the BLACK city
BLACK city examines American cities and renders visible the implicit and explicit policies, customs, and beliefs that have affected social structures and power dynamics and shaped the physical spaces of Black settlements. Complex racial histories reveal how the patterns and structures of the past link to and engender the present. The work distills these histories through various media, including buildings, maps, timelines, glossaries, and games, to provide an alternative reading of Black settlements and community-building methods in narratives of resistance, resilience, and transcendence. Collectively, these projects compensate for official records of Black spaces that are often absent, a symptom of slavery and subordination. The projects manifest the traces and lacunae of official records as material and spatial presences and objects of design. They generate a foundation for speculation on future possibilities for Black settlements (and Black life).
This body of research began in the essay black bodies black space: A-Waiting Spectacle which appeared in the anthology White Papers, Black Marks: Architecture, Race, Culture (Athlone Press, 2000). The Black City Editions were originally installed as individual projects in themed group exhibitions.