Authors / writers on “intervention”

Andrew Boyd. In Beautiful Trouble:

Prefigurative interventions are direct actions sited at the point of assumption — where beliefs are made and unmade, and the limits of the possible can be stretched. The goal of a prefigurative intervention is twofold: to offer a compelling glimpse of a possible, and better, future, and also — slyly or baldly — to point up the poverty of imagination of the world we actually do live in.


Chantal Mouffe. In Atlas of Transformation:

What is needed is a widening of the field of artistic intervention by intervening directly in a multiplicity of social spaces in order to oppose the program of total social mobilization of capitalism.


I submit that to grasp the political character of those varieties of artistic activism we need to see them as counter-hegemonic interventions whose objective is to occupy the public space in order to disrupt the smooth image that corporate capitalism is trying to spread, bringing to the fore its repressive character.


Slavoj Žižek. In an article for In These Times.

There are never perfect conditions for an act—every act by definition comes too early. But one has to begin somewhere, with a particular intervention; one just has to bear in mind the further complications that such an act will lead to.


Thomas Markussen. In The Disruptive Aesthetics of Design Activism:

Urban design activism is about introducing heterogeneous material objects and artefacts into the urban field of perception. In their direct intervention into urban space they invite active engagement, interaction or simply offer new ways of inhabiting urban space. In so doing, design activism alters the conditions for the urban experience.

Alberto Altés Arlandis and Oren Lieberman. In Intraventions, Durations, Effects:

For us interventions both measure and make, existing as both separate entities (of a city, a street, an institution, a landscape) as well as effects. It follows that we could define interventions as apparatuses, enacting them firstly, not as passive objects but as things which do things to spaces and times, and secondly, as carrying political ‘power’ through their desires and agendas.


Anna Bergren Miller. In The Sharing Economy Is Booming in Helsinki: Here’s Why

The city’s most helpful interventions have involved its failure to act – moments when city officials chose to ignore code violations that might otherwise put a stop to sharing activity


Noam Chomsky. In an interview for Jacobin.

One can imagine a world in which intervention is undertaken by some benign force dedicated to the interests of people who are suffering. But if we care about victims, we cannot make proposals for imaginary worlds. Only for this world, in which intervention, with rare consistency, is undertaken by powers dedicated to their own interests, where the victims and their fate is incidental, despite lofty professions.

The historical record is painfully clear, and there have been no miraculous conversions. That does not mean that intervention can never be justified, but these considerations cannot be ignored — at least, if we care about the victims.


Jeanne van Heeswijk in The artist will have to decide who to serve.

Cultural interventions are a form of urban acupuncture (hit and run tactics) that will allow the sensitive places in our society to emerge and the blocked relational energies flow again. (…) To intervene in such a way that the people who are participating can increase the number and intensity of their ties, may seem a simple act to perform. 


René Boer & Mark Minkjan in Why the Pop-up Hype Isn’t Going to Save Our Cities.

The pop- and bottom-up interventions almost always remain incidental, isolated and dependent on institutional good-will, and will therefore have a hard time becoming an actual ‘counterpower’. It’s important to understand that the future development of cities will be a power game, and incidental interventions by citizens with spare time will not have enough leverage to enforce structural change.

Jerry Diethelm in De-colonizing Design Thinking:

Intervention as a colonizing metaphor in designing isn’t, of course, as disastrous as the kind of foreign intervention that was the invasion of Iraq, where the intervening power “didn’t know Shiite from Shinola,” but it is a form of foreign intervention nevertheless. The metaphoric implication of the outsider perspective is that a perceived qualitative difference in a place is not the primary responsibility of the owners of that place. Superior outside knowledge (and power) will be necessary to resolve the situation. The contrasting ideal in designing is a kind of sovereign autopoiesis, where the people of a place have the principle responsibility for taking care of themselves, their evolving culture, and the ecological health and justice of their nested presence in the world.

Adriana Clemente in La participación como enfoque de intervención social:

The notion of “situated intervention” means that an intervention should meet certain particularities, that are known through a diagnosis, and in such way minimize the impact of interventions that pretend to have totalizing results, as if the situation of families who inhabit poor areas would be the same.


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