MLA+U ‘GROUND’ Conversation Series: Broken grounds

05/20/21, 5:00PM

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  • Friday, May 20, 2021

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

Perhaps the most considered “grounds” by landscape architects, broken ground refers to sites of contamination, extraction and disturbance. Yet the discourse around extraction has remained relatively focused on discrete sites of large-operation “natural resource” extraction (mainly mines), rather than more nuanced environmental manifestations including the extraction of value and labor. Additionally, rhetoric around remediation and mitigation have largely left out the ground as a source of exposure and risk to bodies most exposed. This final conversation additionally interrogates what it means to live and die on the grounds we (humans) have profoundly altered.


MODERATOR: Vittoria Di Palma, Ph.D., Associate Professor, USC School of Architecture

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.