Ross Exo Adams

Moving beyond both canonical and current depictions of the urban, my research is a effort to constitute a radically new understanding of this space and the processes of its self-expansion. At the heart of my research is a historical investigation of the relation between circulation and power, a relation which, today, has become generalized through the ongoing urbanization of the planet. It engages the question of urbanization more broadly as a historically situated process generative of a distinct spatio-political order—the urban—a modern spatiality which, I argue, first became legible and reproducible over the course of the nineteenth century in Europe and the Americas. I contend that this space materialized as an anonymous, parallel project of restructuring the space of the emergent liberal Nation-State: More than a reflection of this new state form or the product of the capitalist relations it fostered, the urban, I argue, should instead be seen as a primary instrument of both; at once means and ends.

Constructed as a ‘history of the present’, this work is a response to an urgent need for architectural knowledge to develop a contemporary discourse on the context and processes in which its production is intimately bound up. As such, a significant body of research that works off of this historical investigation engages questions of architecture and the urban in the immediate present. Questions of climate change, cybernetic infrastructures, resource economies, security and contemporary forms of governmentality all inform a more visible side of my work which addresses contemporary architecture and urban design in relation to urban geography, political ecology and legal theory.

Currently I am preparing a manuscript entitled Circulation and Urbanization, which will be published in the Society and Space series edited by Stuart Elden for Sage Publications (due out in 2016).