What Binds Us – Installation at OAA MOVE Party
Treaty Lands, Global Stories will be representing Waterloo Architecture with an installation at the OAA MOVE Party on September 15th, and you’re invited! The event is free, but registration is required (register here). Check out our facebook event here.
Stories hold us together, and hold us prisoner.
As architects in Canada, we are bound by the confines of familiar stories. Educated in the Beaux-Arts, Modernist lineage of North American schools, we learn little of Indigenous or Non-Western cultures, and thus move unconsciously within settler-colonial power structures. What binds us is the Western Canon, an unspoken rule of exclusion and inclusion. The canon drives curricula – underlying the selection of books students read year after year.
What Binds Us aims to challenge the canon by presenting thirty books many of us have never read in our formal architectural education. These books carry content we believe should not be lost in the education of future architects. Selected on the basis of suggestions from the Waterloo Architecture community and beyond, and purchased using the $1000.00 installation budget, the collection is to be donated to the Musagetes Architecture Library at the University of Waterloo. One book is blank, inviting visitors to share their own reading suggestions in an ongoing project to compile alternative reading lists. On the walls encircling the new collection is a list of books that are always in the back of our minds, the canon we are taught. These books are indexed, but not present, de-centering them as works which already receive sustained attention.
Books are carriers for stories. They are not the only way of telling stories, but they can help disrupt Eurocentric architectural discourse from within. Once we see the ways our old stories bind and hold us captive, we can listen to new ones, which may bind and hold us together in previously impossible ways.
This project is meant to be the first in a series. As part of it, we also have a spreadsheet with a longer list of book titles submitted by the UWSA community and mentors beyond. You can add your own suggestions to this open-source reading list here.