04.06.09 Marjetica Potrč, Teddy Cruz, Krzysztof Wodiczko @ USC’s Roski School of Public Art

USC’s artists talk “Architecture, Design, Art: Strategies For Survival,” as part of their Visions and Voices series, collected a stellar trifecta of activist/designers in last night’s line-up.

Whereas Cruz and Potrč are architects producing designs that work in the realms of housing, infrastructure and crisis planning (posing as “translators” for under-represented communities, as Cruz likes to say), Wodiczko deals in story telling – to assuage disassociation and trauma inflicted by culture, war or immigration – via video and machine-like prosthetics.

Their gathering together here seemed eerily timely: Three designers who craft adaptive architecture that communities can appropriate into their shantytowns and barrios, talking about lack of housing, lack of resources and more bold moves that need to be taken on multiple fronts. But all were surprisingly upbeat. Marjetica Potrč argued that right now was a time to work tirelessly, while the big money players are floating in uncertainty, it is a time when communities have an opportunity to step in and negotiate their own spaces, connections and solutions. Then she added, “After Neo-liberalism, it is culture that will be asserted again.”

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