Mapping Affecdence: Urban counter-drag in San Francisco, 1966-75

Monday, 01/28/19
106 Wurster Hall

"Mapping Affecdence: Urban counter-drag in San Francisco, 1966-75"
Natalia Matesanz Ventura, PhD Visiting Student Researcher
Sponsor: Greg Castillo, Associate Professor of Architecture
Monday, January 28, 12-1:30pm
106 Wurster

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, San Francisco’s counterculture devised underground, self-organized do-it-yourself (DIY) urban networks of communal survival. The Angels of Light, an acid-drag commune of free-theatre performers, transformed buildings, recycled urban waste for props, and performed in the streets, often on the hallucinogenic drug LSD. Their radical androgyny, sexual freedom, and inclusivity infused public performances that appropriated the urban environment in radical confrontation with the status quo.

Approaching counterculture drag activism through diagrammatic mapping reveals spatial relations missing from social and cultural history scholarship. Combining affect and performance theory within a Situationist framework, affecdent cartography (derived from affect + dissent) reveals how the Angels of Light used urban space for counterculture contestations of mainstream gender, political, and consumer practices: a previously uncharted history embedded in San Francisco’s built environment.

Natalia Matesanz´s doctoral research maps different socio-cultural scenarios of the 1970s. Through what she calls affecdent cartographies, the project reveals how grassroot practices of affection and dissent reshape the city. For the Fall semester of 2018, Matesanz worked at UC Berkeley as a visiting scholar completing her case study on the drag counterculture of San Francisco.

Matesanz founded cumuloLimbo studio in 2012, her transdisciplinary approach to urban space, architecture, performances, and exhibitions traces the links between gender studies, human geography, sociology, and the arts. Her articles have been published in academic journals and her work was exhibited in the Architectural Biennale di Venezia. Matesanz has a Professional Degree in Architecture from Alcalá de Henares University and a MArch in Cultural Landscape and Urban Design from Madrid´s School of Architecture, ETSAM, where she was an assistant instructor working for the Architecture Department until 2016.