• Terra Infecta
    Andrea Bagnato

Aerial view of Yambuku, the site of the first outbreak of Ebola, 1976, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Courtesy of Public Health Image Library, CDC.

The recent increase in infectious disease events—from MERS to Ebola—is rarely discussed as a spatial problem. Yet, most epidemics are strongly dependent on the patterns of global urbanization and landscape transformation. Terra Infecta researches the contradictory relationship between microbes and modernity—while the elimination of infectious diseases was central to the modern project, the human alteration of natural ecologies has in turn given rise to new infections. By drawing on archival sources and contributions from both biological sciences and the humanities, the project revisits the histories of major diseases such as malaria and AIDS in relation to the shape of architecture, cities, and territories. In this way, it proposes to conceptualize spatial planning as a micro-political technology.

Andrea Bagnato practiced architecture before focusing on research and editing. He assisted in the making of the book Forensis (Sternberg Press, 2014), edited SQM: The Quantified Home (Lars Müller Publishers, 2014) and The State of the Art of Architecture (Lars Müller Publishers, 2017), and was part of the curatorial team for the first Chicago Architecture Biennial. Bagnato began to work on Terra Infecta in 2013, while studying at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London; in 2016, he was a research fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut. He currently teaches at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam.