Principal Fellows involved: Naresh Fernandes; Haiyan Huang; Monika Krause; Michael McQuarrie; Cassim Shepard.
The Infrastructures of Citizenship project will interrogate “hard” and “soft” infrastructures that enable or constrain individuals to constitute themselves politically in four urban areas: Los Angeles, Berlin, Mumbai and Wuhan. This international comparison will blend methodologies from social science, visual art and narrative non-fiction to create an infinitely expandable archive of the limits to and possibilities for constructing civil society in these different settings. In each research site, we will look for physical traces of these limits and possibilities at the widest range of scales, from the scale of the metropolitan system (e.g. a public transit network) to the scale of the artifact (e.g. the pamphlet or the identity card).
The social scientific dimension of the project will begin by identifying two types of groups in each setting: those that work to empower residents to act politically and those that advocate on behalf of “the stranger.” Talking to these groups will begin a long and iterative process of collecting what we are calling the trappings and tracings of citizenship. The visual art dimension of the project will begin by amassing and collating these trappings and tracings and developing modes to install this archive in multiple ways. The narrative dimension of the project will contextualize and illuminate some of the specific stories and objects identified during the research process and will provide an oral history of some of the informants in each setting. Each of these dimensions will be mutually informative and reinforcing, leading to the production of an open-ended archive that includes, but is not limited to: narratives, interviews, documents, iconography, visual representations, other trappings and tracings of citizenship, borders/boundaries/territories, maps, equipment and dress of citizenship. This archive will develop into a catalogue of infrastructures and city-specific bundles of such infrastructures and will lead to a number of possible outputs that are, like the methodologies employed, more than the sum of their parts.