MLA+U ‘GROUND’ Conversation Series: Archival grounds

04/08/21, 5:00PM

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  • Friday, April 08, 2021

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With support from The Grant & Shaya Kirkpatrick Landscape Architecture + Urbanism Leadership Fund

The ground is a material register. It is an archive of climate events, tectonic action, erosive and sedimentary force in geologic time. It archives biotic presence and extinction. It serves as both witness and material testimony to human deeds and misdeeds that have occurred on very specific grounds (ground zeros) - often deemed hallowed. The ground holds the traces of past presences - memories of hands that worked it and the bodies buried within it. This conversation will feature these multifaceted considerations of the ground as material record.

MODERATOR: Shannon Mattern, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research

About the MLA+U ‘GROUND’ Conversation Series

An interdisciplinary series on the ground’s many manifestations and meanings.


While a primary medium for landscape architects’ physical intervention, the ground has remained muted in discourse and action despite its many manifestations and capacities – to stir, to connect, to remember, as well as to expose and destabilize. This multifaceted explorative series aims to excavate the ground for these manifestations and meanings to better understand how we (humans) situate ourselves in the world and in relation to each other, to our pasts, and to the more-than-human - materials, systems, species. We explore its significance as a noun (the ground; a material), a verb (to ground; its agency), and an adjective (to be grounded; situated). In particular, the series will consider the ground as both a site of exploitation and extraction, as well as resistance and creativity. The series of conversations, exhibition and field happenings focused on questions of landscape and its varied grounds, integrates activists, designers, artists, scholars, scientists, environmentalists with diverse and intersectional identities.