The question of what it means to feel public lies at the centre of twenty-first-century life. Such a question demands interdisciplinary research spanning the publicness of space and cities (architecture, urban planning, design, policy), the publicness of digital acceleration (tech ethics, digital publics, platforms and broadcasting), and the publicness of belonging, difference and inequality (sociology, cultural infrastructure, humanities).

This project looks to develop an understanding of the changing ways publicness comes to be felt by interrogating the geographies of affect and emotion, the histories and colonialities of the understanding and performances of publicness, and reconsiders these through grounded theoretical approach in four geographically, cultural distinct cities. Building off of decolonial, queer and feminist scholarship, the project aims to operationalise the call to retheorise central tenets of the ‘urban’ from new sites, spaces and times, and in relation with new critical lenses. A critical examination of the concept of public, publicness, and public space within urban discourse, practice and experience is, then, a central research objective. The method will be to apply the lens of cultural infrastructure, inequalities and emotional geography to that question.


On Getting Lost is a set of spatial memories. It comes from a series of reflections beginning in 2020 on architecture and loss, on queer grief, and on normative publics. Building on Heather Love's reparative work Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History it is an early piece of work mapping out the terrain of a larger project on urban change, queer space, and the potential of loss.

“ What is the condition of loss that we are experiencing today? In the city? How do we register this loss? There’s a starting point in terms of what it means to lose something – or to have something disappear, and then in terms of grief. Or also, to win and to lose.”

“If cities are accumulation machines, then they are also machines of loss – profound, deep, loss. Loss in space, capital, sanctuary, quiet, loss in darkness, loss of life, loss like a gambler in a boom / bust cycle of resource extraction and the chance of geography, loss of nature, ecologies, systems, epistemologies, languages”

“This is a different equation of loss than the discussion of the game, or the discussion of the effects of accumulation – instead of loss being the position of abjection in regards to winning, here to lose one’s identity, to let go and lose the constraints of small town life is to find freedom. To lose is to be free.”
Ngurrara Canvas II at the Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2019 Photo: Talie Eigeland


with Dr Julie Ren, University of Zurich

Biennials have proliferated in art, architecture and design, particularly in cities outside of North America and Europe. Instead of studying the biennial purely from a political economic point of view, this project considers the ways that the spatiality and temporality of the biennial is rife with emotion. The passions and resentments that the biennial encapsulates ranges from amusement to disdain or even revulsion, and is deeply intertwined with the powerful position this event holds for cities that they inhabit.
Fiction Feeling Frame - RCA Research Biennial, February 2021


Co-founded with Dr Thandi Loewenson and Dr David Burns, RCA

Collaborators (so far...)
Ibiye Camp  //  Clara Kraft Isono //  Gabriella Hirst  //  Steve Salembier  //  Kelly Spanou  //  Elise Hunchuck  //  Mirna Pedalo  //  Matteo Mastrandrea  //  Benjamin Reynolds  //  Valle Medina  //  Jane Hall  //  Korina Zaromytidou  //  Ariel Caine  //  Linn Phyllis Seeger

This research theme operates through fiction, feeling and frame. These terms are topics and  methods that open up a discussion about multiple and contradictory realities through combative modes of architectural practice including performance, earth-writing, policy engagement, critical gardening, conflict resolution, short fiction film, scenography, curation and photography, practices of abolition, transmutation and figuration.

We are interested in feeling as emotional geographies, tying them to affective economies such as election campaigns, protest movements, the experience of shared grief and loss in times such as the current pandemic, the optimism of meritocracy, or the monotony of the domestic. We consider how emotions – amplified through media, architecture and the urban – not only move us but move the world. Approaching emotions through the speculative, the fabulated and the structure of new forms of narration, or through interruptions, glitches and ruptured registers we aim to reveal how architecture and design shapes our social interactions, intergenerational relations and equalities.

We aim to expand on the framing of time beyond the linear triadic frame of past, present, future. As an evolving and collaborative theme, we invoke and involve situated mediations of image, of stone and bronze, of waste, of stories and feeds and posts and walls, and task concern with how these are made, unmade and remade. If fiction is a form of combat, what new terrains of struggle are invoked? If to engage in fiction is to make or produce, what critical practices are crafted in the act of fictioneering, making-up as making-with?

The FFF research theme opens up a discussion in the School of Architecture and beyond about multiple and contradictory realities of lived, digitised, mediated, speculated and contested spatial lives through the lenses, literatures, entrapments, directions, and false ends of fiction, feeling, and frame.
Linn Phyllis Seeger, 0N0E 01, 2021; Linn Phyllis Seeger, 0N0E 02, 2021; Linn Phyllis Seeger, 0N0E 03, 2021; Linn Phyllis Seeger, 0N0E 04, 2021; Linn Phyllis Seeger, 0N0E 05, 2021

RELAY (2021) - Venice Biennale of Architecture

24-hour performance piece, 16-17 July 2021
Co-curated with Dr Thandi Loewenson and Dr David Burns, RCA

RELAY is a durational conversation, a ritual in circumferential publicness, a performance becoming telegraph, current, message.

RELAY is resonance, synchronicity, amplification and interference. It is a live act of tuning and retuning, finding meaning as much in static, dead air and the space held between words, as in the weight, force and matter of speech. 

RELAY is the capacity to negotiate distance and time through a circuitry of interconnected broadcast, rather than the persuasion of instantaneity. It suggests the capacity of language, of energies, of influence to manifest through the technology of the discussion, of two bodies in relation, then two more and two more and bodies and bodies.

RELAY is as if a global circuit of people were sitting in a circle and one by one we turned left and then turned right, an ongoing relayed conversation. Each brings into relief ideas, books, people, histories, disagreements, citations, places, fictions, alt-futures, so that a set of tender circles emanates and expands like a pebble in dark dark water.

RELAY is the performance of the whisper, of gossip, of chatter. It practices the impossibility of being everywhere, hearing everything. It operates against human time, sleep time, productive time. It is about the impossibility of doing it all, at the same time, and the realisation that all depends on each in relay with the other.

RELAY invites us to become submarine telegraph line, electromagnetic current, fibre optic cable, telephone pole, radio wave, sine, cosine, tan. We are not a message transmitted through a relay. Rather the relay becomes the message as infrastructure.

RELAY broadcasts broadcasts, platforms platforms, and channels channels. It listens in on intimacies sited elsewhere and elsewhen. It collects a process of watching, observing, recording, transcribing. It is a sitting with, a being with, a radical togetherness that is fractured by time and geographical isolation. It invites a coming and goingness, a performance unique to everyplace and everyzone. It is a liveness experienced with multiple beginnings and multiple endings.

RELAY performs itself as loss, leaks, disconnection, glitches, interruption. These are not gaps of meaning, but precisely the meaning of bandwidth.

RELAY is a non-scripted scripting where sound becomes script becomes document becomes trace becomes live becomes comment. Each move is an integrated co-, a co-scripting, of co-sounds, co-documents, co-liveness, the you and me and us and there, and then, and was, and is, and might of co-traces.

RELAY sits within larger histories of communication, transmission, cables and signs. Of the power of connection in histories of war, of colonisation, of empire, of pedagogy, performance and liberation. It is an experiment in relay as message as wave, wave as wake, wake as sound and space in time.

RELAY relishes the insurgency of what it is to feel for someone through the limitations and ruptures of the channels we have at hand. It is happening now, now-now, now and again, through multiple forms of feeling through others and others feeling for you, refusing the limitation of the box, the screen, the container and the cell, and instead revelling in a line of sensing passed on, in the round.
© Adam Kaasa 2021                              
adam.kaasa [at] rca.ac.uk