Who makes the city? Is it resilient? Is it connected? Diverse? And if so…what human acts shape the character of an urban environment? This episode of space+place explores individual moves by those who make the city.
Elke Krasny shares how self-initiated acts to reclaim space have stitched together immigrants, citizens, planners, and just about any diverse community. Studying informal settlements, and fruit and vegetable gardening, we see how simple acts made by individual citizens have lead to big change. The exhibition Hands-On Urbanism: How to Make a Difference is at Urbanspace Gallery in Toronto through March 15th. Read more: Hands-on Urbanism 1850-2012.
Next, Naomi Potter threads together three exhibitions at the Esker Foundation that explore our built environment. Featuring images of teenagers in non places and a Brutalist housing complex in Naples called Le Vele di Scampia, the work of Tobias Zielony reveals the balancing act between everyday experience and architecture. Without judgement, without confrontation, the images capture “hanging out”.
We also discuss Peter von Tiesenhausen, the Alberta-based artist who copyrighted his property in 1995 in a move of defense from a pending pipeline. His Floodplain is made of reclaimed MDF. Cedric Bomford’s photographs of concrete air vents from the Prague metro system round out the conversation. Each of the three exhibitions explore material, power and place. Don’t miss a talk by Chaseten Remillard called The Gendered City, that is expected to explore gentrification, suburbanization and identity construction as a response to the urban.
And finally, we head to New York where Stephen Duncombe describes what’s behind a call for proposals called Designing for Free Speech. The competition is organized by Theatrum Mundi, a collective of urbanists, architects, planners…but also performing and visual artists. Together they seek to stimulate discussion about practices spanning stage and street. Cities involved in this provocation where art and urbanism meet include: London, New York, Frankfurt, Berlin, Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro. Theatrum Mundi is a term that sociologist Richard Sennett wrote about in his book, The Fall of Public Man (1977), as a way to understand street life in terms of social connection. Sennett is an advisor to Theatrum Mundi, the organization.
Duncombe describes the issues around the design of public space, both in terms of physical attributes and performative interventions. Our conversation ends with an ever-so-brief discussion on the library.
Events of note:
Safe and Smooth – March 13, 14th with Pieter de Haan and a workshop called City Surgery
Chasten Remillard – Gendered Cities – March 29th - Esker Foundation 3-4pm