Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter

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The ways in which architecture and design have addressed contemporary notions of shelter, as seen through migration and global refugee emergencies, will be explored in the exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter. Bringing together works by architects, designers, and artists in a range of mediums and scales that respond to the complex circumstances brought about by forced displacement, the exhibition focuses on conditions that disrupt conventional images of the built environment as an arbiter of modernity and globalization. The prevalence of shelters and refugee camps calls into question the “safety” that they represent. Insecurities is organized by Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, with Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

Recent United Nations figures suggest that 65 million individuals worldwide are refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons. Where borders once marked the peripheries of nations, today, manifold territories on sea and land have blurred one’s potential confinement within spaces that are determined by external powers. Under these conditions, shelter has been redefined through constant movement or escape. By extension, refugee camps, while once considered to be temporary, are no longer so, and have become a locus through which to examine how human rights intersect with and complicate the making of cities.

Insecurities brings together a range of objects, including the jointly-designed IKEA Foundation-UNHCR-Better Shelter modular emergency structure, along with works by Estudio Teddy Cruz, Henk Wildschut, and Tiffany Chung, among others. Insecurities raises questions regarding how the design and representation of shelter as a source of security and stability ultimately reflects how refugees are living in permanent upheaval today.

A complementary website on Medium includes short essays and additional visual material by scholars, architects, artists, and designers from around the world.

Insecurities is part of Citizens and Borders, a series of discrete projects at MoMA related to works in the collection offering a critical perspective on histories of migration, territory, and displacement.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.
 
Additional support is provided by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.