2022-23 Mellon Faculty Grant
Injecting missing pieces of the past into the datasets used by predictive algorithms in order to influence the future of architecture
MIT CAST Mellon Faculty Fellow Ana Miljački is a critic, curator, and associate professor of architecture at MIT. For her new digital project, Bootleg Futures, Miljački and her Critical Broadcasting Lab team explore a set of realities in architectural culture using contemporary and historical archives.
Data-gathering corporations have turned history into a database for predictive algorithms, enabling the ways we interact with, imagine, and shape the built environment to be predictable using various types of AI. Given architecture’s historically Eurocentric-progressivist-genius-male demographic, left unchecked, the digital archives used to determine our future will largely consist of these narratives.
The Bootleg Futures team puts forth the question: what if new data was tweaked, hacked, and strategically added into the stream of conversations about architecture? When minor narratives, decoys, and mirrors enter the data set, any AI-based prediction of the future will have to contend with them. By experimenting with these archives, the CBL team hopes to instigate conversation about the ways in which AI technologies intersect architectural tools and narratives to critical and cultural ends.
The first large project in the Bootleg series is titled The Pilgrimage (Pionirsko Hodočašće), and will be exhibited in the Palazzo Mora, one of the venues of the European Cultural Center in Venice, on the occasion of the 2023 Architecture Venice Biennial.
Bootleg Futures: The Pilgrimage
Exhibited as part of The Laboratory of the Future
2023 Architecture Venice Biennial
Palazzo Mora, Venice, Italy
On view: May 20 – November 26, 2023
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. 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.
Critical Broadcasting Lab is a space and a platform for the production of discursive interventions in architecture culture. Its key medium is the architectural exhibition, broadened to include experiments with the entire contemporary ecology of broadcasting media. Its aim is to critique the contemporary, expose its deep histories, and mount a form of a strategic preparation for the possibility of seeing and thinking a better and more just future for, and through, architecture.
Critical Broadcasting Lab Team and Immediate Collaborators:
Ana Miljački, PhD, Professor of Architecture, MIT
Ous Abour Ras, MArch Candidate, MIT
Julian Geltman, MArch, MIT
Calvin Zhong, MArch Candidate, MIT
Pavle Dinulović, Assistant Professor, Department of Sound Recording and Design, Faculty of Dramatic Arts, University of Arts in Belgrade
Melika Konjičanin, Assistant, School of Architecture Sarajevo
Ana Bakić, Assistant Professor, Head of Department of Drawing and Visual Design, Faculty of Architecture, Zagreb
Supported by a Mellon Faculty Grant from the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST).