Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse

What do we need to build and when is building necessary?” “What knowledge, narratives, systems, and stories are hidden in plain sight?”; and “How are disciplinary boundaries shifted when we center kinship, care, and advocacy?” To try to answer these questions, the Geneva schools HEAD (Haute école d'art et de design) and HEPIA (Haute école du paysage, d'ingénierie et d'architecture) are organizing the first edition of the festival Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse - a cycle of conferences and workshops over three days, accessible online. See you from May 6 to 8 on the website 

Vera Sachetti, general coordinator of Archipelago, answers AA’s questions about this new event.

Vera Sacchetti, as the general coordinator of this festival, could you tell us more about the genesis of this project?
The two schools behind this project share three departments around architectural practice – Interior Architecture at HEAD, Architecture and Landscape Architecture at HEPIA. In the last years, these departments have come together to share resources and knowledge, and to find new ways of working together. Archipelago was born out of this desire to collaborate at a deeper level, and rather than focusing on disciplinary details, it seeks to zoom out to understand the overlaps and intersection between these fields, as well as the tensions between them and our present moment.

The event presents an approach based on “archipelic thinking”. What is this concept about?
We were very much influenced by the work of Caribbean thinker and poet Édouard Glissant, who proposes “archipelagic thinking” as a reaction to more continental modes of ordering the world. In his his Introduction à une poétique du divers (Gallimard, 1996) Glissant explains this well: “With continental thinking, the mind runs with audacity, but we then believe that we see the world as a block, or at large, or at once, as a kind of imposing synthesis, just as we can, by way of general aerial views, see the configurations of landscapes and mountainous areas as they pass by. With archipelagic thinking, we get to know the rocks in the rivers, assuredly the smallest rocks and rivers.” This way of thinking each component of our times in relation to each other and with ourselves, seems to us an urgent approach to understand the present moment and to think through it with one another. 

Who will participate to this festival and what are the contents of its programme? What will be shown on the web and what public is it aimed at?
Our program invites an emerging generation of practitioners working across the globe to think together, and through our Open Call, we also invited students from various countries to contribute to our programming. From May 6–8, 2021, Archipelago offers two parallel tracks, allowing participants and viewers to think with each other through our present moment, either by following the live broadcast on our website or by participating in our workshop program, both in-person or virtually. The public is invited to further participate by becoming a member of the Archipelago Telegram group, where the discussion can continue after each conversation. All parts of the event are free and open to the public, and we hope to see students, practitioners, teachers and thinkers in architectural and related disciplines.

Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse Working model Students from HEPIA Genève | © Alice Proux
Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse
Working model
Students from HEPIA Genève | © Alice Proux


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