Thinkers and Doers online lecture series: Tim Waterman

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Presented by Tim Waterman

Lectures, talks and seminars

Thinkers and Doers online lecture series

27 May 2020 8:00 am to 27 May 2020 9:00 am

Online via Zoom

Avuncular architectures: Queer futurity and life economies

Sarah Ensor’s essay Spinster Ecology: Rachel Carson, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Nonreproductive Futurity (2012) sets out its initial argument as it examines the opposition between, on the one hand, a heteronormative expectation that people’s hopes for their futures are channelled through their offspring, and, on the other hand, turn-of-the-millennium queer theory, exemplified by Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004) which declines or resists futurity, seeking a jouissance that lives firmly in an endless present.

The avuncular figure of the spinster, for Ensor, figures a model of ‘queer ecocritical practice’ and a “model of care that allows distance, indirection, and aloofness to persist and that transforms the vexed concept of ‘enoughness’ from a chastening limitation to a quietly affirmative state.” This paper seeks to outline the relevance of this stance to the architectures and their practices, which, bound to capitalist ‘development’ narrowly pitched toward profit rather than fully elaborated development of humans, the more-than-human, and the emplaced life economies and ecologies within which all are embroiled.

Cues for avuncular architectures of care are taken from such influential figures within architectural, cultural, and artistic discourse as Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot, whose character in the film Mon Oncle (1958) queers the anarchic historic city and sweetly presents it as a “quietly affirmative state” in contrast to simplifying and technocratic modernist buildings, landscapes, and lifestyles. Hulot’s presence within architectural modernity is not one of threat, however, but a symbol of insurgent humanity. Thus Hulot represents a life drive that is invigorated by its otherness and aloofness to act from a position of humane and more-than-human nonreproductive futurity through queer ecocritical modes of practice.

About the lecture series:

‘Thinkers and Doers’ aims at bringing together practitioners, scholars, students and the wider community of landscape architecture and affiliated built environment disciplines to share ideas and to hear the latest innovations in the field. This online series brings together nationally and internationally renowned experts through an initiative between the Tuia Pito Ora—New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) Wellington Branch and the Landscape Architecture Programme at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Lectures will be 30 minutes long followed up by 10 minutes of questions and answers. This series happens fortnightly at 8 am (NZ time) to allow speakers and guest from across the globe.


To attend this lecture, please register through the registration button.

For more information contact: Bruno Marques

Speaker Bios

Tim Waterman is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His research addresses imaginaries: moral, political, social, ecological, radical, and utopian. This forms the basis for explorations of power and democracy and their shaping of public space and public life; taste, etiquette, belief and ritual; and foodways in community and civic life and landscape. He is at work on the book Landscape Citizenships and has recently edited two others: Landscape and Agency: Critical Essays with Ed Wall and the Routledge Handbook of Landscape and Food with Joshua Zeunert.