Open Collectives is an immersive installation featuring four digital- and architectural platforms leveraging solidarity to strengthen economic sovereignty, housing affordability, communal self-determination, and mutual aid. Initiated by MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab founded and directed by architect Rafi Segal, in collaboration with MIT Civic Data Design Lab director Sarah Williams, artist and ACT Lecturer Marisa Morán Jahn (SMVisS ’07), and futurist Greg Lindsay, Open Collectives asks how new communities can be formed, organized and strengthened through both the digital and the urban.
The installation showcases urban projects designed for collectives across different sites and programs, while introducing a crowdsourcing site to engage Biennale Architettura 2021 visitors in sharing their own ideas, experience, and knowledge with a global audience — extending the project’s reach beyond Venice and past 2021. Each component queries relationships between the individual and collective, figure and ground, form and signifier, inviting viewers to shift attention to the spaces we design for mutualism.
Visitors to the Open Collectives site are invited to peruse an archive of collectives and share their thoughts on future trajectories. These crowdsourced speculations paint a picture of opinions and attitudes of Labor, Care, Markets, and Living in a more mutualist future. In doing so, visitors form a collective of their own — one that will help shape future incarnations of the Biennale.
The installation’s physical structure embodies the open-yet-spatially-defined characteristics of an open collective. Videos and printed materials offer fresh perspectives on timely issues — the post-pandemic future of work, reputational economy, elder boom, and the climate refugee crisis, to name a few. Featured architecture projects include:
Quipu is a micro-currency platform and physical marketplace empowering residents of a low-income community in Colombia.
Mosaic.us is a construction technology company striving to make home building more efficient and affordable.
Carehaus is an intergenerational cohousing community developed with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, in which caregivers live with and care for older and disabled adults.
Communit offers neighborhood-scale co-living in a neglected neighborhood of Haifa, Israel, known for its history of worker housing and diverse population.
Open Collectives is led by Rafi Segal, director of the Future Urban Collectives Lab, and Sarah Williams, director of the Civic Data Design Lab, both of which are initiatives within MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. Collaborators include artist Marisa Morán Jahn, director of Studio REV-, a public art, creative media, and social justice non-profit organization, and Greg Lindsay, futurist and director of applied research at NewCities.
Director: Marisa Morán Jahn
Open Collectives Installation Structure: Design by Rafi Segal, Alina Nazmeeva
Collective Voices Platform: Sarah Williams, Ashley Louie, Kwesi Afrifa
Collective Archive Platform: Sarah Williams, Dylan Halpern, Prabhakar Kafle, Ashley Louie, Alina Nazmeeva, Angela Wang, Adam Janicki, Kwesi Afrifa.
Research Group: Meng-fu Kuo, Sheng-Hung Lee, Livia Foldes, Fiel Guhit, Vaidehi Supatkar, Dylan Halpern, Laura Cadena, Lesley Onstott
Web Design: Alina Nazmeeva, Ashley Louie, Sarah Williams
Web Development: Ashley Louie