Overview Symposia Library-Infoshop Themes Projects


Everyday we confront spaces that don't work - from our neighborhoods and parks, to our prisons, pipelines and borders. In this exhibition and programming series, artists, scholars and activists reveal how these spaces function - and dysfunction - making way for thought and action to create just societies and spaces.

The projects in this exhibition reflect the renewed recognition that space matters to cutting edge activist practices and to artists and scholars whose work pursues similar goals of social justice. A spatial frame offers new insights into understanding not only how injustices are produced, but also how spatial consciousness can advance the pursuit of social justice, informing concrete claims and the practices that make these claims visible. Understanding that space - like justice - is never simply handed out or given, that both are socially produced, differentiated, experienced and contested on constantly shifting social, political, economic, and geographical terrains, means that justice - if it is to be concretely achieved, experienced, and reproduced - must be engaged on spatial as well as social terms.

By transforming LACE, in part, into an active learning environment, Just Space(s) seeks to provide visitors with tools to consider alternatives to reactionary and essentializing political discourse that tends to dominate and frame our conceptions of justice - and constrain our abilities to imagine and implement it. The exhibition presents some of the most innovative and efficacious contemporary artistic, activist, and scholarly work engaging social and spatial analyses. In addition, a library/infoshop and symposia and event series extend the scope and scale of the main exhibition. Taken in whole or in part, Just Space(s) aims not merely to show what is unjust about our world, but to inspire visitors to consider what the active production of just space(s) might look like. It asks a crucial question: How do we move from injustice to justice exactly where we stand - in our neighborhoods and our institutions, at the level of the body, the home, the street corner, the city, the region, the network, the supranational trade agreement and every space within, between, and beyond? While much theorizing about - and active experimentation with - the role and potential of a spatial justice framework remains undone, this exhibition and its public programming contribute to the articulation of a powerful concept/tool that links critical theory and ethical practice.

Just Space(s) builds upon the recent publication of a special volume of Critical Planning (UCLA Journal of Urban Planning, Volume 14, Summer 2007) on the theme of spatial justice, which also serves as a companion to the exhibition. Click here to download PDFs of selected essays from the special volume, including Editorial Note: Why Spatial Justice? (3.7MB PDF) by Ava Bromberg, Gregory D. Morrow, and Deirdre Pfeiffer, and a spatial justice bibliography (2MB PDF). Visit the Critical Planning website for more information and to purchase a copy of the journal.

Download Just Space(s) Press Release

View photos of Just Space(s) exhibition

Questions??? Contact Ava Bromberg (ava [at] inthefield [dot] info) or Nicholas Brown (nicholas.senn [at] gmail [dot] com)


THEME#1 >>> (IM)MOBILITY / PRISONS AND THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX >>> The Corrections Documentary Project (Ashley Hunt) /// Million Dollar Blocks (Spatial Information Design Lab) /// Up the Ridge (Appalshop's Holler to the Hood)

THEME#2 >>> (IM)MOBILITY / BORDERS, LABOR, MIGRATION >>> The Black Sea Files (Ursula Biemann) /// Levittown Retrofitted: An Urbanism Beyond the Property Line (Estudio Teddy Cruz and Casa Familiar) /// disOrientation Guide (Counter-Cartographies Collective) /// Spatial Justice for Ayn Hawd (Sabine Horlitz and Oliver Clemens) /// Searching for Our Destination (Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri) /// Water Station Maps and Warning Posters (Humane Borders and No More Deaths) /// Host Not Found: A Traveling Monument to the Suppression of Search (Markus Miessen and Patricia Reed)

THEME#3 >>> ECONOMIC JUSTICE / THE RIGHT TO THE CITY >>> The Figueroa Corridor Coalition for Economic Justice (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy - SAJE) /// Mobile Planning Lab for South LA (Scott Berzofsky, Chris Gladora, Dane Nester, Nicholas Wisniewski, and SAJE) /// UTOPIA-dystopia (Los Angeles Poverty Department) /// Principles of Unity (Right to the City Alliance) /// RFK in EKY (Appalshop and John Malpede) /// Spatializing Labor Campaigns (Service Employees International Union)

THEME#4 >>> ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE / PUBLIC HEALTH >>> Syracuse City Hunger Project Maps (Syracuse Community Geography) /// LATWIDNO - Land access to which is denied no one (Sarah Lewison and Erin McGonigle) /// Invisible5 (Amy Balkin, Tim Halbur, and Kim Stringfellow) /// Public Green (Lize Mogel) /// Public Access 101 - Malibu Public Beaches (Los Angeles Urban Rangers) /// Best Not to Be Here? (Marie Cieri)

THEME#5 >>> RACIALIZATION OF SPACE / SPATIALIZATION OF RACE >>> Detroit Do Your Thing! (the Center for Urban Pedagogy - CUP) /// Detroit's Underdevelopment (Adrian Blackwell) /// The New Yorkers' Guide to Military Recruitment in the 5 Boroughs (Friends of William Blake) /// A People's Guide to Los Angeles (Laura Pulido)

THEME#6 >>> LAND / INDIGENOUS EPISTEMOLOGIES, LAND CLAIMS & TREATY RIGHTS >>> A Century of Genocide in the Americas: The Residential School Experience (Rosemary Gibbons and Dax Thomas - Boarding School Healing Project) /// Dakota Commemorative March (Waziyatawin Angela Wilson and David Miller) /// Secret Military Landscapes and the Pentagon's "Black World" (Trevor Paglen) /// Spiral Lands (Andrea Geyer)


1. Main Exhibition

Just Space(s) presents spatially informed work structured around six interlocking themes, (Im)mobility - Prisons and the Prison Industrial Complex; (Im)mobility - Borders, Labor, and Migration; Economic Justice and the Right to the City; Environmental Justice and Public Health; Racialization of Space and Spatialization of Race; and Land - Indigenous Epistemologies, Land Claims and Treaty Rights. The six themes are by no means comprehensive and the distinctions between them are intentionally soft and permeable. Upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the issue of prisons and criminal justice, for instance, is inseparable from economic and environmental justice issues. The present groupings are intended to serve primarily as points of departures.

Each of the six themes seeks to balance two aspects of spatial justice. The first aspect includes analyses of historical and contemporary conditions that make injustice visible. The second aspect privileges action over analysis and focuses on work concerned with the active production of just space – a collective imagining and creation of alternative futures and of just worlds and spaces we want to live in. What, in other words, are the specific mechanisms and processes necessary for producing and reproducing just space(s)?

Just Space(s) has been developed in coordination with parallel initiatives in southern California such as the Los Angeles Poverty Department's current project UTOPIA/dystopia and Tránsito(ry) Público / The Political Equator, s conference that will take place in Los Angeles, San Diego and Tijuana on November 13-20, 2007. In addition, Just Space(s) will be paired with Lize Mogel and Lex Bhagat's related exhibition An Atlas, on view at LACE from September 26 - November 18, 2007.

Download Tránsito(ry) Público / The Political Equator Press Release
Download An Atlas Press Release

2. Symposia

The three symposia sessions each consist of a series of public presentations and discussions. The topics of the sessions reflect primary themes of the exhibition and each session will feature a range of perspectives, including at least one activist, one artist, and one scholar who all work on related issues. The goal of the symposia is to draw together disparate methodologies from multiple disciplines and to explore the specific role(s) of each perspective in making injustice visible, creating just spaces, and moving from injustice to justice. We consider the symposia to be an essential component of the larger project – one that is particularly well suited to engage important questions about process. In addition, LACE will host a day-long spatial justice information fair featuring representatives from various spatial and social justice ogranizations working throughout the southern California (time and date to be determined).

Session#1 / October 7 / (Im)mobility - Prisons and the Prison Industrial Complex
Session#2 / October 28 / Environmental Justice and Public Health
Session#3 / November 10 / Economic Justice and the Right to the City

Session#4 / November 13-20 / Tránsito(ry) Público / The Political Equator

3. Library/Infoshop

The library/infoshop is a key component of the exhibition and will be featured in the front room of LACE for the duration of the exhibition. It's our hope that the library/infoshop will help transform the space into an inviting and active learning environment.

Additional projects, organizations, and resources are featured on the online version of the library/infoshop, which will continue to grow throughout and beyond the exhibition. Among other things, the library will feature regional profiles of spatial justice in action in places such as Toronto, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Buenos Aires. Additionally, the library will contain ephemera such as posters, pamphlets, campaign materials, and publications from justice groups within and beyond Los Angeles. Relevant books and articles on both theoretical and applied aspects of spatial/social justice will also be available; in some cases multiple copies will be available for purchase. Whenever possible, links will be drawn from projects in the exhibition to related selections in the library.

4. Mobile Planning Lab / Community Design Toolshed

In conjunction with this exhibition, a collaboration has been initiated between the SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy) and UCLA Department of Urban Planning to develop a mobile community design resource for residents in South Los Angeles. This mobile lab - collaboratively designed and built in consultation with Scott Berzofsky, Chris Gladora, Dane Nester and Nicholas Wisniewski - will create opportunities for local community members, artists, architects, and planners to initiate and engage with planning processes and decisions that affect their neighborhoods, and to have fun along the way.

/// THANKS ///

Just Space(s) is co-sponsored by Critical Planning (UCLA Journal of Urban Planning) with support from the UCLA Graduate Students Association and in-kind support from the UCLA Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance (REMAP). Special thanks to Gilda Haas, Ashley Hunt, Ed Soja, Chris Gladora, Ryan Dorn, Enrique Castrejon, Andrew Burridge, Heather Frazar, Jennifer Flores Sternad, Sarah Kanouse, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, and the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research.

Photo: MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, May 1, 2007 (Helen Campbell)