Ahali Conversations with Can Altay podcast

Episode 25: Keller Easterling

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In this episode, we are in conversation with the architect, writer, and Professor of Architecture at Yale, Keller Easterling. Her books include Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014); Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005); and her latest Medium Design: Knowing How to Work on the World, to which we dedicate special attention to in this episode.

I think Easterling’s project boils down to how architecture and design can actually intervene and/or contribute to the cultural change around social justice and ecological crises; through thinking about, and ‘knowing-how’ to work the systems at play. So designing within interplay; rather than the total compliance and submission on behalf of the architectural profession is what she seeks. She redirects our attention to the spatial dimension of how things are arranged, be it politically, financially, or socially.

Episode Notes & Links


In Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space, Keller Easterling reveals the nexus of emerging governmental and corporate forces buried within the concrete and fiber-optics of our modern habitat. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/enduring-innocence http://kellereasterling.com/books/extrastatecraft-the-power-of-infrastructure-space

In Enduring Innocence, Keller Easterling tells the stories of outlaw "spatial products"—resorts, information technology campuses, retail chains, golf courses, ports, and other hybrid spaces that exist outside normal constituencies and jurisdictions—in difficult political situations around the world. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/enduring-innocence

Medium Design by Keller Easterling looks not to new technologies for innovation but rather to sophisticated relationships between emergent and incumbent technologies. It does not try to eliminate problems but rather put them together in productive combinations. And it offers forms of activism for modulating power and temperament in organisations of all kinds. https://www.versobooks.com/books/3245-medium-design


Elements of Architecture was the title of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale curated by Rem Koolhaas. https://www.labiennale.org/en/architecture/2014/elements-architecture

Beatriz Colomina is an architecture historian, theorist, and curator.

Mark Wigley is an architect and author.

Colomina and Wigley co-curated the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial with the same title in 2016. https://tasarimbienali.iksv.org/en/biennial-archive/3rd-istanbul-design-biennial

James Jerome Gibson (1904-1979) was an American psychologist known as a seminal figure in the field of visual perception. He coined the phrase “affordance” which later became a key concept in the field of design.

John Durham Peters is a professor of English and film and media studies. His book The Marvelous Clouds reveals the long prehistory of so-called new media and shows how media lie at the very heart of our interactions with the world around us. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo20069392.html

Tim Ingold is an antropologist. This is the text Can is referring to:


Michael Polanyi (1891-1976) was a polymath of the 20th century. He was engaged in many knowledge fields including physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. Check his thoughts on positivism to provoke your mind.

Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976) was a philosopher, principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase "ghost in the machine." which of course influenced the legendary Ghost in the Shell manga series by Masamune Shirow.

Bruno Latour is a philosopher, anthropologist, and sociologist. He is especially known for his work in the field of science and technology studies. http://www.bruno-latour.fr/

Richard III by William Shakespeare is the last in a sequence of four history plays known collectively as the “first tetralogy,” treating major events of English history during the late 14th and early 15th centuries.

Lady Anne is a fictional character from Richard III


Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an author, poet, and mathematician. His most notable works are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass.

Jorge Luis Borges (1889-1986) was an essayist, poet, and translator of Carroll’s work to Spanish.

Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) was an Italian Renaissance humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer.

MarshallAI detects objects and incidents in real-time from any video feed through consistent monitorization and employment of precise artificial intelligence and machine vision. They provide sharp and automatic situational awareness and intelligent automation by gathering relevant data for smart cities, security, and authorities. https://marshallai.com/

J.K Gibson-Graham is the pen-name of Katherine Gibson and the late Julie Graham. As feminist political economists and economic geographers, they have extensively written about diverse economies, urbanism, alternative communities, and regional economic development. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._K._Gibson-Graham

Arturo Escobar is an anthropologist whose research interests include political ecology, anthropology of development, social movements, anti-globalization movements, and post-development theory. We suggest Territories of Difference published by Duke University press in 2008 to learn more about his thought. https://www.dukeupress.edu/territories-of-difference

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) nicknamed Mama Africa was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, and civil rights, activist. https://www.miriammakeba.co.za/

Silvia Federici is an academic and activist particularly influential for radical Marxist feminist theory.

McKinsey & Company is a management consulting firm that advises on strategic management to corporations, governments, and other organizations.

Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and number of professionals, with headquarters in London, England.

Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) was a philosopher, writer, and journalist. You can meet fellow flusserians or learn more about his works through https://www.flusserstudies.net/flusser

Kathrin Böhm is an artist. Listen to Episode 13 to get to know her better. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-13-kathrinbohm

This season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.

This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.

This episode was recorded on Zoom on March 29th, 2022.

Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.

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