School of Architecture Media Studies Guest Lecture Series: Sam Spurr and Eduardo Kairuz – Minefields

5 December 2018 | 11am – 1pm

GH 109, White City


The School of Architecture Media Studies Guest Lecture Series continues with a special lecture by Sam Spurr (University of Newcastle) and Eduardo Kairuz (Monash University). 

Architecture’s constant wrestling with the problem of scale makes it an ideal discipline through which to engage with and visualise some of the most pressing issues of our time: the Anthropocene, global warming, big data, and late-capitalism. These are issues that operate at scales and time-frames that seem beyond our ability to think them; let alone comprehend, represent, and communicate their effects in the world. Minefields is a project that looks at problems of representation in the new climatic regime, and how architecture and critical spatial practice might contribute to developing a new ‘resistance aesthetics.’ The project focuses on the reprised role of coal mining in the contemporary social and political landscape of Australia, as a pressing case study of this type of complex and unfathomable scale issues. Seeking to parse and clarify the ramifications of this extractivist activity, the project elaborates the term ‘mining ideology’ to describe the enmeshing of historic, mythic, and political issues with economic and material ones, shaping Australia's particular national ethos and identity. The project pinpoints two issues of central concern – scale and violence – through which we may understand both the field of mining ideology and the ability of architecture to engage with it. Minefields is not a project that is simply engaged with issues of aesthetic representation, but with the ways in which communication, as a form of engagement, can be employed to mobilize the public into action.

Dr Sam Spurr is an architectural theorist, academic and designer, and was appointed as Associate Professor for Architecture at the University of Newcastle in 2018. Her current research on Mining Ideology and Coal Capitalism, examines the agency of architecture to make legible the complex forces at play in the Anthropocene. Sam is also Chief Investigator on an ongoing research project with the NSW Government Architects Office on Integrated Design Strategies. In 2016 she co-curated the Australian Institute of Architects National Conference on the agency of architectural practice and its transforming frames of reference in a contemporary world. Sam is a co-founder of the collective group N, where the topic of conversation and its impact on art, architecture, and design has been unpicked and entangled through exhibitions, symposia, studios, and projects. Sam has taught full time in Architecture, Design and Fine Arts faculties since 2001 across Australia. She has had extensive international experience, completing her doctoral research with a DAAD scholarship in Berlin and presenting studios and workshops and exhibiting at international design and art biennales around the world.

Eduardo Kairuz is an architect and artist based in Melbourne. His research is concerned with architecture's relationship with power, politics, and violence, as a means to address questions of space, equity, and social justice. He has published and exhibited internationally, including articles for AD, Trans, and Contention. Selected group exhibitions include the Prague Quadrennial and the Gwangju Design Biennale. Solo shows include Variations, The Substation, Melbourne and Dismantled, Centro Cultural Chacao, Caracas. The latter is the subject of his recent book, Eduardo Kairuz: Dismantled. His current research looks at problems of representation of climate change, and how the field of critical spatial practice might contribute to developing a new resistance aesthetics. Before joining the Faculty of Art Design & Architecture at Monash University, Eduardo was a Visiting Lecturer at University of Technology Sydney, and Assistant Professor at Universidad Central de Venezuela. Prior to these appointments, Eduardo practised art and architecture in Venezuela for several years, working with Matías and Mateo Pintó in the design of award-winning slum rehabilitation projects including the Communal House of Barrio La Vega and the Vertical Gym of Barrio La Cruz, Chacao.

This event has been organised by the School of Architecture. Please contact for more information.