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Cities Methodologies 2012 

 
UCL Urban Laboratory exhibition and events programme showcasing innovative urban research methodologies

4-7 July 2012, launch, 4 July, 18.30, all welcome

Open Thurs to Fri 10.00-20.00, Sat 10.00-13.00

All events are free and open to the public.

UCL Slade Research Centre, Woburn Square, London, WC1H 0NS

For full programme and list of exhibits please click here.

Inaugurated in 2009, Cities Methodologies is an initiative to showcase innovative methods of urban research from across UCL and the wider urban research community. Through peer-reviewed exhibits and events, it draws together undergraduate, masters, and doctoral research, alongside work produced by academics and other researchers and practitioners. Cities Methodologies promotes cross- and inter-disciplinary work and this year showcases recent research on a wide range of cities including Detroit, Paris, London, Johannesburg, Mumbai and Beirut.

This year, through a public call for participants, we particularly‚ though not exclusively‚ welcomed proposals on:

• Collaborative/public methods for urban research
• Mega events and urban change
• Housing and dishousing

Visitors to Cities Methodologies will encounter diverse methods of urban research in juxtaposition - from archival studies to digital media experiments, practice-led art, architectural and design work to film-making, soundscapes, games and public sculpture.

2012 contributors include:

Adriana Allen-Rachel Alliston-Sarah Bayliss-Megan Bradshaw-Otto von Busch-Ben Campkin-Caterina Carola-Vanesa Castán Broto-Alejandra Celedon-Paul Charman-Julian Cheyne-Steven Chodoriwsky-Philip Comerford-Steve Dowding-Andreas Eriksson-Ismail Farouk-Gynna Franco-Hayley Gewer-Mohamad Hafeda-Hanna Hilbrandt-Steven Hobbs-Sandra Jasper-Sebastian Juhnke-David Kroll-Angela Last-Matteo Melioli-Rebecca Merrill-Ignacia Mesa-Agnieszka Mlicka-City as Interface: Ava Fatah gen Schieck, Moritz Behrens, Tasos Varoudis, Christos Chondros, Eleni Georgiadou, Lida Theodorou, Stefanos Gkougkoustamos, Yimeng Tang, Martin Traunmueller-MSc Building and Urban Design in Development-MSc Urban Studies-Azzurra Muzzonigro-Marcus Neustetter-Benny Nilsen-Farid Noufaily-Fíacha O’Dubhda-Alexandra Parry-Brent Pilkey-Hilary Powell-Liz Rideal-David Roberts-Mireille Roddier-Rebecca Ross-Troy Schaum-Rachel Scicluna-Ariel Shepherd-Rosalyne Shieh-Simson&Volley-Martin Slavin-Carolyn Smith-Anna Subirats-Johan Thom-Evren Uzer-Mike Wells-Peter R.H. Wood-Laura Weatherly-Daniele Zacchi
 
Follow us on twitter @UCLurbanlab and like our facebook page for updates. 

For enquiries regarding Cities Methodologies please contact Laura Hirst, UCL Urban Laboratory Administrator: laura.hirst.10@ucl.ac.uk

Programme of events and exhibitors

All events will be held at the UCL Slade Research Centre, Woburn Square, London, WC1H 0NS

Thursday 5th July

Alejandra Celedon
Exhibit: The City of Oikonomia (Room 1)
Event: 'Retracing the City - Mapping Plans' (lecture)
Thursday 5th July 12.00-12.30, Gallery

‘The City of Oikonomia’ aims at presenting the drawing of the plan as a socio-political operation that internalises rhetorical power through its drawn lines. It displays a collection of six central drawings, constituting a visual history of the Plan, paired with six different rhetorical tactics – metaphor, metonym, synecdoche, decorum, ekphrasis and irony. By doing so, it proposes a drift in the role of plans from representation towards instrumentalisation, arguing that the modern plan becomes a technology for the administering, and eventually normalization, of the entire city. In this way, these ‘tactical drawings’ ultimately question the fate of the plan and planning.

‘Retracing the City – Mapping Plans’, an accompanying lecture, aims to internalise the rhetorical power of the lines drawn in housing plans, using the exhibited plans to look at how the plan of the house becomes a technology for the administration, and eventually normalization, of the entire city.


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Angela Last and Mireille Roddier
Exhibit: DIY City Branding / Semiopathic City (Room 3)
Event: The Image of the City: the politics of representation and democratisation of access to shaping the materiality and representation of the city (presentation)
Thursday 5th July 12.30 - 13.30, Gallery

Angela Last’s DIY City Branding is an experimental public engagement project intended to provoke discussion about the branding of cities, iconographic skylines and ‘privileged views’. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to modify London skylines, as seen from exemplary privileged (tourists, luxury housing, corporate headquarters) and unprivileged (social housing) sites. Providing the option to chose from existing iconic buildings or to commission new ones, DIY City Branding draws attention to relations between image versus the experience of place and the use of architecture to create marketable identities. The installation is part of a wider project on democratic decision-making and urban space.

Michel Serres’ term ‘soft pollution’ describes the ‘tsunamis of signs, images, and logos flooding rural, civic, public and natural spaces.’ Mireille Roddier’s The Semiopathic City attempts to record the conflicting signifiers emblazoning the Parisian public sphere. It juxtaposes two series of traditionally Parisian imagery: the first is a series of over-stylized touristic snapshots of typical Parisian façades. By exaggerating the pictorial compositions of Haussmanian details, the pervasive presence of global corporate logos comes to the foreground, as well as our general blindness to them. The second series presents a toponymic analysis of Parisian places, highlighting the lives and merit of those who most illustriously represent 2000 years of resistance to occupations.

These two exhibits are accompanied by a presentation, The Image™ of the City, which discusses both the politics of representation (Roddier) and the democratisation of access to shaping the materiality and representation of the city (Last). Both projects consider the role of city branding, urban economics and the politics of tourism in overlapping ways. This joint talk discusses the roles of image and place, representation and experience, local and global metropolitan identities, from the prominent display of global corporate logos on the local vernacular to the use of architecture itself as icon of economic power.  


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William Hunter/MSc Building and Urban Design in Development

Exhibit: Dharavi, Contested Urbanism: Mega Projects, Critical Strategies, and Design Methodology
Event: Dialogue on methodologies and case-based research
Thursday 5th July 13.30 - 14.15, Gallery

This exhibition represents the culmination of 4 years design research including writing, field work and design studio projects carried out in conjunction with the Bartlett Development Planning Unit's MSc Building and Urban Design course. Through the presentation of the Dharavi/Mumbai case study and the emblematic nature of its socio-political and socio-spatial complexities - from top-down redevelopment plans and bottom-up resistance to the revelations of dynamic informal economies - the exhibition reveals various phases of design investigation highlighting interlinked tools, methodologies and conceptual frameworks that attempt to reinterpret the notion of design principles and processes, pointing towards distinct yet complementary design actions for addressing a range of scales and interventions- ultimately suggesting a critical reconfiguration of design practice.


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UCL MSc Adaptive Architecture and Computation, ‘City as Interface’ module
Ava Fatah gen Schieck, Tasos Varoudis and Moritz Behrens

Exhibit: The time-based city: Methodological innovations in the digital age (Room 6)
Event: Swipe I Like (presentation)
Thursday 5th July 14.15 -14.45, Gallery

The city is increasingly generating a huge amount of data on various platforms including physical, mobile, digital and social ones and through various data sources such as GPS, Google Maps, Twitter, and Facebook. We show methodological and detailed explorations as part of the Module ‘City as Interface’ on the MSc Adaptive Architecture and Computation. The central question underpinning the research explores:
How the use of digital media technologies might generate an additional platform for interactions in the city, locally and remotely and how the use of media technologies might make our cities more social, rather than just more hi tech. Three exhibits exploring these questions will be shown:

Urban Flows: Pedestrian Movement and Simulated Behaviour Formations in Urban Public Space (Christos Chondros, Eleni Georgiadou, Lida Theodorou)

Space/aSpace: Exploring mediated cityscape through geo-located Twitter-data (Stefanos Gkougkoustamos, Yimeng Tang, Martin Traunmueller)

Swipe I Like: Can we Enhance Visitor Engagement with Museums through Embedding a Location-Based ‘I like’ Button which connects Online and Real World Communities? (Moritz Behrens)

Moritz Behrens will give a talk and demo about the project ‘Swipe I Like'. He will explore how we can enhance visitor engagement with museums through embedding a location-based ‘I like’ button which connects online and real world communities’. Specifically, it will extend the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to locate NFC card readers in cultural institutions, allowing visitors to simply “swipe” a card with an NFC chip to register whether they “like” an event, idea or place. This information is instantaneously transmitted to an online social networking platform and/or database for collection and sharing.


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Stella Flatten
Event: The role of the image in reconstructing contemporary Berlin
Thursday 5th July 15.00 – 16.00, Auditorium


The presentation is about the usage of images in shaping the built environment of Berlin since 1989. 'Reconstructionsim' is in fashion when it comes to architectural projects in Germany. The recourse of styles of the past is an old practice, but the exact photographic re-construction of the outside appearance of a building is a new phenomena. The presentation focusses on the different roles images play in the act of reconstructing buildings, representing history and linking memories to the public space. Three main examples will be discussed: the Stadtschloss, the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse and the citywide intervention 'destroyed diversity'.



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Rachel Alliston & Laura Weatherly
Exhibit: Elastic Subtle City (Room 3)
Event: Public sculpture in relation to practice and the city at large (lecture)
Thursday 5th July 16.00 – 16.30, Auditorium

The city in its contemporary moment accepts the urban dweller as much an expert as the urban planner; the squatter as the architect; and the artist as the critic.  Within the resultant network of interaction, Alliston and Weatherly posit their interdisciplinary collaboration in public sculpture as a mode of urban research.

Elastic Subtle City evaluates conversation around work as one form of urban building, acknowledging the significance of discourse to collaboration and the city. Alliston and Weatherlys' drawings for their upcoming public sculpture in London’s Gordon Square are sited in the event of a conversation traced by their written correspondence.

The artists will talk on public sculpture in relation to the their separate practices and the city at large. What promise does public sculpture offer to the continued making of the city at a historical moment in which participation beyond building- and policy-making is proving key to social operations? And where does the micro-event of the conversation stand in relation to the broader language moves of the macro-event that is city-building?



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Liz Rideal
Exhibit: Speed Date: St. Paul’s (Room 2)
Event: Speed Date: St. Paul’s (lecture)
Thursday 5th July 17.00 – 17.30, Auditorium

Liz Rideal’s artwork uses contemporary media and elements of abstraction to refocus our attention on St.Paul’s. The coloured silks not only enhance the way that the building is perceived, they recapture particular parts of the structure - possibly lost within the totality - and represent them in a new and imaginative way. A lecture and Q&A on this and related work will elucidate the research underpinning the exhibit.



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Matteo Mellioli
Exhibit: Ghost Space (Room 4)
Event: Ghost Space (gallery talk)
Thursday 5th July 18.00 – 18.20, Gallery

Matteo Mellioli will talk about his work, ‘Ghost Space’, a visual representation of Venice’s soundscape, which leaves the viewer imagining sounds and far echoes generated by the canals and the lagoon while standing in front of San Marco’s square. Discussion will focus on the importance of representing sound, its form and movement.

Matteo Melioli is a London based designer, currently working for Zaha Hadid Architects on several art and performance projects. Matteo trained in Architecture and Design Theory in Venice, where he practiced on a number of historical refurbishment projects under the patronage of UNESCO. He subsequently relocated to London to enrol in a PhD program at the Bartlett. Today, Matteo’s main interest is in writing about design that engages visual and acoustic issues. This is the subject of his publications ‘Sensorial Spaces: the Construction of Reality through Perception’ (2007) and ‘Inhabiting Soundscape: Architecture of the Unseen World’ (2007). The essays explore the concept of space as it evolves in response to perception and phenomenology, cutting across the fields of architecture, music and the visual arts.

 

Matteo’s work explores the perceptual linking of seeing and listening, and the sculptural properties of sounds. In his drawings and graphics, Matteo represents the varying interplay of music, time and movement, unfolding the often imperceptible structure that binds sound and space together.


When stating that listening to sound is something related to space, Matteo does not only mean that the sounds come from somewhere or that they fill a certain place, he wants instead to express the fact that these sounds are actual presences with their own specific spatial form, and this is not so much because the phenomenon unfolds in a certain space, but because it forms and creates a spatial dimension that Matteo aims to capture in his works.


Matteo also presented his research at leading international conferences and symposia such as the Systems Research in the Arts and Humanities and the Architecture Music Acoustic where he engaged artists such Bernhard Leitner and Bill Fontana. In 2009 Matteo exhibits his series of printing ‘Ghost Space’ at the École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Paris-La Villette and in 2011 at the Serikawa Gallery in Tokyo.



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Ben Campkin and Rebecca Ross
Exhibit: Real-time London (Room 3)
Event: Real-time London (gallery talk)
Thursday 5th July 18.30 – 19.00, Gallery

This project explores the contemporary vernacular portrayal of London by displaying text and images being created in and of the city, and uploaded to the internet, ‘right now’. The fragments displayed are drawn from the most recent uploads to various public databases (e.g. Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Google). Our aim is to frame these new types of visual and textual vernacular representation in relation to one another, examining how they produce new understandings and experiences of the city ‘on the ground’, and how they operate as new forms of participation in London life.


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Games Monitor
Exhibit: Grasping the incommensurable: Co-research and politics as immanent experience (Room 5)
Event: Investigative research into radioactive waste on the Olympic Park site (discussion with Paul Charman and Mike Wells of Games Monitor, chaired by Julian Cheyne).
Thursday 5th July 19.00 - 20.30, Auditorium

The 2012 Olympic developments have devastated local light industry and contribute to land-rent inflation across the area, accelerating the displacement of those on low incomes. Policymaking indicates a shift towards reflexive governance, a neo-conservative turn. Games Monitor, a website dedicated to deconstructing the Olympic development process will be showcased, highlighting the multidisciplinary work undertaken by the core production group. A display board profiles an essay on the Games Monitor group’s praxis, while photography projection will highlight the human resonance of displacement, and its negation in planning procedures and construction.

A hosted discussion with Paul Charman and Mike Wells will explore the processes of investigative journalism, including the limitations of Freedom of Information legislation, and the detail of their investigations into the excavation and disposal of contaminated and radioactive soil on the Olympic Park site in Stratford.

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Friday 6th July

David Kroll
Exhibit: Lease Agreements and Estate Planning: The Minet Estate 1841-1890
Event: Lease Agreements and Estate Planning: The Minet Estate 1841-1890 (talk)
Friday 6th July 11.00 - 11.15, Gallery

David Kroll will discuss the exhibit and will talk about the planning of the Minet estate, a Victorian housing estate in Lambeth. The study of the Minet estate is part of his PhD research on the planning and design of late Victorian and Edwardian speculative housing in London.


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Gynna Franco and Vanesa Castán Broto
Exhibit: Tuzla: Energy Landscapes (Room 3)
Event: Tuzla: Energy Landscapes (talk and film)
Friday 6th July 13.00-14.00, Gallery

The short film ‘Tuzla: Energy Landscapes’ was shot in two weeks in October 2011 after urban researcher Vanesa Castán Broto was given funding to return to the Bosnian city where she has been doing research on local perspectives on pollution and environmental justice since 2005. The event will share specific details of the 2011 research trip with the audience and update them on the current debate. The film will then feature the previously inaccessible voice of the TEP (thermo-electric plant) in the debate and show images of the plant’s internal operations for the first time.


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Hilary Powell and Isaac Marrero-Guillamón
Exhibit: Stratford City and the New Oz
Event: Stratford City and the New Oz
Friday 6th July 13.00-14.00 Auditorium

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".
Ozymandias. Percy Bysshe Shelley

An eventful installation and exploration of the nebulous idea of legacy in relation to the London 2012 Olympics. This installation arises from the issues and contents of the book 'The Art of Dissent: Adventures In London's Olympic State' edited by Hilary Powell and Isaac Marrero and including the work of 60 artists, writers, photographers, film makers, poets and academics: http://www.theartofdissent.net

An accompanying evening event will focus on the imaginative potential of examining notions of (specifically Olympic) Legacy through fiction and artistic practices making their way on a boulevard of questionably broken dreams and dystopian visions. Contributors to this discussion will include poets, writers and artist contributors to the book ‘The Art of Dissent’. The event will be filmed and the future visions conjured up throughout the evening later composited into a final film.


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MSc Urban Studies

Event: Mega-Events and Urban Practices
Friday 6th July 14.00-15.00, Auditorium

This event will detail and discuss the innovative and critical practices Urban Studies MSc students at UCL developed and explored in relation to urban mega-events and festivals. Students will talk about why they chose particular approaches and how these have helped reconsider the interface between practice and urban theory. Practices ranged from film-making and fiction-writing, to the creation of postcards and bunting, and covered the 2012 London Olympics, Millennium Dome, 1951 Festival of Britain, 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Notting Hill Carnival.

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Steven Chodoriwsky and Farid Noufaily
Exhibit: Unifil City (Room 6)
Event: Unifil City (live Skype presentation)
Friday 6th July 15.00-15.30, Gallery

The project investigates informal marketplaces in conflict zones, especially those on the doorsteps of political or infrastructural wherewithal. This exhibit presents the role, evolution, and current state of "Mingy Street" market, a thriving market living alongside the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters' thirty-five-year peacekeeping presence in Naqoura, Southern Lebanon. Equal parts archive-building, architectural fieldwork and performative gesture, visitors are invited to select and project overhead transparencies from a curated dossier, presenting unmanifested futures and overlapping, elusive versions of Mingy Street and its inhabitants, asking viewers to speculate on the ‘Unifil City’ that never was.

The event will feature a talk on the research project that investigates informal marketplaces in conflict zones, especially those on the doorsteps of political or infrastructural wherewithal.

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Sebastian Juhnke
Event: Analysing travel guides to understand how visitors make sense of the city (talk)
Friday 6th July 15.30-16.00, Auditorium

Travel guides are a major source of information about cities, most of all for actual visitors. They are a vital resource for exploring how tourists are meant to understand the city. Based on a case study on East London this talk will demonstrate that the celebration of ethnic diversity in travel guides is embedded in economic contexts of leisure consumption and maintains ethnic boundaries.



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Andrew Harris, Louis Moreno, Oliver Goodhall and William Haggard
Event: Creative City Limits and Urban Reasoning (pamphlet launch)
Friday 6th July 16.00-17.00, Auditorium

Creative City Limits was an AHRC-funded international and interdisciplinary research network run in 2011 by the UCL Urban Laboratory and CABE. It used the recent financial crisis, and the uneven urban prospects of recovery, to review and rethink the historical and theoretical relationship between culture, economy and urban development. Further information: www.creativecitylimits.org

This event will launch a pamphlet and booklet that have developed out of the network’s presentations and discussions. Firstly a pamphlet written by Andrew Harris and Louis Moreno, and designed by Adria Davidson, which emphasizes five points that can help reformulate and reclaim the notion of the creative city. Secondly, a booklet produced by William Haggard and Oliver Goodhall which opens up new questions about the parameters of regeneration policy, and the links between ethics, research, and practice.

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David Roberts
Exhibit: Am I Here (Room 1)
Event: Am I Here (gallery talk)
Friday 6th July 17.30-17.50, Gallery

‘Am I Here’ is an artwork created collaboratively by the residents of the condemned Haggerston Estate in East London to challenge tabloid stereotypes and reclaim language that has defined social housing tenants. David Roberts will give a presentation on the methodological terrain of collaborative practice-led engagement.

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Agnieszka Mlicka
Exhibit: Alternative Masterplan (Room 2)
Event: Painting an Alternative Masterplan (CPD session)
Friday 6th July 17.00-18.00, Auditorium

‘Painting an Alternative Masterplan’ is an 1-hour Continuing Professional Development session (CPD) which will set out the rationale behind the production of painting as a design method. During this interactive training, you will: learn about alternative modes of visual representation of the urban environment; develop an understanding of painting as a research method; and become skilled in critically assessing your own design intentions. The session will provide real-life examples through the work ‘Alternative Masterplan’, which analyses the visual methods used to (re)present the current large-scale redevelopment of Canning Town in East London. The projection appropriates the visual material produced as part of urban regeneration, while the painting proposes an alternative visual language that reflects the diversity of perspectives coexisting in an urban site.



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Rebecca Merrill
Event: 'Fahrenheit 451 Displaced' (a screening of François Truffaut’s 1966 film)
Friday 6th July 19.30-21.30, Auditorium

‘Do you ever read the books you burn?’ In the process of locating his 1966 adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, François Truffaut chose spaces as a simultaneous advertisement and critique of the new modern then situating itself within the post-war landscape. The project Fahrenheit 451 Displaced drives towards a new form of observing urban space, shifting the political charge present in Truffaut’s original locations towards the contemporary equivalent. Fahrenheit 451 Displaced presents a stack of papers divided by sixteen chapter titles derived from the original landscapes. These chapter titles in their deliberate ambiguity are designed to entice the audience subconsciously towards a new landscape, the modern equivalent of 1966.
Each sheet bears an autonomous set of instructions, these being a painstakingly typed version of Truffaut’s camera movements. The camera thus becomes the script and through the formulae of instructions, the audience the actor. The audience is invited to enter the landscape where they have displaced Fahrenheit 451, and act out the derivatives. Hence  their bodies’ automation provide a new form for observation and critique of urban and non-urban landscapes. The audience is finally invited to submit text, sounds, images and film from their displaced derivés on the blog, (http://fahrenheit451displaced.tumblr.com/) in the drive towards archiving a multitude of subconsciously chosen and consciously visited landscapes, acting as a displacing of the film's original modernist concerns within the 21st Century landscape.
ResonanceFM will broadcast landscape five, entitled ‘Modernity’s Home Comforts’ on July 10th and July 17th.

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Saturday 7th July

Schaum/Shieh

Exhibit: Sponge Urbanism, Room 3
Event: Detroit, Newark and the post/ex-industrial American city
Saturday 7th July 10.00-12.00


Sponge Urbanism is a proposition for Detroit that projects a vision for an expanded field of land use and activities. The project tests how the remnants of an old, rectilinear, platted urban order can be transformed into a multi-directional, open-cell, sponge-like organization. The project operates through a manipulation of conventional drawing techniques: plan and perspective are combined with selective cutting, notation and diagram in a manner that encompass a variety of criteria to construct a “view” that, while impossible, establishes a means to simultaneously visualize critical elements cohering the sponge order.
Conversation and presentations on 'Detroit, Newark and the post-/ex-industrial American city' with Tahl Kaminer (TU Delft, Edinburgh), Torange Khonsar (Public Works Group), Troy Schaum and Rosalyne Shieh.


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BJNilsen & Sandra Jasper

Exhibit: Residues I – A Stairwell
Event: Live concert based on field recordings
Saturday 7th July 12.00-12.30, Auditorium

Recordings and Images are taken from the stairwell of Slade Research Centre.

The project ‘Residues’ explores the acoustic ecology of buildings. The focus lies on capturing the ambient sounds within a building, a sort of ‘sonic waste’ emerging from the interior as well as the exterior, a collage of internal and external events. The recordings are made in movement by actively listening and exploring spaces with the microphone. They are then presented in form of a structured installation in a different space hereby joining two acoustic environments.
 
‘Residues I – A Stairwell’ joins the sonic worlds of elevator and stairwell. The stairwell gathers the sounds of human movement together with an array of unnoticed sounds; Residues of street life, voices, electricity, pipes, birds, a car honking, echoes, leaves of trees, sirens, traffic, water dripping, wind blowing through keyholes and windows. This ‘sonic waste’ is generally termed ambient. The elevator works as a listening post. By moving us mechanically it enables us to focus in on listening to this ‘invisible’ acoustic ecology.

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Exhibitors

Adriana Allen, Vanesa Castán Broto, Andreas Eriksson, Gynna Millán Franco

Discussing Urban Metabolism at UCL

This video explores the concept of urban metabolism through interviews with UCL-based academics who approach it from different perspectives. The concept of urban metabolism, referring to the exchange processes that produce the urban environment, has inspired new ways of thinking about how cities can be made sustainable and has raised criticisms about specific social and economic arrangements in which some forms of flow are prioritised or marginalised within the city. This video presents an attempt to use this concept as an instrument to generate interdisciplinary dialogue across engineering, development studies, geography, planning, politics and economics to develop practical solutions for sustainable urban development. The video was produced within the project Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Metabolism funded by the UCL Environment Institute (see: http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/urban-metabolism.)



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Megan Bradshaw
Cycling and Changing Mobility Patterns in the 2012 Olympic City

This project is interested in the way that the city is remade through the performance of cyclists in London, with specific reference to the way that cyclists’ mobility patterns are affected by infrastructural preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games. Improvements in air, rail, and road transport are included in the typical seven-year preparation period for an Olympics (mega)event, and the latter especially affects the placemaking and mobility practices, as well as the sensory experiences, of London cyclists.


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Philip Comerford
Mapping the hidden risks of the London 2012 Olympics

This project interrogates strategies of risk control used during the London 2012 Olympics by critically subverting tactics used by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) themselves, such as public engagement, photo-shopped imagery, and mapping. These are used to question the framing of risk: who or what is at risk, and who gets to define this risk?  A public engagement process records concerns articulated by locals. From these an alternative set of maps are prepared. Some of these record ‘invisible’ features such as security and surveillance. Others use innovative methods of mapping to record hidden power relationships such as those involving corporate sponsors.


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Ismail Farouk, Stephen Hobbs, Marcus Neustetter and Johan Thom
(in)Visible bodies: Migrants in the city of gold

‘(in)Visible bodies: Migrants in the city of gold’  is a curated selection of three art projects produced by artists from and about the city of Johannesburg. The concept of ‘migration’ (as the movement of bodies from one place to another) is used as a framework through which to rethink the complex interplay between what is rendered in/visible by the symbolic, economic, political and historic dimensions of the city of Johannesburg.  The three works are 'Challenging Mud - after Kazuo Shiraga' (2008) by Johan Thom, the ‘Hilbrow/Dakar project’ (2007-8) by Hobbs/Neustetter and the ‘Trolley project’ (2007) by Ismail Farouk.


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Hayley Gewer
Greenwich Peninsula- A Tale of Two Halves

Once a derelict and contaminated site, Greenwich peninsula is a changing and contested landscape. Film, soundscapes and interviews are layered and juxtaposed to explore life on either side of the A102, a major dual carriageway the splits the peninsula into two halves. The combining and contrasting of these three mediums help to create a sense of familiarity and at the same time disorientation, mirroring what one perceives when walking around the peninsula. The film aimed to explore how a sense of place is being constructed by residents in an area that is being refashioned through regeneration and corporatization and the extent to which they are benefitting from these processes. By intentionally setting up the two sides of the peninsula against each other and overlapping additional aural information I became engaged in the construction of a new representational and dialectic enactment of landscape and place.

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Mohamad Hafeda

The Twin Sisters are About to Swap Houses

This project addresses the social and spatial arrangements of displacement as performed by residents of contemporary Beirut. Twins try to re-align their political positions and personal affiliations across urban space through decisions concerning where to live. It examines how residents internalize displacement as an act of passive resistance, contrasting the twin sisters’ decisions concerning where to live, through both poetic and violent spatial and visual strategies of representation. The project is poised at the time of ‘about to’, the moment before the swapping occurs, and focuses on creating spatial moments of twining and matching - across visual horizons and through lines drawn on maps - to reveal geographies of division and the immaterial borderlines of the city.

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Hanna Hilbrandt
DOM°POLY

DOM°POLY reframes political and economic conflicts associated with urban planning. Set in the context of the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula, two players compete for power and influence in the planning process. Both players take on fictitious positions – a development company and a local community – and aim at implementing a type of development that serves the necessities and interests of their game-characters. Through tactical play they can think through alternative processes and outcomes of regeneration. The game ends when the peninsula is fully developed.


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Ignacia Mesa
Inaccessible City

For this work I decided to make a one day journey walking from my home in Camden Road to a gas station in Battersea, taking photographs of every manhole cover of the street in order to symbolically follow the energy network that operates all over the city. They represent a limit within the city, a beneath system that is at the same time connected and disconnected, individual and collective. The photographs draw attention to the passing of the day and travel, to size and patterning, over a granted delimited space.

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Azzurra Muzzonigro and Daniele Zacchi
Dwell the Threshold: an opportunity of encounter among differences

This work aims at investigating the role of space in the act of the encounter with Otherness, as a catalyst for a radical social and cultural transformation of society.

Between the Self and the Other there is a ‘gap’, in which the negotiation of identities, that allows processes of hybridization, takes place. This in-between space is a space of threshold: ‘the place where different worlds meet’ (Stavrides), therefore to ‘dwell the threshold’ becomes the practice that allows the encounter with the Other. Border, Circle and Interstices will illustrate the spatial dimension of the act of ‘dwelling the threshold’.


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Alexandra Parry and Fíacha O’Dubhda
Finding Home

Finding Home documents our public research into local housing issues on Chatsworth Road, Hackney. For a week we occupied a disused Dentist’s, interviewing passers-by about their experiences of housing. This forum was open to the public to inhabit, criticise and reflect upon. The research process itself became part of the dialogue with the locality, its vulnerabilities continuously exposed and its goals always under question. As an extension of this process, we invite you to occupy our seats, use our tools, read our research journals, listen to the recordings, browse the works that have informed our research, view images gathered throughout the project, and leave your own commentary, thoughts and responses.


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Brent Pilkey and Rachel Scicluna

The Heteronormative Gaze at Home: a Scene from the Everyday

This exhibit/performance aims to challenge the dominant ideology of heteronormativity– a regime of power based on heterosexuality as the natural way of being and taken as the blueprint of western social order. Born in such a social context, most non-heterosexual experiences are shaped by this ideology. In this exhibit  we aim to bring out the relationship between space, experience and sexual identity in everyday London homes. Sitting in our domestic space and gazing through the view-master, an iconic children’s toy, we encourage the viewer to reflect upon the multiple ways heteronormativity influences everyday experiences of home, street and neighbourhood across different stages of life. The view-master is used here as a conceptual tool which comes to represent the tunnel vision of heteronormativity. The triangulation of the gaze, view-master and the homely images aims to reproduce the power relation between the viewer and the viewed. Although some of these images from our respective research projects may look like your home, or any ‘typical’ home in London, we argue that it is the social normative context within which these homes are set in relation to alternative lifestyles that non-heterosexuals queer domesticity. Hence, we argue that the meaning of a queer home needs to be understood within a holistic cultural context.
Brent Pilkey is a doctoral student at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. He has completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts in architectural design and art history as well as a Master of Arts in art history at the University of Toronto, Canada. His research, funded by a UCL Overseas Research Scholarship, looks at the queering of domesticity in London.
Rachel Scicluna is reading her doctorate in social anthropology at The Open University where she was awarded a Charter Studentship attached to an ESRC funded research project. Her background is in social and medical anthropology where she completed her Masters in medical anthropology at The University of Sussex. Her PhD looks at the meaning and ontological experience of the kitchen from the perspective of older lesbians.


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Troy Schaum and Rosalyne Shieh
Sponge Urbanism

Sponge Urbanism is a proposition for Detroit that projects a vision for an expanded field of land use and activities. The project tests how the remnants of an old, rectilinear, platted urban order can be transformed into a multi-directional, open-cell, sponge-like organization. The project operates through a manipulation of conventional drawing techniques: plan and perspective are combined with selective cutting, notation and diagram in a manner that encompass a variety of criteria to construct a “view” that, while impossible, establishes a means to simultaneously visualize critical elements cohering the sponge order.


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Simson&Volley
Green to Gold

Last year the City of London Corporation launched a campaign, Green to Gold, in an attempt to get more people involved in sport and activity with one year to go to the London Olympics. Its aim was to engage and inspire communities to use open spaces for positive recreation. Green to Gold transforms the image of an open green space into a pulsating gilded geometric form. It is part of a series of temporary installation works that deal with the overlap and associations between memory and place and allude to the poetic possibilities held within a landscape in which inner and out vision are reconciled. The work also refers to the golden coffer ceiling paintings by Veronese in the Cheisa di San Sebastiano, patron saint of sport and athletes, in Venice.


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Peter Wood
Is this what the Elephant feels like? Using mobile video to evoke a feeling of area

The displayed video depicts a cyclist’s eye view of Elephant and Castle, an area of South London currently undergoing substantial redevelopment. As the cyclist passes through, images from architects’ proposed streetscape changes have been inserted into the video’s top left-hand corner. The same video was shown to focus groups, and selected excerpts are displayed here. These discuss the social connotations of urban forms, but also allow an exploration of how the lived experience of area differs from and relates to the medium of video as a contiguous linear series of places.


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Monday, 20th August 2018
UCL Urban Laboratory
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Last updated: 20th November 2012