FAQ: Our new department publication

This FAQ corresponds with the December 16, 2020 edition of the Dispersed Department Digest takeover by the publications class. The questions below were developed by students and answers were vetted by the instructors.

What is it?
WWW (Work, Works, Working) is a pandemic-era effort to collect the informal and formal voices, works, and experiences of the Department of Architecture at MIT and gather them into a print publication.

Who participates?
WWW is an index of work produced by all students from the fall semester of 2020 — across all the department’s discipline groups and programs. 

Who created this publication concept?
Supported by the Department, it has been workshopped by 22 students over the summer and fall of 2020, from every discipline group of the department, including ACT.

What is the goal of the publication?
WWW’s goal is to present a shared space of media as a signifier for the absent physical space in which our work would otherwise be visible to each other. 

Who gets to choose the content?
You do. WWW deliberately chooses to be a non-curatorial space and serves as an opportunity for all students of MIT Architecture to highlight their own selection of their own work. 

When is content due for submission? 
Submission will begin following final reviews. 

Is this parallel to the archival process?
It is parallel to the archival process. Students will flag and prioritize which images or text excerpts they would like included in the publication during the archival process. For research students, including some SMarchS and PhD students, submissions will be handled at the Discipline Group level. Our goal is to include every student in the department. 

How will my work be shown or book organized
Each student will be represented by a page of work.

How do I get involved? How do I get a voice in this
22 students have been involved already, probably including someone you know well! As we finalize the design of our first issue in January, we will be holding drop-in discussions. Looking ahead to the second issue, we’ll be holding a series of drop-in discussions (which can be combined for course credit) extending our conversations about architecture and graphic design during the spring semester.  

How will future issues of the publication be edited and released? 
This year, there will be one issue of the publication produced for each semester. As we return to studio spaces and a more traditional occupation of space, we will revisit the publication and continue to evolve it to complement changing (and expanding) realities.

Who are we?
The students involved in summer and fall workshops are: Vijay Gautham Rajkumar, Alexandra Lea Waller, Lavender Tessmer, Zachariah DeGiulio, Mengqiao Zhao, Patricia Dueñas Gerritsen, Olivia P Serra, Yimeng Zhu, Natasha K Hirt, Ziyan Zhang, Demi Lin Fang, Emma Jane Eileen Jurczynski, Zhicheng Xu, Jia Li Song, Carol-Anne Rodrigues, Arditha Auriyane, Edward Wang, and Emily Wissemann. The visitors and discussants have been: Kamilah Foreman, Eddie Opara, Tina Henderson, Alex Fialho, Melissa Levin, and Laura Allen. The instructor of record for these courses is Nicholas de Monchaux. They have been taught in collaboration with Miko McGinty and Amanda Moore.

Who is designing the publication?
The strategy (summer) and design approach (fall) is the product of two workshops, The Architecture of the Page (summer) and Building the Page (fall). Book designer Miko McGinty has helped lead a process of synthesizing student input into the design process and will coordinate the final design with student collaborators in January 2021.

Is this like workbooks from other schools of Architecture?
Yes and no. Those models formed our starting point, but we have worked as students, staff and faculty to examine critically how an MIT student–work publication can best represent what is unique about our department. This includes being sure to include diverse modes of creative and intellectual production—writing, research, and artistic practice alongside architectural drawings and renderings. It also means sustaining our commitment to be inclusive of all students and all perspectives.

Is this just for MArch studio projects with images? What if I don’t produce any images, or what if I don’t take classes that have “final reviews”?
As noted above, we are aiming to capture a fragment of all work done in the department this summer or fall. If your work is not being archived in our visually-focused process, look for an email at your discipline-group level about how to submit and what (anything you have made, from a graph, to a fragment of text). 

How is this different from existing publications in the architecture department?
Our strategy workshop this summer focused on imagining a space for [Placeholder Name] that would complement existing department publications, including the peer-reviewed critical journal Threshold, and the student publication Out of Frame.

Are you including anything else?
Yes! Since the goal is to capture the Department, and the Department consists of far more than work for credit. We will also issue calls for other forms of content that capture our shared, dispersed experience. These include capturing information about workspaces, challenges, delights and the ephemera of COVID-era creative life.

Should the work I am submitting be tied to a class? 
We are showcasing work done at MIT in the Fall semester of 2020, which includes SWAP workshops over the summer. For most students, this will be work done in a class. For students completing their thesis, or involved in research at the SMarchS or PhD level, it may be a snapshot of a more long-standing effort or project. 

Will individual and group work be represented in the same way?
Group work can be represented more than once, but the same image won’t be printed twice. Each year of the MArch program will be presented together, so we will look to ensure that students in group studio projects are represented in consecutive pages.

What will it look like?
We don’t know yet, but this is what we’ve been looking at:

  • Reprint, Karl MartensThe Architecture of the Book, Irma Boom

  • Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor, Nina Stritzler-Levine (book design by Irma Boom)

  • Claes Oldenburg, Barbara Rose

  • Topologies, Maya Lin

  • Trout: An Illustrated History, James Prosek

  • Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists, Antwaun Sargent

  • Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Andrew Bolton

  • Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings (book design by Christine Burgin)

  • The book about ships and sailing with nice line drawings

  • That floppy Alvar Aalto book with translucent paper which everyone likes

Will there be a digital format of this artifact?
Yes, although given the surprisingly short life of online artifacts, it is being imagined print-first, with a PDF available online.