Maintainers III: Practice, Policy and Care

Washington, D.C., October 6-9 2019

Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University

The third in a series of conferences that celebrates and unpacks the concepts of maintenance, infrastructure, repair, and the myriad forms of labor and expertise that sustain our human-built world.


We are honored that our keynotes have agreed to come and share their work, provoke us to think and motivate us to engage with one another across disciplinary and professional boundaries.

Photograph of Deb Chachra, Keynote Speaker

Deb Chachra

Dr. Chachra is Professor of Engineering at the Olin College of Engineering. In addition to working closely with Olin engineering students, she carries out research in the field, and speaks and writes widely on the topic, including writing a regular column, “Reinvention,” in the American Society for Engineering Education’s Prism magazine. She also collaborates with educators worldwide, often through Olin College’s Collaboratory and its programs. Dr. Chachra’s other research interests include gender and engineering, infrastructure, and biological materials (including a type of plastic made by bees). She also works at the intersection of technology and society, and has written commentaries for the Atlantic, the Guardian, the journal Nature, and the comic book Bitch Planet. Prior to joining the faculty of Olin College, Dr. Chachra was a postdoctoral associate at MIT in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She joined MIT from the University of Toronto, where she received her master's degree and Ph.D. in materials science. Dr. Chachra has a bachelor's degree in engineering science, also from the University of Toronto. She was a recipient of a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship and a Medical Research Council of Canada graduate fellowship, as well as numerous other honors for her research and publications. In 2010, she received an NSF CAREER Award in support of her research on engineering education. She is currently writing a book about our shared infrastructure networks, provisionally titled Public Utility, due out with Riverhead Books in spring 2021.

Taeyoon Choi & Cori Kresge

Photograph of Taeyoon Choi, Keynote Presenter

Taeyoon Choi is an artist, educator, and activist based in New York and Seoul. His art practice involves performance, electronics, drawings, and installations that form the basis for storytelling in public spaces. He has published artists’ books, including ‘Urban Programming 101’ and ‘Anti-Manifesto.’ Choi’s solo exhibitions include Speakers Corners, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, New York (2012); My friends, there is no friend, Spanien 19C, Aarhus (2011); and When Technology Fails, Reality Reveals, Art Space Hue, Seoul (2007). His projects were presented at the Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai (2012) and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015). Choi was an artist in residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace, New York (2014), The Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (2014) and at Art Center Nabi, Seoul (2006). He received commissions from Art +Technology Lab, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA (2014) and SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul (2016). He curated Resistance and Resilience at Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Vermont (2012) and directed Making Lab at Anyang Public Art Project, Anyang (2013). Choi holds a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a M.S. from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications Program in the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Choi co-founded the School for Poetic Computation where he continues to organize sessions and teach classes on electronics, drawings, and social practice. Recently, he’s been focusing on unlearning the wall of disability and normalcy, and enhancing accessibility and inclusion within art and technology.

Photograph of Cori Kresge, Keynote Presenter

Cori Kresge is a NYC based dancer, collaborator, writer, and teacher. Kresge graduated from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in dance and the Dean’s Award. She was a member of the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Center and International Vocal Ensemble. Kresge has been a member of the Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group, functioning as a living archive for Cunningham works from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. In 2016 Kresge staged Cunningham's Field Dances, an improvisational score, on students of CNDC, Angers, France. She has also been a member of José Navas/Compagnie Flak, and Stephen Petronio Company. Kresge currently collaborates and performs with various artists including Rashaun Mitchell+Silas Riener, Liz Magic Laser, Rebecca Lazier, Xavier Cha, Esmé Boyce, Ellen Cornfield, Sarah Skaggs, Bill Young, Wendy Osserman, Sally Silvers, The School for Poetic Computation, and film makers Alla Kovgan, Zuzka Kurtz, and Charles Atlas. She has taught technique and improvisation at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Bard College, Dickinson College, Barnard College, Princeton University, the Dalton School, and other institutions. Kresge also teaches the Little Creators preschool program at Church Street School for Music and Art in NYC. She is currently studying Zero Balancing, a therapeutic bodywork.

Melissa Gregg

Melissa Gregg is a writer, ethnographer and specialist commentator on the future of work and technology. She is the author of several books, including Work’s Intimacy (2011), The Affect Theory Reader (2010), and Counterproductive: Time Management in the Knowledge Economy (2018). After a career in academia, Melissa joined Intel in 2013 to co-direct a new industry-academic partnership in social computing. She is now Senior Principal Engineer and Research Director in Intel’s Client Computing Division. Her research guides investments and user experience requirements across a range of platforms, from commercial PCs to the ambient and intelligent laptops of the future. Melissa’s research on independent professionals in Asia, Europe, the US and Australia has been critical for Intel’s future office vision, making workplace transformation attentive to the needs of the growing gig economy. As co-chair of Intel’s Out and Ally Leadership Council, Melissa is also actively involved in diversity and inclusion best practice at strategic level.

Photograph of Melissa Gregg, Keynote Presenter
Photograph of Charles Marohn, Keynote Presenter

Photograph of Charles Marohn, Keynote Presenter

Charles Marohn

Charles Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns. He's a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Marohn has a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. Marohn is the lead author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns — Volume 1, Volume 2  and Volume 3 — as well as the author of A World Class Transportation System. He hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and is a primary writer for Strong Towns’ web content. He has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America and in 2017 was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen.

Illustrated Documentation

Cornerstones of preventative conservation

Cornerstones of preventative conservation

For Maintainers III Bernardo Robles Hidalgo and Koen Berghmans, creators of MAMA, propose to visually document the discussions and activities of the conference and make a shared story of it. Through their running research, Bernardo and Koen understand how documentation is a maintenance practice in itself and consider their proposal to be a critical approach to the theme of Information Maintenance that will serve the further development of The Maintainers.  

Examples of Bernardo and Koen’s illustrated documentations can be found here (right and below) and on the the MAMA website. As MIII-specific illustrations are created, they will be shared on The Maintainers III website.

Maintaining an electrical panel.

Maintaining an electrical panel.

Since the very beginning of their MAMA project, Bernardo and Koen have documented their research by making line drawings that they combine with small captions of text. They develop their practice through storytelling. Today they have created a wide collection of items that they present as a manual of maintenance on their website. MAMA is a developing spatial practice that takes a critical look at “work” and our relationship with the built environment by exploring maintenance as craft. MAMA defends the notion of maintenance as a legitimate subject within architecture itself (a part of the designed and built environment that transforms it radically) and not merely a by-product. MAMA believes it is fundamental to question what we maintain when we practice maintenance as a research method. (info(at)mama(dot)brussels)

Illustration of Koen Berghmans

Koen Berghmans (1983) studied architecture. He has been assisting performing artists and is engaging in different causes, among which POP (Potential Office Project), that questions collaboration beyond the limits of disciplines, social occupations and precarity. In 2013 he held his retrospective exhibition at home (Brussels). He met Bernardo within the collective of Rotor and they lived together within the housing community of Woningen 123 Logements.

Illustration of Bernardo Robles Hidalgo

Bernardo Robles Hidalgo (1984) studied architecture and project management for construction. He is a collaborator of the organisation Toestand as a project assistant, analyzing the uses and redevelopment of a public space in Brussels during its temporary occupation in anticipation of the future project. He is a painter and illustrator; his work has been exhibited at the RAA (Royal Academy of Arts, London), WSC (Watercolor Society Competition, London) and Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam) amongst others. He met Koen within the collective of Rotor and they lived together within the housing community of Woningen 123 Logements.