Exit, Ghost, or: The American Book of the Dead

colored drawing of a futuristic building on an island in a body of water with inset descriptive text

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1959 plan for Ellis Island (Source: Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University)

  • Instructor: Enrique Ramirez
  • Time: W 2:00–5:00 p.m.
  • Location: AAP NYC
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Representation, Architecture and Urbanism

This seminar looks to select themes, topics, and readings in the history and theory of art and architecture to identify, investigate, and conjure the various pasts that continue to haunt New York City. Intended for designers, as well for anyone interested in the topic, the class will identify the global technological, spatial, artistic, and especially architectural aspects of contemporary hauntology. In other words, the past — and visions of past architectural, urban, and landscape futures that never materialized — are all considered for their ability to condition our own understanding of New York. The class will be organized around a portfolio of sites (i.e. the remains of Seneca Village in Central Park; the low-lying areas around Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn), all "haunted" by visions of modernity, and will be examined alongside carefully selected close readings from the history and theory of art, architecture, urbanism, landscape — as well as other fields. This class emphasizes the formal and visual analysis of these sites and considers the myriad ways in which their built forms (and remains) all hint to the social, cultural, economic, and political forces that shaped them. The goal is to provide students with an opportunity to sharpen and train their historical and theoretical sensibilities through the design of narratives that unearth spectral traces of the past in the representation and construction of buildings, cities, landscapes, and spaces within New York.

Instructor permission required:

View a PDF of this class description.


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