ARC 608: Extraordinary – Option Studio - Faculty: Young-Tack Oh, 2021-22 Banham Fellow

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This studio section will be titled EXTRA-ORDINARY and will explore the widely varying forms and practices of subcultures. For generations they have been characterized as vagabonds and criminals. Marx deemed them lumpenproletariat and Henry Mayhew viewed them as ’those that will not work.’ Subcultures share a sense of marginalization from, or resistance to, a perceived “conventional” society. Hence why they are always perceived as being non-conforming or dissenting. 

The studio will investigate the histories of such endeavors and explicate why being extra-ordinary causes societies to monitor, rationalize, regulate or legislate against certain subcultures. This will allow the studio to recount the social logics and practices of chosen subjects in a different light. We will delve deeper to understand their association with concepts of territory rather than property and how subcultures inhabit places in particular ways, their dedication in them being as much utopian and real. Note that we are not interested in making “safe” spaces. We are looking to generate spaces of celebration and membership.

Through various readings we will begin to understand subculture as evolving concepts of social relationships and the meanings people imbue into their experiences and objects. While we may use the term subculture for ease of discussion, it will be more apt to see such phenomena as subcultural. Also note that concepts of ethnicity, religion, gender, political leanings, and such alone are not what we define as subcultures. They are also fundamentally distinct from life styles, social movements, gangs, and fandoms. Students will be asked to choose and define a subculture to investigate, architecturalize their social practices, and ultimately propose a particular subcultural center.