Adrian Blackwell is an artist and urban and architectural designer, whose work focuses on the spaces and forces of uneven development produced through processes of Postfordist urbanization.
Since 1996 his art projects have altered existing spaces to encourage common uses. Public Water Closet (1998) and How to Open a Car Like a Book (1999) open private enclosures to the city. Recent works such as Light Net (2004), Car Pool (2005) and Model for a Public Space (2000, 2006) produce new locations for collective action and public discourse.
In parallel to these propositions Blackwell has engaged in critical descriptive work. Evicted May 1, 2000 (9 Hanna Avenue) uses pinhole photographs to illustrate the transformative potential of artists studio spaces. Detroit’s Underdevelopment: Separation, Divesture, Erasure, Encampment (2005) uses three maps to excavate the social and political forces that underdeveloped Detroit in the second half of the 20th Century. Factory = Territory (2005) uses drawings, maps and pinhole panoramas to document the dormitory factory territory along the eastern edge of China’s Pearl River Delta.
These projects have been exhibited across Canada at artist run centers and public institutions including Mercer Union, The New Gallery, The Hamilton Art Gallery, The Power Plant and the Mackenzie Art Gallery, at the University of Michigan and at the 2005 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture.
In 2005 Blackwell co-edited Unboxed: Engagements in Social Space, with Jen Budney and is co-curating the exhibition and publication Detours: Tactical Approaches to Urbanization in China with Pei Zhao. Since 1997 he has taught architecture and urban design at the University of Toronto, initiating the school’s China Global Architecture program in 2004.
In 2003 he was a visiting professor at Chongqing University and was the 2004-05 Muschenheim Fellow at the University of Michigan’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning.