Soft Agency

In the making of Copenhagen Architecture Festival’s 2021 edition Landscapes of Care, we have asked Soft Agency to curate a collection for our Journal that would contribute to expanding our understanding of the notion of ‘care’ in relation to architecture and urban space.

August 31, 2021
August 24, 2021

Through the events of CAFx2021, the theme of care is articulated primarily in terms of care for individual and collective health, care for the urban commons as social practice, and care for the environment’s sustainment. The work carried out by Soft Agency’s members—whether it be a publication on experiences of care throughout the global pandemic, or a collaborative research project about repairing urban and earth systems—speaks to this conceptualization of care and extends it from both a thematic and methodological perspective. For this reason, we have collected their writings under CAF x Soft Agency, hoping to arouse curiosity and share knowledge about their approach to the study of urban and social landscapes.

Soft Agency are a Berlin-based group of female architects, artists, curators, scholars and writers  from different countries working with spatial practices. While busy with many projects of their own, carried out individually or collectively, with or without other ‘soft agents’, in 2020 Ana Filipovic, Fiona Shipwright, Gilly Karjevsky, Rosario Talevi, Valentina Karga and Teresa Dillon formed Soft Agency to reify the platform they have created over the years through knowledge exchange and collaboration. The core interests of Soft Agency revolve around experimentation with situated feminist methodologies and multispecies approaches, employed to investigate and create spaces and commons. In their practice this translates into the implementation of care, softness and attentiveness as research strategies, listening and being together as pedagogies, and community-driven counter-hegemonic urban practices as objectives.

To learn more about Soft Agency’s coming into being and their practice in relation to feminist thinking and architecture, we have asked them a set of questions which they answer in the Interview article. The second entry of this collection is Methodologies of Softness, in which Soft Agency situates themselves within specific feminist traditions of thought and research, and delves into the particularities of its fluid methodological approach. Following this methods essay, Soft Agency have composed Landscape of Terms: Expanding a Lexicon, a loose glossary of quotes that ground and inspire Soft Agency’s work around the term care. Furthermore, the collection includes three case-studies that illustrate how, bridging hydropheminist and decolonial, embodied and more-than-human approaches, Soft Agency’s ethics and methods manifest in collective urban action.