Intro

In an era of overwhelming complexity and global unrest, we are currently experiencing a sense of disorientation and a mistrust of grand narratives. Within the spatial realm, better conditions are frequently sought in positions that embrace a nostalgic retreat towards the tangible, the local, and the particular. However, in the face of persistent impasses—from environmental disasters to the politics of austerity and exclusion—our current cognitive and sensory scope seems insufficient; what is needed is a reorientation that turns away from “what is” towards “what could be” in order to speculate about new constructions that may function as a collective horizon.

Our inquiry searches for forms of knowledge that surpass human subjectivity as their primary foundation and open up a larger space for the (as yet) unknown: “the xeno.” It emphasizes practices that seek strategies for ideological and structural change and are at ease within complex power structures, co-opting their rules and orders and proposing new models of organization. By researching how architects, artists, thinkers, and activists operating in the spatial field might endorse a process of “alienation” to confront global issues, Perhaps it is high time for a xeno-architecture to match explores unconventional narratives for subversive and political architectures (of knowing) in an attempt to re-radicalize spatial practice.

The curatorial and research project Perhaps it is high time for a xeno-architecture to match initiated by Lietje Bauwens, Wouter De Raeve and Alice Haddad appropriates for its title a quote borrowed from philosopher Armen Avanessian’s conceptual intervention in form of a preface to architect and writer Markus Miessen’s recent publication Crossbenching: Toward Participation as Critical Spatial Practice (Sternberg Press, 2016). Our inquiry picks up on Avanessian’s concept of “xeno-architecture” to launch a series of collaborations and experimentations that keep in mind his idea that “xeno-architecture is not a description of the given but a speculative concept that will only show itself in and from the future.”