Events / A Space of Speculation: A Literary Dérive through the Biennial

A Space of Speculation: A Literary Dérive through the Biennial


Literature and literary references permeate many of the works in the Biennial: from novels and poetry anthologies, to quotations and excerpts, to essays and interviews. These appearances are testimonies to literature’s capacity to describe and reflect on the lived environment with subtlety, nuance, and power.

A space of speculation invites four Chicago-based poets to present their work in an itinerant reading through the galleries, expanding the Biennial’s ambition to “draw out multiple narratives, perspectives, and positions” and to “open up arenas of speculation that imagine space and the built environment anew”. In the context of four selected installations, Jennifer Scappettone, Daniel Borzutzky, Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué, and José-Luis Moctezuma provoke dialogues with the questions, themes, and concerns raised in the exhibition. A space of speculation is organized by Cecília Resende Santos, Chicago Architecture Biennial Curatorial Fellow. 

Jennifer Scappettone is an artist and scholar whose work revolves around texts performed, translated, and set to the page, with recent projects focused on issues of ecology, labor, and citizenship. Her recent work, including The Republic of Exit 43 (2016), experiments with form to focus on landscapes of extraction and post-consumer waste.

Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator, known for his work’s portrayal of various kinds of political violence. He is the author of The Performance of Becoming Human, recipient of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry.

Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué is a poet and author of works surrounding gay and Latino culture, popular culture, and anxious bilingualism. His third book, Losing Miami (2019), is a bilingual experiment in grieving the potential sinking of Miami due to climate change and rising sea levels.

Jose-Luis Moctezuma is a Mexican-American poet, translator, editor, and researcher. His first book, Place-Discipline (2018), has been described as a “psycho-geography and metahistory of the formation of Chicago” that “reverse-engineer[s] America from the globally dispersed world city”.



Courtesy Chicago History Museum
Courtesy Jennifer Scappettone
Courtesy Daniel Borzutzky
Courtesy Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué
Courtesy Jose-Luis Moctezuma