Lecture by architects Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller, principals of El Paso-based AGENCY, as part of the MAS Context 2018 Fall Talks in Chicago. The lecture took place on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at Perkins+Will Chicago.
AGENCY principals Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller will present recent work that reveals emerging–and often invisible-forces which erode public space and degrade democracy. AGENCY is a design and research practice which leverages spatial design and spatial information to counteract nascent forms of global and urban insecurity. From the practice’s position on the US/Mexico border, which provides a base of operations and context for discrete interventions, AGENCY’s work reveals and enacts emerging publics. Working in protracted, conflictual contexts, the practice consistently shifts the narrative, developing targeted methods to identify, appropriate, and subvert subperceptual urban and atmospheric phenomena.
Kripa and Mueller are the authors of FRONTS: Security and the Developing World (Applied Research and Design, forthcoming), which uncovers a growing geography of codependence between the global security complex and the urban morphologies of the developing world which it increasingly incriminates. Kripa and Mueller will elaborate on their work to: expose hidden geographies; countermap targeted communities; uncover the infrastructure of secretive detention networks; reveal the shifting space of sovereignty at the border; forge postnational assemblies from shared urban metrics; and exploit airborne vectors of cultural and biological exchange.
Ersela Kripa is an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech College of Architecture and a founding partner of AGENCY. Ersela is the recipient of the 2018 Emerging Voices award from The Architectural League of New York, the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome in 2010, and residency fellowships at the MacDowell Colony in 2009 and 2013. Ersela was named a Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2010. Her work has been published in Scapegoat, The Architect’s Newspaper, MONU, Volume, Domus, Texas Architect, and others. Ersela teaches in the El Paso campus of TTU–a vibrant architectural program steps from the US-Mexico border, where she focuses on curriculum directly related to binational relations as they affect infrastructure, public space, and migration. Ersela holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.
Stephen Mueller is a registered architect and a founding partner of AGENCY. Stephen is the recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome in 2010, and the Emerging Voices award from The Architectural League of New York in 2018, among other honors. Stephen is a frequent contributor to The Architect’s Newspaper, with a co-authored, recurring feature highlighting architectural, infrastructural, and technological agents impacting the built environment in the borderland. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Distinction from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Stephen has taught at a variety of institutions, including Washington University in St. Louis, and the Texas Tech University College of Architecture – El Paso program, a school uniquely situated on the US-Mexico border.