2018-20 Mellon Faculty Grant Recipient
Intervening in contemporary architectural discourse
MIT CAST Mellon Faculty Fellow Ana Miljački is a critic, curator, and Associate Professor of Architecture at MIT. Observing contemporary modes of architectural production and transmission, she saw a need to intervene in the field through new forms of operative criticism. Her project, Critical Broadcasting Lab, is driven by political and disciplinary urgencies and engages students interested in intervening in contemporary architectural discourse.
Through a series of interventions including workshops and public lectures, Critical Broadcasting Lab performs as a curatorial entity at MIT and beyond. In a series of Agit Arch Experiments in 2018, Miljački and participants of Critical Broadcasting Lab investigated contemporary media and methods of broadcasting architectural discourse and criticism. In the fall 2019 series “Conversations on Care”, the Critical Broadcasting Lab collaborates with the stewards of the architectural public sphere, who have led existing or have established new channels for the critical discussion of architecture. These platforms traverse different media of architectural broadcasting, from galleries and journals to listservs and podcasts, but they are united by their caretakers’ labor focused on establishing and maintaining precision, intelligence, and the humanity of individual utterances, as well as of the broader discussions that these platforms enable. Through conversation, which as a format necessarily operates through co-production, Critical Broadcasting Lab will examine the contemporary motivations, politics, interests, as well as the privilege of the caring subjects involved in curatorial and editorial forms of work.
The lab is simultaneously conducting an oral history, which will be presented in the form of an exhibition, about two forms of refusal by architects to engage—refusal to accept commissions and refusal to sue for copyright infringement.
More at the project website: Critical Broadcast
See Us Seesaw Together
Collective Seesaws Installation
Friday, April 1, 2022 / 5-7pm
MIT Eastman Court, Cambridge, MA 02139
A network of inflatable seesaws that allow for an embodied comprehension of another’s presence and cooperation, all at a six-foot distance. As one player sits, the others bob up and down as the structure responds to their movement.
Play Room Exhibition
MIT Keller Gallery, MIT Building 7, Room 408
On view: February 14 – March 9, 2020
In Play Room, the table delivers board and card games whose rules and mechanics are designed to examine a series of contemporary topics in architecture: starchitects; gentrification and urban development; violence and the abstractions with which historical complexity is sanitized and made palatable; markets for architecture portfolio prep schools; the entangled and multifarious identity of the contemporary global subject; and experiments with collectivity and control.
WAWD? Radio: Conversations on Care
Launched Fall 2019
Amidst the “breakdown all around” that characterizes our contemporary experiential and epistemic reality—some of which is the fallout of present-day forms of information overflow—to study care is, itself, an act of care. In the Conversations on Care series, the Critical Broadcasting Lab collaborates with the stewards of the architectural public sphere, who have led existing or have established new channels for the critical discussion of architecture.
Ana Miljački is a critic, curator, and Associate Professor of Architecture at MIT, where she teaches history, theory, and design and directs the MArch Program. Miljački has previously taught studios and seminars at Columbia University, City College in New York, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She holds a Ph.D. (2007) in history and theory of architecture from Harvard University, an MArch from Rice University, and a BA from Bennington College. Her research interests range from the role of architecture and architects in the Cold War era Eastern Europe, through the theories of postmodernism in late socialism to politics of contemporary architectural production.
Miljački was part of the three-member curatorial team, with Eva Franch i Gilabert and Ashley Schafer, of the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Their Biennale project, titled OfficeUS, critically examined the last century of US architectural offices, their professionalization, and their concomitant global contribution. As part of that project she co-edited OfficeUS Agenda (Lars Muller, 2014), OfficeUS Atlas (Lars Muller, 2015), and OfficeUS Manual (Lars Muller, 2017). Miljački recently guest edited Praxis 14: True Stories, and curated and produced an exhibition on the role of copying and originality in architecture, Fair Use with her students at MIT. Its latest instantiation, Un/Fair Use, co-curated with Sarah Hirschman was presented at the Center for Architecture in New York in 2015 and at UC Berkeley’s Wurster Gallery in 2016. Her Slowgramming Tokyo workshop resulted in an exhibition at Tokyo Institute of Technology in January 2018. Miljački is the author of The Optimum Imperative: Czech Architecture for the Socialist Lifestyle 1938-1968 (Routledge, 2017), and the editor of Terms of Appropriation: Modern Architecture and Global Exchange with Amanda Reeser Lawrence (Routledge, 2018).
Biography: MIT Architecture Department