Pratt’s Graduate Architecture and Urban Design program is pleased to announce the launch of Pratt Parallels this Fall at our new research and event space on Governors Island. Please join us for a discussion between Arlene Keizer (Prof. Humanities and Media Studios Pratt Institute) + Mrinalini Aggarwal (Artist + 2018-2020 AICAD Fellow Pratt Institute), moderated by David Erdman (Chair GAUD) and Ariane Lourie Harrison (MS Coordinator GAUD).

Part of the broader theme of Embracing the Modalities, Asynchronies and Densities of Post Pandemic Cities, this session focuses on themes of social justice in relation to the things we make and how we represent them. Bringing together two influential thinkers and scholars from differing practices – media theory and fine arts – this informal and conversational talk will examine issues of representational sensibilities and their political implications. Keizer’s work on Kara Walker, her scholarship in African American, Carribean and American Literature and Aggarwal’s background as an Indian artist working in the US on politically sensitive sites entitled “fields,” bridge issues of intersectionality across the practices of fine art, architecture and landscape architecture: through the specificity of design and the things we make. The discussion seeks to use content from the RE: Siding exhibition, the relationship of that work to reconfigured colonial styles and their proposed reconfiguring domestic patterns on Governors Island speculating upon their future post pandemic development and the complex historical origins of the island as its progenitor and departing point.

Similar to prior Pratt Parallels these are intended to be somewhat ad hoc and improvised conversations and sessions. In keeping with former Parallels on a boat in the NY Harbor, these are at Governors Island, off campus and limited in attendance capacity. Understood as a picnic salon, we hope that those of you that join us will bring blankets, refreshments etc to enjoy and participate in the conversation. Tours of the current RE:Siding Exhibition are also available, concurrent with the event.

Tickets for the event are available here 

We will send details for visiting the event after you have reserved your ticket.

Note: to attend in-person you must meet the campus access requirements outlined here:

Since tickets are limited due to the need to follow social-distancing requirements, the event will also be streamed on the GAUD’s youtube channel here.


Arlene R. Keizer, Professor of Humanities and Media Studies, is a scholar in the fields of literary and cultural studies, critical theory, feminist theory–especially black feminist theory–and psychoanalysis. She is the author of Black Subjects: Identity Formation in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery (Cornell UP, 2004), as well as book chapters and articles in a range of journals including American Literature, PMLA, African American Review, and Radical Teacher. Keizer holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University. In addition to her scholarly work, she has published poetry, film reviews, and experimental criticism. Her new book, The Body of This Life: Kara Walker’s Art and the Black Postmodern, will be published by Northwestern University Press. Prior to her arrival at Pratt, Keizer spent 20 years teaching African American, Caribbean, and American literature and culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Brown University, and the University of California, Irvine. Her administrative service, for these universities and the profession at large, has included extensive work reviewing manuscripts and degree programs, serving as an equity advisor, and directing the PhD Program in Culture and Theory at UCI. For the 2020-21 academic year, she holds the Mellon Foundation-sponsored Sketch Model residency at Olin College of Engineering.

Mrinalini Aggarwal is an Indian artist working at the intersections of architecture, art, and design. Through a research-led, speculative, and site-specific practice, she creates installations and environments that seek to reconsider the values that spaces offer, and the ways through which they mediate human relationships. Her works often respond to the hegemonic histories of urban design projects within contemporary global cities. She is interested in conceptions of reality, pleasure, and nature within eastern practices.

Mrinalini has an MFA degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, California and an undergraduate degree in Exhibition Design from the National Institute of Design, India. Her work has been exhibited at venues across the United States and Asia, including the Headlands Center for the Arts, The Old San Francisco Mint, Root Division, The First Presbyterian Church of New York, ChaShaMa, and the India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Mrinalini is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design Fellowship (2018-20), the New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program (2019), and the Graduate Fellowship Residency Award at the Headlands Center for the Arts (2017). She has served as a juror for the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Grants, and has taught a curriculum of drawing, sculpture, and interdisciplinary practice at Pratt Institute, NY and the University of Cincinnati, OH. Mrinalni founded Streetlight in 2016 as a critical spatial research and design laboratory for decolonizing public space. She is presently engaged in a public arts project with the City of Oakland and ProArts Gallery and COMMONS in Oakland.