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Anthony Acciavatti | Conversations in Contemporary Design: Seeing Like a Mudskipper


Friday, November 11, 2022

CIT/Mason Building Room 304

Braiding over a decade’s worth of archival research with fieldwork, this talk looks at the virtues of seeing like a mudskipper. Known as a fish that lives on land, mudskippers easily move between wet and dry conditions. Indeed, they are mud loving creatures. Seeing like a mudskipper entails attending to that limicole realm where water, sediment, and soil mix. In particular, the talk will focus on the choreography of people, soil, and agriculture in the Gangetic plains. Acciavatti developed instruments and prosthetics to visualize and historicize not only the rhythms of these changes across this monsoonal landscape, but also how people adapt and coauthor spaces around them in often unforeseen ways.

Anthony Acciavatti

Anthony Acciavatti is the inaugural Diana Balmori Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Architecture. He is the author of Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River (2015), which was awarded the J. B. Jackson Book Prize by the Foundation for Landscapes in 2016. His forthcoming book, titled Republic of Villages, looks at the history of design and the sciences in South Asia from the 1890s-1970s. Acciavatti studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design ( BArch, BFA ’04) and Harvard University, received his Ph.D. in the history of science at Princeton University, and was a Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Geography and Town and Country Planning at Allahabad University. He is a founder of Manifest Institute, which publishes Manifest: A Journal of the Americas, and is a partner at Somatic Collaborative in New York.