Markus Miessen

Miessen is an architect, consultant, and writer based in Berlin. He runs the collaborative agency for spatial practice Studio Miessen, and is co-founder of the architectural practice nOffice. Miessen has taught at numerous institutions, including the Architectural Association, Columbia, MIT, and the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, Germany. He is currently a Harvard Fellow, and completing his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths, London). His books include When Economies Become Form (Berlage Institute, 2009), Institution Building – Artists, Curators, Architects and the Struggle for Space (Sternberg, 2009), East Coast Europe (Sternberg, 2008), The Violence of Participation (Sternberg, 2007), With/Without –Spatial Products, Practices and Politics in the Middle East (Bidoun, 2007), Did Someone Say Participate? An Atlas of Spatial Practice (MIT Press, 2006), and Spaces of Uncertainty (Müller+Busmann, 2002). His work has been exhibited at the Lyon, Venice, Performa, and Shenzhen Biennials, and will be included in the upcoming Manifesta (2010).


  • International Chilliwack Biennial

    July 28–July 29, 2010

    Chilliwack Biennial 01

    Chilliwack Biennial 02

    Chilliwack Biennial 03

    Chilliwack Biennial 04

    Chilliwack Biennial 05

    Artspeak, Or Gallery, and Bodgers’ and Kludgers’ Co-operative present:

    International Chilliwack Biennial

    The International Chilliwack Biennial takes place July 28 and 29 at the Delta Grove campsite of Cultus Lake Provincial Park near Chilliwack, BC. The event is an open question on large-scale exhibitions and takes a consciously precarious approach. This is the DIY, near-zero budget biennial—the bodged biennial. Shoe-horned amidst other campers in a state-run camping area, the International Chilliwack Biennial quietly goes about its business. This is the biennial that doesn’t sit up quite right, that wobbles, that is, perhaps, rained-out. Offsite, contingent, last minute favours: borrow your dad’s sleeping bag and your neighbour’s tent. The International Chilliwack Biennial hopes to make you feel different about camping.

    Understood as a prototype, the event will consider the biennial as studio or performance. Works will be created, rearranged, consumed, found and dusted off. Tents, trailers, and other portable or temporary structures will form pavilions for international projects. At our symposia smoke may get in your eyes. We don’t have a PA system, but we may be able to offer you a marshmallow. Enjoy.

    Park: Cultus Lake Provincial Park Campground: Delta Grove Directions: Cultus Lake Provincial Park is located 11km southwest of Chilliwack, BC. Access to the park is off Highway 1 at the Yarrow or Sardis exits. It is 16 km to the park entrance from Yarrow and 10 km from Sardis via the Columbia Valley Highway, which bisects the southeast section of the park.

    See for updated information.

    This is the final program in Artspeak’s two-year OFFSITE series.



    Ron Tran’s practice typically examines the influence of chance and coincidence in daily life. Contending with the campfire ban and as of yet unforeseen culinary hurtles, Ron is designing a dinner menu for the Wednesday evening of the International Chilliwack Biennial.


    The work of architect and writer Markus Miessen considers spatial strategies and cultural analysis, accommodating change through research, criticism, writing, teaching, and design. The editor of a trilogy of publications on participation, his most recent book, The Nightmare of Participation (Crossbench Praxis as a Mode of Criticality), is due out later this year. For the International Chilliwack Biennial Miessen not only provided six of his texts from this book for distribution and discussion in relation to the collective and offsite activities of the ICB, but also designed the ICB’s camp headquarters.


    Oscar Tuazon’s practice engages with do-it-yourself architectural concepts. Responding to the circumstances of camping at Cultus Lake for the International Chilliwack Biennial, Tuazon will read a campfire tale.

Talks & Events

  • Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism Sessions

    March 7–March 28, 2009

    March 7, 1pm

    Architect, writer, and curator Markus Miessen (Berlin), Amy Zion, and Kristina Lee Podesva will discuss architecture as political practice and the nightmare of participation. Miessen’s talk is supported through the Emily Carr University Student Symposium.

    March 14, 1pm

    Following up on a keynote address by critic/curator Tirdad Zolghadr, we are pleased to screen the film A Crime Against Art (Hila Peleg, 2007). Based on a trial staged at ARCO, Madrid, the film casts Zolghadr and Anton Vidokle as the defendants in a mock trial on a number of polemical issues in the world of contemporary art. This screening is presented with generosity from e-flux, New York.

    March 21, 1pm

    Curator Jo-Anne Birnie-Danzker (Vancouver/Munich) and Jordan Strom will discuss Birnie-Danzker’s curatorial experiences in Vancouver in the seventies and eighties, and, more recently, in Europe and Asia.

    March 28, 1pm

    For the final event, join us for an open discussion with critic Sven Lutticken (Utrecht). Joining us via Skype, Lutticken will discuss ways of navigating critical judgment within the spaces of contemporary art writing.