Domestic Orbits

Brief: In December 2018, the Mexican Supreme Court recognized the right of domestic workers to be affiliated to social security putting an end to a long history of discrimination and invisibility. Under the present administration, the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) launched an 18-month pilot program for voluntary affiliation. Once the trial period has passed, affiliation will be mandatory for all domestic workers. What will be the consequences of 2,4 million domestic workers progressively entering the formal economy? What solutions can be devised to organize access to healthcare, labor rights, decent working conditions, and leisure? How can architectural interventions help recognize, reduce, and redistribute the problems faced by domestic workers? In other terms, this studio inquires on the capacity of material spatial practices to realize the provisions made by laws. This studio proposes to visualize and understand how space is articulated according to specific gendered, classist, and racist configurations of the social. Our aim is to provide narratives of Mexico City that foreground the conflicts faced by the workforce onto which domestic labor is unloaded. Each student will be asked to identify the conditions that domestic workers face such as distance and time use, representation and appropriation, safety and wellbeing—among others.

This studio is a continuation of Frida Escobedo’s Domestic Orbits (Gato Negro Ediciones and iii, 2018), a publication in which we studied how the unequal distribution of reproductive labor within the Mexican household was mapped out onto the city. Our perspective was historical —what are the ways in which the housing unit has changed—, as well as spatial —how do relations of power expressed in terms of visibility/invisibility within the household come to articulate questions of access, transportation, and location when we look at the urban scale. Domestic Orbits is a collaborative research led by Frida Escobedo’s studio and the instituto de investigaciones independientes. 


This course has an irregular meeting schedule.

Frida Escobedo will be in residence Tuesdays and Wednesdays bi-weekly:  August 29 and 30, September 10, 11, October 8,9, 22, 23 and 31, November 1, 5, 6, 19, and 20, and for final reviews.

The instructor will also be available via Skype to account for “off week” missed time. 

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