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Adrian Blackwell

Toronto, Canada


Spanning photography, video, sculpture, urban theory, and design, Adrian Blackwell’s practice responds to the political and economic forces inscribed in physical spaces. His work often consists of interventions that directly address pressing urban issues, exposing the powers and interests that shape the city. His projects unfold in conjunction with research focused on the local and global effects of neoliberal urbanization, the disappearance of public and affordable housing in North America, and the inherent paradoxes of urban space. Blackwell’s work has been exhibited at artist-run centers and public institutions across Canada, at the 2005 Shenzhen Biennale, the 2011 Chengdu Biennale, and the Architectural Association, London. He will participate in the inaugural 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art. He has taught architecture and urbanism at Chongqing University (China), the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the University of Toronto, and he is currently an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo (Canada).

CAB 3 Contribution

Project Overview

Anarchitectural Library (against the neoliberal erasure of Chicago’s common spaces)

Artist, theorist, and urban designer Adrian Blackwell responds to the political and economic forces exerted by physical spaces. Anarchitectural Library addresses the Chicago Cultural Center’s history as the city’s first public library, an institution conceived in part as a space to “civilize” an unruly population of immigrants, workers, socialists, and anarchists. Whereas the original library responded to the specific struggles of the late nineteenth century by pacifying political demands, Anarchitectural Library gives voice to contemporary organizations fighting to keep alive spaces that produce and maintain urban life and collectivity. The library houses printed publications submitted by Chicago-based activists, organizers, and researchers whose work resists public housing destruction, school closures, loss of industry, environmental degradation, and mass incarceration. The public is invited to peruse and discuss its contents.

The City is the Site