Markus Miessen

Markus Miessen is a Berlin-based architect, writer, and Professor at the Academy of Design, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

  • Para-Platforms

    Para-Platforms

    On the Spatial Politics of Right-Wing Populism

    Markus Miessen and Zoë Ritts

    An investigation of the social, spatial, and material reality of right-wing populism.

    Para-Platforms investigates the social, spatial, and material reality of right-wing populism. Three case studies—presented in a symposium organized by Markus Miessen at the Gothenburg Design Festival in November 2017—form the core from which this collection of essays has grown: journalist Hannes Grassegger on Trump and Brexit; architectural theorist Stephan Trüby on spaces of right-wing extremism in Germany; and Christina Varvia on Forensic Architecture's investigation of the murder of Halit Yozgat, a young German man of Turkish descent, at the hands of a far-right group in 2006. The presentations are reproduced along with the ensuing conversations with Miessen and the audience members.

    An essay by anthropologist Mahmoud Keshavarz opens the book by discussing the capacity of design to create the conditions for certain politics. Among the other theoretical, artistic, and historical contributions, editor Zoë Ritts interviews artist Wolfgang Tillmans regarding his pro-EU poster series, the ongoing project truth study centre, and guest-edited volume What Is Different? The volume concludes with a comic by artist Liam Gillick animating a block of granite—culled from the Swedish quarry responsible for extracting the red granite intended for the Third Reich's architectural ambitions—as the messiah of spatial and material politics.

    • Paperback $24.95
  • Perhaps It Is High Time for a Xeno-Architecture to Match

    Perhaps It Is High Time for a Xeno-Architecture to Match

    Armen Avanessian, Lietje Bauwens, Wouter De Raeve, Alice Haddad, and Markus Miessen

    A conversation that seeks to apply the prefix "Xeno-" in philosophical discourse to the discourse of architecture.

    “Xeno” speaks to the turn away from “what is” toward “what could be”: the (as yet) unknown, the alien—having been employed in recent years through such speculative-political approaches as xenofeminism and xenopoetics. Perhaps It Is Time for a Xeno-architecture to Match documents a conversation series from January to March 2017 that explored what an intervention of the xeno might bring to bear on contemporary and future (infra)structure.

    This book aims to unpack the prefix, probing what it entails—not merely rhetorically but also as a means of practice, in an attempt to bring the ideas it contains more concretely into the domain of architecture. It proposes to link the more philosophical discussions on the notion of xeno with questions of instrumentalization and governance that are necessarily involved in the praxis of architecture. And it relates the significance of legal architecture and technologically driven transformation in the metaphysics of law back to the agenda of xeno-architecture. By researching how architects, artists, thinkers, and activists operating in the spatial field might endorse a process of “alienation” to confront global issues, this project attempts to re-radicalize spatial practice.

    Contributors Armen Avanessian, Benjamin H. Bratton, Kathleen Ditzig, Daniel Falb, Anke Henning, Victoria Ivanova, Markus Miessen, Luciana Parisi, Patricia Reed

    • Paperback $19.95
  • The Archive as a Productive Space of Conflict

    The Archive as a Productive Space of Conflict

    Markus Miessen and Yann Chateigné

    What are the processes that enable archives to become productive? Conventional archives tend to be defined through the content-specific accumulation of material, which conforms to an existing order or narrative. They rarely transform their structure. In contrast to this model of archival practice and preservation, the conflictual archive has an open framework in which it actively transforms itself, allowing for the creation of new and surprising relationships. Illustrating how spaces of knowledge can be devised, developed, and designed, this archive reveals itself as a space in which documents and testimonies open up a stage for productive dispute and struggle.

    Exploring nontraditional archives, such as those of Harald Szeemann, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Sitterwerk, and the publishing house Merve, The Archive as a Productive Space of Conflict offers new perspectives on archival practice, interrogating whether archives need spatial permanence, and, if so, which design framework should be applied for the archive to take on more than a singular form of existence. The research project is a collaboration between the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design and the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève).

    Copublished with Karlsruhe University of Art and Design and the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève)

    Contributors Stuart Bailey, Bassam El Baroni, Thomas Bayrle, Jeremy Beaudry, Beatrice von Bismarck, Beatriz Colomina, Céline Condorelli, Mathieu Copeland, Dexter Sinister, Joseph Grima, Nav Haq, Sandi Hilal, Nikolaus Hirsch, Thomas Jefferson, Christoph Keller, Alexander Kluge, Joachim Koester, Armin Linke, Julia Moritz, Rabih Mroué, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Seth Price, Walid Raad, Alice Rawsthorn, Patricia Reed, David Reinfurt, Claire de Ribaupierre, Eyal Weizman, et al.

    • Paperback $34.00
  • The Nightmare of Participation

    The Nightmare of Participation

    (Crossbench Praxis as a Mode of Criticality)

    Markus Miessen

    Welcome to Harmonistan! Over the last decade, the term “participation” has become increasingly overused. When everyone has been turned into a participant, the often uncritical, innocent, and romantic use of the term has become frightening. Supported by a repeatedly nostalgic veneer of worthiness, phony solidarity, and political correctness, participation has become the default of politicians withdrawing from responsibility. Similar to the notion of an independent politician dissociated from a specific party, this third part of Miessen's “Participation” trilogy encourages the role of what he calls the “crossbench practitioner,” an “uninterested outsider” and “uncalled participator” who is not limited by existing protocols, and who enters the arena with nothing but creative intellect and the will to generate change.

    Miessen argues for an urgent inversion of participation, a model beyond modes of consensus. Instead of reading participation as the charitable savior of political struggle, Miessen candidly reflects on the limits and traps of its real motivations. Rather than breading the next generation of consensual facilitators and mediators, he argues for conflict as an enabling, instead of disabling, force. The book calls for a format of conflictual participation—no longer a process by which others are invited “in,” but a means of acting without mandate, as uninvited irritant: a forced entry into fields of knowledge that arguably benefit from exterior thinking. Sometimes, democracy has to be avoided at all costs.

    Markus Miessen (*1978) is an architect, consultant, and writer based in Berlin. He runs the collaborative agency for spatial practice Studio Miessen and is director of the Winter School Middle East (Kuwait). Miessen has taught at institutions such as the Architectural Association (London), Columbia, and MIT. He is currently a Professor for Architecture and Curatorial Practice at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, Germany, a Harvard Fellow, and completing his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths, London). www.studiomiessen.com

    • Paperback $19.95
  • Actors, Agents and Attendants

    Actors, Agents and Attendants

    Caring Culture: Art, Architecture and the Politics of Health

    Markus Miessen and Andrea Phillips

    Caring Culture: Art, Architecture and the Politics of Public Health examines changing political uses of the concept of care in neoliberal democracies and asks how artists, architects, and designers both contribute to and attempt to critique its social manifestations. The publication brings together case studies of artistic and design interventions within health and social care institutions and broader political and philosophical essays and interviews relating to civic wellbeing. Contributors include curators, artists, politicians, architects, and healthcare professionals.

    Caring Culture is the first volume in the Actors, Agents and Attendants series of publications and symposia commissioned by SKOR to investigate the role of cultural practice in the organization of the public domain.

    Contributors Nils van Beek, Marc Bijl, AA Bronson, Beatriz Colomina, Elmgreen & Dragset, Martijn Engelbregt, Fulya Erdemci, Mark Fisher, Margreet Fogteloo, Mika Hannula, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Mari Linnman, Marien van der Meer, Markus Miessen, Merijn Oudenampsen, Andrea Phillips, Edi Rama, Robert Sember/Ultra-red, Studio Makkink & Bey, Sally Tallant, Anton Vidokle, Dmitry Vilensky/ Chto delat, Steven de Waal, Gavin Wade, Huib Haye van de Werf

    • Paperback $32.00
  • East Coast Europe

    East Coast Europe

    Markus Miessen

    “East Coast Europe,” which took place during Spring 2008, is a project about the perceptions of contemporary European identity and its relation to spatial practices and international politics.

    The title “East Coast Europe” is a word play. “Europe” in the title is the central topic for investigation, its contemporary culture, expansion, and its status as a continuing social project. “East Coast” refers to two distinct edges of Europe, both real and imaginary—the geographical East Coast of the United States of America and the political “East Coast” of the European Union. The project invited leading figures in culture and politics from the two east coasts—of the United States of America, and of the countries in the European Union and its vicinity to comment on their perception of Europe today. East Coast Europe dives into the urgent details of a dense network of contemporary experience of the European Union's extensive exchange of knowledge, people, and goods with the East Coast of the United States and also with its own eastern border. What are its challenges and possibilities for social, political and spatial practices?

    East Coast Europe was commissioned and produced by the Consulate General of Republic of Slovenia in New York City, during Slovenia's Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2008, with support of the EUNIC Network New York and Delegation of the European Commission, New York. The ECE project is conceived by Katherine Carl, Srdjan Jovanović Weiss, Markus Miessen, and Alenka Suhadolnik.

    Contributors Can Altay, Marina Abramović, Paddy Ashdown, Zdenka Badovinac, Katherine Carl, Eda Čufer, Reinier de Graaf, Mladen Dolar, Lisa Farjam, Srdjan Jovanović Weiss, Carin Kuoni, Zak Kyes, Jacques Le Goff, Aaron Levy, Genevieve Maitland Hudson with Cyril Blanc, Markus Miessen, Viktor Misiano, Miran Mohar, Shamim Momin, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Orchard, Dan Perjovschi, Marjetica Potrč, Nebojša Šerić Shoba, Michael Shamiyeh, Erzen Shkololli, Taryn Simon, Nedko Solakov, Alenka Suhadolnik, Milica Tomić, Kazys Varnelis, Felix Vogel, Borut Vogelnik, Jordan Wolfson, and Sislej Xhafa.

    Co-published with Zalozba ZRC, Ljubljana

    • Paperback $14.95
  • Institution Building

    Institution Building

    Artists, Curators, Architects in the Struggle for Institutional Space

    Nikolaus Hirsch, Philipp Misselwitz, Markus Miessen, and Matthias Görlich

    This book presents a study that conceptualizes, tests, and practically applies the spatial strategy for the European Kunsthalle. The investigation is the result of the activities incorporated into a two-year work practice from 2005 to 2007, an iterative “applied research” informed by resonances between theory and practice.

    The developed approach attempts to constructively question ideas of “stability” and “instability” and—in doing so—proposes a specific strategy for the European Kunsthalle that positions it within a local, regional, national and international contemporary discourse.

    Nikolaus Hirsch, Philipp Misselwitz, Markus Miessen, and Matthias Görlich have developed three spatial strategies: an unstable configuration, a stable strategy as well as a model that consolidates the potentials of both variants towards a, albeit slowly, growing institution. The proposal acts as a laboratory that plans a collective structure consisting of individual components. It results in a network of possible spatial options stemming from programmatic modules and leads to numerous possible spatial configurations. This alternative institution is a showcase of a growing phenomenon problematizing the relationship between authorship and institution. As time spans of exhibitions become shorter and programs become more differentiated, architecture in itself becomes exhibition—renegotiating the default role models of artists and architects.

    Contributors Shumon Basar, Andrea Phillips, and Jan Verwoert

    • Paperback $26.00
  • The Violence of Participation

    The Violence of Participation

    Markus Miessen

    The future of the State depends, at least in Europe, on the realization that the State of the 20th Century (the National State embodying internal and external sovereignty) does no longer have any future. Erhard Eppler, Auslaufmodell Staat? (2005)

    Is Europe a place, a space, or a temporary community of shared interests? As a political space, Europe is as conflictual as its debated constitution. It is a construct that must be continuously negotiated, and its longing for an architecture of strategic encounters parallels an increasing economical power of the private sector, while the sovereignty of European nation states attenuate.

    This book, edited by London-based architect and author Markus Miessen, marks an extension of the discursive space he has produced as contribution to the 2007 Lyon Biennial. He has pulled together a heterogeneous group of interlocutors to lead conversations on alternative notions of participation, the inconsistence between democratic concepts, and what it means to live in Europe today.

    Contributors Shumon Basar, Ute Meta Bauer, Celine Condorelli, Erhard Eppler, Nikolaus Hirsch, Rem Koolhaas, Stéphanie Moisdon, Ingo Niermann, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ralf Pflugfelder, Karl Schlögel, Eyal Weizman, Tirdad Zolghadr, et al.

    • Paperback $29.95
  • Did Someone Say Participate?

    Did Someone Say Participate?

    An Atlas of Spatial Practice

    Markus Miessen and Shumon Basar

    A report from the front lines of cultural activism that looks at spatial practitioners who actively trespass into neighboring or alien fields of knowledge.

    Did someone say we need yet another anthology of essays? According to the editors of Did Someone Say Participate?, the answer is an emphatic—or hysterical—"YES!" In fact, they'd go further and argue that the shifts that have taken place in the practice and pedagogy of architecture have been mirrored in other fields, and that this has happened to such an extent that an emerging generation of artists, activists, economists, curators, policy makers, photographers, editors (and, of course, architects) is reshaping how we look at contemporary social and political reality. Despite their apparent disciplinary differences, these professionals are all spatial practitioners. What was once seen as the defensive preserve of architects—mapping, making, or manipulating spaces—has become a new "culture of space" situated in the global market and media arena. Did Someone Say Participate? showcases a range of forward-thinking practitioners and theorists who actively trespass into neighboring or alien fields of knowledge in activities that range from collaborative forms of interdisciplinary practice to identifying practices of ethical terror. For the first time, architecture is here presented as the architecture of knowledge. Participation—social, political or personal—is once again at the forefront of research. Together, the contributions form an atlas of spatial practices resembling the early medieval maps that attempt to show the entire known world. Did Someone Say Participate? will be essential reading not only for those involved in the future of architectural research and practice, but for anyone interested in navigating through current forms of cultural inquiry and debate.

    Contributors Åbäke, Shumon Basar, Johanna Billing, Celine Condorelli & Beatrice Gibson, Keller Easterling, Francesca Ferguson, Justin Frewen, Stephen Graham, Joseph Grima, Mauricio Guillen, Michael Hirsch, Bernd Kniess & Meyer Voggenreiter, Armin Linke, Brendan McGetrick, John McSweeney, Markus Miessen, Matthew Murphy, Lucy Musgrave & Clare Cumberlidge, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Bas Princen, Wendy Pullan, Frank van der Salm, Luke Skrebowski, R&Sie(n) with Pierre Huyghe, Peter Weibel, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss and Eyal Weizman.

    Not for sale in the UK and Europe.

    • Hardcover $29.00