Sanz Serif, a makeshift nickname earned as a result of my typographic likes, is the umbrella under which I present the diverse facets of my work: academic research on architecture and urbanism, design speculations, graphic design, curatorial and editorial work, and writings developed individually or collaborately, in institutional settings or independently.

Current focus: Workscapes.

CCA / Off:Re:OnShore

Batanagar, India. View of the Absolvents’ colony in 2012. Photo: Nouman Malik

The audio documentary “Off:Re:OnShore” explores the legacy of industrial offshoring, the effects of corporate actions on the built environment of labour, and the role of architecture in bringing closer ideas of work and the good life. This documentary was conceived and developed during my residence at the Canadian Centre for Architecture as 2015–2016 Emerging Curator.

In recent decades, economies of the Global South have been shaped by offshore production and labour-intensive industrialization, which often come with dangerous work conditions, inadequate wages, and sexual exploitation, notably in the garment industry. Today, working and living conditions in and around those factories continue to deteriorate under the pressure of increasing South-to-South competition, economic protectionism, relocalization or reshoring, automation, and the loose framing of corporate responsibility offshore. So, where do we go from here?

I engaged this question through a series of interviews with eight leaders, activists, architects, and cultural producers. They discuss contemporary opportunities to build sustainable futures beyond offshore production, and the role of design and architecture in reasserting the value of human work.

Listen to Off:Re:OnShore on the CCA website

or 

Participants

Keller Easterling, writer, architect, and professor at the Yale School of Architecture, reflects on the role of the architect in promoting spatial literacy about the power of spatial arrangements and inter-dependencies.

Rosey Hurst, consultant in ethical global trade and founder of Impactt, discusses what happens to the fundamental needs and aspirations of workers in spaces built first and foremost for production.

Sarah Labowitz, business and human rights researcher and advocate, locates the role and limitations of consumer activism within global manufacturing and supply chains.

Rahul Mehrotra, architect and professor of urban planning and design at Harvard GSD, suggests a way forward through empathy in imagining better possibilities for social spaces.

Anne Elizabeth Moore, writer, researcher, and cultural critic, recounts her fieldwork in factories of Cambodia, where she discovered how the intractable links between sex work and offshore garment production affects the lives of women labourers.

Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay, social anthropologist and senior advisor at KIT, draws from the example of Batanagar, the factory town in India where she grew up, to discuss the inner workings of discrimination against female workers and the devaluation of their labour.

Raúl Cárdenas Osuna, architect and artist, discusses the Torolab Transborder Farm, a project he initiated in Tijuana, Mexico, to bring maquiladoras labourers tools to transform their communities through science and knowledge.

Wouter Vanstiphout, architectural historian at Crimson and professor of Design as Politics at TU Delft, shares a vision for bringing together again the processes of design and manufacturing, to promote creative and life-affirming work.

 

Audio, 35min. In English

Organized and produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal / Organisé et produit par le Centre Canadien d’Architecture, Montréal 

 

Emerging Curator Program

The Emerging Curator Program at the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) offers the opportunity to do research and to propose and curate a project on the contemporary debate in architecture, urbanism, and landscape design during a residency period. The Emerging Curator Program invites the selected candidate to implement his curatorial direction, familiarize himself with the CCA’s institutional knowledge and collection holdings, conduct research and collaborate with the CCA to realize the proposed project.

In Print

An edited excerpt of the interview to Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay was published as “The Legacy of Offshoring”, in Domus 1022, March 2018, pp. 8-9.

See also: BAT / Networked Utopia and COM / Cities of Making.