SCAPEGOAT: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy is an independent, not-for-profit,
bi-annual journal created as a context for research and development regarding design practice, historical investigation, and theoretical inquiry.


As a mytheme, the figure of the scapegoat carries the burden of the city and its sins. Walking in exile, the scapegoat was once freed from the constraints of civilization. Today, with no land left unmapped, and with processes of urbanization central to political economic struggles, SCAPEGOAT is exiled within the reality of global capital. The journal examines the relationship between capitalism and the built environment, confronting the coercive and violent organization of space, the exploitation of labour and resources, and the unequal distribution of environmental risks and benefits. Throughout our investigation of design and its promises, we return to the politics of making as a politics to be constructed. Read more here or on facebook.

The editorial board of SCAPEGOAT is: Adrian Blackwell, Adam Bobbette, Nasrin Himada, Jane Hutton, Marcin Kedzior, Chris Lee, Christie Pearson, and Etienne Turpin. SCAPEGOAT is designed by Chris Lee.

Issue 00 - Property (Sold out)
Issue 01 - Service (Here)
Issue 02 - Materialism (Here)
Issue 03 - Realism (Here)
Issue 04 - Currency (Here)
Issue 05 - Excess (AVAILABLE NOW!)


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SCAPEGOAT: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy
Issue 05 - Excess - edited by Etienne Turpin
Launched at New York Art Book Fair
19-22 September 2013

Thanks to Sara Dean, Marnie Briggs, and Sound&Language / Alexis Bhagat for making sure the Excess issue made it to the New York Art Book Fair!

If you missed the book fair, you can order a copy on Amazon or CreateSpace.

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SCAPEGOAT: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy
Issue 05 - Excess - edited by Etienne Turpin

Purchase on Amazon or CreateSpace

We are pleased to announce the release of SCAPEGOAT’s Excess issue. With over 60 contributors, it is a delicious new release, and one we hope you will order, share, and disseminate to other friends. The issue features contributions from:

Tings CHAK
Heather DAVIS
Jennifer JACQUET
Abidin KUSNO
Stanisław LEM
Meredith MILLER
Srimoyee MITRA
John Paul RICCO
Ana Luisa SOARES
Raphael SPERRY
Anna-Sophie SPRINGER

You can purchase your copy on Amazon or CreateSpace

We hope you will pass along this announcement to your contact list. SCAPEGOAT operates entirely independently, with no outside institutional support (other than subscriptions by libraries), no advertisements, and no grants; we depend on our sales to sustain the publication.

Any support you can lend us – posting on your Facebook, blog, Twitter, etc., and sending our announcement out to colleagues, friends, and allies – is very much appreciated. We are also continuing to develop our subscriptions with libraries, which help us immensely. If you would be so kind as to recommend the publication to a library near you, we would be grateful to begin their subscription with our issue on Excess

Scapegoat Editorial Board _ Adrian Blackwell, Adam Bobbette, Nasrin Himada, Jane Hutton, Marcin Kedzior, Chris Lee, Christie Pearson, and Etienne Turpin
Designer _ Chris Lee
Assistant Designer _ Raf Rennie
Circulation _ Tings Chak
Copy Editors _ Jeffrey Malecki & Lucas AJ Freeman
Excess Cover Design _ Prachi Kamdar
Excess Issue Editor _ Etienne Turpin

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Sunday 12 May 2013
16 Beaver Street, New York, NY

Scapegoat: Architecture / Landscape / Political Economy presents a launch of issue 04—Currency
w/ issue editors:
Adrian Blackwell
Chris Lee
& contributors:
Steven Chodoriwsky
Jack Henrie Fischer
Christina Goberna
Urtzi Grau
Andrew Herscher
Alessandra Renzi
Paige Sarlin

This launch event is a gathering of past and present contributors and friends of Scapegoat to discuss the question of currency's relationship to the production (and design) of space.

At our recent Cambridge launch, the anthropologist of finance Anush Kapadia suggested that currency was fundamentally relational, in such a way that any attempt to ground it in things – such as labor or land – was nostalgic. In response to this proposition, we would like to use this event to continue to explore the issue’s hypothesis that currency has a special relationship to territory. We see this at both the origin of the capitalist money form and in the present moment. Modern currencies were founded in three intertwined spatial dimensions of primitive accumulation: first in the capital accumulated through the forcible seizure of labour and resources in colonialism, second in the construction of sovereign territories as the guarantee of new national currencies, and finally in the private enclosures of common lands. Today, we are witnessing the becoming currency of territory within our neoliberal period of financialization. So what interests us is not that the value of currency is firmly based in land, but rather the way in which the increasing immateriality and relationality of property has provoked our current financial and existential insecurities.

To approach this question and unfold its implications for design practice, we are asking a number of contributors to reflect on this question through their own contributions to Scapegoat. In preparation for the meeting please read the issue’s “Editorial Note” and the opening feature, “Fabrica Mundi: Making the World by Drawing Borders”, by Sandro Mezzadra & Brett Nielson, which we hope will serve as a background and foundation to our discussion. These texts are available for free here.

The event is a pot-luck, please bring food or beverages to share. A special thanks to Paige Sarlin for suggesting this launch and to 16 Beaver for hosting it.

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CURRENCY ~ REVOLUTION: spatial strategies of resistance
MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology
Wiesner Building (E15-001), 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA
Tuesday May 7 2013
Free and open to the public

Please join Thresholds 41 REVOLUTION! editor Ana María León and Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy: 04 CURRENCY issue editor Adrian Blackwell for short presentations on the overlapping contents of their journals’ latest issues and the objectives that inform their respective structures. What spatial strategies have been deployed to resist the political and economic repressions of past and present? How can journals function as research vehicles? The ensuing discussion will be moderated by Rebecca Uchill and introduced by Gediminas Urbonas and Antoni Muntadas.

Ana María León is an architect, a teacher, and a historian. She is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art group at MIT.

Adrian Blackwell is an artist, designer, and urban theorist. He teaches at the University of Waterloo and is a visiting assistant professor at the Harvard’s GSD.

Rebecca Uchill is an activist, writer, and curator. She is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art group at MIT.

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Urban Theory Lab
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Stubbins 48 Quincy Street Cambridge
Monday April 22 2013
Copies of Scapegoat's latest issue, 04 - Currency, will be for sale at the event.

Join Jane Hutton (LA faculty) and Adrian Blackwell (visiting LA/UP faculty), SCAPEGOAT editorial board members, and Neil Brenner, director of the Urban Theory Lab, for a conversation about Scapegoat as a collective project and its latest issue on Currency.

SCAPEGOAT is an independent journal focusing on the relationship between architecture, landscape architecture, and political economy. The journal examines the links between capitalism and the built environment, addressing the power relations that structure space, the exploitation of labor and resources, and the uneven distribution of environmental risks and benefits. Since 2009, Scapegoat has addressed the foundations of spatial design practice in its issues: PROPERTY, SERVICE, MATERIALISM, REALISM and CURRENCY.

CURRENCY is structured by the contradiction between its necessary circulation and its stubborn connections to the specific geographies of sovereign and private properties. The diverse contributions to Scapegoat’s fifth issue, CURRENCY, investigate this apparent contradiction to argue that currency is land that has become mobile and urbanization is driven by financialization. The issue presents ways that the relationship between spatial design and money can be rethought through local currencies, recovered spaces, informal exchanges, new currents of information, and affective circuits.
CURRENCY issue editors: Chris LEE and Adrian BLACKWELL; contributors include: Brett NEILSON & Sandro MEZZADRA, Emily GILBERT, Keith HART, Emilio MORENO, Peter NORTH, Georgios PAPADOPOULOS & Jack Henrie FISHER, Rob KOVITZ, Robert FISHMAN, Abbas AKHAVAN, Srdjan LONCAR, Marcelo VIETA, Emanuele BRAGA, Roberta BUIANI, EXROTAPRINT, Peter MÖRTENBÖCK & Helge MOOSHAMMER, Steven CHODORIWSKY, Matthieu BAIN & Andrew PERKINS, AbdouMaliq SIMONE, Claire PENTECOST, Rosten WOO, Jordan GEIGER, Ricardo DOMINGUEZ, Alessandra RENZI, Paige SARLIN, Suriya UMPANSIRIRATANA, Adam SMITH, Ajahn KENG, Robert ADAMS, Brendan BAYLOR & Heath SCHULTZ, FAKE INDUSTRIES ARCHITECTURAL AGONISM and Alan ANTLIFF

Currency is also available for purchase online.
All content is open access and available here.

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Andrew Herscher's The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit launches at Art Metropole
Mostly What is Unsaid presents:
Andrew Herscher - The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit
Talk: Thursday, March 21, 7-9pm
Art Metropole, 1490 Dundas Street West

Mostly What is Unsaid (a collective project of Art Metropole + FUSE Magazine + Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy) is excited to host a talk by Andrew Herscher, author of The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit (2012). The audience is invited to join a discussion afterwards.

Intense attention has been paid to Detroit as a site of urban crisis. This crisis, however, has not only yielded the massive devaluation of real estate that has so often been noted; it has also yielded an explosive production of seemingly valueless urban property that has facilitated the imagination and practice of alternative urbanisms. The first sustained study of Detroit's alternative urban cultures, The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit initiates a new focus on Detroit as a site not only of urban crisis but also of urban possibility.

The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit will be available for purchase at the event and online at

Mostly What Is Unsaid is an open structure of public conversations initiated by Art Metropole, FUSE and Scapegoat, motivated by our shared conception of publishing as a political praxis, rather than a form of publicity or mere representation. Engaging in conversation amidst the monologue of the neoliberal status quo demands that we attend to gestures, hesitations and omissions as much as words. Through this programming series, we will pursue the critical role of the unspoken and the unspeakable across a spectrum running from the macro- to the micro-political. Within our respective practices, we construct publicly accessible, yet still precarious spaces of conversation. The series Mostly What Is Unsaid curates occasions to bring these discussions into a shared physical space, in order to bridge the gap between locations such as a shop, a magazine, or a journal and spaces of everyday life in the city.

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Chinese launch of journal Scapegoat
Sunday, 24 February, 3pm
HKU/Shanghai Study Centre
298 Bei Suzhou Lu (Close to Sichuan Bei Lu)

With editors Adam Bobbette and Adrian Blackwell in conversation with Robert Chen; followed by drinks to celebrate the Chinese launch of magazine Scapegoat, an independent, not-for-profit, bi-annual journal designed to create a context for research and development regarding design practice, historical investigation, and theoretical inquiry. More about the event here.
Purchase a copy of 04-Currency online here.

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ISSUE 04 - CURRENCY - Now Available
SCAPEGOAT issue editors Chris Lee and Adrian Blackwell are proud too announce that Issue 04—Currency is now available in our new perfect bound book format here.

Contributors include:
Brett NEILSON & Sandro MESSADRA, Fabrica Mundi: Producing the World by Drawing Borders
Emily GILBERT, Currency in Crisis
Keith HART, Why the Euro Crisis Matters to Us All
Emilio MORENO, Other Issues: Currency Delimiting Sovereignty
Peter NORTH, Money as Anticapitalist Praxis
Georgios PAPADOPOULOS & Jack Henrie FISHER, Grexit: Notes towards a Speculative Archaeology of the European Crisis
Rob KOVITZ, Capital of the World
Robert FISHMAN, Foreclosure and the American City
Abbas AKHAVAN, Islands
Srdjan LONCAR, The Fine Art of Repair in New Orleans
Marcelo VIETA, Recuperating a Workplace, Creating a Community Space: The Story of Cooperativa Chilavert Artes Gráficas
Emanuele BRAGA, Messages of Rupture: On the MACAO Occupation in Milan, translated by Roberta BUIANI
ExRotaprint, There is No Profit to be Made Here!
Peter MÖRTENBÖCK & Helge MOOSHAMMER, Informal Market Worlds: Instruments of Change
Steven CHODORIWSKY, From the needle and thread, all the way up to the hat
Matthieu BAIN & Andrew PERKINS, Rust Belt Vernacular: Harvesting Unnatural Resources
AbdouMaliq SIMONE, Water, Politics and Design in Jakarta
Claire PENTECOST, Notes from Underground
Rosten WOO, Big Pictures
Jordan GEIGER, Maximal Surface Tension: Very Large Organizations and Their Apotheosis in Songdo
Ricardo DOMINGUEZ interviewed by Alessandra RENZI, On the Currency of Somatic Architectures of Exchange
Paige SARLIN, Vulnerable Accumulation: A Practical Guide
Suriya UMPANSIRIRATANA interviewed by Adam SMITH, Bangkok to Chonburi, translated by Ajahn KENG
Robert ADAMS, Making a Scene: A Vivid Genealogy of the Asclepius Machine
Brendan BAYLOR & Heath SCHULTZ review The Art of Not Being Governed
FAKE INDUSTRIES review the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture
Alan ANTLIFF reviews Commerce by Artists

From the editorial note:

Currency is structured by a fundamental contradiction between its necessary circulation and its stubborn foundation in sovereign territories. On the one hand, it is designed to represent value and facilitate its exchange in standardized, fungible units; on the other, its relative scarcity generates a strong incentive to hoard it, withdrawing and storing its value, converting it into fixed assets such as property whose existence relies on the same institutions of coercion that maintain national borders. Fiat currencies, the current hegemonic form of money, while not backed by material commodities, derive their legitimacy primarily from the power of states over and within national territories. Société Réaliste remind us that the word mark, in the Deutschemark, has roots in the Gothic word marka, for “sign of a frontier.” This suggests that the national currencies that we are familiar with are at once completely abstract—special commodities containing only exchange value providing a perfect break between spheres of production and consumption—and coextensive with the very material space that the state’s military force secures. Today’s globalized capitalism only exacerbates this paradox. The ascendency of finance capital in North Ame­rica and Europe has created a condition where the accumulation of capital is based almost purely on speculation, and money is multiplied through its circulation. At the same time, the struggle to secure the territories and bodies that guarantee it has become ever more desperate as civilian spaces have been more and more militarized. The result has been an increasingly complex space of value, where the borders that produce its distinctions are no longer located at a nation’s edges, but rather lie both within and beyond it. The diverse contributions to Scapegoat’s fifth issue, Currency, investigate these contradictory tendencies within the spa­tiality of currency and present ways that they can be resisted. We follow a line that runs from the material to the immaterial, exploring divergent scales and topologies in the process.

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SCAPEGOAT will be at Van Alen Books on Thursday, July 26th, 7pm, for the launch of 03: REALISM. Please join contributors and editors for a brief discussion and drinks.

SCAPEGOAT is part of the 10th Magazine Library exhibition at Hillside Terrace, May 3 - May 13, 2012 in Daikanyama, Tokyo.

Photographs courtesy of Magazine Library.

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TOKYO 150-0036 JAPAN

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SCAPEGOAT is part of Elias Redstone's Archizines Exhibition. The exhibition schedule is available here.

Photograph of Archizines Exhibition courtesy of Valerie Bennett.

Photograph of Archizines Exhibition courtesy of Valerie Bennett.

As part of the Archizines Exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, SCAPEGOAT presented a Manifesto for the ARCHIZINES LIVE: Symposium on Publishing Practices: 20 – 21 April, 2012.

The transcript, read at the Storefront by SCAPEGOAT editors Adrian Blackwell, Christie Pearson, and Nasrin HImada, reads as follows:

_ A SCAPEGOAT manifesto on the Current Crises

Crises occur in capitalism not because capitalism has gone wrong, but because it has gone right, because it operates precisely as it is designed to operate.
-- Eric Cazdyn, Semi-ology of a disaster, or, Toward a Non-Moralizing Materialism,
Scapegoat Issue 02 Materialism

SCAPEGOAT: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy began as a set of political affinities shared by a small group of people who were, or had been, teaching part-time or sessionally at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

However, the journal is in no way aligned with Daniels, nor with the University of Toronto, and as of July of this year, none of the editorial board members will be employed there. In many ways, the project was built from our deep dissatisfaction with the liberal politics of the faculty in which we taught, and of the spatial design disciplines in North America more broadly.

Our editorial board is now quite dispersed: I [Adrian Blackwell] will be at the University of Waterloo, Adam Bobette is at the Hong Kong University, Nasrin Himada is at Concordia University in Montreal, Jane Hutton at Harvard, Marcin Kedzior at Humber College in Toronto, Chris Lee is working as a graphic designer in Amsterdam, Christie Pearson is at Cornell, and Etienne Turpin is at the University of Michigan.

Our organization is structured horizontally, according to anarchist principles. We now collaborate entirely digitally and online, with our bi-weekly meetings occuring on G+ and all content received, edited and archived online.

As our subtitle “Architecture / Landscape / Political Economy” suggests, Scapegoat has a very specific orientation. From the point of view of our current and overlapping economic, political, ecological, and psycho-social crises, that is, from within them, Scapegoat decided to emphasize the importance of political economy in relation to architecture, landscape and design. If the presumed separation between politics and economy sees, on the side of the political: power, authority, command, manipulation and dissonance; and, on the side of economy: well-being, free choice, exchange, and equilibrium, then aren’t architecture, landscape, and design especially well-placed to contest both of these axes? Architecture, landscape, and design are practices equipped to confront the production, and reproduction, of the current social order, in terms of both the political power and economic accumulation that constitute its inexorable crises, and the most recent demands for austerity.

We would like to address the idea of crisis through 3 categories which served as the themes for the first three issues of the journal: Property, Service and Materialism.

1. Crisis of Property
As everyone knows the current financial crisis is at its root a housing crisis. When we began thinking about this journal, the latest financial crisis had just destabilized markets around the world, causing a deep recession. We understand the ongoing economic crisis in Europe, Japan, and the United States, as one result of the reckless expansion of the US property market - internally through the promotion of subprime mortgages, and globally through the invention of new financial instruments designed to spread the risk of these mortgages.

We decided that our inaugural issue should examine the centrality of the problem of property because it is the literal foundation for all spatial design practices. Architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design each begin with a space that is already drawn, organized, and formed by the concrete abstraction of property lines. Property stands as the most fundamental, yet underestimated, point of intersection between architecture, landscape architecture, and political economy. What is a “site” except a piece of property? What are architecture and landscape architecture but subtle and consistent attempts to express determined property relations as open aesthetic possibilities? And, decisively, how can these practices facilitate new forms of relation?

In our first issue, D.T. Cochrane argues that crisis is the mechanism by which capitalist power is consolidated. The current state of the Western political economy has provoked an unmitigated crisis for those at the bottom of the hierarchy, who are experiencing foreclosure, unemployment and other attendant ills of a downturn. However, the experience is different for those at the top. For them, the crisis has truly been an opportunity. Although Citibank and Bank of America lost common equity value, their survival through US government intercession foretells the potential for even greater success, profit and power. Differentially, the Big 4 have gained against their FIRE compatriots. A crisis of capitalism will only come in the form of a threat to the legitimacy of capital as a mechanism of vendible ownership and control. Short of that, every crisis presents a differential opportunity and will only be a crisis for some.

2. Crises of Service
Over the past 40 years economic and ecologic crises have precipitated a transformation of labor. The pauperization of workers continues to intensify as a result of the increasingly service oriented economy of developed economies. Architects and Landscape Architects are of course part of this growing service sector and as a result their skills are more and more definitively integrated into the market. The latest of these crises has split the profession into two, forcing dominant design disciplines to produce ever more spectacular buildings, while prying open a space for practices that see architecture as a public service. Scapegoat is drawn to these new practices, but we are also provoked to examine their effects when they simply manage the symptoms of global capitalism. By fulfilling tasks formerly done by the state, architecture enacts a form of volunteerism that plays into neoliberal values and strategies.

Instead Scapegoat looks to current practices to intensify our concept of service as a problem: How can we develop new models for self-management and mutual aid that move beyond unidirectional forms of service as clientelism and dependency? How can we think through service provision beyond the state? How can we privilege voluntary association and ethical reciprocity rather than volunteerism? How can we counter the predominance of economic metaphors for service in our attempts to articulate values and commitments? How could design services work in solidarity with the labour of extraction, construction, and maintenance The Brazilian self-managed group of designers and builders Usina, serves as a model for us in this regard.

The idea of service may be reinterpreted through Usina’s re-organization of the relationships among the different agents involved in the production of housing. The aim of Usina is to subvert the typical relationship between professional and client, where one side gives and the other receives. In Brazil, mutirão autogestionário, the housing policy of self-managed participatory mutual aid, was institutionalized during the first Labour Party administration in São Paulo. Usina was born at the same time to provide support and multi-disciplinary expertise to community-led initiatives and housing cooperatives. This approach aims to encourage collectively organized communities through the construction of public housing and related programs. We are seeking a different format for city-making.

3. Material Crises
Today’s crises are fundamentally material, they effect the most basic conditions of life from housing to food to the places and practices which fill our days. But the materialist problem of human labour is buried in design practice. All buildings and designed landscapes are, of course, made by someone, somehow, somewhere, and under certain conditions. This connection to the materialist tradition has been systematically occluded through the contemporary emphasis on “fabrication,” and contemporary discussions of immaterial labor, where questions of the organization and meaning of labour are subservient to the capitalist necessity for technological innovation. In so doing, radical histories of labour, including both the collectivist experiments of modernism, and extra-disciplinary practices of squatters, dropouts, and anarchists are erased. We contend that the radical re-organization of the built environment occurs through human labour: how something is made, determines what is made.

While we are committed to engaging the tradition of historical materialism, we are also interested in how the study of horizontal relationships among humans and other species, and different constituencies of ‘matter,’ might productively destabilize our assumptions about design praxis. The arrogance of human agency is tempered through investigations of the biophysical traits of particular materials, species, and sites (for instance, their resistance, hardness, or elasticity) shape our practices. These investigations help determine how materials resist, interrupt, and constrain the seamless production of commodities, and are therefore instructive for an oppositional practice that engages heterogeneous and complex assemblages. Material and dynamic analyses offer inherently complimentary critiques of the formal analysis which continues to dominate popular design discourse as a branch of aesthetics.

Through a materialist practice of inquiry apparently discreet crises can be seen as local symptoms of multi-scalar agents such as networks, institutions, or power centres. The material becomes a portal to global complexity. Scapegoat’s materialism calls attention to the dynamic relays between humans, materials, and the political economic dimensions that condition them across multiple scales and social registers.