining warrants us to level and rebuild anew the structures that privilege shelter, residence, and belonging for some while denying it for others. The texts in this reader elaborate artistic, architectural, and poetic propositions for reimagining: home, for whom?

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Compiled by Carlos Kong
10 Essays
Alas, I have to use this neologism of “enclosement” to deal with an issue that disturbs too few people. But it immensely disturbs those of us it concerns. Basically, this is the question: Where are the public intellectuals—the artists, poets, scientists—who allow themselves to lose sleep over the state of the world? Where are the protesters, the professors, the students? Where is public at large? My answer would be that they are nowhere to be found. In this world where airplanes have…

all prayers supplanted
every pew held our bodies
when we got to the waters
all the oak pews faced the Atlantic
to carry us outbound — silt coffers
to sit with the words held in the pews
the sun burned a hole right through me
I let it

I have felt the age-old triangle of mother father and child, with the “I” at its eternal core, elongate and flatten out into the elegantly strong triad of grandmother mother daughter, with the “I” moving back and forth flowing in either or both directions as needed. —Audre Lorde, Zami With this in mind, I approach Henrik Olesen’s multimedia installation Mr. Knife and Mrs. Fork (2009) and LaToya Ruby Frazier’s exhibition of black-and-white photographs, A Haunted Capital…
Tenderness, unburdened sentiments, and freedom are rarely found in the cinematographic spectrum of the 1950s. Arne Mattsson’s 1951 film One Summer of Happiness already assures us with its title that we are going to see something perishable. Just as the water of the lake where the two protagonists swim glitters only on the surface, and only when the sun is going down, the moments they share in this fluid and forgiving medium are already doomed. The film’s rather predictable boy-meets-girl…
The title of this text is a hybrid of two existing titles. “Architecture without Architects” was the name of an influential exhibition by the architect Bernard Rudofsky at the MoMA in 1964; “Housing: An Anarchist Approach” was the name of a famous book by the English architect and anarchist Colin Ward in which the author proclaims the rights and productivity of self-built housing and squatting in postwar Europe. Whereas the latter’s collection of essays discussed specific cases of European…

In the spring of 2016, We Are Here, a group of people who had been refused official stay in the Netherlands but could neither return to their countries of departure nor go anywhere else, squatted Tripolis 200, one of the three buildings of the complex, for roughly three weeks. Ironically, until two years earlier, this part of the complex had been occupied as the municipal office of South Amsterdam through which (accepted) citizens passed to register, get married, and pick up official documents.

“Digital Food,” “Digital Shelter,” and Voucher Humanitarianism Some refugees from the current civil war in Syria have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey and found themselves in novel spaces—novel not only with respect to the spaces they fled from, but also with respect to the spaces occupied by previous generations of refugees. These new spaces of refuge are structured by technologies of credit distribution in the form of automated teller machines and credit card readers: the means…
In 1972, as part of MoMA’s exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape,” the Radical Design group Superstudio installed a small cubic room with mirrored walls that appeared to replicate itself into infinity. The group’s proposal, submitted to the curator Emilio Ambasz, had taken the form of a one-page statement describing exactly how this “microenvironment” should be installed, followed by a further nine typed pages of theoretical exposition by Superstudio’s cofounder Adolfo Natalini. In…
A complicated chain of events landed me in Los Angeles, on the west coast of the USA. It is a wonderful city, fascinated by itself to the point of being oblivious to what occurs outside of it. This is not the ideal place to be exiled to. When forced to leave one’s home, an exile’s continuing struggle shapes him into a soldier—and a soldier can do little more than survive while he waits for the next battle, as he is less than likely to win the war. Los Angeles is an ideal place for…
This text is a reflection on our 2007 contribution to the TRANSIT MIGRATION research project, “The Autonomy of Migration: Ten Theses Towards a Methodology.” 1 Within the project, we analyzed the movements of migration and the migration policies deployed against them at the edges of the EU, in order to decipher the contours of a new regime of emerging migration politics. We were interested in investigating, from the perspective of social theory, what was symptomatic in movements of…

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