Andrew Horton, MFA Candidate, and Marcos Valella, Alumnus, Participate in FALL SEMESTER, an Initiative for Public Discussion


On October 9th and 10th, students, alumni, and faculty from the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts will participate in FALL SEMESTER, a new discussion series in Miami.

FALL SEMESTER is an independent initiative for public discussion on contemporary society and culture, aiming to test what can be achieved in the sped-up production of discourse and what can happen when new material is introduced into local discourse–a bomb-drop of new data. Will such a thing have quantifiable effects? Will it be jolting enough to speed up our own desire for a deeper dimension of self-understanding and reflection? Will it, on the contrary, only be another event in which theoretical performance is put to the service of spectacle, showing up the divisions that we face daily? FALL SEMESTER’s wager is laid down in the space cracked open by these questions. Having the general scheme of public lectures and a digital platform, FALL SEMESTER invites a group of international theorists and architects to take on topics of urbanization, turning their focus on the very city in which it is happening –Miami—since this city may itself be a model of what the contemporary city is slowly becoming. Founded in Miami in Summer of 2013 by artists Odalis Valdivieso and Lidija Slavkovic, FALL SEMESTER seeks to bring together a diverse group of theorists, critics, researchers, and interested individuals to engage in multifaceted discourse on contemporary society and culture available across multiple platforms at no cost to participants. (Source: FALL SEMESTER)

The team behind FALL SEMESTER is a diverse group of individuals from various disciplines. They are:


Odalis Valdivieso (Founder and Director)
Lidija Slavkovic (Co-Founder and Assistant Director)
P. Scott Cunningham (FIU MFA in Creative Writing ’08, poet, translator, and Founder/Director of O’Miami)
Marcos Valella (FIU BFA ’03, artist)
Antonia Wright (artist)
Angela Valella (artist, educator, and curator)
Felice Grodin (FIU Adjunct Faculty of Architecture, architect, visual artist, professor, and curator)
Andrew Horton (FIU Master of Fine Arts candidate, artist, educator, and curator)
Gean Moreno (artist and writer)
Rob Goyanes (writer)

Online Contributors

Keller Easterling, Jason Dittmer, Léopold Lambert, Matteo Pasquinelli, François Roche, Nathalie Rozencwajg, Leandro Silva Medrano, and Marion von Osten

FALL SEMESTER has structured its first iteration around four basic thematic lines: The Urban Real; Architectural Weather; Plasticity of the City; and The Urban Unreal.


Guest Speakers

THU, Oct 9

Material Consequences – 4pm, Nick Gelpi

North – South Collisions – 5pm , Jean-François Lejeune

The Matter of Struggle in Urban Space – 6pm, Nick Srnicek

Soft Monumentality – 7pm, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss

Open Forum – 8pm

FRI, Oct 10

Second Landscape – 4pm, Gray Read

City Bodies: Undead or Alive? – 5pm, Jan Verwoert

The Stack We Have and The Stack To Come: Designing Sovereignty and the Geopolitics of Computation – 6pm, Benjamin Bratton

Where have all the leaders gone? – 7pm, Michael Hardt

Open Forum – 8pm


The following are abstracts for the talks that will be given by Nick Gelpi, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Gray Read, Associate Professor of Architecture.

Material Consequences, Nick Gelpi

“Cities are more than just the abstract property boundaries of land ownership; in fact taken collectively cities represent large scale concentrations of specific materials.  These materials, don’t fit neatly into the zoning maps of city ordinances, in fact the consequences of certain materials reach far beyond the property lines of site, and produce significant disruptions and interruptions at an urban scale.  Foregrounding larger scale consequences of the materials and configurations utilized in the construction of our built urban environments, this talk will highlight several large-scale and wide reaching effects that the city exerts on its surrounding environment with specific projects which highlight potentials for interacting with material consequences as new opportunities for design.”

Second Landscape, Gray Read

“In a warming world, Miami is already suffering death by pavement even before the waters engulf us.  Relentless asphalt of both roof and street feed the urban heat island of the city, turning the urban tropics into an inhospitable desert.   We ask,  what if Miami reclaimed its roofs as a second landscape and invited the rich, tropical ecosystem of South Florida to the heart of the city?  We suggest specific architectural strategies for mitigating urban heat island effect and envision the roofscape of downtown Miami as a living landscape inhabited by both people and wildlife.”

FALL SEMESTER will occur on October 9th and 10th, 2014 at 175 NE 40 Street, Miami, FL. Free and open to the public.

The header image was provided by Master of Fine Arts candidate Humberto Torres (FIU BFA ’12).


Fall Semester 5

FALL SEMESTER is sponsored by Miami Dade College Museum of Art + DesignUniversity of WynwoodMiami Design DistrictManuel Estrada DesignMaman Fine Art, and The Freehand Miami.

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