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The effects of automation are rarely limited to economics or issues around the division of labour. Changes to production and the service industries that are a result of increased automation are actively shaping our cities and how we interact with them. Architecture’s engagement with the futures that come with these processes are manifold and embrace both the positive and negative potential of automation. From additional leisure time and a focus on individual agency and creativity, to dystopian visions where unemployment and inequality run rampant, it is without question that the built environment can affect the shape of things to come.

Automated environments may have eliminated certain gender associations ascribed to specific jobs, but they have also reinforced gender roles and inequalities. Technology and the direction it takes is influenced by prevalent social tensions and disparity; as such, if we are to reduce inequality and gender stereotyping, we must aim to avoid replicating existing pernicious social dynamics and, instead, unearth architecture’s potential to facilitate change. Can architecture and the design of spaces allow both men and women, humans and non-humans, to express their full potential and provide a working alternative to the status quo?


Marina Otero – Director of Research at Het Nieuwe Instituut, where she leads the long-term research project Automated Landscapes; and Curator of WORK, BODY, LEISURE, the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018.

Nina Power – philosopher and cultural critic, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at University of Roehampton, and author of One-Dimensional Woman and many articles on European philosophy, politics and culture

Femke Snelting – Artist and designer, developing projects at the intersection of design, feminism and free software

Ellie Cosgrave (chair) – Lecturer in Urban Innovation, UCL; and Deputy Director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory


Grace Quah – practitioner working at the intersection of architecture and design; author of Silvertown Plug-In, a spatial critique of domestic labour

Susan Schuppli – artist-researcher and writer; Director & Reader of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London; currently running the project Logistical Nightmares


Supported by the Embassy of Spain in London

Tickets and additional information can be found on the Royal Academy of Arts website

18:30 – 20:00

The Royal Academy of Arts
Geological Society, Piccadilly, W1
London, United Kingdom


£12, £6 concessions

Marina Otero Verzier
Katía Truijen
Amal Alhaag, Beatriz Colomina, Marten Kuijpers, Victor Muñoz Sanz, Simone C. Niquille, Mark Wigley
Jane Chew and Matthew Stewart, Northscapes Collective (Hamed Khosravi, Taneha K. Bacchin and Filippo laFleur), Noam Toran, Giuditta Vendrame, Paolo Pattelli, Liam Young.
Raphael Coutin, Marina Otero Verzier
Hans Gremmen
Christiane Bosman, Eveline Mulckhuyse
Simone C. Niquille
Nick Axel
Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science Creative Industries Fund NL Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Rome, Italy

With the title WORK, BODY, LEISURE the 2018 Dutch Pavilion addresses the spatial configurations, living conditions, and notions of the human body engendered by disruptive changes in labor ethos and conditions.