v.1 is RISD’s student-led publication. Its form and content change from year to year (it’s always “volume 1”).

Info & Submission Guidelines ︎

Pandemic Publishing ︎

  1. Call for Submissions, SOS Edition
  2. 3.29.20 Irina V. Wang
  3. Let Yourself Be Lifted Jackie Scott
  4. Art Is Everything Jen Liese
  5. Two Poems Ella Rosenblatt
  6. Living Room Dance Party Ariel Wills
  7. On Walking When Walking Is Advised Against Keavy Handley-Byrne
  8. Untitled Cita Devlin
  9. Ads in Corona Hannah Oatman
  10. COVID-19 and Communitas Elaine Lopez
  11. A Time for Pie Elizabeth Burmann
  12. How to Stay Motivated When You’re Stuck at Home Clarisse Angkasa
  13. Coerced Harmony (A Tour) Hammad Abid
  14. Zooming In and Out Tongji Philip Qian
  15. [Form] Ciara Carlyle
  16. Hi.txt Dan Luo
  17. A poem about boredom, a composite Maixx Culver-Hagins
  18. Eyewitness News Tristram Lansdowne
  19. Distance Maps Marcus Peabody
  20. Therapeutic Suggestion Maria Aliberti Lubertazzi
  21. Keep Your Heart Six Feet Away From Mine (and other moments) Arielle Eisen
  22. Twenty Instructions for COVID-19 Charlott Isobel Dazan
  23. Cuerno 1 y 2 Yan Diego Estrella Wilson
  24. A Monolith of Grief Regarding the Absence of Touches, or Letter to a Future Lover García Sinclair
  25. Coronavirus by the Thousands Drew Dodge
  26. Two Poems Kathryn Li
  27. Beds Are Burning Aleks Dawson
  28. Still Lifes Yidan Wang
  29. Fragments of Seva Jagdeep Raina
  30. Packing Up and Staying Woojin Kim
  31. Chronic Pain and Fermentation Ralph Davis
  32. Quarantine Letters Hannah Moore
  33. Sounds of Silence: An Isolation Soundscape Dara Benno
  34. 14 Day Detox for Designers Erica Silver

Winter 2020

  1. From the Editors
  2. The Phantom Audience, or How to “Really Do It” Asher White
  3. Some Dry Season(ing) / 5 Tales in an Embryo Room Yuqing Liu
  4. Throwing Salt, Constructing the Homeland Ariel Wills
  5. Infinity Balloon Man Jack Zhou
  6. Texas Triptych Ali Dipp
  7. Phenomenology of Bones Chris Shen
  8. Erlking Yiqun Zhou
  9. Trouble in Reality Elena Foraker
  10. Family Stories Gina Vestuti
  11. Treasure Reilly Blum

Fall 2019
  1. From the Editors
  2. Architecture and Its Ghosts Xuan Liu
  3. Fit/O!de Jeff Katz
  4. Desde La Chinaca y La China Poblana Ariel Wills
  5. Ballast Tiger Dingsun
  6. Love Letters Brenda Rodriguez
  7. The Anxieties of Plant-sitting Carol Demick
  8. Zadie & Teju Ariel Wills
  9. Smooth Stones Ali Dipp 
  10. Kantha’s Melodies Michelle Dixon
  11. Glory West Megan Solis
  12. The 50 Best Albums of the 2010s Asher White

Spring 2019

  1. From the Editors
  2. A Room without a View: Reflections on Studio Practice from a Privileged Poor Chantal Feitosa
  3. Between the Battlements Jeremy Wolin

  4. Accessing Color: Dissecting the Harvard Art Museum’s Forbes Pigment Collection Makoto Kumasaka
  5. British Club Tattoos Nasser Alzayani
  6. Making Space: Creativity and Resilience in War-Time Sri Lanka Elizabeth Dean Hermann
  7. How to Become Trans: A Proposal for the Modern-Day Gender-Agnostic Asher White
  8. Making It Up: A Conversation with Kent Kleinman Wen Zhuang
  9. “In Peace”: A Conversation with Matthew Shenoda Mays Albaik
  10. Suburbia_hours.mov Nora Mayer
  11. Negative Spaces Emily Wright
  12. Centerfold: Urgency Lab
  13. Rise Up: The Sunrise Movement Takes Root in Rhode Island Irina V. Wang
  14. After Strand Nafis White and García Sinclair
  15. Soldiers of Love? Karen Schiff
  16. Decoding Ghosts Molly Hastings
  17. An Annotated Bibliography Eli Backer
  18. Jesus, Marilyn, and Britney: Relationships between Religion and Celebrity Culture Nina Yuchi
  19. The Social (Antique) Network: Empathy in the Age of Digital Antiquing Zola Anderson
  20. My Little Episodes Michael Brandes
  21. Seeking Fair Game on Hidden Fields Reilly Blum
  22. The Should Be Here Is Not Here Joss Liao
  23. Index of Agency Sophie Chien
  24. Don’t Eat the Models Barbara Stehle
  25. Hypothetical Drink Personality Test: Who Said What, and When? Eliza Chen
  26. Dear Arabic Mohammed Nassem

Fall 2018 

  1. From the Editors
  2. How to Make a Person: A Recipe Mays Albaik
  3. Providence Votes Marcus Peabody
  4. Encounters with the Codex: Redefining Forms of Publication June Yoon
  5. How to Encounter a Puddle Anny Li
  6. A Brief List of Premises from a Maker Stuck with Paper, Politics, and Performance Yasi Alipour
  7. Art Writing and the Place of the “I” Randy Kennedy
  8. Written in Stone: Lineage, Legacy, and Letterforms Irina V. Wang
  9. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being (a Graphic Designer) Tiger Dingsun
  10. Colliers/Necklaces Théïa Flynn
  11. When One Door Closes: Examining Issues of Space and Student Curation on Campus Wen Zhuang
  12. Addressing the Empty Plinth: Lessons from Gallery Shows and Public Art Jeremy Wolin
  13. Modern Usage: In Conversation with Remeike Forbes Eliza Chen and Tiger Dingsun
  14. Dangling Threads: Remaining Unclear in Capital Everett Epstein
  15. A Vagabond Viking Voyage and Midsummer Daydream Mike Fink
  16. Everything is Interdependent Angela Dufresne
  17. La Bolita Elaine Lopez
  18. Bread Day Olive B. Godlee
  19. Against the Archive Satpreet Kahlon

2017 - 2018 

  1. Birds, Bees, and Beyond: The Nature Lab Evolves
  2. Concrete Mixer Drum Solo
  3. Negative Spaces
  4. “Printer Prosthetics” at NYABF
  5. On Writing: Nader Tehrani and Katie Faulkner
  6. On Writing: Marie Law Adams and Dan Adams
  7. On Writing: Kunlé Adeyemi
  8. Connecting Food and Design
  9. Remixing Architectural Discourse
  10. Genesis : 1: Beret Shit
  11. “No voy a actuar en el mundo antes de entenderlo”: Una conversación con Alfredo Jaar
  12. “I Will Not Act in the World Before Understanding the World”: A Conversation with Alfredo Jaar
  13. Imagining Irmgard
  14. Afterwords: Bite
  15. Afterwords: Portals
  16. Afterwords: Calendar
  17. Seeking Drafts

On Writing: Kunlé Adeyemi

Modern Usage

Modern Usage (modernuseage.org) is a new interview publication previewing here at v.1. We carry one theme across multiple disciplines, inviting professionals in art and design fields to speak frankly about how their practices contribute to conversations surrounding theory, pedagogy, and professional methodologies. In Fall 2016–Spring 2017, our interviews focused on the role of writing in design practice.

Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, designer, urban researcher, founder/principal of NLÉ, and Aga Khan Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

MU: How do you use writing in your practice?

KA: We primarily use writing to communicate the basic principles or fundamental ideas of what we’re researching to our audience. We’re not particularly good at writing; I think writing may actually be my least favorite form of practice. In the process of writing, though, I constantly find myself looping back and rethinking my position. In a way, it’s much more cathartic than I’d like it to be as a form of articulating my thoughts. However, I find that it’s very relevant if it’s communicated in an interview, and I’m happy to rethink or reevaluate my position after having read it. So, it’s a very useful tool for me to understand how I’m communicating my thoughts and my ideas, and to what extent I’m really listening, responding, and documenting my process.

MU: It seems you have a complex relationship with writing then, it is both challenging and useful. With your second iteration of the Makoko Floating School in Lagos, Nigeria, for the 2016 Venice Biennale, you said the end goal was to have a construction manual that could be disseminated to communities to use in building structures themselves. In this sense, it’s a kind of published architecture. Does this approach percolate into your wider practice?

KA: Writing and publishing are a very big part of the way we work. I say we are terrible at writing, but we still produce a tremendous amount of writing. We have tons of books that we produce internally. We don’t have extensive text in our presentations though; we try to keep it almost to a headline style for our clients, reducing the content to its bare minimum. The bandwidth of most people these days is so short that you need to communicate in key words in order to avoid cognitive overload. Regarding the Makoko project specifically, we envision a situation where, with minimal information, you are able to convey an idea of how to implement something in a physical space. We are trying to communicate this to a broad audience, so it needs to be really simple. It cannot just be technical drawings; it needs to be assembly drawings.

MU: Like IKEA-style instructions.

KA: Exactly. It’s the kind of manual that you get when you buy something off the shelf and have to assemble it yourself. It includes the technical information on how to put it together in a clear and coherent way, layering information in a way that is accessible. That’s how writing can be a useful way of communicating architecture.

MU: Your manual reminds us of the Sears home from the early 20th century, a kit of parts with instructions. But it’s not the same as building for middle-class Americans, it’s more similar to Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena’s open-source publications on building low-cost housing, targeted to NGOs. What are the implications of publishing for NGOs working on humanitarian design projects?

KA: NGOs have a specific target or goal socially and economically. Ultimately their goal is to work with and impact people. I’m very interested in how you can get good quality architecture to everyday people. That’s where architecture moves from serving only an individual as a client to serving populations as clients. When you are producing solutions that are bespoke and specific to one individual, architecture doesn’t have the same capacity to be appropriated and improved on by many.

MU: Is there a current writing project you’re working on?

KA: We’re doing an exhibition now in Amsterdam, and there’s a huge question of how much writing needs to go into that exhibition. There’s a school of thought that insists on exhibitions in museums having loads of text, but it ends up being didactic. There’s another school of thought that suggests that audiences just want to know what the work is and have access to the information. Visitors can go on a website and read all of the information at their own pace. The medium of communication is just as important as the writing itself. Architects have to find various means of communicating, whether it’s through text, audio, video, model, or instructions; it’s constantly evolving.

MU: How does publishing, whether online or in print, as a general dissemination of architectural thought, affect practice?

KA: It’s absolutely critical to practice. Traditionally, architecture has been communicated through blueprints, which contain a huge amount of instructions, details, and dimensions. I think that what we’re seeing now is a change in the means of representation, because blueprints are so specialized and inaccessible to a public audience. How do you begin to reduce that to a format that is accessible not only to an elite group of engineers? I want something that most people can understand and relate to. I hope that in the future we have beautiful publications that are much more visual, still including text, but also diagrams and illustrations of the process—a coffee table type of book.

MU: Many of the architects that we’ve talked with have spoken about writing in architecture through theory. You’re describing sort of the opposite drive. It’s not a mystification of architecture through theoretical extrapolation; it’s about compressing the distance between the architect’s intent and the realization of that idea.

KA: It’s a bit of commodification of the profession, but it still retains its values and doesn’t lose itself as a discipline. In fact I think it adds value. I like that architects are delivering their designs to individuals, but how can they deliver it to the public?

MU: Architectural drawings are so specialized; to publish something so legible that even an untrained person would be able to understand it seems very challenging, and, going back to IKEA, existing models have proven to be very frustrating.

KA: Have you ever seen two people happily putting together IKEA furniture? It’s particularly annoying. But the bottom line is that they are able to deliver a certain quality of service and product to their clients because they cut down the labor cost and let the customer take that on. The client makes that choice. Yes, it’s a bit frustrating, but the cost of labor is incredibly high when you look at the ecosystem of production. Human labor is just expensive. So instead of relying on the work of very specialized individuals, can you produce something that allows unskilled people to do it themselves? I’m interested in seeing if we can bring that model to an architectural and urban scale. But truthfully, people are already doing that; we’re just trying to improve those standards. The quality is not good yet; there are no policies that support quality. When you think about agriculture or farming, the farmer looks at fields and crops and decides that these are good seeds or good plants or good crops, and he wants to cultivate them. The instruction manual I have worked on looks at what’s already there and trying to identify the best of those things, as opposed to trying to completely reinvent everything. I think the collective intelligence is greater than the individual’s intelligence.

—Interview conducted and edited by Kevin Crouse (MArch 2018) and Giacomo Sartorelli (BArch 2019) in Spring 2017