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Exhibition Brings Student Research on Baltimore Segregation to Rotterdam and Paris

International interest has stemmed from MICA course project

Posted 01.22.10 by mica media relations

Parallel Cases, Projects for the Open City in the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2009

A MICA class project started by art history, theory and criticism faculty member Dan D'Oca has gone from the streets of Baltimore to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and is now showing in Paris.

The Architecture, Art and the Open City research seminar from spring semester 2009 was designed to have students interactively research and better understand segregation in Baltimore, and the class' research project was exhibited in a major internal biennale in Rotterdam that was picked up for a gallery in Paris.

The students' Arsenal of Exclusion project, part of the Parallel Cases exhibition in the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2009, is currently showing Projects for the Open City at École Nationale Supérieur d’Architecture de Paris-Malaquais, running though Feb. 12.

Defined loosely as "an arena in which diverse social and ethnic groups can coexist, interact, and generate complex relationships and networks," the ideal of the Open City is typically contrasted with the reality of the built environment in America, where homogeneous, exclusionary suburbs are said to rule the day. The Architecture, Art and the Open City class first traces the history of this idea, with a focus on how it has been advanced in architecture, art, philosophy and literature, then considers case studies of American communities to consider the reality of the Open City in America. Finally, the class considers the ways in which architecture and urban planning have tried to bring about versions of the Open City, through the use of tools, such as inclusionary zoning, but also through smaller-scale, site-specific projects.

Arsenal of Exclusion brochure, Business Improvement DistrictsThe Arsenal of Exclusion class project evolved into creating 30 brochures, each examining an institution, social policy or physical object that is in one way or another complicit in the spatial segregation of Baltimore's residents along race, class or age lines. Whether visible or invisible, obvious or subtle, simple or complex, all 30 "tools" shape Baltimore in important ways. Some of these tools, such as "Mortgage Discrimination," are complicated, and understanding the ways in which they are complicit in spatial segregation requires some thought. Other tools, such as "No Loitering Signs," are more obvious. The resulting brochures were displayed in boxes at 30 different locations in and around Baltimore in May 2009--each with a map that identifies all 30 tools and where you can find the other brochures.

Projects for the Open City displays a diverse array of projects originating from different universities all around the world, rendering a unique cross-section on how the Open City is perceived and discussed globally. The selection shows how Open City conditions are discovered and designed in an academic context, looking into the future of our cities, triggering curiosity in what direction urban life may develop over the generations to come. The Parallel Cases exhibition in Rotterdam featured designs and research projects from 44 schools and universities from around the world.

Those involved in MICA's Architecture, Art, and the Open City class were: Lynley Bernstein, Kat Buckley, Ingrid Burrington, Mimi Cheng, Claire Cote, Kyle De Lotto, Daniel D'Oca, Maria Duke, Heather Goad, Leanne Guaneri, Katie Hale, Leah Horowitz, Amelia Jordahl-Bueti, Ryan LeCluyse, Ashley Mack, Meghan Milostan, Becca Morrin, Kat Nammacher, Neal Reinalda, Zev Schmitz, Carrie Schneider, James Singewald, Becky Slogeris, Michael Spears, Rob Starr and Jonathan Taube.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.