Gavin Kroeber is an artist whose projects and writings poach from visual art, urban theory, and performance. He produces curatorial projects and performance events that interrogate the cultural dynamics of power and their expression in the poetics of place. His project New Cities, Future Ruins, which received the 2016 Meadows Prize, investigated planetary crises of growth, migration, and sustainability in the sprawling cities of the Sun Belt. Recently relocated to St. Louis, he organized the 2018 festival Dwell in Other Futures: Art / Urbanism / Midwest and the interdisciplinary platform Art + Landscape STL, which culminated in a 2019 exhibition produced in partnership with the German art institution Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and the Granite City Art & Design District (G-CADD). He most recently launched Laboratory for Suburbia, a collaboration with The Luminary and Washington University in St. Louis's Divided City initiative, and is currently developing a project engaging the multiplying burn zones of California's wildfires. He is co-founder of the nomadic curatorial platform Experience Economies and was Producer at Creative Time from 2005 until 2010. He is a regular contributor to Art in America and has written for publications such as Afterall, Art in America, Art Journal, and PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. He holds a Master of Design Studies in Art, Design, and the Public Domain from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
The 2014 edition of One Architecture Week was held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in the anxious final weeks of the city’s bid for European Capital of Culture. Exploiting this context, Experience Economies' (Gavin Kroeber and Rebecca Uchill) spent a week on the ground, responsively staging a series of experimental conversations on monuments, memory, and locality organized around the question, “What city are we being shown and why?”
Conducted at unorthodox locations around the city with Plovdivchani and other Bulgarian interlocutors, the performative dialogues approached the festival’s experiential urbanism (the city produced by the festival's itinerary) and its urban imaginaries (the city produced through marketing, press, and rumor) as objects for critique and play.
How to Disable Placemakers, an atmospheric series of Bulgarian-language readings on the city of Plovdiv, unfolded in the natural amphitheater offered by the roof of a public toilet. An act of low architectural dramaturgy, it featured contributions by publisher Manol Peykov and festival participant Neda Genova, with music by Big Banda.
Dustbins of History, featuring historian Emil Jassim and journalist Teodor Karakolev, was held in the stepped plaza behind the city’s Ottoman-era Dzjumaya Mosque simultaneous to the sunset call to prayer for a mixed crowd of both festival-goers and the youth that gather there to smoke, drink, and pass time.
Home Invasions, featuring artist Ivan Moudov, was a standing-room-only dialogic house party stuffed into the apartment of festival director Ljubo Geogiev.