Laura Kurgan

Laura Kurgan is Associate Professor of Architecture at Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning at Columbia University, where she is Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) and the Director of Visual Studies. Her work explores things ranging from digital mapping technologies to the ethics and politics of mapping, new structures of participation in design, and the visualization of urban and global data. Her recent research includes a multi-year SIDL project on "million-dollar blocks" and the urban costs of the American incarceration experiment, and a collaborative exhibition on global migration and climate change.

Her work has appeared at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Whitney Altria, MACBa Barcelona, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and the Museum of Modern Art (where it is part of the permanent collection). She was the winner of the United States Artists Rockerfeller Fellowship in 2009, and named one of Esquire Magazine's 'Best and Brightest' in 2008. She has published articles and essays in Assemblage, Grey Room, ANY, Volume, and Else/Where Mapping, among other books and journals.

Session: Multiple Dimensions

Laura Kurgan and Jen Lowe of the Spatial Information Design Lab at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation [Columbia University] will discuss three interdisciplinary projects in progress. You will hear about our collaborations, see results, and our critical approach to data and its visual translations.

Panel: Lightness & Weight, Data & Social Justice

"I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language." - Italo Calvino

Look... the world has problems. There is heavy work to be done. How can we use data to make a measurable difference? How do we measure success and where are the data success stories? Can we use data and social justice to create lightness? Can (should?) data and social justice be playful? We'll look at examples and speculate about how data might be used to "remain so lightheartedly at war with the whole world" - Guy Debord

Led by Jen Lowe.