The Autonomous Future of Mobility

November 7, 2020
11 am (CST)
In Conversation series, online

Closed captioned

Framed through the six themes of the Teaching Gallery exhibition, The Autonomous Future of Mobility—culture, signs, space, energy, speed, and autonomy—Assistant Professors of Architecture Constance Vale and Shantel Blakely will discuss the historical consequences and future potential of automobiles, infrastructure, and autonomous vehicle technology in the built environment. The conversation will focus on how these topics relate to the discipline of architecture as well as architectural education and practice. More specifically, using artworks from the collection of the Kemper Art Museum and Washington University Libraries, Blakely and Vale will touch on the car’s catastrophic legacy in generating crash fatalities, environmental and atmospheric damage, military conflicts, insufficiency of infrastructure, and economic injustice and segregation in cities. With this history in mind, they will also discuss how automobiles are changing in the shift toward autonomous driving, in both its promise to decrease emissions, congestion, and car accidents, and its perils in potential mass surveillance and attacks on artificial intelligence, offering a complex picture of the horsepower and political power that drive mass movement.

In Conversation

“In Conversation” is a series of live online talks with artists, art historians, and scholars, exploring the intersections of art, history, and contemporary life. Bring your own questions and insights to these lively discussions from wherever you are.

About the speakers

Constance Vale is a licensed architect, educator, and director of the Factory of Smoke & Mirrors. Her experimental research practice speculates in the territory among architecture, art, theatre, and digital media. She is an assistant professor of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and has previously taught at Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Vale’s work has been exhibited at the A+D Museum, Los Angeles, and published in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects, the Los Angeles Times, Archinect, and CLOG. She is editor and co-author of the forthcoming Graham Foundation supported book Mute Icons—and Other Dichotomies of the Real in Architecture, with Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich. Vale earned an MArch from Yale School of Architecture, where she received the Moulton Andrus Award for Excellence in Art and Architecture and two H. I. Feldman Prize nominations, and earned a BFA from Parsons School of Design. She has practiced at internationally recognized offices in Los Angeles, New York City, and Pittsburgh.

Shantel Blakely is an architectural historian with additional experience in architecture (practice) and philosophy. Current projects include a series of essays on the poet/critic Herbert Read, a study of the Italian postwar architect Marco Zanuso, and a monograph on the architect Charles E. Fleming, Washington University's first African American graduate in architecture. Dr. Blakely's essays and translations on architecture have appeared in Domus, AA Files, Avery Review, PLOT, and other journals. Prior to joining the faculty at the Sam Fox School, she was public programs manager at Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she cocurated the exhibition Happening Now: Historiography in the Making (2016) and organized numerous lectures and conferences. She holds a PhD in the history and theory of architecture from Columbia University, an MArch from Princeton University, and an MA in philosophy from Tufts University.

Image credit

Edward Ruscha (American, b. 1937), detail of Parking Lots (Century City, 1800 Avenue of the Stars) #23, 1967/1999. Gelatin silver print, 14 7/8 x 14 7/8". University purchase, Charles H. Yalem Art Fund, 2000.