Articles, Book Chapters, Essays

Elke Krasny, Maintenance and Visibility, Arch+ Contemporary Feminist Spatial Practices, 2023, 192-196

This text is intended as a contribution to the development of a critical theory of architecture and care work, a constellation that is deeply enmeshed in the reproduction of relations of injustice. A critical theory on architecture and care work, like any other critical theory worthy of the name, must start from concrete realities. Through analysis, it can contribute to changes enacting social and environmental justice that challenge the world-dominating system of labor exploitation and resource extractivism.

Arch+ Zeitgenössische feministische Raumpraxis



Elke Krasny’s essay “Radicalizing Care. Feminist Futures for Living with an Infected Planet” was translated into Japanese by Yayo Okano on the occasion of the exhibition Thinking about Caring and Motherhood through Contemporary Art. When? Where? By Whom? Why? How? at Art Tower Mito, February – May, 2023
The exhibition was curated by Oko Goto (Curator, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito)

Elke Krasny. ‘The Museum and the Anthropocene. Ecological Grief, Planetary
Mourning, Healing Feminist Curating.’ 2023
The essay introduces the museum as a modern institution, through which we can study the making of the culture of the Anthropocene. Analysed as an institution of capture, best understood through a theory of dead objects kept alive, the museum represents the way the Anthropocene reorganized and regulated life and death. Today, planetary ruination is understood to result from humans as geological and climatalogical force. This ruination followed from the Enlightenment ideology of white Man’s universalized supremacy, which supported the formation of colonial patriarchy and racial capitalism. Today’s ecological grief needs new collective rituals and spiritual and emotional articulations for planetary mourning to deal with the aftermath of the ongoing sixth mass extinction event. Arguing that the museum, precisely because it is a storehouse of death-making anthropogenic politics, is a site for which the essay prefigurates new forms of healing feminist curating, it also acknowledges that such healing has to confront legacies of imperial, bourgeois, and white-centric feminism, aligned with Anthropocene hegemony.

For centuries, public space has been given special significance in the context of political ideas and collective imaginaries. Thus understood, the idea of public space speaks of a politics of appearance and of rights, including the rights to public assembly and speech. The regimes of power that commanded the planning, designing, and building of public spaces bestowed considerable authority on public space. They filled the political idea of public space with power. Quite paradoxically, it is precisely the claim to this authority and this power that the enactment of public assembly and speech makes. Public space lends authority and power to those who claim it. Those who gather in public space, here and now, claim the political idea of public space in the material and built realities of specific public spaces that were shaped, financed, and built by ruling powers. How can the figure of Antigone ask of us to see the contradictions and conflicts that would open up a much more complicated, unsettling, and uneasy understanding of the realities of public space as a political idea?
Read more:, 2023.

The word ‘care’ is becoming as present in the vocabulary of contemporary art and culture as has the word ‘curating’. While some may suspect this upward trend in use reflects mere fashionability, we demonstrate in this book that its prevalence in contemporary curatorial practice should be understood as a response to a dual crisis: the persistent crisis of social and ecological care that characterizes global politics and the more recent professional crisis of curating. The convergence of these two developments has resulted in both a call for ‘curating care’ – an invitation to give curatorial attention to the primacy of care for all life – and a call for more ‘caring curating’ – a change in the practices of curating to foreground caregiving as framed through social and political analysis.

Depictions of sexual violence are frequently found in the collections and displays of art museums, and material that represents and affirms violence against women often is displayed unchallenged. This article poses questions about how the presence of this material has been addressed in the relations between feminist activism against sexual violence, art made by artists responding to and participating in feminist activism, and the curatorial activities that have arisen to address the challenges that these activities present to art museums. The chapter investigates the 2021 exhibition Titian: Women, Myth and Power at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and its handling of themes of rape in the central exhibit, Titian’s Rape of Europa; the history of themes of rape in feminist art since the 1970s and in exhibitions of this art that have taken place in museums in the last two decades; and curatorial engagements with sexual violence and rape in recent art exhibitions in the US and in the UK. The article argues that new strategies for the presentation and interpretation of artworks dealing with sexual violence are needed for museums to redress the patriarchal and colonial presence of sexual violence in their collection.

Elke Krasny, “Scales of Concern. Feminist Spatial Practices.” In: Empowerment. Art and Feminisms, edited by Andreas Beitin, Katharina Koch, Uta Ruhsam, 2022

There is no space without concern. There is no space without care. There is no space without worry. Without concern there is no space. Without care there is no space. Without worry there is no space. These observations are the starting points o feminist spatial practices. Concern suffuses the corporeal, spatial, and material world, which is the same world that suffuses thinking and feeling life with concerns.

Krasny, Elke. ‘Care Trouble. Thinking through gendered entanglements in architecture.’ In Women Architects and Politics. Intersections between Gender, Power Structures and Architecture in the Long 20th Century, edited by Mary Pepchinski and Christina Budde, 27- 46, Bielefeld: transcript, 2022.

Is architecture a form of care? How to think, practice, build and write architecture
as care? The following ref lections are indebted to my growing concern
that architecture today, very much dominated by the form-follows-capital
mantra, must be more fully understood as a care practice. A closer look
reveals that there is virtually no limit to care in architecture. This includes
architecture in all its different phases and stages, from the organisation of
shared work in an architectural office to the completion of a building, from
interactions with clients and contractors to labor conditions on construction
sites, from considerations of material f lows in architecture to maintaining
or repairing existing buildings, from educating future architects to writing
about architecture.

Krasny, Elke. ‘Implicated in Care. Haunted by Protection. The Violence of Stone and Bronze Bodies.” 2022In Infrastructural Love: Caring for Our Architectural Support Systems, edited by Hélène Frichot et al, 113-119, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2022.

While one can argue that water, sewage, or power are essential to human survival and that bronze and stone bodies are not es-sential in quite the same way, seeing them as infrastructural components of public urban environments is helpful in under-standing how these bodies configure a dis-tinctly modern system that renders those considered makers of History permanently present.

Attika-Figuren vom Parlamentsdach bereit zum Abtransport

Krasny, Elke. ‘#Climate Feminism.’ How:// Do We Speak #Feminism?// New Global Challenges – A Glossary, FKW 70 (2022)

Vanessa Nakate, an 18-year-old Ugandan climate justice activist
who spoke at the COP 26 in 2021, states on Twitter that “Climate
Justice is Gender Justice”. Nakate writes: “There is so much to
learn about the climate crisis, and learning about the climate crisis
means learning from the voices that are on the front lines. We can’t
have climate justice if voices from the most affected areas are being
left behind” (Nakate 2021). A vast array of climate activist organizations
– such as GirlsClimateActionJamaica and Youth4Nature, to
name just two – womyn, girls, queer, trans, non-binary, and gender
non-conforming persons are the driving forces of the environmental
movement in the twenty-first century.
Our planet, the shared home of billions