What Makes an Assembly?

What Makes an Assembly?

Stories, Experiments, Inquiries

Edited by Anne Davidian and Laurent Jeanpierre

A crossdisciplinary inquiry into the practices and forms of assembly making, through multiple times and geographies.

Distributed for Sternberg Press




A crossdisciplinary inquiry into the practices and forms of assembly making, through multiple times and geographies.

How does the spatial organization and architecture of assemblies promote or hinder debate and collective decisionmaking? What are the material, rhetorical, and affective devices involved in forms of assembling? Through which scripts and rituals does an assembly become an ephemeral collective or an institution?

From ancestral practices in the indigenous territories of Brazil to the forgotten legacy of the communal assemblies of medieval Europe, from global experiments in radical democracy to the material history of parliaments “from above” and “from below,” Forms of Assembly makes the form of the assembly the specific object of a crossdisciplinary inquiry. Exploring and weaving together the aesthetic, anthropological, historical, and political aspects of assembly making, it questions the implications of forms on our political imaginary and agency, challenging the ways in which people gather, and how these forms of gathering shape how they think, speak, and act together. 

Forms of Assembly features commissioned texts and conversations with artists, architects, cultural theorists, social scientists, and organizers that provide original perspectives on the subject, as well as a selection of experimental assembly designs, including three new proposals specially conceived for the publication.

Texts by Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Hans Asenbaum, Jean-Godefroy Bidima, Patrick Boucheron, Manolo Callahan, François Coorens, Pascale Dufour, Tallulah Frappier, Delphine Gardey, Stacey Liou

Conversations with Frédérique Aït-Touati, Piersandra di Matteo and Florian Malzacher; Sandra Benites, Ana Terra Yawalapiti and Pablo Lafuente; Laura Lavin and Alana Gerecke; Catherine Malabou and Laurent Jeanpierre, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes and Markus Miessen, Philippe Urfalino and Laurent Jeanpierre

With contributions by Markus Miessen, Aleksandra Wasilkowska, raumlabor, Andreas Angelidakis, Decolonizing Architecture Art Research (DAAR), G1000, Sandi Hilal, Bruno Latour, Jonas Staal, Sumayya Valli


$32.00 T ISBN: 9783956796456 408 pp. | 5.75 in x 8.25 in 96 color illus., 24 b&w illus.

Not for sale in Europe or the UK.


Anne Davidian

Anne Davidian is a curator working at the intersections of contemporary arts, social sciences, and education. Since 2009, she has directed the French branch of the Evens Foundation, where she initiated the research and experimentation project Assemblies: Modern Rituals.

Laurent Jeanpierre

Laurent Jeanpierre holds a PhD in sociology and is a professor of Political Sciences at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Observer of the French Citizens Convention for the Climate in 2019, he now researches the potentialities of assembly as a political form.