MSD Public Lecture: The Ethics of Dust

Man standing in front of glowing wall

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Rosanna Verde

About this event

Dust, the kind the atmosphere deposits on buildings, is an important historical and environmental record that usually goes unrecognized. The artworks in The Ethics of Dust series isolate dust and make it tangible by transferring it from the surface of buildings onto translucent casts. In this lecture, Professor Jorge-Otero-Pailos will present a selection of dust casts taken from buildings around the world, and discuss the unexpected histories that each of them unveils.

He will connect the dots between these punctual histories to outline a larger concept they all contribute to, namely that of atmospheric heritage. Taken together, The Ethics of Dust amounts to more than the sum of its particles, challenging the conceptual duality of tangible / intangible heritage, the limits of governmentality, and the politics of belonging.

This public lecture was presented in a live-streamed screening with complimentary lunch in the Japanese Room (Level 4, Room 401), Glyn Davis Building, the University of Melbourne. 

Image: 'The Ethics of Dust' at Westminster Hall, by Jorge Otero-Pailos, 2016. An Artangel commission. Photo by Marcus J Leith.

Jorge Otero-Pailos Headshot

About the speaker

Jorge Otero-Pailos is Professor and Director of Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). He is an artist, architect and preservationist whose works have been exhibited at major museums, foundations, galleries and international biennials.

Jorge is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico. He is the recipient of awards from major arts organizations including the Kress Foundation, the Graham Foundation, the Fitch Foundation, the AIA and the Canadian Center for Architecture, and in 2012 the UNESCO Eminent Professional Award. He received the American Academy in Rome’s 2021-22 Roy Lichstenstein Residency in the Visual Arts. He is the founder and editor of
Future Anterior.