Exhibit: “Cartographies of Entanglement"

For immediate release

Cartographies of Entanglement: 
Across the Scales and Timescales of Contemporary Urbanism”

On view starting April 4, 2023
MIT Architecture HQ Gallery, 77 Mass Ave, 7-337, Cambridge, MA

Cambridge, MA, April 4, 2023 – MIT announced that “Cartographies of Entanglement”—an exhibition featuring work from the Fall 2022 Contemporary Urbanism Proseminar taught by Mohamad Nahlehis on view at MIT Architecture’s HQ Gallery through the month of April. 


In his lecture The Thousand and One Nights for the series Seven Nights (1984), Jorge Luis Borges mentions the Confabulatores Nocturni—men whose profession it was to tell stories after dark. Those stories, he argues, must have enchanted all those who gathered in small and intimate circles every night around the veiled storytellers. As the shadows of nightfall gradually erased the city, their tales grew clearer and the scenes they chronicled unfolded vividly around them. At stake here is the relationship between eyesight and insight, but more importantly, between the resolution of any story and the time and scale at which it is narrated. 

If the Confabulatores Nocturni rely on the absence of visual stimuli at night to publicize their stories, this exhibition employs mapping and cartography to render visible some of the mechanisms shaping—and shaped by—the conditions of contemporary urbanism. Engaging the ‘atlas’ as a form of construction, each contribution presented here builds an entangled and multilayered urban story, be it that of a pathogen, an insect, a seed, a pigeon, a tree, a shower, a port, a road, a city, a pipeline, or a satellite. And in mediating between the cosmos and the inner body, these stories foreground the diverse geographies and unusual timescales through which certain factors conditioning the planet can be observed, theorized, and represented. 

Cartographies of Entanglement offers excerpts from eleven atlases produced by SMArchS and PhD candidates in the Department of Architecture and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Each atlas—the result of a semester-long research project—moves towards territorial representations of urbanism and demonstrates how planetary processes, particularly those that operate outside human lifecycles, are made to satisfy the desires of a single species. Mined, extracted, channeled through extensive networks and transported from enclaves to centers of power, they play key roles in the accumulation of capital, the invention of national identities, the commemoration of colonial histories, and the normalization of violence against the planet. Making legible their operations demands urgent alternatives to the vocabularies and metaphors defining the late fortified city.

About the MIT Department of Architecture
The MIT Department of Architecture opened its doors in 1868 as the first Architecture department in the United States. MIT Architecture is currently home to around 250 graduate and undergraduate students. Numbered among the Department’s over 5,000 alumni are Sophia Hayden ’1890, Robert R. Taylor ‘1892, I.M. Pei ‘40, and Charles Correa ‘55.

“Cartographies of Entanglement” was supported by the MIT Department of Architecture.

MIT Student Contributors
Christina Battikha, Maria Gabriela Carucci, Cheng-Hsin Chan, Jie Fan, Laura-India Garinois, Namhi Kwun, Dhwani Mehta, Geoffrey Mosoti Nyakiongora, Sylvia Jimenez Riofrio, Jehanzeb Shoaib, and Bryan Bvyn Wong. 

Curation and Editing
Mohamad Nahleh, Lecturer in Architecture and Urbanism
Subu Bhandari, SMArchS Urbanism ‘23

Special thanks to Sheila Kennedy, Miho Mazereeuw, Rafi Segal, Adèle Naudé Santos, Roi Salgueiro Barrio, Brandon Clifford, Rania Ghosn, and Nicholas de Monchaux. HQ Gallery exhibition team: Amanda Moore, Joél Carela, and Jim Harrington.

Visitor Information
MIT Architecture HQ Gallery, 77 Mass Ave, 7-337, Cambridge, MA
Monday through Sunday, 7AM to 7PM

Media contacts
Amanda Moore
Communications Strategist, MIT Department of Architecture
amm@mit.edu / 617-253-0692